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History of Reebok

Reebok was founded in 1895 by a man by the name of Joseph William Foster at the age of 14.

Reebok started in Joseph’s bedroom above his father’s sweet shop in Bolton, England, where he designed some of the earliest spiked running shoes ever.

The company was successful and was eventually founded with the name ‘J.W. Foster’ in 1900. When Joseph’s sons joined the company, it would be renamed J.W. Foster and Sons.

The company’s running pumps slowly became famous among athletes. Because of the company’s innovations and the development of the running spikes, the running pumps appear in the book, Golden Kicks: The Shoes that Changed Sport

The company’s footwear was made famous by 100m Olympic champion Harold Abrahams (who would be immortalized in the Oscar-winning film Chariots of Fire) during the 1924 Summer Olympics held in Paris.

In 1958, two of the founder’s grandsons, Joe and Jeff Foster, formed a parallel company by the name of “Reebok”. The name is Afrikaans for the grey rhebok, a type of African antelope. Then in 1979, an American businessman, Paul Fireman, took notice of Reebok. Fireman negotiated a deal to license and distribute the Reebok brand in the United States. The division was called Reebok USA Ltd. By 1981, Reebok reached more than $1.5 million in sales.

In August 2005, Adidas acquired Reebok as a subsidiary.