Tuesday Shoe Day: Adidas

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          Adidas AG is a German multinational corporation that designs and manufactures sports shoes, clothing and accessories. The company is based in Herzogenaurach, Bavaria, Germany. It is the holding company for the Adidas Group, which consists of the Reebok sportswear company, TaylorMade-Adidas golf company (including Ashworth), Rockport, and 9.1% of FC Bayern Munich. Besides sports footwear, Adidas also produces other products such as bags, shirts, watches, eyewear and other sports and clothing-related goods. Adidas is the largest sportswear manufacturer in Europe and the second biggest in the world, after Nike.

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            Adidas was founded in 1949 by Adolf Dassler, following a family feud at the Gebrüder Dassler Schuhfabrik company between him and his older brother RudolfRudolf had earlier established Puma, which quickly became the business rival of Adidas. Both the Adidas and Puma companies still remain based in Herzogenaurach, Germany to this day. The company’s clothing and shoe designs typically feature three parallel bars, and the same motif is incorporated into Adidas‘s current official logo. The company revenue for 2012 was listed at €14.88 billion.

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           Adidas, like other sports brands, is believed to engender high consumer brand loyalty. Brand loyalty towards Adidas, Nike Inc., Puma AG and several other sportswear brands was examined in a recent study. The study found consumers did not exhibit unduly high loyalty towards such brands.

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          During the mid to late 1990s, Adidas divided the brand into three main groups with each a separate focus: Adidas Performance was designed to maintain their devotion to the athlete; Adidas Originals was designed to focus on the brand’s earlier designs which remained a popular life-style icon; and Style Essentials, which dealt with the fashion market; the main group within this being Y-3 (which is a collaboration between Adidas and renowned Japanese fashion designer Yohji Yamamoto – the Y representing Yamamoto and the 3 representing the three stripes of Adidas).

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          Adidas is all in is the current global marketing strategy slogan for Adidas. The slogan aims to tie all brands and labels together, presenting a unified image to consumers interested in sports, fashion, street, music and pop culture. There appears to be connection with the phrase “all-in” meaning “exhausted” in some English speaking nations.

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          Celebrities wearing Adidas

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Gerard Butler

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Lana Del Rey

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David Beckham

To know more about Adidas, just go here: http://www.adidas-group.com/en/

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Tuesday Shoe Day: Onitsuka Tiger

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          Onitsuka Tiger is one of the oldest shoe companies in Japan, tracing its history back to the formation of Onitsuka Co Ltd in 1949 when the 32 year old former military officer, Kihachiro Onitsuka started his company with the hopes of raising postwar youth self-esteem through athletics.

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          Onitsuka Tiger’s first product was a basketball shoe resembling a straw sandal in many ways. The design was discarded by many and Onitsuka returned to the design stage to better acclimate his shoes for the way in which basketball players started and stopped on the floor. By adding cups and small spaces in the soles of his basketball shoes, Onitsuka made a more effective shoe in 1952 which soon became popular throughout Japan. In 1955, the company increased its business to 500 sports shops across Japan.

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            Onitsuka Tiger worked with Marathon runner Tooru Terasaw in 1953 to develop a running shoe that would keep long distance runners from developing blisters. Legendary Ethiopian runner, Abebe Bikila started wearing Onitsuka Tiger shoes in 1957, the first time in his running career he had ever worn shoes, convinced by Onitsuka that they would be superior to his barefoot style.

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            In the late 1950s, University of Oregon middle-distance runner Philip Knight was coached by Bill Bowerman, one of the top coaches in the US. Bowerman was also known for experimenting with the design of running shoes to make them lighter and more shock-absorbent. After attending Oregon, Knight continued his studies at Stanford University where he wrote his MBA thesis on the marketing of athletic shoes. After receiving his degree, Knight travelled to Japan where he contacted Onitsuka Tiger Co. Ltd, and convinced the company that their product had a market in the US. In 1963, Knight received his first shipment of Tiger shoes, and later he and Bowerman invested $500 each to form Blue Ribbon Sports.

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           In 1964, Onitsuka listed the company on the Kobe Stock Exchange and later on the exchanges of Osaka and Tokyo. The ASICS stripe was first introduced in 1966 during the pre-olympic trials for the 1968 Olympic Games in Mexico. LIMBER was the first model to feature ASICS stripes on the side of the upper section. These lines were the famous design icon on another Onitsuka tiger shoe, the LIMBER leather, now called MEXICO 66.

