With a history dating back some 90 years, the story of adidas is one of the most extensive and interesting in sporting history. From humble family beginnings to the global behemoth of today, the adidas timeline, and their current situation makes for an intriguing tale.
The adidas story begins in 1900 in Herzogenaurach, with the birth of Adolf “Adi” Dassler, The town, nicknamed ‘Herzo’ is located some 14 miles from Nuremberg, and is still home to the company’s global headquarters.
By 1924, the young Mr Dassler had registered the company Dassler Brothers Shoemakers with his brother Rudolf, and the pair began creating athletic shoes from their factory in Herzogenaurach. By 1936 they were supplying iconic figures such as Jesse Owens, who won 4 gold medals in Dassler Brothers running spikes at the Berlin Olympics.
In 1947 the Dassler brothers went their separate ways after a personal falling out, with Rudolph setting up another sports brand you may of heard of, Puma. And in 1949 the adidas brand was registered using a combination of Adolf’s nickname “Adi” and the first 3 letters of his surname “Das”. On the same day that the company was registered, a shoe was registered which featured the brands soon-to-be-famous three stripes.
The stripes logo was initially born out of functionality as a way of reinforcing the upper around the sides of the boot/shoe where the most strain would be present and the most support would be necessary. Following the Second World War the brand went from strength to strength and despite the personal problems between the Dassler brothers, their respective firms gained financial and commercial momentum. The 1954 German World Cup win over the hot favourites Hungary which was dubbed a “miracle”, showcased adidas boots to the world and opened the brand up to a new level of exposure and popularity.
The first sporting apparel released by the brand was the Franz Beckenbauer tracksuit in 1967, diversifying the product mix from that of exclusively shoes and opening up a whole new revenue stream. In 1970 Adidas produced their first official World Cup football the TELSTAR. This icon of the modern game made the ball easier to pick up on black-and-white TV sets and formed the basis for a successful partnership, providing a ball for every World Cup ever since.
Fast forward to the 1980’s and the adidas brand was beginning to ingrain itself into popular culture, and open the door to fashion and street culture based sneaker and clothing ranges. Run DMC with their shell toes, tracksuits and “My adidas” titled tracks helped to bridge the gap between athletic/sports apparel and art thus propelling adidas into the Zeitgeist.
The 1990s saw the brand grow in all areas, and towards the end of the decade the brand divided into 3 main groups with adidas Performance representing the constant devotion to athletes with a concentration on technology driving improved performance, adidas Originals was to focus on fashion & lifestyle and lastly, Style Essentials pushing fashion forward design.
During this era stars such as Haile Gebrselassie and David Beckham benefitted from the constant pursuit of technological advances. Each had their particular sporting niche, which required and pushed for constant enhancements in technology, pushing the brand to constantly develop new things and fleshing out the marketing campaign “Impossible is Nothing.”
Throughout the brand’s existence, adidas has stayed true to its roots by supporting and working with athletes and footballers to bring the finest and most and sought-after products to market. During this extensive process they have always taken relevant opinions on board from amateur rugby players, Sunday league footballers and weekend joggers right through to Lionel Messi, Gareth Bale, Johan Blake, and the New Zealand All Blacks, all whilst conducting thousands of hours of research to ensure that the footwear and apparel really do perform.
Today, Adidas are at the forefront of technology and sporting endeavour and the MiCoach products showcase Adidas’ commitment to pushing the brand forward. This commitment to both tracking and improving performance is underpinned by the philosophy that it is not about training as hard as you can, it’s about training as hard as you should.
The products are designed to try to make training habitual, allowing the user to train smarter yet ensuring that targets are both met and exceeded. Inherent within the ideology is a need for the products to be both functional and simple to use. The Smart Run all in one running watch epitomises the ideology, and illustrates a dynamic attention to detail, with the watch containing a multitude of features for the modern runner. This includes a Heart Rate Monitor for real time EKG, MP3 player which transmits music to your wireless headphones, a speed cell for indoor usage, and WLAN / Bluetooth Smart for effortless connectivity and compatibility with apps for Windows Phone, iOS & Android already available with a Nokia X app coming soon.
All this tech comes alongside a GPS based distance, route logging and elevation profile all allowing you to exercise smarter. The watch comes with an interactive touch screen, which allows usage of various functions and displays including virtual racer, automatic pause, average speed tracker, and heart rate display with the potential for off line music integration from Spotify coming soon, and constant firmware updates where the developers at MiCoach listen to runners feedback and if suitable literally give them what they want. The folks at MiCoach are taking a more purist perspective with regard to the product’s smart capabilities, and are not looking to introduce any SIM cards, or social networking offerings in an overt attempt to keep the product away from being a communication device and aim specifically at the sporting enthusiast.
Once again, this summer Adidas will be the supplier of the official World Cup match ball, dubbed the Brazuca. The ball has six polyurethane panels, which are thermal bonded in order to keep the ball the same weight and roundness even in the rain. The ball is textured and is more akin to the Finale 13 (the Champions League ball) than the Jabulani ball, which featured in the last World Cup in South Africa. With its bright and relevant colour scheme it is comfortably the most colourful ball in World Cup history, and continues adidas’ tradition of producing footballs that utilise new technology whilst reflecting the countries where the tournaments have been hosted.
Adi Dassler has left a legacy, that continues today, and although the company is now a multinational organisation, it is still one very much in touch with its roots.