The origins for Puma, one of the leading athletic footwear, apparel and accessories companies in the world, began in 1924 when Rudolph Dassler, Puma's original founder, started a manufacturing company with his brother Adolf. Their family-owned business originally produced slippers and outdoor shoes, then they soon saw a need for athletic shoes in the market. Despite the economic depression of the late '20s, their business took off. And during the 1928 Olympics they gained national attention, when nearly half of the participating athletes wore Dassler shoes.
The Dassler's business continued to grow in the '30s, and reached epic proportions when Jessie Owens won four gold medals in the 1936 Olympics while wearing their shoes. Everything was going great for the Dassler brothers until 1948, when a bitter family dispute divided the brothers and the company split in two. Rudolph started Puma Schuhfabrik Rudolf Dassler (currently known as Puma), and Adolf founded Adidas.
Puma continued to thrive under Rudolph's guidance. Throughout the years they were the first to introduce many new footwear innovations, including vulcanized soles on soccer shoes, uniquely shaped soles on running shoes to enhance natural motion, athletic shoes with a Velcro strap, and the Puma Disc system, which replaces laces with a series of wires. After Rudolph's passing in 1974 his son Armin was appointed CEO.