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“If there was a new design that came to the market that Adidas did not make, I would break it down and make it better,” Adi said. He had more than 700 different patents on athletic shoes and sports equipment. According to Horst, Adi’s son, his dad was not interested in anything that had to do with running the business other than how the shoes were designed, manufactured and helped the athlete.

Introducing new designs is what kept Adidas growing, according to Adi. He spent many hours at the drawing table and would produce one pair of shoes. In his younger days, that first pair of shoes were made for Adi and he would try them out himself before placing them into production. This is how committed Adi was about making a new design, as well as making the new design safe for the athlete to wear.

According to his brother Zehlein, Adi spent hours on the track running with the new shoes they had first created before trying to sale the shoes to track and field athletes. When Adi produced his first soccer shoes, he put a pair on and played soccer himself in them. He always wanted to make sure that his shoes were comfortable, safe and enhanced the athletes performance. “I had to try all my shoes myself to make sure they worked right,
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” Adi said.

This love for design and introducing new shoes every year is what made Adidas one of the top sports equipment manufacturing companies in the world. Even though the company lost a lot of its market share to Nike, Adidas has still sold more shoes over its history than any other company in the world. Nike does not have the history Adidas does and a founder that loved design so much that he did not even care if the company made money.

“It was hard to drag dad out of the drawing room, unless you asked him to attend a sporting event, but even then he spent most of his time looking at the athletes shoes instead of the game,” Horst would say. Introducing new products is what makes a company stand out. However, it is more than just introducing a new product, it is introducing a better product. Being the first to create something new is why Adidas has more than 700 patents on different sports equipment.

Most of these patents came about because Adi wanted to keep designing newer and better sports shoes. Everything from plastic spikes to air holes in the shoes were first created by Adi in a little room or on a drawing pad. According to one report, the air holes in one design of Adidas shoes came about because one athlete that wore Adidas shoes told Adi that he loved the shoes, but his feet sweat a lot when he wore them.

Introducing new designs is what Adi loved to do, but more importantly, he knew it was the only way to expand and get bigger. If you plan on starting a business, do not stagnate,
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keep looking for new ways to do things and new designs to create.