Running is about celebrating life and living. Sporting goods designer Adidas celebrates inspiring individuals and events in running through its design activism.
I enjoy spotting special edition clothes and running shoes that sporting good brands roll out on seasonal basis, or in conjunction with a race or an event. There are a myriad of editions, not limited to major sporting events such the Olympics or Tour de France.
The two special editions that caught my eyes during the 2014-2015 season are from Adidas. Adidas, in the eyes of (British) runners, is the sort of brand that upholds the “form follows function” ethos. In other words, pragmatic and typically Germanic in its approach to shoes. For example, for the Boost line, Adidas goes for sturdy, lightweight fabrics that work well for urban running, but might not carry the colours as well as that other ‘fashion brand’, Nike.
What I love about Adidas, though, is its subtlety in creating special edition lines that celebrates the triumph of the human spirit over obstacles.
Adidas Grete 30 Boost
The Norwegian runner Grete Waitz won the New York Marathon nine times between 1978 and 1988. She was also the first woman to run the marathon in under 2:30 hours. She died of cancer in April 2011.
Adidas released the Grete 30 Boost to commemorate 30 years since the launch of Waitz’s adidas Originals running shoe, as well as to remember the 30th anniversary of her silver medal at the 1984 Olympics. The special edition was designed in partnership with the AKTIV Against Cancer charity, co-founded by Waitz. Adidas has reportedly donated more than $3.3 million to AKTIV Against Cancer through the sales of clothings and shoes since 2009.
I didn’t find out about Grete Waitz from Adidas’s promotional materials. None of us at the shop knew. It was a Norwegian ultra runner, who came to look for a pair of zero-drop shoes for his marathon in spring, that told me about Waitz. I showed him the Grete 30 Boost shoes and he told me the story.
Adidas Boston Marathon
My personal favourite is the Adidas Boston Marathon line, with shirts that carry discreet logos of the Boston Athletics unicorn by the side of the clothings. The Boston Marathon line has been around way before the notorious bombing in April 2013. The 2014 edition, however, carries that poignant message of unity over adversity.
Truth be told, I didn’t even notice the unicorns on the shirts to begin with. They were that subtle. But I actually sold a complete top and bottom combo to a German architect from Munich who was so intrigued by story behind that special edition. There wasn’t a big publicity in the UK about the line, released around time of the Boston Marathon event in 2014. The mainstream UK press didn’t take notice of it, but perhaps that’s how runners would like it to be, too. We just like to get on with the next run.