Adidas v Puma: The Brother’s Feud
The Shoe Factory
Adidas was originally run by Adolf Dassler and brother Rudolf Dassler. They called it “Gebrüder Dassler Schuhfabrik” meaning “Dassler Brothers Shoe Factory” in German. Gebrüder Dassler was based in the Bavarian town of Herzogenaurach.
Olympic Gold Dassler Spikes
Dassler convinced American runner Jesse Owens 🔗 to wear their handmade Adidas spiked shoes at the 1936 Olympic Games – the first Olympics to be broadcast on live television. Owens went on to win four Olympic gold medals at the 1936 event (the 100 metres, the long jump, the 200 metres, and the 4×100-metre relay race).
The Dassler Brothers Split
In 1948, after returning from serving in the Bundeswehr 🔗 (German Army), the brothers became embroiled in a disagreement that would have major effects on both the sportswear industry and on global manufacturing. Older brother Rudolf Dassler left the company to set up rival sportswear company Puma (initially called “Ruda” from “Rudolf and Dassler”), while Adolf remained, naming his company Adidas (from “Adolf “Adi” Dassler”).
Adolf Dassler had tried to name his company “Addas” but was rejected due to the existence in Germany of a show company with the same name in the German Company Register 🔗. This led Dassler to choose the name “Adidas” as an alternative brand name. The word Adidas is a broken acronym of the inventor’s name, Adolf “Adi” Dassler.
Opposite Sides of the Aurach
Despite being based in the same town, such was the bitter rivalry that existed between Adidas and Puma the two companies took plots on opposite sides of the River Aurach. Adidas and Puma workers would often not associate with each other and when Adolf “Adi” Dassler passed away 🔗 in 1978 his grave was at the other end of the Herzogenaurach Alter Friedhof 🔗 (Herzogenaurach Old Cemetery) to his brother Rudolf who died and was buried 🔗 there in 1974.
English newspaper The Daily Telegraph reported in 2009 🔗 that Adidas and Puma had partaken in a symbolic football match to officially end the long-standing feud. Adidas CEO Herbert Heiner and Puma CEO Jochen Zeitz met to end the Dassler brother’s rivalry.
Adidas & Puma Today
Today, both Adolf’s Adidas and Rudolf’s Puma are headquartered in the the same Bavarian town of “Herzogenaurach 🔗”, in the “Erlangen-Höchstadt 🔗” region of Germany. Herzogenaurach lies approximately 15 miles to the north west of the City of Nuremburg, home of 1. FC Nürnberg 🔗.
Adidas is the largest sportwear manufacturer in Europe, and second largest sportswear manufacturer globally, behind its fierce rival Nike. Puma is ranked as the third largest sportswear manufacturer in the world.