The story of hummel takes its beginning in Hamburg in 1923 where the Messmer family started applying the first rubber outsoles to footwear. – from 1923 until today where technology and fashion have become vitals elements to a story that has only just begun…

Michael and Albrech Ludwig Messmer found the factory/company "Messmer & Co." in a backyard in the Hamburg village of Eppendorf in 1919. The Messmer family produces sporting goods and quite extraordinarily the family can offer rubber outsoles in their line of handball and football footwear.

The name hummel is used for the first time in 1923 connection with sporting goods when the Messmer family launches a collection which contains football boots and shoes for cycling, athletics and handball





Hummel produce their first football shoe


Messmer & Co. sends out a 14 page catalogue offering everything from hiking boots to medicine balls and bathing caps. For the sum of 12.50 German Reichmarks one can buy a pair of hummel Spezial football boots in white chrome leather bend with rubber toecaps.


Messmer & Co’s lawyer Hermann Christian Knibbe and his two business partners, Jürgensen and Tigges, found the company Hummel-Hummel in inner city Hamburg. Knibbe has learned his craft and begins manufacturing sports equipment – especially footwear for handball, football and athletics.


Hummel-Hummel – which origins from a special Hamburg greeting – suffers heavy bombing by the allies at the end of World War II. Viktoriastrasse – the home of Hummel-Hummel – is literally swept of the city map


Hummel-Hummel reopens their business in new premises outside Hamburg. The factory produces football boots, handball shoes and skates.


Bernhard Weckenbrock from Kevelaar near the border to Holland acquires Hummel-Hummel and moves the production to southern Germany. He changes the company name to hummel and expands the production of handball shoes and football boots


hummel signs the company’s first sponsorship contract with Grün Weiss Dankersen. The club is not paid any money but commits itself to wearing hummel shoes in exchange for two pairs of shoes for each player.



hummel signs its first sponsorship contract with a footballer in the German Bundesliga. The keeper of Hamburger Sport-Verein agrees to play one half wearing hummel boots.


hummel signs its first sponsorship deal with football club, Duisburg, from the 2nd German Bundesliga. This time hummel pays each player a fee of 50 Deutschmark per game. The money is delivered personally in an envelope before each game.



hummel launches its first collection of sportswear. Promotional sponsorship helps sales and the company enjoys massive success. In order to boost sales the chevrons that were only placed on shoes are also printed on the apparel which strengthens the brand awareness substantially. Later that year the hummel logo, the bumblebee, is created - in a somewhat rounder version, however. The logo has been the company’s trademark ever since.



hummel is sold in most European countries – and in Bahrain, where an Arab emir suddenly needs shoes worth 250.000 Deutschmark from one day to the other. In the world of football, hummel signs its first major sponsorship deal with Werder Bremen. The deal involves a cash payment besides delivery of clothes and boots for the first team.


The West German national handball team participates in the World Championships in the former GDR. Both adidas and hummel feel they have the right to clothe the national team with the result being that they have to share the honour with the Germans playing one game wearing hummel and one game wearing the brand with the three stripes. That same year Jørgen Vodsgaard and Max Nielsen found VN Sport ApS to market hummel products in Denmark.


hummel is sold throughout all of Europe. In Denmark, Vodsgaard and Nielsen acquire the rights to manufacture hummel clothing


hummel signs Danish star forward Henning Jensen who has just moved to the major European club Real Madrid from Borussia Mönchengladbach



hummel signs its first sponsorship contract with the Danish Football Association. The Danish FA does not get any money – in return the Danish National Team gets all the apparel, the team needs.


A deal with the Danish Handball Federation is signed. This means that hummel will deliver apparel and footwear to all Danish handball national teams.


Jørgen Vodsgaard and his business partners become owners of hummel. The company is now 100% Danish.


hummel is now the biggest sports clothing brand on the Danish market. Two new collections are launched each year which include everything from football boots to leisurewear, wallets and swimwear


hummel’s tracksuit is selected as the tournament’s most attractive at the European Championships in 1984 when Denmark reaches the finals for the first time. Later that summer, hummel designs the kit for the national handball team which helps earn them the name "Candy Boys" at the Olympic Games in Los Angeles.


