Brothers Rudolf and Adi Dassler founded their company "Gebrüder Dassler Schuhfabrik" (Dassler Brothers Shoe Factory) in Herzogenaurach, Germany in 1924. However, it wasn’t until the 1936 Summer Olympics in Berlin that the Dassler brothers’ fame was cemented, when African-American sprinter Jesse Owens wore their PUMA spikes while on his way to winning four gold medals.
The PUMA brand was officially founded in 1948 by Rudolf Dassler alone. Since PUMA’s inception, its football, running shoes and other gear have garnered international acclaim for the numerous world records, championships & titles won by players while wearing the PUMA brand. In the year of its founding, PUMA launched its first football boot called the "ATOM". In fact, several members of the West Germany National Team wore PUMA boots in the first post-war football match against Switzerland in 1950. In 1952 Rudolf Dassler developed a football boot with screw-in studs in collaboration with experts. This innovation led to the launch of the "SUPER ATOM", marking the beginning of PUMA’s fame in the game of football.
1958 saw PUMA introduce its trademark logo, the unmistakable PUMA form-strip, but it wasn’t until 1967 when the now world-famous logo with the pouncing cat was created. In 1960 PUMA became the first sports shoe manufacturer to use a technologically advanced production technique, whereby the sole and the upper of the boot were fused together.
The early 80’s were dominated by a tennis boom, with then 17-year-old Boris Becker and his spectacular victory at Wimbledon; the youngest and first German player to have won the tournament, all the time wearing PUMA shoes and sporting a PUMA racquet. In 1982 Diego Armando Maradona of Argentina played his first World Cup tournament wearing the new PUMA TORERO boot. The TORERO, an invention by company founder Rudolf Dassler’s son Armin, was equipped with a highly flexible DUOFLEX sole. From 1984 to 1987, PUMA signed Martina Navrátilová, the most successful female tennis player of her time. PUMA then signed international icon Mario Balotelli. The Italian Striker became the latest sporting sensation to join PUMA’s family of star players and athletes which, to date, includes Usain Bolt, Sergio Agüero, Cesc Fàbregas, Marco Reus, Radamel Falcao and Rickie Fowler. Soon after, PUMA signed tennis champion Serena Williams, she won her first Grand Slam Tournament, the US Open. In 2002, PUMA and Serena Williams unveiled the Serena Williams Tennis Collection.
By 2006 with 12 out of 32 teams, PUMA was the biggest team supplier at the Football World Cup in Germany – and for the first time in company history, a PUMA sponsored national team won the World Cup: the Squadra Azzurra of Italy beat France 5:3 and were crowned World Cup Champions for the fourth time. PUMA sponsored seven football federations at the FIFA World Cup 2010 in South Africa and unveiled the world’s first continental football kit, the “Africa Unity Kit” endorsed by all PUMA-sponsored African teams.
At the 2012 Olympics in London, PUMA outfitted many track and field athletes who went on to win 19 medals, of which the Jamaican team alone collected twelve. Usain Bolt, who finished his second successive Olympics with three gold medals, proved his unrivaled status as a sporting legend by becoming the first man ever to defend both the 100m and 200m Olympic titles.
The 2014 FIFA World Cup™ in Brazil proved to be a fantastic stage for PUMA’s innovative football products: Both the eight different National Team shirts featuring PUMA’s apparel innovation PWR ACTV as well as PUMA’s colourful pink and blue interpretation of its revolutionary evoPOWER and evoSPEED football boots “Tricks” – were spotted in 72% of all games.
In 2007 the PPR Group (re-named Kering as of 2013) – a world leader in apparel and accessories – acquired over 60% of PUMA’s shares. This consolidation strengthened PUMA’s position and created a perfect platform for the continued global expansion of the company.