Learn How Differences and Break Up between the Rudolf Brothers led to the Creation of Adidas and Puma & Subsequent ADIDAS VS PUMA Rivalry through Videos and Supplementary Public Facts
Dassler Brothers Shoe Factory
The company was founded by Adolf “Adi” Dassler who made sports shoes in his mother’s scullery or laundry room in Herzogenaurach, Germany after his return from World War I. In July 1924, his older brother Rudolf joined the business, which became “Dassler Brothers Shoe Factory”.
Rudolph Assistance in Spiked Shoe Development
Dassler assisted in the development of spiked running shoes (spikes) for multiple athletic events. To enhance the quality of spiked athletic footwear, he transitioned from a previous model of heavy metal spikes to utilising canvas and rubber.
Jesse Owens uses Spikes at 1936 Summer Olympics
In 1936, Dassler persuaded U.S. sprinter Jesse Owens to use his hand made spikes at the 1936 Summer Olympics. Following Owens’ four gold medals, the name and reputation of Dassler shoes became known to the world’s sportsmen and their trainers. Business was successful and the Dasslers were selling 200,000 pairs of shoes every year before World War II
Dassler brothers Join the NSDAP
Both Dassler brothers joined the NSDAP in May 1933 and became also members of the National Socialist Motor Corps. Furthermore, Adolf took the rank of Sportwart in the Hitler Youth from 1935 until the end of the war. During the war, the company was running the last sport shoe factory in the country and predominantly supplied the Wehrmacht with shoes.
Shoe Production Ceased during World War
- In 1943 the shoe production was forced to cease operations and the company’s facilities and workforce was used to manufacture anti-tank weapons. From 1942 to 1945 at least nine forced labourers were working at both sites of the company.
- The Dassler factory was nearly destroyed in 1945 by US forces, but was spared when Adolf Dassler’s wife convinced the American soldiers that the company and its employees were only interested in manufacturing sports shoes.
- American occupying forces subsequently became major buyers of the Dassler brothers’ shoes.
Learn about the Sibling Rivalry Behind ADIDAS VS PUMA
Split and Rivalry with Puma
- The brothers split up in 1947 after relations between them had broken down, with Adolf forming a company formally registered as Adidas AG from Adi Dassler on 18 August 1949 and Rudolf forming a new firm that he called Ruda – from Rudolf Dassler, later rebranded Puma.
- An urban myth has promulgated the backronym All Day I Dream About Sports. Adidas and Puma SE and entered into a fierce and bitter business rivalry after the split. Indeed, the town of Herzogenaurach was divided on the issue, leading to the nickname “the town of bent necks”—people looked down to see which shoes strangers wore.
- Even the town’s two football clubs were divided: ASV Herzogenaurach club was supported by Adidas, while 1 FC Herzogenaurach endorsed Rudolf’s footwear. When handymen were called to Rudolf’s home, they would deliberately wear Adidas shoes. Rudolf would tell them to go to the basement and pick out a pair of free Pumas.
- The two brothers never reconciled and although they are now buried in the same cemetery, they are spaced as far apart as possible.
- In 1948, the first football match after World War II, several members of the West German national football team wore Puma boots, including the scorer of West Germany’s first post-war goal, Herbert Burdenski.
- Four years later, at the 1952 Summer Olympics, 1500 metres runner Josy Barthel of Luxembourg won Puma’s first Olympic gold in Helsinki, Finland.
- At the 1960 Summer Olympics, Puma paid German sprinter Armin Hary to wear Pumas in the 100 meter sprint final. Hary had worn Adidas before and asked Adolf for payment, but Adidas rejected this request.
- The German won gold in Pumas, but then laced up Adidas for the medals ceremony, to the shock of the two Dassler brothers. Hary hoped to cash in from both, but Adi was so enraged he banned the Olympic champion.