Puma vs. Adidas: Exposing the Bitter Rivalry Behind The Iconic Shoe Brands
Puma and Adidas. Just seeing those logos brings up a sense of competition. But most don’t know the full story behind the iconic brands born from one of the greatest family feuds in sneaker history.
Let’s dive deep into the dramatic origins, competitive strategies, and public beefs that made Adidas and Puma sneaker powerhouses by trying to destroy each other. This German rivalry runs deep.
Chapter 1: Bitter Brothers Split, Sparking Rivalry
Our story starts in 1920s Germany with brothers Rudolf and Adolf “Adi” Dassler founding a modest shoe company from their mother’s washroom. Early on, they achieved a big break supplying Jesse Owens for the 1936 Berlin Olympics.
But growing animosity between the brothers soon reached a breaking point. After years of infighting, Rudolf split in 1948 to launch Puma. Adi rebranded their original brand as Adidas.
Almost instantly, a bitter sneaker war began between the feuding brothers. They sabotaged suppliers, staged PR stunts at each other’s events, and aggressively bid against one another for athlete sponsorships.
The Dassler family was torn apart, but the constant one-upmanship actually accelerated innovation and success for both brands. Their feud birthed a legacy.
Chapter 2: Airborne Attacks to Ambush Marketing
Adidas and Puma’s competitive schemes and attacks against each other became the stuff of legend over the decades. Here are some of the most cutthroat:
- In the 1970s, Puma tried to block Adidas sneakers at US customs over trademark law disputes. Adidas responded by sending in fake Native American protesters alleging Puma was appropriating tribal designs.
- In the 1980s, Puma ambushed press conferences by raining down free shoes via parachute to steal Adidas’ thunder at major team sponsorship announcements.
- During the 1998 World Cup, Adidas displayed billboards reading “Welcome to France” whilst Puma’s signs countered “Not Welcome to France.”
- In 2006, Puma “hijacked” the World Cup trophy when it was on tour sponsored by Adidas. They displayed it prominently in Puma stores before being forced to give it back.
The ridiculous lengths these brands went to for any advantage only intensified their worldwide success. As they say, no publicity is bad publicity. Even sabotage has its benefits.
Chapter 3: Rivalry Transcends Generations
Remarkably, the rivalry between Adidas and Puma continues across the founders’ grandchildren and extended family still involved in the companies.
They remain staunchly loyal to their side, rarely interacting personally or professionally across brand lines. Many of the third generation see themselves as continuing the feud.
In the 21st century, battles play out more in competing product tech, marketing campaigns, and sponsorships rather than covert trade wars. But the competitive spirit remains as fierce as 1948.
Some wounds never fully heal when ambition, pride, and family resentment mix explosively over decades. This feud fueled an endless race to out-innovate.
What’s Your Side of This Epic Sneaker Rivalry?
With such dramatic backstory, choosing Adidas or Puma sneakers means more than just a shoe. It connects you to an epic underdog story.
So which brand’s legacy speaks most to you? Are you Team Adidas with the OG classics and performance dominance? Or Team Puma repping maverick attitude and sporty style?
There’s no wrong choice. But know the deep battle scars behind whichever logo ends up on your feet. You rep more than a half-century of war.
Shop Puma and Adidas Sneakers to Join the Rivalry
Ready to experience this notorious sneaker feud through your own Puma and Adidas kicks? Browse online for heritage classics, new tech innovations, and competitive gear.
Adidas offers OG models like the Superstar alongside performance runners like Ultraboost designed to dominate sport.
Puma provides suede icons upgraded in style alongside visionary designs like the Mayze and Nitro models built for competition.
Lace up your chosen side and experience dramatic history in every step. This rivalry shaped sneaker culture – and now it laces up to your feet.