During my recent trip up to the Pacific Northwest to compete in a couple of Open tournaments, I was able to stop by the adidas US headquarters in Portland, OR. I was fortunate enough to have been given a tour of the “village” (which was actually converted from an old hospital) along with a behind the scene look at the AIT (adidas Innovation Team). After hours of learning about product, company philosophy and their direction moving forward, there were a couple of things worth noting that jumped out to me.
The first thing that struck me was how concerned adidas is about making products with the tennis player in mind. Instead of force-feeding us gear that’s design is driven by the company’s own internal agenda, adidas is producing shoes and apparel that directly addresses the needs of elite athletes. Is durability and protection your primary concern when buying a tennis shoe? Well, they’ve got the Barricade line that’s been around forever and sets the benchmark in the industry for both of those attributes. Do you want apparel that actually helps you combat the heat and keep you cooler? adidas’ new Climachill technology is made of an ultra breathable material that actually creates a cooler environment inside the shirt when you’re wearing it. Bottom line, adidas is responding to the demands of athletes with innovative technology and industry-leading products.
Secondly, the AIT (adidas Innovation Team) is made up of some extremely intelligent engineers that use cutting edge technology to study the biomechanics of athletes along with how adidas products perform under real-time stress. Full-speed movements by professional athletes are analyzed using force plates in the floor of the lab and high speed cameras to figure out what kind of stress the athlete is putting on their shoes and just how those shoes are responding under stress. Using these observations and measurements, adidas products are constantly tweaked and held to the highest standards before released to their athletes and the public.
Naturally, getting the behind the scenes look has got me excited about some new adidas tennis products moving forward. First and foremost, the new Barricade Climachill top actually helped make a difference in handling the summer heat during these recent tournaments. As a person that battles excessive sweat I could feel the difference in the breathability of the material as well as the temperature difference on my skin compared to wearing other polyester tops.
I’ve also seen and tried on the new Barricade shoe coming for 2015, and while I’m not going to give anything away, I’m very excited for the direction adidas is taking the Barricade line. It may just be the most comfortable Barricade yet, and it’s certainly going to give tennis players a reason to get their feet back into this flagship line of shoes.
If you’ve gone away from adidas tennis in recent years, maybe it’s time to come back and give the shoes and apparel another try. I’m certainly becoming a believer in adidas tennis again…
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