| NEW YORK
NEW YORK Feb 13 Adidas AG on
Wednesday introduced a running shoe with technical features it
says could eventually make it a leader in an area of sports gear
where it has lagged competitors.
At a splashy event in New York that included an appearance
by four-time Berlin marathon winner Haile Gebrselassie, Adidas
launched a running shoe with cushioning it calls Boost. The
cushioning was developed with BASF SE and Adidas
claims it gives runners a better bounce, lasts longer than the
cushioning used in 95 percent of running shoes and is better
able to withstand extreme weather.
The product is aimed squarely at serious runners, a market
currently dominated by brands like Brooks, a unit of Berkshire
Hathaway, New Balance and Asics, rather than people who
just wear running shoes to get around.
Other companies also pushing hard to get a bigger foothold
in the specialty running shoe market include VF Corp's
The North Face and Under Armour.
But Adidas is betting that technology will help it win over
runners notorious for their brand loyalty.
"We have a lot of really good running shoes but we haven't
had that thing that really moves the needle," Patrick Nilsson,
president of Adidas America told Reuters at the launch,
estimating that Adidas was fourth or fifth in the U.S. specialty
running shoes market.
"With this, we have a chance to go to the top over time."
Adidas is beginning the launch by introducing the shoes at
its own stores, online and 100 specialty running stores such as
Urban Athletics and Paragon in New York, staffing each on the
weekend with an Adidas employee, before a broader roll-out.
The shoes will sell for $150 a pair, making them more
expensive than rivals', but Nilsson said the technology
warranted what he called a "premium" price.