Almost a century ago, Adi Dassler and Rudolf Dassler began making handmade sports shoes for small time athletes. Through impeccable design and unbeatable craftsmanship, the demand for these shoes got so high that they started the Dassler Brothers Shoe Factory, or Gebrüder Dassler Schuhfabrik, as it was known back in 1924 Germany.
The company was an incredible success, owing to Adi's expertise in sporting goods and product innovation, and Rudolph's insane marketing skills. In fact, these two gentlemen were behind the shoes that Jesse Owens wore when he won gold in the 1936 Olympic Games. This is quite surprising though, considering the fact that the Dasslers were active Nazi party members.
However, this harmonious brotherhood broke down during World War II, when Adi returned home to run the factory for the war effort, while Rudolf was left fighting in the trenches, despite his terrible eyesight. After the war, when the Allies were classifying Nazis by their role, rumours spread like wildfire stating that Adi and his wife Käthe informed officials of Rudolf's involvement. There's also another story about Rudolf and his wife entering an air raid shelter. Adi, who was already in there, said "It's those bastards again,"; referring to the British. However, Rudolf took it up wrong and thought he was walking about him and his wife.
Eventually, things got from bad to worse, to the point that the Dassler brothers couldn't bear to even work with each other anymore. When they realised they had had enough of one another, they split the company in half. Adi kept control of the factory and rebranded it to adidas, and Rudolph, on the other hand, left to form Ruda, later PUMA, just across the river in their hometown of Herzogenaurach.
This bad blood split the town into two. In fact, the place was later dubbed 'The Town Of The Bent Necks' since everyone had to look down at your shoes to tell which side you were on.
However, through all this negativity, some huge milestones for sneakers came out of this sibling rivalry. adidas held a vast array of patents which paved the way to its massive success today, and PUMA invented the screw-in football boot stud, which is an innovation used in some of the world's finest football boots.
In 2009, adidas and PUMA played a football match against each other. The players wore shirts which were adorned with both logos as a sign of peace. Although Adi and Rudolph weren't there to see it, they were most likely looking down at the pitch with a grin, wondering why they even hated each other in the first place.