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April 05, 2021

Shoemaker – Founder of a Global Brand – Reebok, Building Relationship & Inspiration: Joe Foster with Jonathan Bowman-Perks MBE

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Building a team is so important as our relationships. Reach out to other people make them feel valued and part of your company

145. Joe Foster 

I was very lucky to meet Joe Foster who at 85 years old still has incredible energy, drive and passion and you can understand how he was so key in the founding of a global iconic brand like Reebok.  Joe and his wife Julie spoke to me from France but his heart remains still deep where he was brought up in Lancashire. I want to be is full of wisdom, advice, drive and inspiration when I’m his age! I also loved reading his latest book “Shoemaker” – its a must read autobiography – link attached

Joseph William Foster (Joe Foster) was born in 1935 in Bolton England with the same birthday 18th May, as his grandfather, also Joseph William Foster who had died 18 months earlier. Joe’s grandfather was the founder of J W Foster & Sons (Athletic Shoes) Ltd and the inventor of the Spiked Running Shoe and the Trainer (Sneaker). Joe and his late brother Jeff were born into the J W Foster & family business, but on their return after 2 years away from home on National Service, they asked questions. The year was 1955 and the brothers saw a business still rooted in the 1930’s. Their Father and Uncle were now operating the business and very much like another Sports Shoe company, spent more time feuding than collaborating. The result was that in 1958 Joe and Jeff left the Foster business to set up a new Sports Shoe company.

The brothers founded Mercury Sports Footwear, which after 18 months they changed its name to REEBOK. Joe had been advised to protect their company’s name by registering it. By 1965, Joe was on his way to the NSGA (National Sporting Goods of America) Show in Chicago, which was the start of many Global adventures and experiences that after 15 years brought him together with Paul Fireman and later many Stars of film and television.

As the surviving Founder of Reebok, Joe still welcomes the opportunity to travel and recount those early stories from start-up to becoming World No. 1. Joe has written a book documenting the history and his journey. The book is published on 1st October and signed copies with an extra gift can be ordered from 

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