adidas unveil Olympic product

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The team at adidas have unveiled their footwear for the Beijing Olympics.
And have been over to the adidas HQ in Herzogenaurach to find out more about the track spikes that will be worn by the stars in the games.
We sat down with Chris Jones of the Running Sports Performance Unit to go through what the team had come up with.
Chris told “We are using the Olympics as a launch for Track and Field. It is our heritage, part of who we are. But it is not just about providing shoes to world champions it is also about the average customer. Our new range fits better and is lighter weight.”
Many of the athletes will be wearing track spikes in the white and black colour way. And many of the shoes are using a new upper with a lot of leather. Chris told “A lot of the athletes like the leather uppers. They give security and fit snugly, it bounds well with the foot. There is a nylon mesh on the back on it so it doesn’t stretch. We have had to tweak the patterns of the uppers.”
Many of the shoes are based on existing spike plates but Chris explained that the new uppers had meant changes needed to be made. Different materials act in different ways, particularly when the foot starts flexing so they had to alter the lasts to ensure the best fit.
Chris said adidas pride themselves on the fact the same shoes on sale to the public are worn by the elite athletes. “Ninety something percent wear shoes from the box and that is a huge testament to the work the guys have done.” The shoes worn in Beijing Olympics will launch in 2009 (with a few exceptions explained later).

Allyson Felix's Olympic spike

Allyson Felix's Olympic spike

The adidas shoe designers have been working with some of the big name athletes. Chris explained to “We have looked for fresh ways to elevate athletes as people as well as sportsmen and women. We have been working with the athletes and finding out about their personalities and things about them that can be reflected in the product for them.”
Allyson Felix, Tyson Gay and Jeremy Wariner have all had ‘iconic’ spikes made for them for Beijing. After the games these iconic shoes will be available for retail along with training shoes based on lightweight road racing shoes and ‘Bounce’ shoes that are running/cross training shoes. The lightweight shoes will have the iconic uppers but be built on the adiZero CS toolings that many elite athletes including Felix and Wariner wear for a lot of their track training. Elite distance runners are also often fans of the shoe. Chris said: “Haile Gebrselassie runs marathons in that shoe and broke the world record in it.”

Allyson Felix has had a special shoe made for her. Chris explained: “Allyson Felix wants to bring glamour to the sport. She is a strong competitor but it is not just about running fast.”
The colours were chosen by Allyson and the name on the shoe is Shug, which is her mother’s nickname for her as it is short for sugar.
“The spike plate is one we have been using for a few years and she likes it very much.”

Tyson Gay's Olympic spike

Tyson Gay's Olympic spike

Another top sprinter, Tyson Gay has had a make up which is in contrast with way Felix’s shoes will look. Chris told “With Tyson’s shoe it was the melting of a couple of ideas as we got to know him. He is clearly a special guy with almost unlimited potential. He is very inspired by Jesse Owens and he is very much like him in demeanour and the way he carries himself. He is not the usual sprinter he is not a tongue wagging, chest thumping guy. He lets his running do the talking.”
Someone gave adidas’ global director a pair of shoes from the 1940s and the running team also looked at a pair of Jesse Owens’ long jump spikes and decided that would be a great connection to make. Chris said: ”I think it is beautiful, it has a one piece leather upper with a U throat and and X-graphic in the back. It is constructed of modern materials.”
The shoe has Trinity written on it as this is Gay’s daughter’s name and it also has another synergy as Gay is known for his strong religious beliefs.
The spike is certainly visually striking. From a distance it does look a throw back to the 1930s but up close it is clear to see the difference made by the modern materials and the spike plate comes from the adiStar Sprint.

Yelena Isinbayeva's Olympic spike

Yelena Isinbayeva's Olympic spike

A far cry from the Tyson Gay spike is the one made for Yelena Isinbayeva. While based on the standard adidas triple jump spike as worn by many pole vaulters the shoe stands out. Chris admits adidas have been bold with the upper of this shoe: “Yelena Isinbayeva’s could be one of the most interesting but also the most risky. She is clearly very accomplished and very glamorous. We spoke about glamour in sport. We’d read that she really likes dolphins and showed her this upper and she said ‘That’s what I want’. She believes dolphins bring her good luck.”
The shoe has a camouflage style pattern incorporating lots of dolphins and a clearer dolphin graphic in dark blue at the heel. Each shoe also has four Swarovski stones in it, with one on the top of the upper and three at the heel.
“The same shoe without the stones will be available at retail. It’s very different. We had the concept in December and showed her the shoe in January and her face lit up, she was very excited by it.”

Jeremy Wariner's Olympic spike

Jeremy Wariner's Olympic spike

Technically speaking the work being done with Jeremy Wariner could be the most exciting coming from adidas for the athletics at the Beijing Olympics. The shoe had yet to be finalised when we sat down with Chris but a lot of work has been put in.
Chris told “With Jeremy Wariner it was different. We took on the challenge to help him to maintain velocity when running a 400m at speed. There is so much torque when he runs the turns. He is better than anyone with the possible exception of Michael Johnson and some would say he is at the level of Johnson. He doesn’t slow in the turns.”
The designers looked at how they could design a shoe to maintain efficiency and speed in bend running yet still work well for running the straights. Chris said the designers have learned a lot: “This has given us a real insight into running fast around the turns.”
Wariner’s shoe will be called the adidas Lone Star which connects to the fact he is from Texas but also to the fact he wants to be a head and shoulders above his opposition at 400m. “He wants the competition beaten when he walks on to the track.” This spike is not likely to be available at retail until 2010. For more details on the Lone Star click here.

The adidas Cadence spike for Haile Gebrselassie.. and many more people

The adidas Cadence spike for Haile Gebrselassie.. and many more people

A highly practical development has been made by adidas. For some time we have been asking the brands why they don’t produce a more protective spike. Ever lighter spikes are great for competing in but sometimes athletes want something more substantial for training in. Enter the Cadence. This has already been worn on the Grand Prix circuit and was the shoe Haile Gebrselassie wore when he ran 26min 51.20sec 10K in Hengelo. Chris said: “This shoe came about as a result of our conversations with athletes. They said it would be great to have a shoe that gives a little more protection.” Whereas most distance spikes are designed to be as minimal as possible there are times when an athlete will happily take an extra few grams to give that extra bit of protection. This may be in the heats of a 5K or 10K on a hard track so that their legs are fresher for the final . Or it could be in training that they want a shoe that is suited to doing more work that will leave them fresh enough to pick up the training more easily the next day.
The Cadence has been designed to give this mix of protection and performance and will be available at retail in December.

To find out more about Nike's footwear that will be used in Beijing (including the Nike Zoom Victory, Nike Zoom Matumbo, Nike Zoom Ventulus 2, Nike Zoom Superfly R2, Nike Zoom Ja, Nike Zoom Maxcat 2, Nike Zoom Bigbrother, and more) see this article on Nike's Olympic footwear

See also our special article on Jeremy Wariner's new adidas Lone Star spike.

To see more information on Asafa Powell's Olympic spike, the Nike Zoom Aerofly, click here.

To find out about Usain Bolt's world record breaking Puma sprint spike from the Beijing 100m final, the Puma Theseus, click here.

For more information on how to use to find the best running shoes click here or here.
Written by: Andy Barber on: June 9, 2008



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