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Why did Adidas and Puma split?: A History of Two Brothers

Adidas Puma Brothers Feud

Adidas and Puma brothers are brothers! 

Today, both Puma and Adidas are huge fashion and shoe companies that are well-known all around the world in the 21st century. It appears as if Puma and Adidas are related in some manner. One might think that, if these two firms became people...they would share an uncanny resemblance.

It may come as a surprise to you, however Puma and Adidas are in fact related businesses after all!

The Puma story begins in the early 1900s, when Rudolf Dassler set out to create his own athletic shoe brand. Adolf, Rudolf's brother, founded another company called Adidas. Puma and Adidas are siblings!

Unfortunately, the Dassler brothers didn't see eye-to-eye somewhere along the line of business, leading to their firms' split. This compelled both brothers to leave their companies and go out on their own in order to achieve success for their own brands.

According to Business Insider, Adolf Dassler launched the brand Adidas just a year after his brother Rudolf Dassler created the soon-to-be-rival brand Puma. The two extremely well-known brands can be traced back to a now fascinating family quarrel. Neither Puma nor Adidas would exist today if it weren't for that quarrel.

In fact, Erich and Rudolph Dassler shared the same birthday (May 16), but fans thought it was a coincidence. The pair founded Gebrüder Dassler in 1919 (Geda for short) after initially collaborating on two-striped shoes. After the 1936 Olympics, when the German athletes wore their brand, sales increased dramatically for the Dassler brothers. Things were going swimmingly between Erich and Rudolph Dassler.

Then World War II began.

The tensions between the siblings grew and were obvious, regardless of their success in working together. Adolf's and Rudolf's wives despised one other, as did both women. Things deteriorated from there on. There were a series of events that pushed the two brothers further apart.

Rudolf and his wife were sitting in a bomb shelter when the Allied forces bombed the town. At that time, when Adolf and his wife showed up, Rudolf made a negative statement about the town being hit once more. It appears that Rudolf mixed up his brother's remark, thinking it was an individual attack against him and his reputation.

Furthermore, according to Vintage Sports, the Dassler brothers appear to have taken separate routes as a result of minor events. Rudolf was drafted into the army and served on the battlefront for his country. On the other hand, because Adolf's contribution as a shoemaker was judged more essential by the German government, he was not sent to war in Germany. Rudolf was furious, seeing it as his brother making money and selling shoes while he was on the frontlines with his life on the line.

The Allied forces wanted to take revenge on the remaining Nazi troops after the war. This meant that Rudolf had to go before the authorities and argue his case. Adolf snitched on him, claiming that he was collaborating with the Nazis, which resulted in another year of imprisonment for Rudolf. Rudolf tried to rat out his brother too, but Adolf's charges were dropped as a result of it. The Dassler brothers' relationship effectively came to an end at this point.

By 1948, the Dassler brother partnership had come to an end. The conflicts caused by the war and betrayal were just too much for either brother to handle. Negotiations for the firm had begun, and the division process began. Profits, employees, and equipment were all divided between the two brothers, with each departing on his own and never contacting the other again.

Adolf Dassler, better known as Adi, began his own shoe company in 1957. Later on, Adolf created his own footwear business, which he called after himself. To create Adidas, he took the first three letters of his nickname Adi and the last three letters of his surname Dassler. Both brothers continued to bicker about commercial issues in their usual contentious manner, which were all based on the happenstance and misunderstanding from years past.

The Dassler brothers' story is fascinating in terms of how a business partnership between two individuals might go sour through a variety of events. The Dassler siblings' talent was unquestionably undeniable, and both Rudolf and Adolf Dassler deserve credit for their hard work and dedication.

However, one must question if the Dassler brothers' split was the best move for the fashion business. Had the brothers not parted, Adidas and Puma may not be where they are today! Both brands were born as a result of a bitter rivalry between two men, and this has helped both of them grow.

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