Reebok International Ltd. is a global athletic footwear and apparel company.[3] Reebok produces and distributes fitness and sports items including shoes, workout clothing and accessories, and training equipment. Reebok is the official footwear and apparel sponsor for UFC, CrossFit, Spartan Race, and Les Mills.[4]

The company was founded in 1895 as J.W. Foster and Sons in Bolton, Lancashire, England. It was later renamed Reebok and has been operating as a subsidiary of Adidas[5] since 2005.[6] The global headquarters are located in Canton, Massachusetts, U.S. with regional offices in Amsterdam (EMEA), Montreal (Canada), Hong Kong (Asia Pacific) and Mexico City (Central and South America).


Early history

In 1890 in Tottington, a small village between Bury and Ramsbottom, Joseph William Foster was producing and selling regular running shoes when he came up with the idea to create a novelty spiked running shoe. After his ideas progressed, he joined with his sons and founded a shoe company named J.W. Foster and Sons in 1895.[7]

The company began distributing shoes across the United Kingdom and were worn by British athletes in the 1924 Summer Olympics held in Paris.[8] In 1958, two of the founder's grandsons, Joe and Jeff Foster, renamed the company "Reebok," having found the name in a South African dictionary won in a running race by Joe Foster as a boy.[7] The name is Afrikaans for the grey rhebok, a type of African antelope.[9]

In 1979, at the Chicago International Sneaker Trade show an American businessman, Paul Fireman, took notice of Reebok. Fireman was working for an outdoor sporting goods store and negotiated a deal to license and distribute the Reebok brand in the United States. The division was called Reebok USA Ltd. Later that year, Fireman introduced three new shoes to the market at $60. By 1981, Reebok reached more than $1.5 million in sales.


In 1982, Reebok debuted the Reebok Freestyle aerobics shoe, the first athletic shoe designed for women. Fitness professional Gin Miller became the face of "Step Reebok," the company's aerobics fitness campaign and program.[9] The following year, Reebok's sales were $13 million.[10]

The company began expanding from tennis and aerobics shoes to running and basketball throughout the mid to late 1980s, the largest segments of the athletic footwear industry at the time.[11] In 1985, Reebok had its initial public offering on the New York Stock Exchange under the ticker symbol RBK.[8][11]

In 1986, Reebok switched its logo from the Union Jack flag it had since its founding, to the vector logo with an abstract Union Jack streak across a race track.[12] The switch signaled the transition of the company into a performance brand as it began licensing deals with professional athletes in the NBA and NFL.[13]

During the 1980s, Reebok began introducing sports clothing and accessories, along with a new line of children's athletic shoes (called 'Weeboks')[14] at the end of 1980. By the end of the year, Reebok's sales were about $1 billion.[6] One of the company's most signature technologies,[15] the Reebok Pump, debuted in 1989[16][17] with more than 100 professional athletes wearing the footwear by 1992, including Shaquille O'Neal.[18]

Reebok named Carl Yankowski president and chief executive officer of the brand in 1998, replacing former president Robert Meers.[19][20] Yankowski stepped down one year later to accept an executive position at another company. Reebok chairman and CEO Paul Fireman took over as president for the first time in 12 years.[20]


Reebok signed Venus Williams after winning singles titles at Wimbledon and the 2000 Summer Olympics.[21] In December 2000, Reebok signed a 10-year licensing agreement with the NFL for the exclusive rights to manufacture and sell NFL licensed merchandise, including uniforms and footwear, for all 32 teams.[22]

In 2001, Reebok became the exclusive apparel outfitter for the 29 teams in the NBA,[23] and 16 WNBA teams for ten years beginning in the 2004-2005 season.[24] The deal also added the Reebok vector logo to the 2004 U.S. Olympic basketball team's uniforms.[25] Later in 2001, Jay Margolis was named as Reebok's president and COO.[26] After launching retail flagship stores in China, Dhaka, London, Los Angeles, New York, Philadelphia and Tokyo, Margolis resigned in October 2004. Fireman took over as president after signing a new long-term employment agreement with the Reebok board of directors.[27]

Reebok acquired official National Hockey League sponsor CCM in 2004. The company began manufacturing ice hockey equipment under the CCM and Reebok brands. Reebok phased out the CCM name on NHL authentic and replica jerseys, using the Reebok logo since 2005. CCM became Reebok-CCM Hockey in 2007. Reebok will be moving most of its hockey equipment lines to CCM through 2015.[28]

Adidas acquisition

In August 2005, Adidas acquired Reebok as a subsidiary, uniting two of the largest sport outfitting companies, but maintaining operations under their separate brand names.[29] Adidas acquired all of the outstanding Reebok shares and completed the deal valued at $3.8 billion.[30] Following the acquisition, Adidas replaced Reebok as the official uniform and apparel supplier for the NBA in 2006[12] with an 11-year deal that includes the WNBA and replica jerseys and warm-up gear.[31]

