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Category > History > Page Uploaded: 01/04/15

Adidas: a sporting goods company based on technological innovation

The early 1990's were a traumatic period for Adidas: the company was sold by Dassler family in 1987, and was nearly led into bankruptcy by Bernard Tapie - the new owner - in 1993. Adidas were rescued by a group of investors who placed Robert Louis-Dreyfus as the new CEO of Adidas. Robert Louis-Dreyfus had a 'sound' strategic plan for Adidas: technological innovation. The general consensus was that Adidas had relied too heavily on selling heritage products, and that new Adidas designs - such as the Energy Boost sneakers shown in the image below - should not continue to resemble heritage products.

Showing the energy boost technology, and how adidas is focusing more and more on developing new technologies to sell sneakers and apparel.

Historically, Adidas has made many sporting goods innovations: they were amongst the first companies to use screw-in studs for football boots, and were the first to place a polymer coating on footballs; this meant that leather balls would no longer absorb water and become heavier during play. In the 1980's Adidas were the first company to place a computer/CPU into a running shoe to record workout data. Adidas have collaborated with a range of sporting goods inventors: in the early 1980's they collaborated with Bill Dellinger, who developed the midsole 'Dellinger Web' reinforcement technology.

In the late 1980's, Adidas invented the Torsion System; the first shoe that implemented the Torsion System into it's midsole was the ZX 8000. The Adidas Torsion system provided arch support for running shoes: the Torsion System enabled long distance runners to retain energy, increased foot comfort. Long distance runners set new marathon world records wearing the ZX 8000. The Torsion System was a huge success and it has been implemented into running shoes for over twenty five years. When Robert Louis-Dreyfus became CEO of Adidas in 1993, it was the success of the Torsion System that convinced him Adidas' future relied on technological innovation.

Robert Louis-Dreyfus split Adidas into three divisions: Originals, Equipment and Performance. The Originals division would focus on heritage products, the Equipment division is fairly self explanatory, and the Performance division focused upon technological innovation. The first technology that the Performance division oversaw was the development of was the Adidas Predator football boot. The Predator football boot was released in 1993 and featured rubber ridges that enabled footballers to achieve extra spin and swerve. The Predator technology was not invented by Adidas - it was the brainchild of ex-footballer Craig Johnston - but they exclusively developed the technology.

The success of the Predator football boot ensured that the Performance division would continue to exist, and resulted in the development of a Performance logo for Performance products. From 1993-2015, the Performance division has helped to develop a wide range of technologies, some of which are: Adizero, Adidry, Adifit, Adiwear, Adiprene, Adituff, Climacool, and Energy Boost. Most of these technologies are trademarked by Adidas and are exclusively implemented into Adidas products. While Adidas AG (Group) own a range of sporting goods companies - such as Reebok and Rockport - the Adidas company has not licensed any of it's technologies to it's sister companies. Adidas state that one of it's six strategic pillars is: Leading Through Innovation.