Originally Adi was supposed to be a baker. Well, he decided against this and was rewarded with leaving quite a mark on sports history. The story about his rise from humble shoemaker to global game changer, entrepreneur and, eventually, founder of adidas, is well documented. The ideas, principles and the special attitude of this incredibly creative inventor are still with us today. In everything we do. It’s even fair to say that the principle he based his life and work on remains the foundation of our company: no athlete left behind. Welcome to adidas.
Early beginnings in a wash kitchen
Adi Dassler’s simple yet brilliant idea was to provide each athlete with the best possible equipment to enable peak performances. This vision would change everything. His strong believe in it made him ignore his father’s idea that his son would make an excellent baker. Instead the very passionate athlete repurposed his mother’s tiny wash kitchen to follow his own dream. So, yes, we guess you could say that adidas was started in a wash kitchen.
Just like it always is with these stories when people found companies in random places or discover medical breakthroughs by accident, Adi had no idea how many sports he would help to revolutionise and that he would be involved in a football miracle. In 1954 adidas screw-in studs helped the German national team to win the Football World Cup final against Hungary – a team that seemed to stand head and shoulders above all other teams. How could he have guessed all of this when he sat for the first time in his mother’s wash kitchen? He wasn’t able to know that he was about to found a company that has become an integral part and driving force of today’s sports landscape.
His shoes have become iconic names in footwear history. The company he built and its 3-Stripes trademark are visible at almost every major sporting event around the world. His inventions are still being studied and quoted, examined and copied. At the core of it all is one simple desire: make the best for each athlete.
Not bad for a guy who was supposed to be a baker.
Adi Dassler's principle: Listening to the athletes
Adi Dassler gathering feedback from athletes.
World Cup trophies, gold medals, world records
Since the “boss”, as his employees called him, passed away in 1978 at the age of 78, the company he founded has come a long, and sometimes painful, way. Just like a game of football, we have scored big, but also suffered setbacks. When Adi’s son Horst, who took over the business after his father’s death, made adidas a global leader in the sector of innovation in sports marketing, this certainly can be regarded as “scoring big”. On the other hand, a rather difficult transformation period at the beginning of the 1990s also influenced what we are today. But the most important thing is: when it counted, we remembered what we are made of. A testament to that: the comeback of the 3-Stripes in the early 1990s under Robert Louis-Dreyfus’ leadership. Adi Dassler’s principle helped adidas find its way.
At our core, Adi’s principle remains
No question that we have left that wash kitchen behind. We have changed and adapted. We succeeded and lost. We fell and stood back up. And in the end, we emerged as one of the most popular and best-known sporting goods companies in the world with a product range that extends from footwear and apparel to accessories for all kinds of different sports, a brand that impresses athletes just as much as fashion experts.
Our World Cup balls touch the Hand of God and make grown men cry, our performance footwear breaks world records and boosts the laws of energy, our fashion apparel dominates the catwalks of the world and the streets of the city. And at the core, we still provide the best for each athlete. Just like what that young man dreamt of when he entered that wash kitchen almost 100 years ago and changed the world of sports forever. And thanks to Adi Dassler’s passion and dedication, we look back on a history unlike any other in the industry; a history so rich and unique that we still base everything we do on that one founding thought.
Four words. So simple. No athlete left behind.
Welcome to adidas.