Denmark beats Russia for the first time ever on June 5th in probably the best game ever played by a Danish national team. Preben Elkjær and Michael Laudrup make sure that the world's second superpower at the time is defeated 4-2.


The playing kits for the 1986 World Cup in Mexico are presented at a grand show which is shown live in the evening news on the sole Danish television channel at the time. National team players Morten Olsen, Per Frimann and Frank Arnesen are presented on stage wearing a striped playing kit that is quickly nicknamed the Carnival suit in the media. The whole charade doesn’t get any smaller when FIFA gets involved by demanding that the Danish National Team wears shorts of only one colour due to TV concerns. The demand for the jersey is huge, which is further strengthened by the fact that the national team performs above all expectations by defeating both Scotland, Uruguay and West Germany before the eternal rival Spain spearheaded by Emilio Butragueño calls it a day for the talented Danish team by crushing them 5-1 in Queretaro.


hummel has expanded its activities in all of Europe and promotes itself through sponsorships in major European clubs. Among these Tottenham Hotspurs, Norwich, Hontved Budapest, Verona, Feyenoord and the Danish, Swedish and the Norwegian national teams.


hummel signs a sponsorship deal with mighty Real Madrid – and with the club’s biggest star Danish nightmare, Emilio Butragueño. The deal sees the sale of hummel products hit the roof.


The Danish national football team wins the European championship – wearing hummel. Since Denmark hasn’t qualified regularly and is admitted only 10 days before the tournament starts at the expense of former Yugoslavia heavily marked by civil war problems concerning delivery of playing kits to the team arise. Getting the right size jersey for keeper Peter Schmeichel is by no means easy. However, the problem is solved by making three jerseys into two in order for the jerseys to fit the Great Dane. In accordance with the unexpected success of the Danish national team sports stores across the country are ripped of the national team jerseys.


The Danish women’s national handball team wearing the hummel chevrons is crowned Olympic champions in Atlanta after a thrilling final against Korea


hummel introduces its fashion wear based on a re-launch of old tracksuit designs from the 1970es. The clothes is an instant and huge success and helps form the retrowave that runs across the fashion world in the years to come. That same year hummel buys a football team in the second best Korean league, the K2 League. The players are offered a combined football and educational contract at hummel. The 25 players in the team train in the morning, work at hummel’s headquarters in Seoul until the evening, where they train again.


hummel becomes sponsor of the Tibetan national team that plays its first game ever in the summer of 2001 against Greenland at Vanløse Stadion. The game is a major event, attracts a lot of attention and clips from the game are shown worldwide on CNN and BBC. The playing jersey becomes a big hit around the world and celebrities such as Bono, Richard Gere, Maxi Jazz and others perform wearing the jersey supporting the Tibetan cause.


Wearing a retro-inspired jersey, the 15th national team jersey from hummel, the Danish national football team does really well in the first three preliminary games at the World Cup in Japan and Korea. The reigning world champions from France are beaten before the England puts an end to the Danish delight in the 2nd phase of the tournament.


hummel signs a major sponsorship deal with the Danish national sports association. The deal involves among other things that the whole Danish Olympic delegation wears hummel apparel at the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens.


hummel celebrates its 25th anniversary as apparel sponsor of the Danish Football Association. The national football team reaches the quarter finals of EURO 2004 in Portugal before being knocked out by the Czech Republic. Later that same year big sponsorships deals with former "hummel-team", Aston Villa, and one of the very best teams in the German handball Bundesliga, SG Flensburg-Handewitt, with numerous Danish players in the roster are signed.

The Olympic games in Athens turn out a huge success for the Danish company – not only does the whole Danish olympic delegation wear apparel and footwear but when the Danish royal family shows up wearing the hummel chevrons – an appearance that is later compared to having copyright on the Holy Bible itself by leading international communication experts in terms of PR value.

More success follows in August 2004 when Sportswear International selects hummel "best athletic women’s collection".



hummel enjoys an excellent start to 2005 when the company is named "Sportswear Brand to Watch 2005" by probably the most recognized trend and lifestyle agency, Worth Global Style Network.

