Monday, August 17, 2009

PUMA History

Puma is one of the best-known sports brands in the world, and the company’s history is as exciting and varied as its range of shoes. The brand’s roots are shared with adidas and go back to 1924 when a new footwear company called Gebnuder-Dassler Schuhfabrik was founded in Herzogenaurach, Germany. It wasn’t until 1948 that the Puma name was first used with the formation of Puma Schuhfabrik Rudol Dassler- now known simply as Puma.

Rudolf Dassler started the brand after a bitter feud with his brother Adolph, who went on to produce adidas. The Puma Atom - the brand’s first soccer shoe - was launched in that same year. It was not long before celebrated sportsmen wore the brand at key events. For example, in 1952. runner Josef Barthel of Luxembourg brought Puma its first Olympic Gold when he won the 1500 m in Helsinki. The ‘formstripe’, Introduced in 1956, has been the trademark of the brand ever since. Far from being a mere aesthetic addition, the strip gives extra strength.atld stabLfity to the upper section of each shoe.
The 1960s brought Puma its fair share of drama - particularly 1968, which was an important year for the brand, with the introduction of the modern cat logo, and the Olympic Games in Mexico. An incident involving 200 m champion Tommie Smith, who won in Puma spikes, made the 1968 Games notorious. As he took the stand to receive the gold medal, barefoot with his Pumas beside him, Smith and teammate John Carlos made the black power salute in protest of the inequality still endured by African-Americans at that time. He left his sneakers on the rostrum for all to see, and the Olympic Committee expelled both protesters from the Olympic Village.

Other sporting legends to have been associated with the brand include tennis superstar Boris Becket, who put his name to one of the best- known signature shoes (page 183), and soccer star Diego Maradona. However, Puma’s heritage is also interwoven with the b-boy culture and music, and with the arrival of hip-hop and punk the Puma formstripe became an increasingly frequent and prominent sight on the street. Puma was also popular among skateboarders. In fact, skaters were wearing Suedes and Baskets in the early 1990s, long before Puma even started to develop a shoe for skating.

Puma has always strived to stay at the forefront of technology, and the twentieth century witnessed the development of a number of innovative Puma inventions, including the Disc system in 1991 (a laceless mechanism for adjusting a shoe’s fit) and CELL (said to be the first foam-free midsole) in 1996. The Disc has since been integrated in a number of different models. Yet, for all the technological inroads made by Puma over the years, it is the classics that remain the favourites among sneaker enthusiasts the world over.

By : Ray -

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