How Adidas Wants to Tackle the Urban Outdoor Sector

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Urban outdoor products are trendy. The transition between the fashion and outdoor market is blurring. The freshly launched MyShelter jacket line from Adidas Outdoor also attracted a lot of attention in both markets. ISPO.com spoke to Tim Janaway, General Manager Adidas Outdoor, about Urban Outdoor and trends and challenges in the outdoor market.

Tim Janaway has been active in the sports industry for over 20 years, since October 2016 as head of Adidas Outdoor.
Tim Janaway has been active in the sports industry for over 20 years, since October 2016 as head of Adidas Outdoor.

In September, Adidas Outdoor launched its MyShelter Rain Jacket as the first component of the new MyShelter collection. In it, Adidas combines outdoor expertise and high-quality technologies with urban style and convinced the jury of Outstanding Outdoor.

In an interview with ISPO.com, Tim Janaway, head of Adidas Outdoor, explains which customers MyShelter is particularly successful with, which brands he sees on the road to success in the future and why he believes that many outdoor brands have problems among younger customers.

ISPO.com: Dr. Janaway, the adidas MYSHELTER Jacket Franchise has been launched beginning of September. How is the first customer feedback?
Tim Janaway: The customer feedback on the MyShelter jacket has been great. Consumers appreciate the quality and technology of their outerwear and are willing to pay for that. For the young consumers for whom the adidas brand already is an important part of day to day life, MyShelter is the technical jacket they have been waiting for. Bringing technologies and innovations from the outdoors to the city, it is a product that supports them on their daily commute without the need to compromise on either performance or style. This positive feedback has been consistent through consumers, markets and retailers.

The MyShelter Rain Jacket combines outdoor functionality with an urban look.
The MyShelter Rain Jacket combines outdoor functionality with an urban look.
Image credit:
Adidas Outdoor

Functional Clothing for Mountains and Cities

A jacket with a focus on an urban use and the features of a high-functional Outdoor-jacket, that’s not new. Why has Adidas decided to also take this path?
50% of the days in our European key cities are rainy days. No matter if out in the mountains or on the streets, our consumers need functional clothing to protect them from the elements. So, we have made it our mission to create product that offers uncompromised performance and style – not only for the mountains but also for the streets. Taking our expertise and innovations from the outdoors, we design products for the young, urban consumer.

How does Adidas differ from other brand’s urban-outdoor-collections?
With the lines between the outdoor and lifestyle market blurring, more brands are trying to do the split between performance and style. While some brands bring functionality to their offer of lifestyle products, others add style to their performance range. Adidas as a brand has always been a key player in both markets – performance and style. With the insights and expertise from both worlds, adidas is THE brand to bring uncompromised performance AND style for the urban-outdoor creator.

Difficulty for consumers: outdoor character or outdoor technology?

There is a lot at the outdoor-market: Urban with outdoor-character and outdoor with urban-character – How can the consumer keep an overview and how should a consumer get orientation? Does the consumer need this?
It is obvious that the consumer is looking for stylish products with an “outdoor-character” and outdoor products with an “stylish-character”. Adidas Outdoor is the brand where the consumers can always expect 100% outdoor functionality in every product – with a style suited for the outdoors and the cities.

MyShelter has a very progressiv approach. Will such styles be established in 5 years? And which additional challenges will guide the trends by this time?
With MyShelter we are targeting the next generation in the outdoors; young consumers that are looking for highly technical, functional products in the outdoors that look contemporary in the urban environment. Styles that are perceived as disruptive by the classical outdoor industry will not be disruptive for our consumer base. Our consumer wears progressive styles in their day to day life and we deliver against that. We aim to lead the category, create those trends for the market and continue to combine style with uncompromised performance

"Brands That Stay True to Their Heritage Will Win in the Long Run"

What are chances of the urban-outdoor-market, what are challenges? How will the market develop? Is there potential?
Outdoor is on trend. Young consumers do not only increasingly enjoy going outdoors, but they also want to bring outdoor styles to their day-to-day life in the city. We see both of these trends growing in the future. Brands that stay true to their heritage are the ones that will win in the long run. And we have a 50+ year-old history in the market. One of the challenges that we see is that more and more brands jump onto the Outdoor-trend. For the bigger outdoor companies such as Adidas, it is therefore even more important not to compromise on the performance of the products – even when styling them for the urban consumer.

Adidas Outdoor: Consumer Base Has Changed

The Outdoor-market is stagnating. Where does the market need to develop now? Is there still untapped potential?
We see more and more young people going outdoors. That is a fact. And we also believe that brands have to understand that their consumer base has changed. The market has to provide for a younger, more style-oriented audience. If brands start to understand that, the outdoor market will be growing again.