Adidas is a German company that primarily manufactures footwear and sportswear. Adidas AG typically writes it's brand name with a lower case letter 'A': adidas rather than Adidas. Adidas is pronounced as 'adi das' in Europe,but in North America it is often pronounced as 'a di das'. Adidas is a word that is a combination of the first three letters of the first name and surname of it's founder Adolf "Adi" Dassler.
Adidas was founded in 1949, and it's headquarters have always been based in the German town of Herzogenaurach, Bavaria, Germany. Herzogenaurach is a small town in the district of Erlangen-Höchstadt, in Bavaria, Germany, and has a population in the region of 20,000. Adolf "Adi" Dassler, the founder of Adidas, had a brother named Rudolf "Rudi" Dassler: in the 1920's they created a shoe making factory named the Dassler Brothers.
The Dassler Brothers sports shoes were used by athletes competing at the 1936 Berlin Olympics; including the 100 metres sprint champion Jesse Owens. Due to a feud between the brothers - during the second world war - the Dassler Brothers shoe factory was closed, and the two brothers cut all business ties between themselves. Adolf "Adi" Dassler founded Adidas in 1949, and Rudolf "Rudi" Dassler founded Puma in 1948. Adidas and Puma are located in the German town of Herzogenaurach - based on separate sides of the Regnitz river - and are two of the largest global sportswear brands. However, Adidas is Europe's most successful sportswear brand, and globally, the only sportswear company that generates more revenue is Nike.
Adidas' only manufactured sports shoes from 1949-1967; the first piece of clothing apparel it produced was a tracksuit in 1967. The majority of Adidas' products feature a three parallel bars design; the parallel bars sometimes have a jagged edge, and at other times they are a straight line. Adidas did not develop the three parallel bars design: they purchased it from a Finnish sports brand in the early 1950's. Adolf Dassler stated that he designed footwear with three guiding principles. These three guiding principles explain why Dassler purchased the iconic three stripes design from Karhu Sports. Dassler's three guiding principles were: 1) Safety: Provide protection against injury; 2) Performance: Satisfy the requirement of the sport; and 3) Quality: To be reliable and durable.
The first logo that Adidas developed was the Trefoil logo; which was released in the early 1970's. The Trefoil logo was replaced by the Performance logo in the 1990's; however, the Trefoil logo is still used on heritage products. The Adidas company was owned and managed by the Dassler family until the later 1980's. Due to to death of Adolf Dassler, Kathe Dassler, and Horst Dassler, the company lacked strong family leadership and was eventually sold to Bernard Tapie in 1989. Present day, the Adidas Group is a multinational corporation, but it is still headquartered in Herzogenaurach, Germany: the 'World of Sports' headquarters (shown above) is located just outside of Herzogenaurach, and was a former U.S. military base. The Adidas Group comprises a range of sportswear companies, which includes: Ashworth, Reebok, Taylormade-Adidas Golf and Rockport.