Their roots - who founded Puma?
Have you ever wondered about how Puma came about?
The brand isn’t anything new, in fact, the roots of Puma go way back to 1924, when brothers Rudolf and Adi Dassler started out by making shoes from their parents’ home in Herzogenaurach, Germany. Within three years, the brothers had made a real name for themselves and anyone who was anyone, i.e the majority of German athletes wore their iconic spikes. Talk about fast movers, eh?
The Dassler brothers’ handiwork shortly led to Olympic success, with Jesse Owens proudly wearing their spikes in the 1936 Berlin Olympics - oh yes, the year with all the controversy.
However, just twelve years later, the Dassler brothers parted ways. But all was not lost, Adi Dassler went on to found adidas (Adi-Das, clever right?) while Rudolf Dassler founded Ruda; a combination of the “Ru” element of his first name and the “Da” of his last name. It might sound like Adi was the successful brother, given how popular adidas is today, but Rudolph’s brand, Ruda, was later renamed Puma. Not bad work from the Dassler brothers.
So, where does the logo come from?
The Puma logo is instantly recognisable, but have you ever wondered how it came to be?
During the late 50’s, the first Puma logo and typeface started to take shape, later followed by the Puma “formstrip”. The Formstrip? I hear you ask. Well, it’s that bit seen on the side of most Puma shoes and it was created to stabilise the foot. Ahhh. Every day’s a school day!
The iconic Puma cat from the logo wasn’t there from the start, though. It was created almost a decade later, in 1967, and was drawn by Nuremberg cartoonist Lutz Backers.
The football legacy
The Super Atom
Puma first ventured into football boots in 1952, with the help of West Germany’s football coach. Together they produced the Puma Super Atom, the first football boot with screw-in studs. It was the Super Atom that cemented Puma’s presence on the football scene, later leading to them launching the Brasil boot, in 1954.
World Cup Success
Puma started with their World Cup success in 1958 when the Brasilian football team won the tournament while wearing Puma boots. I mean, what better promotion could Puma ask for?
This winning streak continued into the next World Cup, with Brazil once again taking home the cup while sporting Puma boots. Legendary footballer, Pele, also helped to elevate the brand further by wearing Puma boots throughout the tournament. You might recall that Pele was later named footballer of the century.
It’s not all about The Super Atom. Please welcome The King, Torero and Disc Boots...
In 1968 the Puma King boot was introduced to celebrate the success of Portuguese striker Eusebio, from then on Eusebio was regularly spotted wearing a pair of Puma Kings. What’s more, Maradonna also scored the goal of the century in 1986 while wearing Puma King boots.
So, “The Footballer of the century” and “The Goal of the Century”, featuring Puma Football Boots. Who would want to wear anything else?
Did you also know that The Torero boot, which combined two soles to create a “Duoflex” sole for easier movement, was designed by Rudolf and his son Armin? Their creation was released ahead of the 1982 World Cup.
Innovation remained the name of the game for Puma, who released the Puma Disc shoe in 1991, which happened to be the first laceless sports shoe to hit the market. I mean, you’d never have to worry about an untied lace with the Disc boot.
Puma further revolutionised the sports shoe market in 2006 by launching the Speed Boot V1.06 which was the lightest football boot of its time.
It’s not all about the Football, though.
With all this Football success and innovation, it’s easy to forget about the huge amount of success Puma gained through other sporting disciplines. In fact, Olympians have been winning gold medals with Puma shoes since 1964.
Ever owned a pair of Puma Clyde shoes? Well, they started out as basketball shoes. More specifically, they started life as a custom suede shoe request from none other than legendary basketballer Walt “Clyde” Fraizer in 1973. So, every time you put on your Clydes, remember that you’re essentially walking in Walt’s steps.
By 1985, it wasn’t just the Olympians, footballers and basketballers who wanted in on Puma’s groundbreaking sportswear; Boris Becker won Wimbledon in 1985, as the youngest and first German player, whilst wearing Puma shoes and using a Puma racket. Not bad for a 17-year-old! To celebrate his success, Puma released the Puma Becker shoes.
During the 90s, high profile athletes, Linford Christie and Serena Williams were signed to Puma. Linford Christie created a storm at the 1996 Atlanta Olympic Games when he wore Puma cat contact lenses to a press conference, especially as Reebok was the official sponsor of the games. Eeep.
Did you also know that Usain Bolt is a Puma athlete, and has been since he signed with Puma at the age of 16. In his time with the brand, he won three gold medals in the 2008 Beijing Olympics and broke two world records in the World Championships in Berlin. Puma has said that Bolt is the “embodiment of the Puma values – Brave, Confident, Determined and Joyful.”
Puma Collaborations branch out
Puma’s foundations have been strongly rooted in Sports, however, their brand ambassadors have reached new areas in recent years. Rihanna, collaborated with Puma as Women’s Creative Director in 2015 to put her spin on classic Puma styles and her Fenty x Puma collaboration was an instant sell-out.
More recently Puma has collaborated with Selena Gomez and Hello Kitty. You weren’t expecting that one where you? In 2018 the K-pop group BTS signed as Global Ambassadors, proving that Puma isn’t just a sports brand.
Who does Puma Sponsor?
Today Puma continues to sponsor Usain Bolt as well as a number of other top athletes such as; Marie Laurence Jungfleisch, Pierre Ambroise Bosse, Asafa Powell and Jimmy Vicaut. Puma also continues its football legacy by sponsoring; Romelu Lukaku, Sergio Agüero, Luis Suárez and Mario Balotelli among other top footballers.
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