Inside the new adidas ClimaCool Ride.
As the running shoe industry is making a huge shift towards barefoot/minimalist inspired Lightweight footwear products, adidas launches a brand new 8.9 ounce offering in a dizzying array of colors sure to please both the fashion conscious crowd and performance athletes simultaneously. CounterKicks talks with Mikal Peveto, adidas America Director of Running, for the inside scoop on one of the company’s biggest product introductions in recent memory, the adidas ClimaCool Ride…
CounterKicks: Tell us about the big product launch you have with the adidas ClimaCool Ride.
Mikal Peveto: It’s a $90 product and essentially it’s targeted as a spring-summer-early fall product where it’s the warmest time of year. ClimaCool technology is a concept we came up with in 2001 and the entire premise is to ventilate the shoe so the foot can remain cooler. In the beginning it was created from an injection Thermoplastic that was designed to pull air through. This new iteration, the ClimaCool Ride, is more done through the geometry of the midsole and outsole that allow for the air to be forced through the bottom of the platform during the gait cycle of running. And the upper of course is a nice open air mesh with a mono mesh layer on top. So we’re able to cool the foot by 12 percent, we’re able to reduce in-shoe moisture and sweat build up by 20 percent. It’s kind of the quintessential summer running shoe.
CK: How would you describe the sensation of running in the ClimaCool Ride which features a 360 degree ventilation system to a consumer brand new to ClimaCool technology?
Peveto: I’d say it’s almost like wearing nothing – but they feel better. The shoes are 8.9 ounces. The movement in the marketplace is this direction as far as the weight attributes of this shoe and the flexibility attributes of this product. It’s definitely on point with where the market is headed. As you know, even three years ago had we had an 8.9 ounce shoe, it would have been pegged as a shoe only for a person on race day or for a niche. But the market has clearly voted and said less is more. The unique point of view of this product is the venting and keeping your foot cool.
CK: The ClimaCool Ride has a very articulated midsole/outsole design with deep siping and grooves. Was the product built that way for any particular reason?
Peveto: Yeah, that’s a perfect example of form following the function. The initial design was done out of our a.I.T. (adidas Innovation Team) group who worked on this geometry. Not only does it make the shoe incredibly flexible and easy to pack and all that kind of ease of use stuff, its geometry is such that they’re slanted back. If you have the ClimaCool Ride in front of you and you put it on the table, you’ll notice that the siping as you call it or the flexion is at an angle. What that does is during the gait cycle, as your legs are in motion, it’s trapping and grabbing air and forcing it through the bottom of the shoe. So it’s a dynamic system.
CK: In other words, there’s a reason why the shoe is shaped like this.
Peveto: Right. They’re not perpendicular or they’re not completely vertical, they’re at an angle and that angle is what is helping force the air through the bottom of the foot.
CK: Some people who have gotten an early pair of the ClimaCool Ride tell me they’ve been running in them without socks and using them as a lightweight, barefoot runner. Is that something that was also thought about during the design of the shoe or something that you would suggest people doing?
Peveto: Yeah absolutely. I think it performs best with no socks. Obviously that’s a personal choice, but the function of the shoe is best with no socks. When it’s 100 degrees out this summer, it’ll be the perfect product to just slip on and go for your run or go through life.
CK: The top layer of the ClimaCool Ride is made of a mono mesh. For people who have no idea what that material is, essentially when you’re going on a run it keeps out the stuff you wouldn’t want in the shoe while still allowing breathability, right?
Peveto: Exactly. It’s almost like a mosquito net in that regard. It’s two fold I would say. Primarily it’s to keep debris out because if you look behind the tongue and inside the shoe, it’s a very extremely open air mesh pattern. So much so that you would get dust and dirt through to the foot, so the mono mesh helps filter out some of that and it gives the shoe a unique aesthetic as well. A shoe that is that simplistic with very few pieces on the shoe itself, if you had it without that it would be very dramatic with the geometry of the open air mesh. It gives kind of a see through aspect to the shoe. It’s almost a discovery point from the shelf where you can see the breathability behind that layer, but the primary purpose was to keep junk out.
CK: Is this the only 360 ClimaCool product out right now for running at adidas?
Peveto: It’s the launch shoe and then it’s followed by a $75 product called the Oscillation. So, $75 for the Oscillation and $90 for the Ride.
CK: Talk about the 26 different colors launching for the ClimaCool Ride.
Peveto: You’re in this business long enough to know that we have 26 colors because it is a fun product. It’s targeted toward sort of the high school athlete who runs. We purposefully priced it at a competitive price point that is still valuable enough for a high school kid to value that $90 transaction but it’s also priced at a point where they could buy multiple pairs in the course of the season. The ultimate expression, and your site lives and breathes by this, is there’s a lot of young people that start from the feet up when they’re judging those people walking into their lives. So this gives you the chance to kind of dial it to your personality type. And no matter how many colors you have – we could have 126 – but probably Black/White is always going to end up at the top.
CK: What else can we expect from adidas Running?
Peveto: This is a long term platform for us. Our gameplan is based around consumer benefits. So the product that we’re bringing to market has various benefits and the benefit of this of course is Cool. This is going to be a major part of our line for years to come. So we’ve already started expanding for back to school. We have a ClimaCool Ride Trail coming that’s super lightweight, 9.4 ounces, nice trail running product. There will be more coming, it’s not a one and done type of concept.
adidas ClimaCool Ride is available now at Shopadidas.com
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