In the fall of 2005 a comprehensive sponsorship is signed with Union Cricket Board South Africa. The publicity exceeds all expectations and in the first three months of the sponsorship deal hummel gets PR worth more than 40 million dollars. The hummel chevrons are displayed to more than 115 million TV-viewers all over the world.


hummel and its creative director receive the HBH award 2006 for personal branding and untraditional marketing. The award is the biggest and most prestigious marketing award in Denmark.



Ever since the company's tender years almost a century ago, hummel has tried and succeeded in doing things a little differently.

Developed in 2005, 'Jeg har karakter' is a concept that will be instrumental in defining the direction for hummel today and in the future. Consequently, all hummel products are made in order to express their own story and unique character and the same goes for every team and individual player who wear apparel and footwear with the hummel trademark chevrons. These teams and players are meticulously chosen - not due to size and worldwide fame but according to uniqueness, character and will to win.

Prior to the 04/05 season, former hummel-club Aston Villa from the 1980s and hummel renewed their vows and agreed to an extensive sponsorship deal involving not only playing kits but also leisure and high-end fashion collections. By signing the illustrious Birmingham club, hummel's trademark chevrons are now displayed in the Premier League on the playing kit of one of England's biggest clubs whose fans include celebrities such as Ozzy Osbourne and Prince William.

Another hummel flagship in the UK is Scottish top team, Hearts FC, who is fighting hard to break the year long dominance by Celtic and Rangers in the top of the Scottish Premier League. Hearts FC was founded in 1874 and has been crowned Scottish champions four times. The renowned club has also won the Scottish FA Cup an impressive six times, latest in 1998 when they defeated Rangers at Celtic Park.

hummel is worldwide sponsor of the AIDS awareness organization Grassroot Soccer. Grassroot Soccer is a non-profit organization dedicated to training Africa's strongest role models, football players, to teach African children and teenagers about HIV/AIDS prevention. Founded in March 2002, the organization is based on the idea that it is highly effective for children to see their local heroes in their classroom communicating HIV/AIDS prevention messages and modelling safe and good behaviour.

In 2001 hummel became sponsor of the Tibetan national football team who faced Greenland in the country's first ever national team gameagainst Greenland at Vanløse Stadion in the outskirts of Copenhagen in July 2001. The Tibet playing jersey later became a hit worldwide when celebrities such as Bono from U2, known Buddhists Richard Gere and Maxi Jazz and others wore the tops in support of the Tibetan cause.

hummel's top handball sponsorship team is 2005 German cup-winners SG Flensburg-Handewitt whose roster includes several of the game's biggest stars, among these Danish internationals Joachim Boldsen, Søren Stryger, Michael Knudsen and Lars Christiansen, German national team keeper Jan Holpert and Croatian international Blazenko Lackovic.

Florian Kehrmann is the obvious right wing choice with his club TBV Lemgo and in the German national team. He has celebrated great triumphs with both teams such as the German Championship and 1st place at the 2004 European Championships. Besides being known for his excellent performances on the court, Florian Kehrmann is active off the court as well. Kehrmann is one of the many German sports stars featuring in a nationwide anti-drugs campaign. Previous to that Kehrmann worked at a home that cared for children with drug and alcohol problems.

One of hummel's major sponsorship is the agreement with the Danish Olympic Committee. Besides supplying the Danish Olympic delegation with apparel, accessories and footwear during the 2004 Olympic Games and Paralympics in Athens the deal also includes Youth Winter Olympics in January 2005 and the Winter Olympics in 2006. The Afghan team participating at the Athens Games was also sponsored by hummel. For the first time ever women were part of the delegation which consisted of five athletes. The Danish royal family's presence at the Olympic Games - all dressed in the hummel Olympic collection - resulted in extensive media coverage and excellent PR which was compared money wise to having copyright on the Holy Bible itself!

During the past couple of years hummel has received a number of awards and nominations from both the sports and fashion world for unique, different and revolutionary designs. These recognitions we owe, to a large extent, to the vast number of charismatic hummel ambassadors wearing our apparel and footwear across the world.


Comments (1)

  1. A Young Jimmy Floyd

Very interesting piece. Had no idea about much of Hummel's history! Thanks

Felt the need to comment as the others seem to be bots

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