Building on the heritage of their grandfather’s pioneering spiked running shoes, the two Foster brothers founded Reebok in 1958 to develop high-performance footwear for tracks, gyms, courts, and casual sports.
Reebok is one of the world’s oldest sports brands; its precursor was founded in Bolton, England, in 1895 by Joseph William Foster who pioneered the first spiked ’running pumps’. In 1958 his grandsons changed the company’s name from J.W. Foster & Sons to Reebok after the English spelling of rhebok, an antelope species native to South Africa. The new brand soon also entered the running world to outfit marathon athletes, and at the end of the 1970s, a pair of Reeboks were the most expensive trainers on the market. A few years later the brand introduced Freestyle, the world’s first athletic shoes designed specifically for women, made from stretchy ‘glove leather’ and lined with terry cloth, to accommodate the booming aerobics trend. The following series of minimalist white leather silhouettes, developed for gyms and tennis courts during the mid-80s, remain the core of the Reebok Classics line, while the 1989 invention of the Pump technology continues to be refined for performance sports.