1980 marks the starting point for REEBOK – this is when a professional runner, Joseph William Foster, developed the first running shoes equipped in spikes.
During the following 5 years, together with his father, they established the J.W. Foster and Sons Limited company. In the next years, they focused their business activity on producing shoes for track and field professionals.
However, the real beginning of the brand took place in the 60s. In 1958 two grandsons of J.W. Foster – Jeffrey and Joseph established Merkury Sports, a shoe company functioning along with J.W. Foster and Sons Limited. The younger brand took over the older one and it started to function as the company we know today – Reebok (inspired by the name of an antelope of South Africa).
The real golden era of the company began in 1979 when Paul Fireman sensed the potential of Reebok during international fairs. In the same year he managed to negotiate a licence for distribution and sale of the Reebok shoes in the USA for the North American company. In result, by the end of the 70s three models of Reebok’s running shoes become available. Although the price was quite high as for those times (about 60$), the demand for the shoes in the USA was constantly growing. The company instantly perceived and responded to trends driving the market (women’s interest in sport and fitness, wearing sports shoes on a daily basis). In 1982, Reebok expands the range of its shops by the Lifestyle shoes for women – the first model directed only for the female clients.
The next milestone in the dynamic development of the brand took place in 1984 – Paul Fireman and a group of American investors from Pentland Industries took over Reebok and established a holding named Reebok International Limited in Great Britain. After six months, the company went public. All these changes resulted in extension of the company’s original specialisation. In the 90s the brand previously associated with fitness transformed into one of the largest producers of sports shoes and clothes operating in various areas of the sports market (football, baseball, basketball, athletics, rugby, golf and hockey). Hence, the brand could be promoted by numerous sports people and gain wider circle of clients. This, on the other hand, enabled the development of new technologies, such as Hexalite or PUMP. While the first one did not stand out among the competition, the PUMP system may be considered a symbol of Reebok. This revolutionary alternative for regular tying is based upon three chambers filled with CO2 with a specially designed Instapump. For the first time it was implemented in 1994 in the Reebok Pump Futy shoes. Although the model was quite expensive (130 $) the demand for the shoes was high.
Six years after this premiere, the brand presented its own collection marked with a new logo and new ideology inspired by street fashion embodying a lifestyle combining sport, music, fashion and technology. RBK, for the company transformed its name in 2002, invited artists and music starts, such as Lucy Liu, Christina Ricci, Jay- Z and 50 Cent, to promote the brand for the first time. This step may be perceived as the new era in which RBK went off the beaten track and engaged not only people of sports but also other familiar faces in promotion of the brand. The company went even further, in 2005 RBK launched its new marketing campaign promoted by the motto “I am who I am”. Apart from promotion, it aimed at motivating young people to create their own self and breaking patterns. By doing so the brand hit the bull’s eye in terms of interpreting the streetwear fashion – the style developed by Reebok shoes.
In 2006 the brand was officially taken over by its largest competitor – Adidas AG. The new management decided to go back to the former name of the brand – Reebok. The main collection was dedicated for the crossfit (a discipline deriving from aerobic) and lifestyle amateurs, which may also be perceived as going back to the roots.
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