In the U.S., the competition between Nike and adidas for sportswear supremacy is strictly business. But in a small town located in Germany, the beef between adidas and Puma goes deeper than just market share. It's personal, and the feud is rooted between two brothers.
North of the Aurach river in Bavaria, Germany is Puma's headquarters, founded by Rudolf Dassler. Opposite the river is the place where Dassler's young brother Adolf situated his company, which he named after himself, adidas.
Both men were partners in Dassler Brothers Shoe Factory, but decided to part ways and create their own entities in the late 1940s, following an unknown dispute during the end of World War II.
The beef would not only divide the families, but the entire town of Herzogenaurach. People in the north rocked Puma, while others in the south were Three Stripes loyalists.
But as the history of the feud approaches 70 years, residents in the German town are letting up. Just a little bit.
According to Wall Street Journal, the town's soccer clubs for children, ASV and FC, which only wear adidas and Puma, respectively, are actually beginning to commingle in joint practices.
"I was scared that the parents would refuse to let the boys play,” FC Coach Mr. Kittler said, voicing concerns over attire, and having to choose between adidas or Puma for uniforms. "We could cause great harm by choosing just one."
While some people are open to the change, old traditions die hard and others simply won't budge.
65-year-old Helmut Fischer, who has worked for Puma for 38 years, is a lifer. He sports several Puma tattoos, including one on his neck and proudly states that his friends are "smart enough to not wear three stripes anywhere near me."
Both officials from adidas and Puma state the beef is history and even set up a soccer game in 2009 between the two companies, mixing up the teams. Even the mayor of the town got involved and wore mismatching cleats from adidas and Puma.
"I think we can say that there are no enemies in this city anymore," Mayor Hacker said, who grew up in a household loyal to Puma. "Wearing both is possible now. To me as a mayor I’d even say it’s obligatory."
[via Wall Street Journal]