But very few people know that the brand’s founder, Rudolf Dassler, is the brother of the man behind adidas, Adolf (Adi) Dassler. And that’s where things get interesting.
In 1924, the brothers founded Gebrüder Dassler Schuhfabrik, a shoe factory in Herzogenaurach, Germany. Producing shoes for athletes, at the 1936 Olympics in Berlin, seven gold medals and five bronze medals were won by participants, proving to the world that the Dassler name was at the forefront of sports performance.
In 1948, Rudolf and Adi decided to part ways, forming separate companies that they could call their own. That year marked the birth of two of the biggest contributors to the sportswear scene in the world today: PUMA
and adidas. Originally, Rudolf decided to call the company Ruda, taking the “Ru” from his first name and the “Da” from his surname, but eventually settled on PUMA.
From that point PUMA quickly began to make its mark on the world of sport, creating innovative products and sponsoring athletes, making the brand a household name. It began in 1952 with the first football boot to feature screw-in studs; the 'Super Atom' marked the beginning of PUMA's highly successful football heritage.
In 1958 Puma introduced its trademark logo, the unmistakable PUMA formstrip. Almost ten years later Lutz Backes, a cartoonist from Nuremberg, created the logo with the jumping cat. PUMA's offerings extended from shoes to apparel, and the logo appeared more frequently across PUMA products.
From 1970 onwards PUMA began to sponsor some of the biggest athletes in the world. Pelé was named "Player of the Tournament" after helping Brazil secure their third World Cup title, all whilst wearing PUMA King boots. The youngest and first ever German player won Wimbledon aged 17 in 1985 - the then unknown legend Boris Becker, who did it all sporting PUMA shoes and a PUMA racket. In 1998 Serena Williams won her first Grand Slam Tournament, the US Open, whilst signed to PUMA, and won Wimbledon later that year whilst wearing her famous and controversial skintight PUMA catsuit.
PUMA's more recent signings include Jamaican athlete Usain Bolt, also known as the World's Fastest Man. Other controversies include their creative contact lens campaign in 1996, wherein British sprinter Linford Christie appeared at a press conference prior to the 100m final of the Atlanta Olympic Games with white PUMA cat lenses over his pupils. The Games were officially sponsored by Reebok that year, making the idea a symbol for innovative and rebellious marketing. PUMA's latest ambassadors are British hip hop duo Krept and Konan; check out our full interview
The '90s also gave us PUMA's Trinomic technology - those clear rubber hexagonal cells which collapse and expand under the foot. Some of PUMA's biggest silhouettes contain the Trinomic technology, including the very recognisable PUMA Disc, which launched back in 1991 as the first laceless sports shoe with a system of internal wires.
Considering all of their past successes with performance sportswear, PUMA are becoming more and more well known for their lifestyle products. The PUMA Suede Classic is one of their most well-known silhouettes, not to forget their Trinomic R698 or the mysterious Blaze of Glory
Check out our full collection of PUMA
online and stay forever faster.