Though the Adidas brand, and the three stripes did not officially begin until the end of 1948/beginning of 1949, the company and it’s founder, Adolf “Adi” Dassler have a much deeper history of creating sneakers.

Dassler started making shoes in 1920, in his mother’s washroom, at the age of 19. Adi hand made the shoes out of leather. In 1924, he convinced his brother Rudolph to join the business, the two personalities were fitting in a yin yang kind of way. Adi was more reserved designer, while Rudolph was more of an extrovert, a salesman. They registered the business as Dassler Brothers Shoe Factory. The brothers continued creating shoes for specific sports, until 1946, when they created their first multi purpose shoe from supplies from the US Army, tent fabric, leather from baseball gloves, and a sole made from warplane fuel tanks. Rudolph and Adi decided to part ways in 1948, Rudolph went on to form Puma, while Adi created Adidas.

The three stripes became a trademark in 1949, and with the help of the 1952 Olympics, where more athletes wore Adidas then any other shoe, the company began to flourish. In 1954 the German team won the World Cup wearing revolutionary changeable “screw-in” spikes. In 1959, due to the growth and success of the company, Adi opened a second factory in Germany, while his son, Horst, opened an additional factory in France.

In the mid 60’s Adidas began to produce athletic sportswear and sports balls. By 1970 the Official Matchball at all major football (soccer) events was an Adidas ball, which has continued to be the case ever since. Not losing a beat into the 70’s, Adi Dassler, still at the forefront of the sporting world, creates custom boxing shoes for both Muhammad Ali and Joe Frazier for “The Fight of the Century” in 1971. In 1972 the “Trefoil” logo is introduced, and in 1975 Adi is the first non-American induction into the Hall of Fame for National Sporting Goods, the 43rd inductee. In 1978 Adi passed away and running the company becomes the responsibility of his son and widowed wife.

Since then the company has continued its success by becoming more diversified. With creative marketing, collaborations like 2008’s ground-breaking aZX Project, and creating new technology, like the Torsion system in 1988, Feet You Wear, and most recently the Bounce system, the company has been able remain a top player in the footwear game.

For more info on Adidas, check out the Adidas News.