The name Reebok calls to mind athletic shoes in the minds of athletes and spectators across the globe. This sort of deeply established reputation for unique and functional shoes stems from a long history of excellence.
Reebok’s roots can be traced back to 1895, when JW Foster and Sons first began producing athletic shoes in Bolton, Lancashire, England. By 1924, Olympic athletes were donning JW Foster and Sons for international competition. In 1958, grandsons Joe and Jeff Foster started Reebok, drawing inspiration from the South African spelling of rhebok, an African gazelle. The company did not take off immediately however, because it was not until 1979 that Reebok was noticed by Paul Fireman at a Chicago sneaker convention. Fireman worked for a sporting goods distributor and immediately put the Reebok brand to use, establishing Reebok USA and selling three different shoe models on the market that same year. In two years time sales had already brought in over 1.5 million dollars from track shoes alone. In 1982 Reebok launched the first women's athletic shoes, a huge step forward that propelled Reebok to the top of the women’s athletic shoe market. In 1989, Reebok brought the Pump to basketball shoes. This sneaker allowed the wearer to inflate the tongue of the shoe for a perfect snug fit around the ankle individual to each user. Reebok sold over 20 million pairs of Pumps worldwide, officially rivaling big names such as Nike.
Reebok also produces a wide variety of team gear, at one point owning the rights to make all NFL team and fan gear, and endorsing countless athletes over the years including the great Allen Iverson. Reebok has since merged with the Adidas-Salomon group, being bought for a hefty 3.78 billion dollars. This allows for the brands to incorporate one another’s ideas and advancements to create shoes encompassing the best of each world while still maintaining unique style and craftsmanship.