            In 1968, Blue Ribbon Sports started importing LIMBER UP to the American market.

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           In the 1970s, Onitsuka Tiger introduced the FABRE, standing for the FAstBREak move in basketball. The Japanese team wore the FABRE at the 1972 Olympics in Munich, where they finished 14th. Finnish runner Lasse Viren won both the 5,000 and 10,000 meters in Munich while wearing Onitsuka Tiger‘s. In 1972, GTO, Jelenk, and Onitsuka combined their financial and athletic positions to build a regional sales office near Hokkaido for the Sapporo Winter Olympics that would lead to the eventual 1977 merger of all three companies known as ASICS. Today, the company is still known as ASICS and provides shoes to retailers around the globe. The ASICS acronym stands for “Anima Sana in Corpore Sano” or “A Healthy Soul in a Healthy Body.”, an adaptation of the ancient aphorism in Juvenal and elsewhere, “Mens sana in corpore sano“. The company has recently placed significant emphasis on the translation of the acronym.

Celebrities who wear Onitsuka Tiger

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Michael Strahan

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Jared Leto

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Adrian Grenier

To know more about Onitsuka Tiger, just go here: http://www.onitsukatiger.com/en-us

Tuesday Shoe Day: New Balance

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           New Balance Athletic Shoe, Inc. (NBAS), best known as simply New Balance, is an American footwear manufacturer based in the Brighton neighborhood of Boston, Massachusetts, United States (US). The company was founded in 1906 as the “New Balance Arch Support Company” and is one of the world’s major sports footwear manufacturers.

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          New Balance maintains a manufacturing presence in the US, as well as in the United Kingdom—for the European market, where they produce some of their popular models such as the 990 model—in contrast to its competitors, who manufacture outside of the USA and UK. As a result, New Balance shoes tend to be more expensive than those of many other manufacturers. To offset this pricing difference, New Balance claims to differentiate their products with technical features, such as blended gel inserts, heel counters, and a greater selection of sizes, particularly for very narrow and/or very wide widths.

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          In 1906, William J. Riley, British emigrant, founded the New Balance Arch Support Company, manufacturing arch supports and other accessories designed to improve shoe fit in the Boston area. His first product, a flexible arch support, was designed with three support points to provide greater balance and comfort in the shoe. It is believed that Riley came up with the name “New Balance” by observing chickens in his yard and demonstrated the way his arch supports worked by keeping a chicken foot on his office desk. He explained to customers that the chicken’s three-clawed foot resulted in perfect balance. In 1927, Riley hired Arthur Hall to be a salesman. In 1934, Hall became a business partner and found his niche by marketing to people whose jobs required them to spend much time standing. In 1956, Hall sold the business to his daughter Eleanor and her husband Paul Kidd.

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           Eleanor and Paul Kidd continued to sell mainly arch supports until 1960, when they designed and manufactured the “Trackster“, the world’s first running shoe made with a ripple sole. It was also the first running shoe to come in varying widths. The “Trackster” was given a big boost through the YMCA programs in which it became the unofficial shoe. College track teams such as MIT, Tufts University and Boston University adopted the New Balance Trackster for their cross-country teams, soon to be followed by other colleges and private high schools around the country.

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            Marketing was mostly word-of-mouth or local sports fairs. Sales languished until 1972 when current Chairman Jim Davis bought the company the day of the Boston Marathon. At the time, the company consisted of 6 people making 30 pairs of shoes daily and selling products mostly through mail-order with a few U.S. retailers. Jim committed himself to uphold the company’s traditional commitment to individual preferences, customer service and quality products. His future wife Anne, who joined the company in 1978, focused on building a distinct culture for New Balance employees and customers. Their timing was perfect, as the Boston area became a center for the running boom that struck the U.S. in the 1970s. Their product line expanded and sales grew rapidly. The company prospered, and the Davises looked to expand New Balance into a global company. The company is now run by Rob DeMartini. DeMartini‘s background includes Procter & Gamble and Gillette Shave Company. Today, 30% of the New Balance shoes sold in the European market are manufactured at the New Balance facility in Flimby, England.

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Celebrities Who Wear New Balance

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Rihanna

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Chris Brown

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Ben Affleck

To know more about New Balance, just go here: http://www.newbalance.com/