In the early 1920s, just after the first World War, Adolf “Adi” Dassler started making sports shoes in his mother’s washroom.

His older brother, Rudolf, joined the business, and the Dassler Brothers Shoe Factory began. 

In 1936 Adolf Dassler convinced the famous US sprinter Jesse Owens to wear his shoes during the Summer Olympics in 1937.

READ MORE: THE STORY OF MICROSOFT’S ICONIC LOGOS SINCE ITS LAUNCH IN 1975

After Owen’s four gold medal wins, Dassler shoes took off. 

Now, Adidas supplies apparel for teams on the NBA, NFL and school levels.

In 2020, Adidas reported around $23 billion in profit, which was a loss from the $27.9 billion in 2019.

Until 1971

By 1924, the sports shoes were doing well.

The brothers were selling 200,000 pairs each year under the Dassler logo.

The original mark featured a bird carrying a lightweight shoe within a shield.

The brothers split up in 1947 after their relationship went downhill.

Rudolf started Ruda (later renamed Puma) and Adolf registered Adidas.

The Adidas logo’s first change in 1949 replaced the name Dassler with Adolf Dassler.

The sports shoe is more detailed with spikes and the three stripes.  

The iconic three stripes mark was bought by Adolf Dassler in the 1940s from Finnish footwear manufacturer Karhu Sports.

The owner was having money issues due to WWII and sold it to Adolf for two bottles of whiskey and €1,600.

By 1950, all that remained of the previous logo was the font.

1971: The Trefoil Logo

adidas trefoil logo

In 1971, the company started making clothing, so changed its logo shape to the now well-known trefoil. This logo is made up of three football-shapes arranged in a way in that the bottom was curved.

This 1970’s version is now a throwback used for the Adidas Originals line.

The trefoil logo was meant to show the diversity of the products while still including the three lines that the brand was quickly becoming known for.

The three leaves represent the North America, Europe, and Asia- the three continents where Adidas shoes were sold. 

Adidas was no longer used exclusively by athletes.

This particular logo helped the brand become involved into pop culture, and worn by huge bands such as The Doors, The Sex Pistols, Bob Marley and David Bowie, among others. 

1991: The Mountain Logo

adidas mountain logo

By the ‘90s, the logo changed to another iconic version of the line trio that is now used for Performance products.

The stripes used before were moved to a slight angle, representing how they looked on the shoes. The trio of stripes were arranged into a mountain-shaped icon that represents an obstacle to overcome.

2002: Adidas NEO

adidas circle logo

In 2002, the stripes were in the middle of a circle, looking like an animal scratch or three paths going into the background. The stripes here take on a stylized look with the ends being smaller as they move in a light arch toward the right side.

At this point, the logo is still very flat and the font has remained the same for the logotype.

This logo now represents the Adidas Style product lines.

2005: The Adidas Word-Mark Logo

adidas stripes logo

The wordmark logo of the company is a callback of the simple three stripes that made the brand so easy to identify.

The logo is general enough to cover all areas of the brand while still maintaining the main aesthetic of the company.

The Current Adidas Logos

Since its creation, the Adidas logo has certainly gone through many transformations.

Howvever, Adidas has been smart about retaining and recycling older versions of their logo creations. 

All four of their current logos are used for different product lines and collections:

Three Stripes: Sports Line

The performance and sports apparel line uses the three stripes along the sides of pants, shoulders of shirts and sides of shoes. This is the most traditional design of the company’s logo, going back to the original three-stripes mark that was purchased in the 1940s.

Trefoil: Lifestyle and Casual Wear

The Trefoil is the one that has become popular with people outside of the sports scenes. From big musicians taking center stage to influencers, the lifestyle Adidas brand is a popular fashion line.

The products in these lines are pricier and not designed for athletics, though the clothing still has an athletic style. Celebrities like Kanye West, Pharrell Williams and others have helped make this line more popular.

Mountain: The Standard Adidas Logo

Products in this line go from sports tees and track pants to cleats and more. 

Neo-Circle: Lifestyle Collaborations

This circle logo still carries the three stripes but offers a different look to symbolize a daily wear line that is not focused more on practical wear.

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