Reebok was founded in 1895 in the United Kingdom by Joseph W Foster and it didn't take its current name, which is inspired by the Afrikaans spelling of the name of a fast-moving Gazelle, until 1958.
Foster was already producing running shoes when he came up with an idea for a new kind of running shoe with spikes. That was the start of a company that has gone on to become a global sportswear supplier, although it remained a family business until recently when Adidas bought a controlling stake. It also maintains its connection to the North East of England, with naming rights to Bolton Wanderers' Reebok Stadium.
Reebok expanded aggressively into North America in the new Millennium, taking the exclusive rights to manufacturer official and replica NFL jerseys and signing similar deals with the Canadian Football League, Major League Baseball and the National Hockey League. Its products were sold in the US since the late 1970s, but with these tie-ups it went for every North American core sport, which raised its profile.
Reebok also recognised the marketing potential of its trainers as a fashion statement, and signed rapper Jay-Z to a deal in November 2003. The resulting S Carter sneaker became the fastest selling shoe in Reebok's history and subsequent deals with 50 Cent, Nelly and Scarlett Johansson also helped Reebox cross over into the lifestyle sector.
Reebok has produced shoes for Armani and has enlisted the likes of Amir Khan, Swiss Beats, Nicole Scherzinger and more to act as ambassadors for the brand.