For those of you unfamiliar, the man above is one half of a large reason you are here. That is Rudolf Dassler, the founder of Puma, and older brother of Adi Dassler, which you should be able to add up. He founded… adidas. What started out as a family business (their father made shoes while their uncle produced the spikes for the soles) quickly grew when brother Adi started a company called Gebrüder Dassler Schuhfabrik (Dassler Brothers Shoe Factory). This company split after World War II into what we know today as two of the biggest names in sports – adidas and Puma. What caused the split? Funny you should ask. During a bombing in Germany in World War II, Rudi Dassler’s family was hiding underground in a shelter. Adi’s family entered the shelter and Adi cried out “The dirty ba$+ard$ are back again!”, referring to the Allied planes. Rudi misunderstood and thought the words were for his family, and we were blessed with now two sports-focused companies with factories in the same town.
Long known as a track and field – focused company, Puma entered the basketball world in 1968 with the shoe you see above, which eventually became the Puma Clyde’s for New York Knicks guard Walt “Clyde” Frazier. Known for his sense of style and colors, the suede kicks came in every color imaginable in those days. They hit its height in the late 1970’s and early 1980’s as a B-Boy/Hip-Hop staple and is still in the streets today.
The arrival of the “next Jordan”, Mr. Vince Carter, in the NBA in 1998 should have been a landslide victory for the brand. Carter was electrifying by dunking on EVERYBODY in the league his rookie year. This should have made the Puma people happy, and it did, until Vince decided he could make more money with a different brand and supposedly better designs. Puma refused to let him out of his contract without penalty and after paying the $13.5 million buyout, Puma lost their biggest endorser in years. Back to running…
Going back to roots, Puma has focused on soccer and track and field as of late, two sports that were near to Rudi’s heart. Puma has released numerous runners utilizing FAAS foam which perform on level with any other brand (the ones above are the same as mine). They have dug into their catalog and found models worthy of retroing, such as the Trinomic, and combined the past and future with shoes like the Disc Blaze.
Although Rudi has been gone from the company for some time, his heart and dream are still alive and well. Happy Birthday Father Puma!!!!!