The Bitter Six Decade Rivalry Between Adidas and Puma
We take a quick look at one of the oldest shoe rivalries of all time: Puma vs Adidas.
Rivalries are all around us: Borg vs McEnroe, Malthouse vs Buckley, Coke vs Pepsi, Mick Fanning vs a Shark. Competition is what drives us. This is apparent in one of the oldest shoe rivalries of all time: Puma vs Adidas. This feud was spawned by a bitter sibling rivalry -- unlike typical brotherly competition -- this actually led to two iconic shoe brands. They're both now iconic status symbols repped by rappers -- Wu-Tang repped Pumas on the dangerous "Triumph" and Run DMC shouted out Adidas on the funky "Adidas" -- and worn by the soccer players of Arsenal and Manchester United.
The rivalry had been so long standing between the Dassler brothers, it turned into a feud between all the people of Herzogenaurach, Germany -- the town where both legendary brands were founded. According to an article in the Independent, the town became a two class system: Puma and Adidas. People would refuse service to each other, they would form Adidas and Puma gangs, and they refused to marry each other. This is now a bygone problem. But the history is still there. How the feud started is unknown. Most point to Rudolf Dassler going to a war camp while his brother Adolf Dassler ran the company without him. Other ostentatious claims include Adolf sleeping with Rudolf's wife and another of Adolf yelling "there come those pig dogs again!" as his brother Rudolf was walking down the stairs to his brother's bomb shelter with his family.
The facts are ashes long gone with the wind. Now, we’re witnessing the modern day equivalent leading into the World Cup and, on the street. Puma and Adidas are both doing their best to occupy centre stage. Family tensions may have subsided since the passing of the Dassler brothers, but we can’t help but admire the game of one-upmanship fought until the bitter end.
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