Reebok International feels comfortable stepping out onto any surface. The company, a subsidiary of Germany's adidas AG, has long been at home in sporting arenas as a top US maker of athletic shoes. In addition to its namesake sportswear and accessories, Reebok caters to hockey aficionados through its Canadian Reebok-CCM Hockey division, and its Sports Licensed Division. It operates more than 220 retail stores. Reebok, which has been credited with igniting the aerobics craze of the early 1980s, has fallen out of step since then. Under adidas, the company is trying to regain traction in the market for athletic shoes and apparel.
Reebok's growth strategy involves launching new brand lines of shoes that connect with its consumers. In 2011 it introduced RealFlex, running and training shoe designed to promote natural movement. RealFlex features some 75 independent sensors on the bottom of the shoe strategically positioned to twist, bend, expand and support to help athletes' feet move naturally.
Like its competitors, Reebok is also aiming to grow sales and market share by participating in the craze for body toning athletic shoes and apparel. To that end, it has launched EasyTone walking shoes and RunTone running shoes, which claim to tone the wearer's bottom and leg muscles. The toning line exceeded sales expectations with the company claiming to have sold millions of pairs.
Buoyed by the success of toning shoes, in 2010 Reebok extended the EasyTone line to men and launched EasyTone Apparel, a collection of tops and bottoms designed to create resistance as the wearer moves and thus tone key muscles. However, the Federal Trade Commission knocked the legs out from under Reebok in September 2011 when it accused the company of deceptive advertising. Reebok agreed to pay $25 million to customers who bought the popular shoes.
After two long decades of playing second fiddle to NIKE, Reebok's acquisition by adidas in 2006 for about $3.8 billion lent it the stature to compete head to head with its #1 nemesis in a battle of the global brands. adidas' purchase of Reebok allowed adidas to hurdle the $10 billion sales mark for the first time in its history. adidas refers to Reebok as its "milestone acquisition." After the dust settled on the deal, Reebok continues to maintain its brand, Massachusetts headquarters, and its identity.