Adidas and Puma, as everyone knows, are two of the world’s leading clothing and sporting giants.
Few know the history of these companies, founded in 1949 and 1948 respectively by Adolf “Adi” Dassler and Rudolf Dassler.
The Dassler brothers began their entrepreneurial career together: in the 1920s they opened a small workshop in the Bavarian town of Herzogenaurach, where they sealed shoes and sold them to the public. The activity took a quick pace and in the 1928 Olympic Games in Amsterdam, several athletes chose their shoes: laces for the players and nails for the athletes on the track. The final success of the two brothers took place at the Berlin Games in 1936: US-based Jesse Owens, winner of four gold medals and famous for imbalancing Hitler, had their shoes on their feet. Dassler shoes were the best in circulation!
During the Second World War, the factory was converted to arms production by Nazi politics, but when everything returned to normal (or almost), something broke out between the two brothers who disagreed virtually everything. A quarrel that separated them and made him take different ways.
In 1949, Adolf founded Adidas (name chosen for the fusion of his nickname “Adi” and initials of his surname), while Rudolf founded the Ruda, which in time took the name of Puma, definitely more captivating. Adi was soon more fortunate: he gave his shoes to the winner of the 1954 World Cup winner in Germany and the success came in a very short time. The rivalry between the brothers and the two houses continued to grow over time, and Puma succeeded, thanks to Rudolf’s son after the death of the latter, to have a great international success. Big Pelé was the first to wear Puma shoes.
The heirs of the two have continued with their precious work to become two of the world’s leading sports brands. Only in recent years there has been official peace: in 2009, in Herzogenaurach, the employees of the two companies have diplomatically ended the rivalry by playing a football match together. A symbolic gesture that allowed for at least a day to this small town not to be divided as it has been in the last sixty years.