PUMA and the Mozart of Table Tennis

A History of Excellence, Innovation and Collaboration

February 23, 2024

A History of Excellence, Innovation and Collaboration

February 23, 2024

Table tennis is a fast and precise game that requires not only skill and strategy, but also agility and nimbleness. In light of the current table tennis world championships in Korea, we take a look at our rich history as a manufacturer of table tennis shoes!

The Beginnings: Rudolf Dassler’s vision and the Table Tennis Shoes

Rudolf Dassler, the founder of PUMA, had a clear vision: He wanted to develop perfectly fitting shoes for every sport. In the 1950s, PUMA began to focus on table tennis. The first table tennis shoe was introduced in 1950, and soon after, the model “EINUNDZWANZIG” followed in 1956. This shoe was promoted by the Japanese world champion and table tennis “Hall of Famer” Ogimura.

The Era of Jan-Ove Waldner and the Partnership with DONIC

But the highlight came in 1997, when PUMA entered into a multi-year partnership with the renowned table tennis equipment supplier DONIC.

"Puma developed two exclusive models for us for the best European players at the time, Jan-Ove Waldner and Jörgen Persson."

Frank Schreiner, Managing Director at DONIC

Jan-Ove Waldner: The “Mozart of Table Tennis”

Jan-Ove Waldner, often referred to as the “Mozart of Table Tennis”, was an outstanding player. His playing style was elegant and versatile. He distinguished himself by variable serves, precise returns and an impressive game overview. Waldner became world champion twice (1989 and 1997), European champion once (1996) and Olympic champion (1992) in singles. His achievements with PUMA are remarkable: In 2000, he became both world champion with Sweden and silver medalist in Sydney.

Admired and feared in China

Waldner was the last player that the table tennis powerhouse China respected, as he often defeated their top players in major tournaments. The Chinese admired his extraordinary skills and his charisma. He was the first living foreigner to feature on a Chinese postage stamp, and he had a restaurant named after him in Beijing. Jan-Ove was also known as “Lao Wa”, meaning “Old Waldner”, or “Guerilla Captain”, for his unpredictable tactics. Waldner is considered a legend and a role model in the table tennis world

Over the years, PUMA has earned a reputation for quality, innovation and excellence in the world of table tennis, thanks to its collaboration with some of the best players in the sport. Our table tennis shoes have not only enhanced the performance of our athletes, but also contributed to the history and evolution of the game.

Download our CATch up APP to your smartphone now.


More featured

Always stay
up to date


I agree that the PUMA group may use my personal data (including my e-mail address) for promotional and marketing purposes in accordance with the PUMA privacy policy and send information about products of the PUMA group to my e-mail address. I can withdraw my consent at any time in the future by sending an e-mail to catchup@puma.com or via the link in each e-mail.