Adi Dassler founded Adidas in 1949 following a falling-out with his brother Rudolf, who he helped co-found the company which would later become Puma. Both ventures have gone on to become two of the three biggest athletic companies in the world, yet they both trail the 800-pound gorilla of the industry and its trademark swoosh. Footwear dominates sales in the industry, but a few lesser companies command huge market shares in sales of equipment to certain niche sports.

When you generate more revenue than the next three competitors combined, you're not just the top dog; you're a juggernaut. The company that Phil Knight built after his days on the University of Oregon track team hit the national consciousness with its Air Jordans back in the 1980s, and hasn't slowed down. In 2013, Nike controlled about 59 percent of the athletic shoe market in the U.S., with Adidas second at 10 percent. For fiscal year 2014, Nike had revenues of $27.8 billion.

Prior to 2006, Adidas would have struggled to rank as high as second among the world's top athletic companies. But its $3.8 billion purchase of Reebok that year gave it huge market shares of the athletic footwear segment. The Adidas Group, which has sponsored FIFA since 1970, also markets TaylorMade golf equipment. Along with the company's fourth brand, Rockport, these labels pulled in revenues of $19.95 billion in 2013.

Unlike their counterparts, Puma made it all about shoes. Equipment and accessory sales were almost nonexistent. But in 2010, the company did an about-face and ended up purchasing Cobra Golf to add to its brand stable. In 2013, Puma reported revenues of $4.38 billion

The Latin translation of "sound mind in a sound body" is "Anima Sana In Corpore Sano." But that doesn't fit nicely on a side of a sneaker, so this company decided to go with the acronym. Its gel technology has made Asics the preferred shoe of distance runners and triathletes, which in turn led to $3.2 billion in revenue for the fiscal year 2014.

Amer Sports
Amer Sports has 10 brands in its portfolio that span a wide variety of activities. Wilson is synonymous with American ball sports, especially golf and tennis. Precor is one of the biggest manufacturers of fitness equipment and elliptical cross trainers. Salomon, Arctic and Suunto produce gear and apparel for some of the more extreme outdoor sports. Amer Sports reported revenues of $2.94 billion in 2013.

New Balance
Looking back, Jim Davis got a steal of a deal in 1972 when he bought the Boston-based New Balance company for $100,000. That company, which began in 1906 producing prescription-specific shoes for fallen arches, pulled in $2.73 billion in revenue in 2013.

Jarden claims to be the world's biggest sports equipment business. It's keystone brands include Rawlings baseball gear, K2 skis and snowboards, Coleman outdoor equipment, Gait lacrosse gear and Worth, the biggest producer of aluminum bats for softball. Jarden had revenues of $2.72 billion in 2013.

Under Armour
The brand that arrived on the scene less than a decade ago with what looked like trendy thermal underwear has expanded its lines to include moisture-wicking head-to-toe apparel. Forbes reported that its second quarter in 2014 was the 17th consecutive such quarter with revenue growth of more than 20 percent. Under Armour was projected to do about $3 billion in revenue for fiscal year 2014.

For years, Mizuno was known as "that volleyball company," with a heavy presence in what was a niche sport in much of the U.S. But since the 1980s, the company has made steady inroads towards market shares for gear in softball, baseball, golf and track and field. In fact, Mizuno has the top market share in baseball and softball gloves in the United States. Mizuno reported revenue of $1.78 billion in 2013.

Performance Sports Group
While many of the other top companies have commanded large sales in the major sports, Performance Sports Group has dominated hockey and lacrosse. Its Bauer and Easton brands have held the top spot in market shares for hockey equipment, from pads and skates to sticks and gloves, while its Maverik brand has been a staple of the lacrosse world. PSG also markets baseball and softball bats through its Combat brand. While the company reported 2013 revenues of $448 million, it has been growing rapidly since 2005.