What you should know about Puma Shoes Company

Puma SE also known as Puma is a multinational company based in Hertzogenaurach, Bavaria, Germany. The company was first formed in 1924 by Rudolf and Adolf Dasser and was known as Gebrüder Dassler Schuhfabrik. With time the relationship between the two brothers soured until they split up to form two separate entities, Adidas and Puma. Both companies have their headquarters in Germany.

After parting with his brother, Rudolf initially registered the newly-established company as Ruda, however he later changed the name to Puma. Puma’s initial logo comprised of a beast jumping thorough a D and a square. The company’s shoe design had the distinctive Form Strip while clothing and other products featured their logo.

Background

Chistoph von Wilhelm Dasser, Adolf and Rudolf’s father probably inspired his two sons to engage in shoe making. Wilhelm Dasser worked in shoe factory while his wife, Pauline ran a small laundry in Herzogenauch which is about 12.4 miles (20 km) from the city of Nuremberg. When he left school, Rudolf joined his father at the shoe factory. After the 1st World War, Rudolf was offered a management position at a porcelain factory and later went to work for a leather business in Nuremberg.

In 1924, Rudolf (photo on the left) joined his younger brother who was then nicknamed Adi and had begun a shoe making venture. They operated the business in their mother’s backyard and named their new business "Dassler Brothers Shoe Factory". During this period electricity in the town was quite unreliable and they often had to use pedal power from a stationery bike to run their equipment.

Rivalry and growth

When the 2nd World War broke out, the two brothers joined the Nazi party; however Rudolf was closer to the party unlike Adi. As a result the two differed quite often. The breaking point came during an Allied bomb attack in 1943.Adi and his wife got into a bomb shelter where Rudolf and his family were already in. As the attack commenced, Adi said "Here comes the bloody bastards again," probably referring to the Allied war planes, however Rudolf believed that he was talking about him and his family. Later when Rudolf was arrested by American soldiers and accused of being a member of the Waffen SS, he was convinced that Adi had told on him.

In 1948, the two split up, Rudolf moved to the other side of Aurach River and started his own company. Rudolf’s new firm was known as Ruda from the first two letters of his 1st name and two letters of his last name Da in Dassler. Later he changed his company’s name to Puma Schuhfabrik Rudolf Dassler. Adolf began his own sportsgear company using his nickname Adi and included the first 3 letters of his last name, Das to establish Adidas.

Puma and Adidas competed so fiercely after the split that the town of Herzogenaurach was split in the middle between the two companies. Over time the town was nicknamed the town of bent necks, this referred to the tendency of the local inhabitants to look down to see which shoes the stranger was wearing. The two brothers never reconciled and though they are buried in the same cemetery, they are spaced apart as far as possible.

In 1958, Puma introduced the now familiar Formstrip, the popular logo on the side of all Puma shoes to this day. Unknown to most people, the Formstrip is not just an aesthetic design feature; it is intended to provide the shoes with extra strength and durability.

In spite of the fierce rivalry, Puma went from strength to strength with Puma-clad runners winning gold medals at various Olympics and other international sporting competitions. Over time the company achieved a cultural following that many manufacturers would die for.

The Pele pact and other sports stories

A few months prior to the 1970 FIFA World Cup, Puma and Adidas sealed an agreement commonly known as the Pele Pact. This agreement dictated that Pele would not be sponsored by either Puma or Adidas. Secretly Pele complied with Puma’s request to increase awareness of their profile after he was given $ 120,000 to don the Formstripes. This outraged Adidas so much that future peace pacts were called off.

Notable sports moments for the company include the famous black-power salutes by Tommy Smith and Jim Hines when receiving their medals in the 1968 Mexico Olympics. Their Puma sneakers were symbolically left on the rostrum to give a powerful cultural statement.

Currently the company offers lines of shoes and sports clothing designed by Lamine Kouyate, Amy Garbers and Mihara Yasuhiro. The company is the main producer of race suits and driving shoes for several racing teams. They have a partnership with Ducati, BMW and Ferrari to make racing shoes for them.

Useful sources: About Puma