Reebok named Paul Harrington president and CEO of the company in January 2006, replacing Paul Fireman who was acting president since 2004. Harrington joined the company in 1994 and was Reebok's senior vice president of global operations and chief supply chain officer.[32]

In 2010, Reebok announced a partnership with CrossFit, a fitness company and competitive fitness sport, including sponsoring the CrossFit Games, opening CrossFit studios, and introducing a line of co-branded footwear and apparel for Fall 2011.[33] In 2011, Reebok debuted the CrossFit delta symbol on the brand's fitness apparel line.

In 2013, Reebok announced another fitness partnership with Les Mills, a group fitness and team training program in eighty countries in more than 15,000 studios. The agreement included Reebok footwear and clothing integration into Les Mills' fitness programs and media marketing. By July 2013, the red delta sign began showing up on all of Reebok's fitness collections. The brand announced it was phasing out the vector logo and replacing it with the delta sign, making it the company's second logo change in more than 120 years.[12] The delta symbol represents the three pillars of positive self-change including mental, physical and social, as Reebok increases its presence in the fitness industry with yoga, dance, aerobics and CrossFit.[13]


Reebok's parent company, Adidas, is headquartered in Germany, while the Reebok world headquarters remains located in Canton, Massachusetts. The Reebok-CCM Hockey offices are located in Quebec, Canada and Stockholm, Sweden. Reebok EMEA (Europe, Middle East, Africa) has its regional office in Amsterdam, Netherlands. The company also has additional regional offices located in Panama City (Reebok Latin America), Shanghai (Reebok Shanghai International Commerce Centre), Singapore, Taikoo Shing, and Toronto.[34]


Reebok designs, manufactures, distributes and sells sport and fitness apparel, footwear, and accessories. The brand has also collaborated with other companies to produce fitness equipment and workouts.

The company has released numerous notable styles of footwear including the 1982 introduction of the Reebok Freestyle that was manufactured and marketed for women.[35] In 1984, the shoe accounted for more than half of the Reebok sales.[36] Following the aerobics trend from the 1980s to early 1990s, Reebok also released workout programs called Reebok Step beginning in 1989.[37] The brand also introduced one of their most signature shoes, The Reebok Pump. The footwear collection was released as a men's basketball shoe and the world's first fully adjustable fit controlled with manual air allocation.[38]

The Reebok Ventilator, a line of lightweight athletic shoes with vented side panels, was first introduced in 1990.[39] In 1996, Reebok signed a $50 million endorsement deal with Allen Iverson when he signed with the Philadelphia 76ers.[40][41] Iverson collaborated with Reebok during his contract to create the second-longest running basketball shoe line in history, beginning with the Question shoe in '96 and ending with Answer XIII.[42]

In 2010, the brand released Reebok Zig, an athletic footwear technology and collection of shoes include zigzag foam soles designed to push athletes forward.[43] The Reebok Nano was released in 2011 and is the first official CrossFit shoe.[44] The company has also partnered up with Les Mills and CrossFit to produce more fitness apparel, footwear, and workouts.[9][45] Reebok released the Z-Series foam, a combination of dense midsole and outsole so the foam is cushioned but not worn-down. The foam debuted on the ZQuick TR with Reebok's new delta logo in 2014.[46]



Reebok shoes were featured as product placement advertising on the Nickelodeon game show Double Dare in the 1980s.

From 2002 to 2012, the company held the exclusive rights to manufacture and market both authentic and replica uniform jerseys, sideline clothing and caps, and onfield football footwear (marketed as NFL Equipment) of the teams of the National Football League (NFL). The company hired filmmaker Errol Morris to produce a series of 30-second commercials that aired during the 2006 NFL season.[47]

In 2004, Reebok entered into a deal that allows them the rights to manufacture Canadian Football League (CFL) onfield jerseys, sideline gear and footwear; this deal ended in 2015.[5] Reebok signed a four-year deal to become the official shoe supplier to Major League Baseball (MLB) during the same year.[5]

Reebok holds the rights to produce the on-ice "EDGE" Uniform System, performance clothing and training footwear of the National Hockey League (NHL) in a 10-year agreement from 2006 to 2016.[5]

Reebok was also the exclusive uniform provider for Brazilian clubs Cruzeiro, Internacional and São Paulo FC.[5] In Mexico, Reebok was kit provider of Chivas de Guadalajara before the team was taken over by parent company Adidas in 2011.[5]

On December 2, 2014, the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) announced a six-year deal with Reebok, which will begin in July 2015.[5]


In 2005, Reebok also signed an exclusive agreement to design and supply all eight team home and away strips for the new Australian A-League competition. Although not an expensive deal, this partnership paid dividends for Reebok, due to the growing popularity of football and the league in the area. An estimated 125,000 A-League jerseys were sold in Australia, a record for a single league's sales in a year for a sports manufacturer.[54] Reebok's agreement ended at the finish of the 2010–11 season.


