Adidas versus Puma, a shoemakers’ family feud

In 1920, Adolph (Adi) Dassler began a footwear business in Germany which specialized in manufacturing slippers. His brother, Rudolph, joined the company in 1924 when it was known as Gebruder Dassler Schufrabrik. After expanding their line to include football boots and track shoes, the brothers received international recognition during the 1936 Berlin Olympic Games, when Jesse Owens won four gold medals while wearing their shoes.

Their relationship fundamentally changed over a serious argument sometime in 1948. They split the company up and went on to form their own shoewear companies independently – Rudolph founded Puma, and Adolph formed Adidas, derived from his nickname and surname.

  Adidas shoes dominated the sports shoe industry until Nike surpassed its sales records in the late 1970s. After Adolph’s death in 1978, his son Horst took over the business until his own untimely demise in 1987. His sisters sold the company and it foundered until 1992 when Robert Louis-Dreyfus took over. Since then, Adidas transformed in the 90’s from utilitarian sports gear into fashion statements.

Their fashion presence grew so strong that English fashion designer Stella McCartney launched a joint-venture line with Adidas in 2004, a sports performance collection for women called “Adidas by Stella McCartney.” Adidas eliminated more of their competition in 2006 when a bid to buy out British rival Reebok for $3.8 billion ended in a partnership deal instead. The company’s revenue for 2008 was listed as $15.6 billion.

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Published in: on July 25, 2009 at 12:05 pm  Leave a Comment  

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