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Reebok: from sneakers with nails to innovative technology in the world of sports

The modern sports fashion industry is constantly evolving and new brands are entering the market. But among a huge number of companies, true old-timers of their business remain at their best. One of them is Reebok - a concern that has existed for 125 years.

At the end of the 19th century, Joseph William Foster did not even think that he could become famous thanks to creation of sports shoes. He just wanted to run and decided to make a pair for himself in which it would be convenient to cover kilometers. But its production went beyond the Bolton workshop and reached a global scale.

Start of production: membership in the running club and sneakers with nails

Formally, the history of Reebok began in 1895. Then Joseph Foster, a resident of the small English town of Bolton, got carried away by running. He joined the local Primrose Harriers club and loved training.

Along with Foster's eagerness to show good results, the desire to buy special shoes for training has awakened. Unfortunately, the production of running models was poorly developed at that time. The product was not of the best quality and was offered in a small assortment. Then Joseph, who was a shoemaker by trade, came to the obvious decision to make his own sneakers. Correctly they say: everything ingenious is simple!

In the same year, the man created the first running shoes Foster. Their outsole was equipped with multiple nails for better traction - they replaced modern cleats.

Reebok: from sneakers with nails to innovative technology in the world of sports

J.W. Foster


Already at the beginning of the XX century, Joseph was closely engaged in his own production of shoes for running, and his the company was named J. 'W. Foster & Co . The sneakers were made strictly by the order of the athlete after taking individual measurements.

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First successes: Alfred Schrabb's victory, the 1924 Olympics and manufacturing innovations

For the newly-made brand 1904 was a real breakthrough. Runner Alfred Schrabb won the 10-mile (approximately 16.1 km) race in a record 50 minutes 40 seconds at the time. At the Glasgow competition, the athlete finished in J. 'W. Foster & Co.

Reebok: from sneakers with nails to innovative technology in the world of sports

Alfred Schrabb

Photo:Getty Images

In 1906, Foster had sons, and although they were not yet shop assistants, his father renamed the company J.W. Foster & Sons . Three years later, the inventor developed technologies that allowed his concern to become unique in the UK. Joseph came up with a special sizing scale, thanks to which athletes did not have to come for fitting. Now they could send the master a sheet of paper with a delineated foot outline and the specified parameters.

Second the innovation was the creation of collections for different types of running. For example, for training on rough terrain, Foster offered shoes with ankle-stabilizing straps, and for races with obstacles, boots with spiked heels. Later, the company began producing equipment for football, rugby, boxing and other disciplines.

At this rate, by the 30s, Joseph's company had gained prestige in the UK. Also significant was the fact that Harold Abrahams , the 1924 Olympic 100m Sprint Champion, claimed that Foster's shoes helped him run faster at an important start.

Reebok: from sneakers with nails to innovative technology in the world of sports

Harold Abrahams wins the 1924 Olympics in France

Photo: Jewish Chronicle / Heritage Images / Getty Images

New name and transfer to the USA

In 1933, Joseph Foster passed away. Despite the fact that the brand passed into the safe hands of his sons, the grandchildren - Joseph and Jeffrey turned out to be the most original and breakthrough in the sports fashion industry.

Interestingly, the current co-owner of Reebok is also named Joseph William Foster. He was even born on the same day as his legendary grandfather - May 18.

The brothers did not come to the modern name at once. They first renamed the company to Mercury Sports Footwear because a new Mercury shoe was released. But by 1960 the world had heard the word Reebok . By the way, translated from Afrikaans, rhebok is a swift-footed roe antelope, a beautiful animal with sharp horns.

In subsequent years, the company developed its activities in Europe, and in 1979, through the efforts of its distributor Paul Fireman, it opened in the United States. This man had a subtle sense of what kind of product the Americans needed. Because of the aerobics boom, Reebok launched the all-female Freestyle and Princess for the first time. And to spread the brand among fitness enthusiasts, Fireman gave each instructor a pair. The coaches simultaneously advertised and received a percentage.

Paul's entrepreneurial spirit helped him buy the concern from the Foster brothers and consolidate all divisions under the roof of Reebok International Ltd in Boston. CompanI gained immense popularity, began mass production of clothing and accessories, and could compete with Nike.

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More modern: logo redesign and innovative technology

Reebok logo still has the British flag remained. The vector sign appeared only in 1993, when the UK introduced a law banning the use of national symbols in advertising. Although, if you try, you can find the Reebok Classic model with a flag even now.

Era The 90s brought the brand many ideas and breakthroughs. For example, it was at this time that a division in Russia was opened, the Slide Reebok wellness program was developed and the Instapump technology was created. She became a real hit. Jackie Chan loved this lightweight sneaker with a futuristic slip-on design!

Adidas takeover

In 2006, the company was bought by the German giant adidas. The deal proved to be beneficial to both parties, as Reebok gave itself complete freedom of action. Now the brand is actively developing all over the world and pleases customers with bright advertising campaigns with famous athletes, models, actors and artists. For example, with Conor McGregor, Gigi Hadid, Natalie Emmanuel and Cardi B. At the end of last year, Reebok closed the top ten most expensive corporations in the world.

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