The founder of Reebok was Joseph William Foster, a shoemaker who established the company in 1895 in Bolton, Lancashire, England. Foster made the first known spiked running shoe. He then joined with his sons to form the J.W. Foster and Sons company in 1895.
J.W. Foster and Sons sold shoes throughout England successfully until 1958 when the company was renamed "Reebok" by two of Foster's grandsons, Joe and Jeff Foster. Joe Foster based the name on a word he found in a South African dictionary after winning a race. Reebok is the name of the African antelope in Afrikaans. In 1979, the brand began distribution in the United States.