Saturday, April 19, 2008

and for the sneakerfreaks!

While reading a Newsweek interview on the recently named 2008 Pulitzer prize winner, Junot Diaz (the Domican wonderkid who I've had the pleasure to work with at the writer's workshop for people of color VONA a couple of years ago), about life since penning his award-winning debut novel, The Brief and Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao,

i happened into this interesting little article on the history of Adidas and Puma sneaker empire:

A Tale of Two Sneakers
The family fight that created Adidas and Puma.

Adidas and Puma may be among the most recognized brands in the world, but neither might exist if not for a bitter rivalry between two brothers from a little-known village in Germany. In the 1920s, Adolf (Adi) Dassler, a soft-spoken sports fanatic who spent hours working on shoe designs in his workshop, and Rudolf Dassler, a gregarious salesman, started a small shoemaking business in the Bavarian enclave of Herzogenaurach, focusing primarily on hand-sewn athletic footwear. But as their business took off, the two brothers grew increasingly frustrated with each other. They disagreed on everything from politics, the future of the company and one another's choice in wives.

Finally, in the mid-1940s Rudolf left in a huff and set up a rival shop across the river, while Adi remained in the initial plant. His company was renamed Adidas, and in 1948 Rudolf registered his new company, Puma. NEWSWEEK's Jennifer Barrett spoke with Barbara Smit, author of the new book "Sneaker Wars" (Ecco; $26.95), about how a family feud spawned two of the biggest brands in global sports.


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