adidas and Brandblack won 2016, period. Both brands absolutely killed it in performance and lifestyle. The former created an entire lineup of sneakers that received excellent marks from our WearTesters. The latter created gorgeous sneakers that performed well above their price tags.
It is no secret that I have completely fallen off the Nike and Jordan Brand bandwagon (and that is what it should be called). I sold my Jordans a long time ago and bought sneakers that I love — better yet, sneakers that are comfortable all day long and that use the latest tech. I am often confused by the love many of my colleagues still have for Nike and Jordan Brand. For many of them, these brands are reminders of past greatness. But how many times do y’all want to get burned by Nike and JB? One time spending $150 or more for a sneaker that doesn’t perform and I’d be finished — but they go back time and time again for more. I’ve had it, being disappointed by these brands, so I don’t go back. And again, it is no secret that I’m the only one here that doesn’t play basketball — even still, I’ve been burned by Nike and Jordan Brand shoes that are simply not worth their price tags. It isn’t bashing, I am just choosing to speak with my dollar — and spend my hard-earned money elsewhere.
What am I looking forward to in 2017? Innovation. adidas, more than any other brand, is doing the legwork to innovate for a better future. Eric Liedtke, adidas Group Executive Board member responsible for Global Brands, pledged that the brand would make “one million pairs of shoes using Parley Ocean Plastic in 2017” with the goal of completely eliminating virgin plastic from adidas’ supply chain. I am very excited to see whether the brand actually does that in the new year.
Moreover, the brand recently unveiled the Futurecraft Biofabric prototype shoe that features an upper made from 100% Biosteel fiber, a nature-based and completely biodegradable high-performance fiber that is developed by the German biotech company AMSilk. This revolutionary fiber is 15% lighter in weight than conventional synthetic fibers and is quite possibly the strongest fully natural material available. Biosteel fiber is far more sustainable than other materials because it is 100% biodegradable in a fully natural process. This is just the next step in adidas’ mission of sustainable innovation — it began with virgin plastics, moved to recycled plastics, then it partnered with Parley for the Oceans. Now, the brand is entering completely new territory. Materials like this are what I want to see, and I want to see the Futurecraft sneakers become widely available. People will buy them.
I am also excited for Under Armour. Under Armour is ready to challenge Nike, and the brand’s slogan, “I WILL” (a response to Nike’s “Just Do It”) is just some evidence of that. UA is making big moves, and I hope we hear about more plans to bring manufacturing back to the U.S. This brand has shown that it is capable of taking hits, rolling with the punches, and doing what it takes to put performance and innovation first.
Additionally, it is one of the only big brands doing dope s*** for women. I come from a matriarchal family full of strong women and when they need performance gear, I point them right to UA. Many women are sick and tired of fluo pink or yellow for their shoes, leggings, sports bras, etc. This brand, more than any other in my opinion, is giving women real options — and creating exciting product just for them. Salute.
Finally, I’m excited to see where Under Armour’s fashion division, UAS, goes. It is the first of its kind, and so far ahead of what Nike is doing. It has enlisted true talents in both the performance and fashion industries (Ben Pruess and Tim Coppens, respectively), to create something completely new. New materials are being worked on every day at Under Armour, and Tim Coppens is bringing performance tooling and materials to new heights with his innovative designs.
All in all, 2017 should be one heck of year and I can’t wait. I would like to thank everyone that reads our site and supports WearTesters — you all are global and we feel the love. I read every comment, edit every piece, and speak with many of you. WearTesters has a fantastic community that comes here to discuss respectfully and share insights. I learn from you all every day. Thank you.