What Is Adidas?

By Charlie Robinson

Adidas is a German shoe, clothing and apparel company that also owns Reebok, Taylor Made and Rockport. Adidas is the largest sportswear company in Europe and is the second only to Nike as the largest sportswear company in the world. The company sports the recognizable logo of three slanted parallel bars of ascending height.


Adidas was founded in 1924 by Adolf Dassler, but it did not become a fully registered company until 1940. Its headquarters are located in Herzogenaurach, Germany, the hometown of its founder. Although many believe that Adidas stands for "All day I dream about soccer" the true origin of the name comes from the amalgamation of Adolf's nickname, Adi, and the first three letters of his last name.


Adidas specializes in the design and manufacturing of footwear, sportswear, sports equipment and, yes, even toiletries, most notably, deodorant. However, the company first gained international recognition in 1936 at the Summer Olympics in Berlin, where it outfitted U.S. track star Jesse Owens with its track shoes. Owens won four gold medals in the Games.

Sports and Athletes

Today, Adidas has a strong foothold in many sports worldwide, including soccer, basketball, football, running, golf, cricket, tennis and lacrosse. In perhaps its most visible global endeavour, Adidas sponsors the football (soccer) clubs of Real Madrid, Bayern Munich, Chelsea, Liverpool and AC Milan, among many others. In the United States, basketball stars Dwight Howard and Derek Rose wear Adidas basketball shoes. In 2008, the company came under fire for spending 70 million euross in sponsoring the Summer Olympics in Beijing. Adidas is also the sponsor of Major League Soccer through 2014.

Company Financials

Adidas is run by CEO Herbert Hainer and was run for 10 years, until 2002, by Robert Louis Dreyfus. Since a difficult period in the 1980s, when Bernard Tapie was unable to pay back debt on the company, Adidas has enjoyed a surge in profitability. The year 2008 saw revenue of 10.8 billion euros on an operating income of 1.07 billion euros.


As of the end of 2008, Adidas consisted of 38,980 employees worldwide, with market capitalization of 5.25 billion euros. The stock consists of 193.5 million shares based on March 31, 2009, reporting. The average trading volume for 2008 was just shy of 2 million shares per day.

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