Happy Birthday, AdiDADS!
We Make A Mean Team, My Adidas And Me
Today (3rd November) is the birthdate of Adolf Dassler who would’ve been 116 years old had he not gone and popped his shelltoes.
If you weren’t aware Adolf was the founder of the sportswear company Adidas. Starting out as a cobbler he produced his first shoes intended for sportsmen when he returned from the First World War. He started the business then soon realised he needed help so enlisted his brother, Rudolf (you could say that he was a shoe-in, cough), to help maintain the work. Incidentally, they did this all by themselves – there was no Kickstarter (ahem) in those days.
War. What Is It Good For?
For the 1936 Olympics in Berlin, the Dassler Brothers Shoe Factory provided African-American athlete Jesse Owens with his running shoes who went on to win four gold medals.
During this time the brothers joined the Nazi Party with ‘Adi’ being more for the movement than his brother. The war worsened their differences until their allegiances finally split in 1948 with Adi continuing Adidas and Rudolf breaking free to form a similar sports company, Puma on the other side of town.
Continuing with success throughout the years, moving with the times and diversifying into fitness in the early 1980s, Adidas was growing into more than just sportswear and had bridged the gap into fashion wear.
However, 1986 was a pivotal year. Hip-hop legends Run DMC had worn Adidas clothing for a while but it wasn’t until a concert in New York’s Madison Square Garden (brought about after the phenomenal success of their Raising Hell album on Profile Records) that a particular moment occurred.
When performing their song ‘My Adidas’, Run (Joseph Simmons) asked the fans to hold their trainers up in the air. Ten-thousand kids holding up their Adidas Superstars (known in hip-hop circles as ‘Shelltoes’ because of the unique design at the front of the shoe) reputedly brought the company bosses to tears and convinced them to sign the group to an unprecedented $1million deal that included their own signature line.
The rest, as they say, is history.
I Won’t Trade My Adidas For No Beat-Up Ballys
Dapper dads still continue to sport Adidas footwear and hoodies (and tracky bottoms, too if you’re going for the full Jeremy Kyle ensemble) and can look great if you have the right combination.
Personally, I used to go with Nike as a teenager then switched allegiance to Adidas after being influenced by Ad-Rock of the Beastie Boys in a pair of red and white Gazelles. Obviously, I rocked the Shelltoes, too but after trying some Puma States/Suedes have never looked back – they are just more roomy and comfy on my feet, y’know being an ageing b-boy and all.
If you’re an Adidas enthusiast then this official archive may interest you.