Although the two massively successful sportswear brands are completely independent of one another, it is impossible to tell the full story of adidas or Puma without mention of the other. In 1924, Adolf, also known as “Adi”, and Rudolf Dassler established the Dassler Brothers Shoe Factory in Herzogenaurach, Germany. The company enjoyed a successful first 15 years until the beginning of World War II in 1939. During the war, a rift formed between the Dassler brothers when Rudolf thought Adi had reported him to the Allied Forces as a member of the Waffen SS. Their relationship was never the same. In 1947, the brothers officially split apart, as Rudolf started a new company RuDa (which later became Puma) and Adi started adidas.
After acquiring what would become its trademark “Three Stripes” logo from Finnish sportswear brand Karhu in 1949, adidas hit the ground running with the introduction of the Samba. The Samba’s simple design and lightweight feel made it an instant success; to this day it is one of the most popular indoor soccer shoes and an adidas best seller. The ’60s saw the release of two more classic adidas items: the Gazelle (another popular indoor soccer sneaker) and what may be the most iconic piece of Three Stripes apparel: the tracksuit.
The 1970s ushered in a new era in sports, one where tennis was quickly picking up steam and growing in popularity. Under the leadership of Adi’s son Horst Dassler, adidas made the first leather tennis shoe for French tennis star Robert Haillet in the 65 but by the time the sport was skyrocketing in popularity, Haillet was in his twilight years. The German company renamed the shoe after it’s new star athlete, Stan Smith. He (and his shoes) have been icons since.
While adidas released the Superstar as a basketball shoe in 1970, its popularity on the streets helped it become a classic. A ringing endorsement via Run-DMC’s song “My adidas” took the German brand to new heights, especially within urban communities across America. Though the brand would come to regret not signing NBA superstar Michael Jordan when it had the chance, adidas still held a solid portion of the basketball sneaker market, signing all star players such as Dikembe Mutombo and Kobe Bryant to signature deals.
Although adidas was still a major player in sportswear, Jordan-mania took over the world and put Nike on top, placing the “Brand with the Three Stripes” firmly in second place in the minds of many consumers. The brand realized if they weren’t going to dominate on the court, they would have to off it. While it’s now commonplace for major sportswear companies to team up with high fashion designers and brands for collaborations, adidas was ahead of the curve. Teaming up with designers like Yohji Yamamoto and Stella McCartney proved to be mutually beneficial successes.
In 2013, announced what would become its biggest partnership yet: Yeezy. After a public falling out with his partners at Nike, Kanye West signed a deal with adidas. West’s Yeezy line—starting with the Yeezy Boost 750 and followed by the still popular Yeezy Boost 350—has been steadily growing for years. With a flood of colorways and new silhouettes, adidas’ Yeezy partnership remains among the most popular sneaker collaborations in the world.
Through re-releases of it’s classic sneakers via adidas Originals, the highly successful Ultra Boost and NMD lines, along collaborations with designers and artists, adidas has proven that its deep catalog of hits is only growing by the year.
What does adidas stand for?
adidas is not an acronym, but a combination of founder Adolf (also known as “Adi”) Dassler’s first and last name.
Does Nike own adidas?
No, Nike and adidas are two separate companies.
Is BAPE owned by adidas
No. Although they have done collaborations together, BAPE is not owned by adidas.