During World War I, teenager Adolf Dassler became adept at repairing shoes in his parents’ home in Herzogenaurach, Germany. Adolf was his given name, but family and friends called him Adi. He scavenged the war-torn countryside for his supplies, and got his much-needed leather from belts, holsters and worn-out shoes. He took and modified abandoned machine parts and created a stationary bicycle-powered leather milling machine. Adi hired his first employee to pedal the bicycle so he could run the milling machine. Following World War I, Adi’s business grew as he experimented and developed stronger, but more lightweight shoes.
In 1923, Adi’s older brother, Rudolf, joined Adi in developing and manufacturing shoes. One year later, they formed Gebrüder Dassler, Sportschuhfabrik (Dassler Brothers Sports Shoe Factory). Their factory was the front room and, when not in use, the kitchen of their family home. By 1925, their shoe line included football boots which had nailed studs and track shoes with hand-forged spikes, all of which were still made in the family home. In 1927, the brothers sold enough shoes to allow them to move their operations from the cramped family home into a small factory.