Under new ownership as of just a few months ago, Reebok is a brand with a great history. If you’re yet to read the bulk of this story via Joe Foster’s excellent Shoe Maker book, please remedy this situation at your earliest convenience. It’s a good one for your holidays, actually.
The foundations for the brand were laid as far back as 1895, when Joe’s Grandfather (also a Joseph) joined his local running club and began experimenting with spiked running shoes, aged just 14. His own father was a cobbler so the family business provided a fitting backdrop to the young runner’s aspirations.
Joe joined the family business in 1952, shortly after his brother Jeff had climbed onboard, and their enthusiasm brought a new dimension to the J.W Foster and Sons brand. National Service saw them depart the business for a couple of years, after which the emboldened brothers found opportunities to implement their ideas scarce in a company still run in a traditional way by their father. The move to establish their own concern was therefore taken in 1958 and after overcoming some bumps in the road regarding the name of their new brand, Reebok was settled upon. Joe himself was a runner and he’d been awarded the curious prize of an American dictionary in a previous event. In this he found reference to a type of antelope, the Rhebok.
For the better part of 20 years he built up a brand and created opportunities that eventually saw Reebok rise to the world’s number one sports brand for a time. Overseas expansion saw Joe mixing with the great and good, having ridden the wave of the whole ‘keep fit’ boom of the early 80s.
By 1981 Stephen Rubin’s Pentland acquired a majority stake in the brand and inside ten years they’d grown an initial $77k investment into a brand they were able to sell for $777m. Some business that!
Today, having been owned by adidas for the last 30ish years, they’re under new ownership once again. What the future holds remains to be seen but their classics will endure no matter who is at the helm.
Wellgosh know a thing or two about the fusion of sport and street, the axis of which Reebok has typically enjoyed success. They’ve just taken delivery of a few sterling pairs of standout styles such as the Club-C and the Workout. Now you know the bones of the story, get a pair for your forthcoming trip to the sunshine and bag that book while you’re at it.
Get them here