HISTORY

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Having worked for the company since 1978, I am now a Senior Adviser for PUMA passing on my experiences to my younger colleagues. In my former role I headed up the department of Sports Marketing for PUMA Germany from 2009 until 2012. Before that I was Head of Advertising at PUMA Germany. It’s an honor to present to you some of the most memorable PUMA moments in history. Anecdotes that capture the fascination of our brand, the Fastest Sports Brand in the world.

"MR PUMA" HELMUT FISCHER
1924
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The brothers Rudolf and Adolf Dassler found the company “Gebrüder Dassler Schuhfabrik“ (Dassler Brothers Shoe Factory) in Herzogenaurach, Germany.

First successes: At the Olympic Summer Games in Amsterdam in 1928, a majority of the German athletes wear Dassler spikes. In 1936, Jesse Owens wins four gold medals at the Olympic Games in Berlin sporting Dassler spikes. Overall, seven gold medals and five bronze medals are won by world class athletes in Dassler shoes and two World and five Olympic records are smashed. This represents the international breakthrough for the Dassler brothers. 

1948
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Rudolf Dassler founds the PUMA Schuhfabrik Rudolf Dassler. The company is officially registered on October 1, 1948. The existing business assets of the “Gebrüder Dassler Schuhfabrik” are divided up between the brothers.

In the same year, PUMA’s first football boot, the “ATOM”, is launched. Several members of the West Germany national team wear PUMA boots in the first post-war football match against Switzerland in 1950, including Herbert Burdenski, who scores West Germany’s first post-war and winning goal. 

50s
1952
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Shortly after the company is founded, Rudolf Dassler (left in the picture) successfully develops a football boot with screw-in studs in collaboration with experts, such as West Germany’s national coach Sepp Herberger. The launch of the “SUPER ATOM” in 1952, the world’s first boot with screw-in studs, marks the beginning of PUMA’s highly successful heritage in football.

1953
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The successor of the screw-in football boot “SUPER ATOM” is coming to the market: the enhanced version “BRASIL” is being developed and tested.

1954
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In May 1954, the German Bundesliga team Hanover 96 wins the league and is crowned champions in the final game against FC Kaiserslautern. The majority of the players wear the PUMA “BRASIL”. PUMA celebrates the victory with the advertisement campaign “So war es in Hamburg“.

PUMA also celebrates a big success in athletics: Heinz Fütterer breaks the 100m world record in Yokohama, Japan, sporting PUMA running shoes. Four years later, he sets another world record in the 4x100-m relay.

1957
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Rudolf Dassler introduces a sans-serif PUMA typeface, designing a word and picture logo at the same time. One year later, the second brand logo is patented: the “formstrip”, originally created to stabilize the foot inside the shoe, is now a typical PUMA trademark found on almost all PUMA shoes and is used as a design element on apparel products. 

1958
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PUMA introduces its trademark logo, the unmistakable PUMA formstrip. In the same year PUMA football boots are the only German-made football boots in the final of the World Cup in Sweden. PUMA celebrates the victory of the Brazilian team with an advertising campaign. 

60s
1960
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PUMA partner Armin Hary continues the company’s success story in track and field and wins gold in the 100m competition at the Olympic Games in Rome. In the same year, PUMA becomes the first sports shoe manufacturer to use the technologically advanced vulcanization production technique, whereby the sole and the shaft of the boot are bonded. This innovation helps PUMA athletes to achieve top performances.

1962
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Pelé, for the second time in a row, wins the World Cup in Chile with Brazil in PUMA boots.

1964
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At the Olympic Games in Tokyo, Belgium’s Gaston Roelants (3,000m steeplechase), Great Britain’s Mary Rand (long jump) and Ethiopia’s Abebe Bikila (marathon) win gold medals wearing PUMA shoes.

1966
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Portuguese striker sensation Eusebio is top scorer of the 1966 World Cup in England. Honoring this accomplishment and Eusebio's continued fantastic form, PUMA introduces the legendary King boot in 1968.

1967
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The logo with the jumping cat, today one the most famous trademarks worldwide, is created by Lutz Backes, a cartoonist from Nuremberg. As the product range is extended to include not only shoes but also sportswear, the logo begins to appear more frequently on PUMA products such as performance apparel and bags. 

1968
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The “Sacramento” brush spike amazes with its innovative brush soles – 68 small, only 4mm long bristles in the front area of the foot: Numerous American athletes, who wear the boot, set new world records just a few weeks prior to the games in Mexico. However, according to the association, the shoe is deemed “too dangerous” and consequently banned. All athletes wearing the shoe have their world records withdrawn – a fact that has not been rectified until today.


Nonetheless, PUMA athlete Tommie Smith wins gold in the 200m in similar PUMA spikes and causes a stir: he and his teammate John Carlos (bronze) raise their fists in the Black Power salute, protesting against discrimination of African Americans and other minorities in the USA, apartheid and racism. In addition to Tommie Smith, Lee Evans (400m, 4x400m), Willie Davenport (110m high hurdles) and Bob Seagren (pole-vault) win gold wearing PUMA shoes. 

70s
1970
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Pelé – again named “Player of the Tournament” – wears PUMA KING boots and helps Brazil win the country’s third World Cup title. Thirty years after this triumph, Pelé is officially honored as “Football Player of the Century”.

The PUMA KING from 1970 comes with a revolutionary flat structure that makes it lighter. In order to increase its softness and comfort, kangaroo leather is used for the very first time. 

1972
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PUMA-partnered athletes Mary Peters, Great Britain (pentathlon), John Akii-Bua, Uganda (400m hurdles), Randy Williams, USA (long jump) and Klaus Wolfermann, West-Germany (javelin) all win gold medals at the Olympic Games in Munich.

1973
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Basketball’s Walt “Clyde” Frazier makes a name for himself on the court by stealing the ball from his opponents and off the court with his signature colorful style. When he asks for a custom-made pair of Suedes, PUMA reconfigures the original, making it lighter and wider and stamping his moniker on the side – the PUMA Clyde is born. Frazier famously wears his Clydes with alternating formstrips, fedoras and long sideburns.

1974
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At the World Cup in Germany, “Player of the Tournament” Johan Cruyff wears PUMA football boots and wins the prestigious “European Footballer of the Year” award for the second time in a row. The Dutch national team wears orange jerseys featuring the three stripes of a different supplier. Team captain Johan Cruyff is a PUMA athlete and feels closely connected to the brand; he refuses to play in a different outfit. So a custom-made design is made for him, featuring only two stripes. A legend is born.

1977
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In tennis, PUMA has also established a reputation as a supplier of top athletes: In 1977 the Argentinean Guillermo Vilas wins the French, the US and the Australian Open wearing PUMA tennis shoes.  

1979
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Since 1979, the puma has been jumping across the right upper corner of the word logo and it has slightly changed over the years: the eye and nuzzle are gone, and the ears are more pronounced today. PUMA’s world famous ‘No. 1 logo’ is introduced.

80s
1982
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Diego Armando Maradona of Argentina plays his first World Cup tournament wearing the new PUMA TORERO boot.

The TORERO, an invention by company founder Rudolf Dassler’s son Armin (pictured), is equipped with a highly flexible DUOFLEX sole with two joint zones.