Brothers Divided: The Astonishing Origin Story of Puma and Adidas

Sibling rivalries have existed since the dawn of time and rarely lead to anything good, but every now and then, a clash or disagreement between family members can actually cause something incredible to happen, like the founding of two of the world’s biggest and most successful shoe and sportswear companies.

Believe it or not, Adidas and Puma, two names that are immediately recognizable all over the world and have dominated the sports shoe and activewear industries for decades, were only founded thanks to two brothers Adolf and Rudolf Dassler, having a big falling out many years ago.

Before all that, the pair had worked together, owning and operating a shared family shoe company and living in perfect harmony. However, a huge family divide separated Adolf and Rudolf, leading to both of them going their separate ways and forming their own individual shoe brands.

Their story is an incredible example of how big things can come from the smallest and most innocuous of scenarios. A simple argument between brothers truly changed the sporting world, leading to the creation of two true behemoths of the shoe industry, boosting the German economy, creating countless jobs, and having all sorts of other consequences. This is how it all happened.

Humble Beginnings for the Brothers

Our story begins with the Dassler family. Rudolf Dassler was born on 26 March 1898, while his younger brother Adolf Dassler, who was always nicknamed ‘Adi,’ was born on November 3 of 1900. Adi and Rudolf also had another brother named Fritz and a sister called Marie.


on the right Rudolf Dassler. On the left Adolf Dassler. Source: Facebook

The pair were born and raised in the town of Herzogenaurach, which was a very small town at the time with a population of around 3,500. Herzogenaurach is not far from the city of Nuremberg. The boys were born to parents Christoph and Paulina, and the whole family was quite poor.

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