The company that will become Reebok is first founded in the 1890s by Joseph William Foster in the town of Bolton, United Kingdom. Foster was working as an apprentice for his grandfather where he learned all about shoemaking.
Foster founds the company J.W. Foster and focuses on developing athletic footwear. His sons later join the family business and the name of the company is changed to J.W Foster & Sons.
After experimenting with different shoe designs, Foster develops what became known as 'Foster's Running Pumps'. Designed for runners and athletes, these leather running pumps feature spikes on the soles so that they can perfectly grip the ground and help improve running performance.
Following the popularity of Foster's running pumps, professional athletes become very interested in wearing them for competing. In 1924, J.W Foster & Sons shoes are famously worn by Harold Abrahams, a Great Britain runner who wins a gold medal for the 100m at the Summer Olympic Games in Paris.
During the 1930s, J.W Foster & Sons running pumps continue to be popular across Britain. They gradually become more and more famous amongst top level athletes, having been worn by professional athletes in the Olympic Games since 1908.
Although the family business had been running since 1895, 'Reebok' was not founded until 1958. At this time the family business was taken over by Foster's grandsons Joe and Jeff Foster. They come up with the new name from 'Rhebok' which was a type of African antelope.
Over the years Reebok increases their penetration into new markets and starts selling their products in over 28 countries worldwide. The Reebok brand's growth accelerates rapidly once the products hit the USA in 1979.
Although Reebok is famous for their shoes, during the 80s they started to introduce a wider range of products that included sports accessories and clothing. Over the years Reebok has developed high-quality clothing products such as track tops, and still maintain high-standard designs up to the present day.
Reebok releases their Newport Classic (NPC) shoe range. With it's comfortable, classic look and high-quality materials, NPC shoes have become one of the most popular Reebok shoes of all time.
A now iconic shoe, the Reebok Classic Leather is first released. Originally made as running shoes, the Classic was the first Reebok shoes to prioritise casual wear over sports performance.
While Reebok introduced their 'Freestyle' shoes back in 1982, it took a few years for these shoes to become popular on the streets as well as in the gym. In 1985, actress Cybill Shepherd famously wears a pair of orange Reebok trainers to the Emmy Awards with her black evening gown at the height of the aerobics craze.
Since their founding Reebok was well-known for its iconic Union Jack logo. But in 1986 Reebok decides to rebrand and transition to using a vector logo. The move signals a new era for the company as it transitions into gaining deals with professional athletes.
Reebok introduces its Energy Return System (ERS) in an effort to compete with Nike's Air technology. The ERS system used Hytrel cylinders, manufactured by DuPont, within the sole of the shoe which were said to act as springs; returning energy to the wearer after the foot strikes the ground.
A bold design move by Reebok sees the company introduce the famous 'Reebok Pump' technology. At the height of technological advancement for sports shoes, Reebok Pump allows the wearer to achieve a secure, personalised fit by 'pumping up' inflatable chambers within the shoe's upper.
Reebok introduces it's Hexalite technology, a cushioning system inspired by honeycombs, which is claimed to be stronger than EVA foam and boasts significantly improved absorption properties.
A few years after it's release, the Reebok Pump concept is adapted for professional sports. One famous endorsement was with professional U.S tennis player Michael Chang. After signing a multi-million dollar deal back in 1988, Michael Chang wears Reebok apparel including a pair of Reebok Court Victory Pump shoes.
Reebok makes yet another bold move in the nineties by creating the 'Reebok Shaqnosis' basketball shoe. The Shaqnosis are developed in collaboration with NBA legend Shaquille O'Neal and feature a strange hypnotic design.
Reebok launches a new shock-absorption system known as DMX, a new technology where air runs through the shoe via connected pods to help improve running performance. Reebok debuts the technology in the Reebok DMX Run.
In late 2000, Reebok makes a significant move towards professional sports by signing a 10-year licensing agreement with the NFL. An important time in Reebok's history; the agreement allows them to manufacturer and sell licensed NFL merchandise and supply NFL teams with footwear and uniforms.
A year after their agreement with the NFL, Reebok signs another high profile deal; this time with the NBA. The deal sees Reebok supplying kit to 29 NBA teams and 16 WNBA teams, and also allows them to sell official replica kits and league apparel to the public.
In November 2003 Reebok release their 'S.Carter' collection in collaboration with rapper Jay-Z. This signalled a move away from sports, with as Jay-Z was the first non-athlete to get their own signature shoe from Reebok.
Sportswear giant Adidas acquires Reebok as a subsidiary. While both brands kept their separate names, this move marked the joining of two of the world's largest sportswear companies. The Reebok takeover deal was made for approximately $3.5 billion.
In early 2009, Adidas decides to end the 116 year Reebok association with the town of Bolton, planning to focus on their other worldwide offices. Bolton was where Joseph William Foster first founded the business back in 1895.
Reebok announces their partnership with the well-known fitness company CrossFit and becomes the sponsor for it's worldwide competitive sport, the CrossFit Games.
As comic book films continue to gain popularity, Reebok creates their own comic book-related product and releases their 'Reebok Pump Omni Lite X Marvel Deadpool' shoes. The model pays tribute to the Marvel character with it's strong red and black colours. Incorporating Pump and Hexalite technology, this shoe also featured Deadpool's weapon of choice on the heel.
Reebok pays a posthumous tribute to the well-known artist Keith Haring and releases a bold 'Reebok Classic Leather Mid Strap Lux X Keith Haring' shoe. In Haring's signature vivid colours, the shoe features bold blue and yellow colours and was based on his 'Barking Dogs' artwork.
Last changed in 1986, Reebok decides to rebrand and change their logo again in 2014. Their vector logo is replaced with a new and modern delta logo. Throughout the years a delta symbol has been associated as being a symbol for transformation and change.
The 'Be More Human' brand campaign launches, focusing on inspiring individuals to push themselves out of their comfort zone to reach their full potential. One feature of the Be More Human campaign wis the hashtag #BreakYourSelfie which inspired fitness-goers to posts their unfiltered post-workout selfies.
Fashion model Gigi Hadid joined Reebok as a brand ambassador as part of their #PerfectNever campaign. This strong movement calls for women worldwide to embrace their strength, imperfections, and determination.
The company releases their 'Reebok Crossfit Nano 7' shoes. This new training shoe features NanoWeave technology to provide comfortable and durable footwear. Singer Ariana Grande also collaborates with Reebok and became a new ambassador for the brand.
In early 2018, actress Gal Gadot is introduced as a new brand ambassador. Playing the leading role in Wonder Woman (2017), Gal Gadot becomes a Reebok ambassador to help with the Be More Human campaign that was launched back in 2015.Shop Reebok