The company maintained its relationship with its origins in the UK through a long-term sponsorship deal with Bolton Wanderers, a Championship football club, however, in 2009, Bolton changed their sponsorship to 188bet. When the team moved to a brand new ground in the late-1990s, their new home was named the Reebok Stadium.[5] Several other English clubs had Reebok sponsorship deals up until the purchase by Adidas, but most have since switched to either the parent brand (which has a long history in football) or another company altogether. In April 2014, Bolton Wanderers officially announced the Reebok Stadium would be officially rebranded in a new sponsorship deal with sportswear manufacturer Macron, who will manufacture the club's kits and sponsor the stadium under the name Macron Stadium in a four-year deal announced by the club's chairman, Phil Gartside. In Germany, Reebok sponsored football club 1. FC Köln.[5]

In rugby union, Reebok sponsored the Wales national team until late 2008, who won the Grand Slam in the Six Nations Championship in that year, and the Tasman Makos in New Zealand's domestic competition, the Air New Zealand Cup.[57]

In 2006, FC Barcelona and France national team striker Thierry Henry (then playing for Arsenal) signed a deal to join the "I Am What I Am" campaign on August 1, 2006. Ryan Giggs has also done "I Am What I Am" commercials.[58] Andriy Shevchenko started his endorsement deal with the company in 2006.[59][60]


Reebok sponsored kits for a top seeded Indian Football club, East Bengal F.C., in the year 2003. Later it sponsored kits for Indian Premier League teams, such as the Royal Challengers Bangalore, Kolkata Knight Riders, Rajasthan Royals and Chennai Super Kings in the first edition of the league held in 2008. However, for the second edition held in 2009, the sponsorships included Royal Challengers Bangalore, Kolkata Knight Riders, Chennai Super Kings, Kings XI Punjab kits.[61][62]

In May 2012, Reebok India filed a criminal complaint against former top employees, Subhinder Singh Prem and Vishnu Bhagat, accusing them of a financial fraud of up to US$233 million.[63] On the charge of alleged Foreign Exchange Management Act (FEMA) violations, Reebok India was booked and may face penal action.[64] Twelve further arrests of employees and associates were made during the same period. As of July 2013, Prem and Bhagat were granted bail by the high court but remained imprisoned following their detainment in September 2012.[65]

One of Reebok's most prominent athletes, Indian cricketer Mahendra Singh Dhoni, was named by Forbes as the world's thirty first highest-paid sportsperson in June 2012. At the time of the article, Dhoni endorsed more than 20 other brands in deals that were cumulatively valued at US$23 million.[66]

Non-sport related endorsements

Rapper Jay-Z became the first non-athlete to get a signature shoe from Reebok. The "S. Carter Collection by Rbk" was launched on November 21, 2003, and the S. Carter sneaker became the fastest-selling shoe in the company's history.[67] Later, Reebok made a deal with rapper 50 Cent to release a line of G-Unit sneakers, and artists such as Nelly and Miri Ben-Ari have become spokespersons for the company.[68][69] Reebok also signed Scarlett Johansson and introduced her own line of clothing and footwear called Scarlett Hearts, part of the Rbk Lifestyle Collection. Reebok also produce shoes for Emporio Armani under the label EA7.


American football






Ice hockey


Mixed Martial Arts

Track and field

Other sponsorships

Former sponsorships

American football

  • United States NFL — exclusive jersey provider for all its teams (2002–12)


  • United States NBA – exclusive jersey provider for all its teams (2001–06)
  • United States WNBA – exclusive jersey provider for all its teams (2001–06)

Canadian football

  • Canada CFL — exclusive jersey provider for all its teams (2004–15)


Governing Body

National teams

Indian Premier League


National teams

Club teams

Rugby union



Reebok had recently announced plans to auction off special limited editions sneakers on May 14th, with the words Israel 68 written on them, to celebrate the 68th anniversary of Israel's Independence Day. [87] Once the announcement became public, Reebok officials distanced themselves from the product with a statement saying 'The shoe was a one-off initiative from one of our consumers. We do not support this initiative.' Reebok's Israeli distributor subsequently then withdrew its plans to auction off the shoes saying 'These sneakers were to be a one-time celebratory release as a collector’s item in Israel and the world.' [88]