The Brief History of Puma Shoes

Few of us know that the history of the Puma company used to be involved into the world war and brotherly strife. Like many other world-famous companies, Puma also started in a very humble condition. Rudolph and Adolf Dassler are brothers growing up with a father who worked in a shoe factory and a mother who ran a small laundry business. After World War I, Rudolph returned to his hometown Herzogenaurach in 1924 and launched the shoe company called Dassler Brothers Shoe Factory with his brother Adi. It was the first company of Puma. There were very limited resources then, so they used a stationary bicycle to generate power for running their equipments.

In 1936, Adi intended to go across the country and drive their business to the Olympic Village. Carrying a suitcase that was full of spikes, he had a simple plan that is to convince American sprinter Jesse Owens to wear their spikes in the races. Adi was successful eventually, and as Owens put the Dassler Brothers’ spikes on to win four gold medals, Dassler Brothers’ athletic shoes were known all over the world.

When the World War II broke out, the two brothers joined the Nazi Party, but for something during the War, they started a falling out. The reason for that is not very clear, but the split between them probably caused by their different political viewpoints. Unfortunately, after the World War II the brothers split the business. Adi founded the company adidas that is from his name Adi Dassler, and Rudolph took charge of other company Ruda also from the name Rudolph Dassler. Later Ruda was re-christened into Puma, which is the name of the South American panther.

As fighting for the sponsorship, the discord between the two brothers never stopped. In a business transaction, German sprinter Armin Hary agreed to wear Pumas at the Summer Olympics in 1960 instead of adidas because they declined to pay the sprinter for wearing the shoes. Hary wore the Puma shoes and won the 100-meter dash, but he held up a pair of adidas in the medal ceremony. Obviously, the sprinter hoped to be paid by both companies, but Adi was very angry that he refused to pay Hary and to have anything to do with him for the rest of his career.

Both Rudolph and Adi are extraordinarily successful on business but they never reconciled. After death, they were buried on the same cemetery.