What’s in a Brand Name?

Have you ever wondered how your favourite trainers got their names? Well, everyone knows that Nike was the Greek god of victory (hopefully), and it wouldn’t take a genius to work out where the Air Jordan got its name from, but some other names are harder to work out.

Converse Chuck Taylor

Chuck Taylor’s a name that practically everyone’s had on their ankles at one point, but have you ever wondered who he was? While Converse were a brand trying to sell more sneakers, Chuck Taylor was a former hoops star. He would promote the sport and the shoe to whole new audiences, at one point designing the US Olympics Team’s basketball shoe, and running basketball clinics for troops during the war. His basketball clinics at home were also massively popular, leading to the Converse All Star becoming the bestselling sports shoe ever.


The name might sound South African, but the shoe’s English. While J.W. Fosters and Sons were a respected English shoe company, in 1958, two of the sons decided to start their own athletic shoe company. Looking for a name, Joe Foster perused a dictionary he’d owned since a boy. The dictionary was a South African edition, in Afrikaans, and the word ‘reebok’, for a small swift African antelope,was chosen.


Not an acronym for All Day I Dream About Soccer, as some have claimed, but in fact a portmanteau word made of the original owner’s name. Adi Dassler, was the German businessman who founded the company in 1949. Before starting Adidas, Dassler had worked with his brother Rudi, the brothers famously making together the shoes Jesse Owens wore to win at the 1936 Olympics. In 1948, however, Adi and Rudi went their separate ways to work on their individual projects. Adidas was a massive hit, obviously, and Rudi didn’t do too badly with his own venture, Puma.


ASICS actually IS an acronym, but since it’s in Latin, you’d be forgiven for notworking it out. The shoes are in fact Japanese, being produced by the Japanese heritage footwear brand Onitsuka, and the name stands for ‘anima sana in corpore sano’ – a healthy mind in a healthy body, that is, to you and me.

Puma Clyde

Puma Clydes are sophisticated suede numbers that have graced the feet of style tribes from hip hop to mod revivalists. However, were originally designed in 1973 for Walt Frazier, the flamboyant New York Knicks player. He wanted his Puma basketball shoes in a wider fit, which Puma were only too happy to do for him, to receive an endorsement from this famously cool gentleman. Puma gave the shoe Frazier’s nickname, “Clyde”, which he’d picked up from an old trainer who thought he dressed like a gangster – Clyde Barrow, of Bonnie and Clyde fame.

Now you know where the names of some of your favourite trainers come from, you can make an even more informed purchasing decision next time you’re shopping for sneakers.


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