Adidas Vs. Puma: Past And Present

The sport brands like Adidas and Puma are not just giants in the sportswear world but also central figures in a captivating story of sibling rivalry, innovation, and success. This tale takes us from the humble beginnings in a small German town to today’s global stage of sports and fashion.

Adidas Vs. Puma In The Past

The Early Years

Adidas and Puma share a unique origin story that dates back to the early twentieth century. After World War I, Adolf Dassler, known as Adi, began making shoes in 1920 in Herzogenaurach, near Nuremberg. He and his brother Rudolf founded the ‘Gebrüder Dassler Schuhfabrik’ in 1924. They specialized in athletic shoes and quickly had a lot of success. At the 1928 Amsterdam Olympics, most German athletes wore their shoes. Lina Radke won gold in the 800 meters wearing Adidas shoes. At the 1936 Berlin Olympics, Jesse Owens wore Adidas shoes and won four gold medals, giving the brothers significant fame.

The Split And Founding
The relationship between the brothers deteriorated significantly during World War II, due to war dynamics and personal misunderstandings. In 1948, a definitive split occurred. Rudolf Dassler started his own shoe factory across the river Aurach, initially named Ruda but soon rebranded to Puma. Adolf Dassler officially founded ‘Adi Dassler adidas Sportschuhfabrik’ on August 18, 1949, and introduced the Adidas brand, quickly gaining success with the iconic three stripes.

Mutual Growth And Rivalry
In the years following the split, both brands saw significant growth. Adidas was boosted by the ‘Wirtschaftswunder’ and the success of the West German soccer team, which became world champions in 1954 wearing Adidas shoes. Puma also celebrated triumphs, such as the success of Hannover 96 in the Bundesliga in 1954, where most players wore Puma shoes. The rivalry between the brothers remained intense, and they never spoke to each other again in their lifetime. Even in death, they are buried as far apart as possible in the same cemetery. A symbolic reconciliation occurred in 2009 when teams from Adidas and Puma played a friendly soccer match.

Adidas snoes
source: Adidas News – Adidas shoes

Adidas Vs. Puma In The Present

Product Offering And Innovation
Adidas has strongly positioned itself as an innovator in the sportswear industry, with a broad range of high-tech products and collaborations with top athletes and celebrities like Pharrell Williams and Katy Perry. The brand is renowned for its innovations in shoe technology, such as the Boost sole technology that offers unmatched cushioning. In contrast, Puma also focuses on innovation but emphasizes style and fast fashion, evident in their trendy designs and collaborations with young artists and fashion icons like Rihanna.

Market Position And Reach
Adidas is globally recognized as the second-largest sportswear brand in the world, just behind Nike. With a strong market position in both North America and Europe, Adidas has a broad and diverse customer base. Puma, though smaller in size, maintains a strong position in Europe and is making significant advances in Asian and North American markets. Puma’s strategy focuses on maximizing visibility through high-profile collaborations and niche marketing, which helps them remain distinctive in a competitive market.

In terms of pricing, both brands adopt a premium approach, but Adidas products are often slightly higher priced due to the use of more advanced technologies and more extensive research and development activities. Puma offers a more affordable price range, which may appeal to younger consumers and those looking for a blend of style and performance without breaking the bank.

Marketing Strategy And Sponsorship
Adidas invests significantly in global sports events and maintains a wide presence in soccer, tennis, and basketball. It is also very active in sponsoring international teams and events, giving it a strong global brand image. Puma, while also involved in sponsorships, often opts for emerging sports and younger athletes, in addition to their traditional strength in soccer. This allows them to remain perceived as a brand that is youthful and fresh.

Puma sneaker
source: Unsplash – Puma sneaker

Loyalty Programs
Adidas and Puma strengthen customer loyalty with their innovative loyalty programs. Adiclub rewards customers with points for purchases and activities, leading to exclusive benefits like early access to products and special events. Puma’s PUMA CATch Up, on the other hand, focuses on enriching the sporty lifestyle of users by offering access to unique workouts and events, with additional rewards for interactions through social media and their app. Both programs are designed to build a deeper connection with customers and actively engage them with the brand. For a comparison with their other competitor’s program, read our article about the Nike Membership.

Both brands take sustainability seriously, but Adidas is often recognized for its advancements in environmentally friendly productions, including the use of recycled materials and its commitment to more sustainable operations. Puma follows strong sustainable practices as well, with initiatives such as using more sustainable materials and reducing the carbon footprint.

This story of rivalry led to two of the most influential sportswear brands in the world. Each brand has carved its own unique path in today’s competitive market. As they continue to innovate and evolve, the legacy of the Dassler brothers lives on in every pair of shoes and every garment they produce. Adidas and Puma inspire athletes and fans worldwide, and they will continue to do so for a long time.

Florence Stroink