People Are Just Learning The 'Hidden Message' In Adidas' Iconic Logo

Ever wondered where Adidas' iconic logo came from and what exactly it means?

Written byHolly Barrow
Published on
Read time3 min read

You might have been sporting Adidas for as long as you can remember, but have you ever thought about the meaning behind the iconic brand’s logo?

Those three stripes are recognisable anywhere - whether you’re wearing trainers, a tracksuit or a t-shirt.

But you’ve probably never paused to think about exactly where the world-renowned Adidas branding comes from… 


Before it became ‘Adidas’, the Dassler Brothers Sports Shoe Factory’s first logo was created by the company's founders, Adolf ‘Adi’ Dassler and his brother Rudolf ‘Rudi’ Dassler. At the time, the logo featured a bird carrying a shoe and was inspired by the Dassler family crest, symbolising the challenges that athletes face and conquer. 

The brothers launched the Dassler Brothers Sports Shoe Factory in 1919, gaining huge success which saw them supplying shoes to international athletes by 1928. 

However, their factory shifted gears during World War II, producing military equipment and eventually becoming a weapons plant by 1943.

In 1948, a dispute led the brothers to part ways. Rudolf went on to found Puma, while Adi renamed the business ‘Adidas’ in 1949 - combining his nickname and surname: Adi Dassler.

The original Adidas logo featured a spiked track shoe with three stripes, flanked by the elongated tails of the two d's in 'Adidas,' with 'Sportschuhe' (German for sports shoes) written below it.

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According to Adidas, this logo and the three-stripe trademark became fundamental to the brand. The stripes, chosen because they stood out in photographs, were tested by Dassler and became a recognisable symbol for the popular sports gear company.

"This logo, along with the three-stripe trademark that began to appear on every shoe (and eventually apparel) is what started it all. Those tell-tale stripes, by the way, don’t hold numerological meaning.

"They ended up on the first pair of Adidas shoes after Dassler had tested several versions and numbers of stripes and found that three simply showed up most prominently in photography—an important factor for a new-to-the-scene sports gear brand hoping to make a splash,” explains the website. 

In 1972, Adidas introduced a floral-inspired logo featuring three leaf-shaped foils with three stripes, marking the company's expansion into sportswear apparel.

Then, in 1989, the 'equipment logo' was created, showing the three stripes as seen from inside an Adidas shoe.

Despite these changes, the three stripes have always carried the same 'hidden message’, resembling a mountain and symbolising the challenges athletes face and the goals to be achieved, echoing the idea of overcoming obstacles. 

So next time the history of Adidas comes up in a pub quiz, you’re covered… 

And if you’re feeling a little inspired to splash out on the iconic brand now that you know more about its heritage, remember to make the most of your TOTUM discount - you’ll get a generous 15% off selected full price items online! 

This will soon add up if you’re treating yourself to a new pair of trainers or sportswear - for every £100 you spend you’ll save £15!

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