Do you remember when Reebok Pumps first came out? How many pair did you own? How did the pump actually work? Here are a few interesting elements to that story:
- Reebok (named after an African gazelle which is actually spelled rhebok) began losing marketshare to Nike starting in 1987 thanks to His Airness, Michael Jordan.
- Reebok Pumps were inspired by an inflatable ski boot made by Ellesse, a company Reebok had recently acquired.
- High school students played a part in choosing the manual air pump design.
- Reebok Pumps debuted at a February 1989 trade show. Nike was showing the Air Pressure in a private room at the same trade show. The difference: Nike’s new innovation required an exterior pump to inflate.
- Reebok Pumps were released in November 1989. The initial price: $170!
- Within a year, Reebok sold $500 million worth of Pumps; Nike’s Air Pressure total was $10 million.
- Reebok got a commercial banned from television after only one showing.
- Reebok went on to sale 20 million pairs of Pumps worldwide over the next 4 years.
Here’s the infamous commercial:
Portions of this article were curated from the following: