/ Adidas at Kendal Mountain Festival - Rivalling big brands?

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Jordangask - on 22 Nov 2013
So when I was at the Kendal Mountain Festival I couldn't help but notice Adidas had a stall. I went over and began talking to the lady there and we began to discuss why everyone seemed to be avoiding the stall. The lady said it was frustrating because Adidas has all the technology to make high quality climbing/mountaineering clothing to match the other big brands that were also at the festival, but she felt it was a stigma with the brand that put climbers/mountaineers off their 'technical' clothing products... I couldn't decide what to make of it, what's your opinion?
I like climbing - on 22 Nov 2013
In reply to Jordangask:
Early reviews of their gear will be vital in this market. I'll be interested to see if they take the "organic route" and grow the brand quietly or raise the profile by throwing money at it. I didn't know they were making stuff and have just seen some clothes and boots advertised when I checked them out online.
If their products are great then I would buy.
PN82 - on 22 Nov 2013
In reply to Jordangask:

I am not surprised that people were avoiding the stand as Adidas has 2 main problems that i can. I was at Kendal and went to look at the adidas products once it was unmanned so i didn't get hassled.

The first problem is the stigmatism of the brand amongst hillwalking/mountaineering folk. No one wants to be seen to be wearing what looks like a tracksuit on a hill, and that is what they are synonymous with.

Secondly, having looked at their products in person and also online, i am somewhat confused as to who their target audience. It is all fast and light clothing, more trail running than mountaineering. The cut and design of their jackets has been done by someone who clearly has never been up a uk mountain. On the website they show a lot of fleeces, waterproofs, soft shells, hard shells and i think to myself who would actually buy them? With the stigmatism the brand brings, their jackets need to be excellent and they are not.

Their footwear is light and flimsy for anything other than trail running and easy path walks. Perhaps the Kendal mountain film festival isn't the right venue for them? I think they need to think carefully about their target audience, if they are serious about getting hill walkers and mountaineers on their side then they need to work on product design a lot better than they are. They may also need bespoke branding on their mountain products that isn't the same as the rest of their clothing. Just my 2 cents anyhoo ;)
TobyA on 22 Nov 2013
In reply to Jordangask: I thought this video (and article more generally) suggests Adidas stuff is pretty good, but the three stripes do make it look a bit tracky-bottom.

They don't appear to be pushing very hard in the UK yet. Maybe test running the range in Germany more first?
Jordangask - on 22 Nov 2013
In reply to TobyA: Very interesting, but as you say, it's hard to look at the stripes and logo without thinking about the synonymous connotations, people lounging around in Adidas tracksuits...
The New NickB - on 22 Nov 2013
In reply to Jordangask:

As someone who uses specialist Adidas kit for it's intended use, in my case road and trail running I have no stigma with their kit. I would also suggest that starting at the fast and light end of the market makes perfect sense. I have not seen any of the kit, but I might take a look at it.
PN82 - on 22 Nov 2013
In reply to Jordangask: here are the products and prices available in the uk. I'm sure the build quality is excellent, i still believe the designs are coming up short for a UK user. They have so much competition at the price range they are pitched at and are up against brands who have been doing this a lot longer than they have for mountain folk!
drolex - on 22 Nov 2013
In reply to Jordangask: It is a weird comparison, but when Nike went into golf, every one was looking down at them, now that the sport is less elitist, they have become a major player. I guess people from "outside" were happy to recognize a brand among the unknown Titleist, Slazenger...

I suppose the same will go for Adidas if outdoor activities continue developing. "Historical" outdoorers (?) will continue to frown upon them, while newcomers will bring the brand with them.
the sheep - on 22 Nov 2013
In reply to drolex:

Dont they own Five Ten anyway? Or am I wrong on this one.
ice.solo - on 22 Nov 2013
In reply to Jordangask:

they do a magazine (german based) that showcases their stuff. quite impressive. the climbers they sponsor have significant records (ie messner, the hubers, dean potter) which may or may not mean something. they also own 5.10.

ive seen a small amount of their climbing gear and it seems as good as any of the big brands; fabrics are all reknowned, construction and detail very good.

id certainly wear it - except for the stripes that make me look like a car-jacker or meth freak.
drolex - on 22 Nov 2013
In reply to ice.solo: Messner was also sponsored by Fila at some point (I think I remember pictures of him on Everest with the most aggressive mix of colours and ridiculous logos), I don't think it has done much for the brand
Durbs on 22 Nov 2013
In reply to Jordangask:

Given they own 5.10, I don't know why the don't just put out these products under that brand, as it's already well established in the climbing scene.

I think the Addidas association is either with athletics/athletic sport or chav-fashion - so trying to appeal to the "rugged" outdoor market doesn't make sense to me.

They sponsor Shauna (amongst others) who are more in the comp scene, so perhaps they're going to focus on the indoor/comp market as opposed to the outdoor climbing area.
ice.solo - on 22 Nov 2013
In reply to drolex:

he writes some really good stuff in the adidas climbing mag - the fire still burns and the tongue still acid. so he may not be a current climbing ambassador, but he still upholds some strong ideals.

just looking now, gullich was adidas sponsored - so it goes back a bit, him dying in 96 (i think).
oh yeah and beat kammerlander too. hes a heavy weight.

so theyre not without pedigree. be great to see them shake off the car thief association.
maybe one day kappa will sponsor some climbers.
Durbs on 22 Nov 2013
In reply to Durbs:

They (well, their ambassadors) are also very good at subversive advertising.
#goallin in every tweet from their ambassadors, the background for Shauna's recent BMC TV interview was an Addidas poster etc.

Not that I mind it, but it's certainly more aggressive than perhaps people are used to.
drolex - on 22 Nov 2013
In reply to ice.solo: The French climbing team (and the Slovenian?) is also sponsored by Adidas IIRC. But I would say there is still a barrier between wall environment and the real outdoors. I suppose all this might have an influence for indoor clothing though I don't know how "mainstream" (sorry for not having a better word) climbers are familiar with Guelich or Messner. I wonder how marketing teams see all this.
eltankos - on 22 Nov 2013
In reply to drolex:
The berghaus mera peak has been the staple of glasgow neds for years. Hasn't really diluted the brand.
ice.solo - on 22 Nov 2013
In reply to drolex:

could be, but the published magazine is exclusively outdoors - expedition really (trango, baffin etc).
as someone said above - things may be at bigger levels in europe, with other markets not taking off just yet.
GrahamD - on 22 Nov 2013
In reply to Jordangask:

Climbers (meaning those that want to brand themselves as climbers) are simply brand obsessed. Much more so than hill walkers. Adidas, as a high street brand, are already stuffed as far as the Arteryx brigade are concerned.
Damo on 22 Nov 2013
In reply to Jordangask:

A friend of mine is sponsored by Adidas and had some of their clothing on Peak Lenin last year - a softshell jacket, hardshell jacket and pants and a Primaloft jacket. It's perfectly alright. I've seen their clothing around for a few years now, just not in the UK or US. I almost bought one of their mountain soft shells in Argentina a few years back. It was Schoeller type fabric with a good trim fit and good styling, for 1/3 the price of a narrow-shouldered baggy waisted Rab equivalent.

I disagree with whomever above said it's not up to UK weather. The number of people coming on here and asking for either lightweight waterproofs or non-membrane soft shells and softshell pants is an indicator of demand for such things in the UK. Not everybody in the UK goes grovelling up Scottish chimneys in rainstorms or walking in the mist in long coats and heavy boots. Most climbers (and walkers) most of the time do not *need* the level of technology in their gear, they just like it. They could get away with far less fancy stuff.

Of course the three stripes throw off most Brits because of the chav tracksuit thing, but that's your problem, not Adidas', really. Messner wore their boots on approach to Everest in 1980 and the Hubers wore early prototypes of their modern gear on Ulvetanna in Antarctica.
PN82 - on 22 Nov 2013
In reply to Damo:

I do take your point regarding my initial comments about unsuitable for uk conditions, there is clearly a demand for the items you mention and as you say not everyone wants to be out in the worst conditions, there are brands that do cater for these hardy souls!

My point really is that normally i can look at a jacket or a pair of boots and see who the intended end user is. Most brands will have different apparel for different conditions/users, but I find myself looking at the adidas clothing and footwear and i can't see any clear direction or who the end user is supposed to be. Is it walkers, climbers, mountaineers, trail runners?

It is 'outdoor clothing' but perhaps it is trying to be a jack of all trades? I may be wrong but as someone who enjoys Mountaineering, climbing, skiing and mountain biking, ignoring the branding aspect completely, I haven't seen a single item that would tempt me away from other brands.
TobyA on 22 Nov 2013
In reply to Damo: Back maybe 10 or 12 years ago they sponsored some British climbers because I remember John Dunne wearing adidas t-shirts and sweatshirts on a bunch of his big lines of that era - and being on the front of the mags noticeably wearing them. Beyond some trail shoes they don't seem to have done much outdoor specific stuff though since then.
The New NickB - on 22 Nov 2013
In reply to PN82:

Well we have evidence of the kit being used for hard Scottish mixed, so I guess it can deal with pretty much anything the UK can throw at it. Apart from footwear they seem to have all bases covered and many of the top brands leave specialist winter footwear to the specialists.
Damo on 22 Nov 2013
In reply to TobyA:

> ... Beyond some trail shoes they don't seem to have done much outdoor specific stuff though since then.

In the UK, you mean? It was 2008 or 2009 I saw the soft shell in Argentina and they were already selling in Europe, as I saw a catalogue. Beat Kammerlander has been wearing their gear for several years now.

Purely baseless personal conjecture (surely still allowed on the spiffy new forums?) but I think over the last 4 or 5 years they've had a couple of false starts, for whatever reason, and haven't had a settled range to build on. They put some stuff out, seen how it goes, then there's a gap, then they put some different stuff out. The stuff my friend had was definitely higher quality and more technical than the stuff I saw several years ago.
Exile - on 22 Nov 2013
In reply to Jordangask:

I'd wear it - the three stripe thing wouldn't / hasn't put me off at all having used a lot of their stuff for fell running. A company like adidas has a far greater budget for R&D than most outdoor brands so stands to reason they should be able to produce some great kit. I think the point above about 'being seen to be a climber' is true for some, but a bit sad if your image / self esteem is that sown up with the jacket you wear.
plyometrics - on 22 Nov 2013
In reply to Jordangask:

My personal view would be that until Adidas get a grip of the look and feel of their goods, becoming a big player in the UK outdoor market will be tricky, irrespective of how good they are technically.

Look at it for god's sake, for the price, it's terrible.

They need to lose the Teutonic 80's feel and start marketing the emotive element of their brand much harder than they currently are. Nike have done a superb job in the snow and skate industry, something riders would have scoffed at 10 years ago.

Adidas tried and failed miserably with Dunney a while back. IIRC he looked completely incongruous on Widdop Wall bursting out of his Adidas t-shirt.

Appreciate that beauty is in the eye of the beholder, but I'm not sure climbers (in general) want to end up looking like they're togged up to be on the bench of an international football team, or some town centre scallywag.
PN82 - on 22 Nov 2013
In reply to The New NickB:

I'm not sure id want to spend 8 hours in driving rain in some of their waterproofs they currently offer, we don't just get snow and ice in the west coast of Scotland! ;)
The New NickB - on 22 Nov 2013
In reply to PN82:

I am well aware of the weather Scotland can offer, you seem less aware of the materials Adidas are using.
PN82 - on 22 Nov 2013
In reply to The New NickB:

Interesting assumption you made of me Nick, this is what I love about forums such as this. Strangers arguing over the colour of shit!
I am well aware of the materials they are using, if you scan up a few messages you will see i posted the link to their outdoor section. As I'm sure you are aware, it is not just the materials used that can provide protection or not for a jacket. But also the cut, fit, zips, hood design, wrist cuffs, storm flaps (or lack thereof), you will also know that materials such as goretex, event and neoshell do not perform as intended when the face fabric is saturated, and where there is driving wind and below certain temperatures.
As someone who is an outdoor professional and has experience of using all of the main types of fabrics/clothing in various conditions and locations around the world then I have quite a good understanding of this topic. But thanks for your concern ;)
steveriley - on 22 Nov 2013
Brand's a funny thing though, eh. The inherent properties of the gear can be almost secondary to the story the logo tells. Their fell and trail shoes are pretty good. Anybody remember Reebok shoes and their sponsorship? Inov-8 make some terrific offroad shoes, but I'm told they now make a lot of their money from the burgeoning cross-fit market ...fell runners being rather tight-fisted.

winhill - on 22 Nov 2013
In reply to Damo:

> Of course the three stripes throw off most Brits because of the chav tracksuit thing, but that's your problem, not Adidas', really.

I think it might be an Adidas problem if they can't overcome user resistence.

People will be put off because of the sheer range that Adidas produce, it will be difficult to tell the serious outdoor from the high street stuff.

Why bother putting the effort into trying to evaluate a wide brand if you can get stuff you know works from other brands?

This is similar to Quechua and North Ridge (the Go Outdoor brand), if they manage to produce something that builds a reputation, people will look out for that particular product (softshell trousers and down jackets respectively, for example) but this doesn't build the brand itself.

PN82 - on 22 Nov 2013
In reply to winhill:

I hope someone from adidas has a look at various posts on here, both positive and negative about the general public's thoughts on their outdoor gear. They do have a number of uk offices and staff and im sure they must have climbers and mountaineers working for them. Forums such as these can give invaluable insight in to various sporting communities. If they want to send me some kit to try then more than welcome to do so :p
TobyA on 22 Nov 2013
In reply to plyometrics:

I think some of that stuff looks really good for the price actually, the hooded stretch fleece for quite a lot less than an R1 Hoody, softshells for well under 100 quid. I suspect if they market it well plenty of folk will be interested in techy designs for pretty reasonable costs.

I bought a classic Adidas sweatshirt around the time 'Dunney was looking completely incongruous on Widdop Wall bursting out of his Adidas t-shirt' - I don't remember thinking that's why I should buy one, but I bet subconsciously that is why I did!
matejn - on 22 Nov 2013
In reply to Jordangask:

If my information is correct all mountain guides in Zermatt are equipped with Adidas gear from this year on.
The New NickB - on 22 Nov 2013
In reply to PN82:

You don't show that understanding very well, have you worn or even handled the products in question?
Denni on 22 Nov 2013
In reply to Jordangask:

The chap around the corner from us is a guide in Italy and he wears an Adidas Terrex advanced jacket and the ndosphere primaloft jacket and he loves them.

Was chatting to him about them the other day and they are quite popular in Germany but he reckons a rebrand may be necessary for the UK "outdoor clothing snobs" as he put it.
wbo - on 22 Nov 2013
In reply to Jordangask:
Having looked at that link I think I'd look at some of the stuff they're not apparently selling in the UK. They're shunting stuff in Europe that is just as good as anything as else that's out there including a decent primaloft jacket and some decent goretex jackets. They're not selling a lot locally to me, but they are selling some and the breakthrough will be to get it into the right outlets (as Norwegians do not buy their outdoor stuff in specialist outdoor shops generally). I've tried them on and the fit and quality seemed fine

A lot of their general stuff is excellent quality, and for things like trail running rather better than the trail running specialists knock out.
Jordangask - on 23 Nov 2013
In reply to Jordangask:

The most interesting thing that has come out of this thread for me is the fact that Adidas owns 5.10, i didn't know this and now I do I simply can't understand why Adidas isn't releasing their clothing under an already established climbing brand?!?
Maynard - on 23 Nov 2013
I have a lot of Adidas outdoor clothing and it is absolutely brilliant. The trousers are the best climbing trousers I've seen, stretchy and without stupid pockets all over the place. The primaloft belay jacket is comfortable and warmer than my lowe alpine one, and the hoodie is just as good as the Rab shadow I have, and was less than half the price.

I also have a pair of Goretex approach shoes which have better grip than my friend's Berghaus shoes.

I hope they can get into more stores in this country.
ice.solo - on 23 Nov 2013
In reply to Jordangask:

5.10 is more than climbing. They are big players in other markets like water stuff, mountain biking, skateboarding etc.
Theyve sponsored climbers longer than 5.10 have. 5.10 is as much a connection to the rubber the shoes are a vehicle for.

From a nob-climbercentric perspective selling clothing As adidas makes more sense.
coldwill - on 23 Nov 2013
In reply to PN82:

I know there approach shoes are really good, and looking at the videos on the site their other kit like the Terrex Ndosphere jkt with stretch sides looks excellent too, but you have to be careful you don't get distracted by the Chelsea FC Padded jkt. Most of the kit is probably excellent but the site is pretty poor with little info. Lots of new names to figure out as well. Some of the product reviews are good like the kid who's getting a second pair of trainers for looking smart.
paul__in_sheffield - on 23 Nov 2013
In reply to plyometrics:

> Look at it for god's sake, for the price, it's terrible.

It looks like an 80s Eastern European take on
captain paranoia - on 25 Nov 2013
In reply to Jordangask:

The only Adidas outdoor stuff I've seen has been in TKMaxx. I bought a PowerDry light fleece/thick base, which is pretty good, apart from a couple of unnecessary 'fashion/style' features.

I've also seen some Puma bits that weren't that bad...

Then there are the offerings from Nike ACG, which vary in design quality.

The thing about these three companies is that they certainly have the materials and build technologies to produce decent products, but they seem to employ their 'street' designers for some products, who really don't understand the needs of an outdoor enthusiast; essentially, the brands' products are dominated by sport fashion, not genuine sport. And I think that until they start employing dedicated design specialists, they will continue to fail to capture market.

Call me a snob, but I'd never wear something with the overt Adidas three-stripe branding, because a) I don't want to be a billboard and b) it's unlikely to have any functional merit; in fact, it is more likely to be detrimental to function.
GarethSL on 25 Nov 2013
In reply to captain paranoia:

> Then there are the offerings from Nike ACG, which vary in design quality.

Ive had some absolutely incredible bits of kit from Nike ACG, I still mooch through to see if I can find any more, but it would appear they have ended their ACG line.

When Gore-Tex XCR came out they went mad for the stuff, with some very inventive skiwear which had a very nice athletic cut and very good build quality. There are one or two items that if I ever saw available again I would snap up in an instant. It was also excellent that the stuff was available for so cheap in TK Maxx as everyone completely overlooked it.
IMA - on 25 Nov 2013
Someone earlier mentioned that if they take a look at how Nike entered the snow market they could learn something, though this may be true, don't Adidas own Salomon?

Looking at the gear online, my biggest dislike is the reflective logo rather than colours.

In the long term we could all be thanking Adidas for entering if it helped lower prices (without sacrificing quality).

Personally though Adidas is often associated with "chavs" and football I see them as a sports brand who along with day to day wear design and produce top level sport clothing. So at the right price and a design I like I'd buy.
Henry Iddon - on 25 Nov 2013
In reply to Jordangask:

I find it odd that people only associate the brand with "chavs" and football.

How many top athletes use Adidas equipment - just look at the Olympics / winter Olympics. When it comes to an understanding of biomechanics and how a person moves / creates heat etc. during an athletic activity Adidas - with the exception of maybe Nike - must be leading experts.

Seems narrow minded to dismiss them because a few kids on the corned wear cheap products for a huge product range.

Are people put off buying a Ford because boy racers drive Ford Focus ST's - the ASBO car?

Michael Ryan - on 25 Nov 2013
In reply to Henry Iddon:

> I find it odd that people only associate the brand with "chavs" and football.

> How many top athletes use Adidas equipment -

It's both Henry of course.
captain paranoia - on 25 Nov 2013
In reply to GrendeI:

> Ive had some absolutely incredible bits of kit from Nike ACG,

Yeah; my post reads more dismissively than I intended, but the issue was one of inconsistency. Some items, as you point out, were really good, but some were bonkers; chest pockets that opened horizontally so rainwater would simply run straight in to them, for instance...

I have a silnylon hooded windshirt, and a lightweight waterproof jacket, both bought in TKM because they were a couple of the good designs. I have a pair of gauntlet gloves that use pittards leather, primaloft, gore-tex and schoeller fabrics, and are beautifully made, but the fingers are simply too long and the cut too skinny; if anyone knows an elf looking for nice gloves... Having Raynaud's, I'm a bit of a glove fetishist, always trying to find the 'perfect' gloves...

Y Gribin - on 26 Nov 2013
In reply to Jordangask:

And Adidas used to own Salomon (which, in turn, now owns Arc'teryx) according to this:

A lot of these brands a more incestuous than they appear.
Damo on 26 Nov 2013
In reply:

Not wanting to give Adidas any more free advertising, but these stripey eurochavs seemed to thrash their way up the Supercouloir alright:
johnyo - on 27 Nov 2013
I've been wearing Adidas kit for the last couple of years now and would definitely say to people to have a look at it. Some of the kit I have is as good as any other brand and in a few cases better.
Adidas have the knowledge gained through years of innovation in sportswear and have been able to apply that to their outdoor range in terms of fit and motion (Formotion as they call it).I've used the kit in Scottish winter, Alpine climbing, mountaineering and skiing and its all stood up really well.
Yes they do have the stigma of 'chavidas' (though their traditional bright 3 stripes has been toned down on their outdoor kit due to feedback) but if you can get over that then you've got some great kit!

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