It doesn’t take a genius to see what’s been happening to Adidas.
The three stripe brand has lost its sauce.
With the hype of the Yeezy brand gradually crumbling and the Pharrell Williams line yet to make any real statement; there is a lot of doubt circling both the current state and future of Adidas.
They are doing what Nike did. Earlier this year, we criticised Nike’s major flaw and how it prevented them from dominating their rivals on the streets. This flaw that saw Nike relying on retro releases rather than harnessing their innovative prowess is something Adidas is doing now. And whilst it may boost their sales figures, we believe it will worse their market appeal.
Earlier in November, the three stripe brand announced the re-release of three of its most popular colourways: the Chalk White (Cream) as well as the two Rainbow toe editions which Adidas is dubbing as the “Legacy Pack”.
Sure this is great, but lets be real these were the grail back in 2015. Now they’re just meh. Maybe cool at best. Given how much attention Nike has gained with their Element 87s, it’s gonna take Adidas more than a couple of Ultraboost re-releases.
The Sad Truth
When you hear Adidas being thrown around in conversations on the streets, what comes to your mind other than “Boost is dead” or “Yeezys are too mainstream”?
Yeah we thought so too.
In the world of sneakers today, hype drives demand. It doesn’t matter how great a sneaker is or the technology that is embedded if it doesn’t have any hype to it; it unfortunately will lack demand. And to be quite frank, Adidas hasn’t given us anything to be hyped about.
It hurts to say this but Adidas is losing their creative juice. And even when things are doubtful, there would be normally a saviour. For Adidas, it’s the Yeezys…for the past four to five years anyways. However, with the sales performance of the Yeezy 700 “Mauve” and the end of the dad shoe trend, it’s hard to guarantee that things will be the same. And what about his fellow partner in crime, Pharrell Williams?
Well, unfortunately, the same can be said. Besides the original Human Race line back in 2016, his entire line of sneakers has struggled to impress. Evidence of such struggle was actually spotted at numerous Adidas stores in other countries with the recent BBC x adidas NMD Hu sitting on walls.
Sure the Dragon Ball Z collaboration was quite interesting whether you were a Dragon Ball fan or not, but even then they’re nowhere near OFF-WHITE x Nike heat status.
And it doesn’t get any easier in the year to come as Nike releasing their new collaboration with Fear of God on the back of what seems to be quite a successful year for them.
Adidas at Complexcon
Some may say Adidas made a statement at Complexcon. But sadly, it wasn’t for their shoes. Rather, it was their augmented reality experience ‘Unlock the Drop’ that allowed attendees to purchase shoes without having to interact with any Adidas Originals staff.
The actual shoes announced include the following:
Not in the slightest, from our end.
All three models seem to be reworks of basic Adidas GR (general release) silhouettes like the Prophere. It’s 2018 now and Adidas has to realise that to dominate the market, they’re gonna need to do more than just slap some artist’s name on a shoe.
There is Hope.
With tech wear shoes expecting to make a statement in 2019, we hope that Adidas can take advantage of this trend with what they got installed.
Whether it be marketing the heck out of Futurecraft or doing collaborations with techwear brands the same way Nike has with Acronym and Undercover, there is potential for Adidas to take full of advantage of this trend.
In fact, there have been reports earlier this year that NikeLab ACG is coming to the end and that there will only be retro ACG sportswear pieces. This presents an opportunity for both Adidas and Y-3 to seriously take advantage of the market.
And it seems that the three stripe brand has made early efforts to make this happen. With techwear expecting to make a mark in 2019, we hope that the upcoming release of ZX 4000 4D will make some noise (for the sake of Adidas).
The upper features an update Primeknit and a mixed material construction that sits on top of a 4D-printed Futurecraft midsole giving it an overall futuristic vibe.
How Adidas Can Make a Comeback
If there’s anything that Adidas does better than everyone else, it’s selling a lifestyle.
We’ve seen it countless times over the past years with the most obvious example seen through Yeezys. From the exclusivity of the shoes to the association with high profile celebrities, Yeezys has “rockstar” written all over them. And here’s the thing. No one cares about the BOOST in the 350s or the adiPRENE in the 500s. The only thing that matters about the shoe is the lifestyle that Adidas sells – the fame, fortune and exclusivity.
This was seen way before the introduction of Kanye into the Adidas family with Jeremy Scott. As quirky as his shoes looked, there was a certain limitation about these shoes – as though only the friends and family of Jeremy Scott would be the only ones able to own his shoes.
Take the ASAP Rocky x Jeremy Scott adidas Wings 2.0 “Black Flag” for example. The idea of Jeremy Scott ASAP Rocky joining forces was unreal at the time. And it was these luxe sentiments that built Adidas into a brand that would strive in selling a lifestyle.
Even with the brand’s decision to use only recycled plastics by 2024 for shoes and clothing, there is a specific focus on the lifestyle. Yes, these are great product features but in the overall scheme, Adidas is selling a progressive lifestyle marked by an awareness of sustainability.
Adidas And The Rise of Techwear
With techwear expecting to have break out onto the streetwear scene in 2019, Adidas is presented with a great opportunity.
Functionality. Utility. Tactical. These are the synonymous buzzwords in techwear.
If Adidas can create a lifestyle that appeal to these buzzwords, there is no reason for us not to be excited for what’s to come. And with the number of celebrity figures and social influencers in their arsenal, we can expect this techwear lifestyle to trickle down into the masses.
With that in consideration, it seems as though there is potential for Adidas to win back the success it once had. And whilst signs have been worrying in recent times, they often say to rise you gotta fall. So if you’re