Adidas Jumping into 'Toe-Shoe' Game

Footwear giant Adidas launched a “toe shoe” this week and subsequently jumped into the ring with Vibram FiveFingers in a weird niche of a market that continues to gain momentum. But unlike the VFFs, so-called “barefoot runners” are not a target of the Adidas shoe, called the Adipure Trainer. It is a barefoot “training shoe” designed specifically for the gym, Adidas cites.

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Adidas Adipure Trainer, men’s model

Like Vibram and other “toe-shoes,” including the Fila Skele-Toes, Adidas is touting “natural movement” and the “harnessing [of] the body’s natural mechanics” with the Adipure Trainer.

The shoe, available in November for $90, has a right-against-the-ground sole that’s just 0.25-inch thick. There is a men’s and a women’s model. The aesthetic is decidedly “Star Trek,” including shiny materials, neoprene-like cuffs, and an articulated spread of “toe slots” up front.

Says an Adidas designer, “To achieve your full potential during a workout, focus on how your foot interacts with the ground in the same way you think about how your hand interacts with a ball or a bat.” The quote continues, “Using your foot’s natural power and movement will help you strengthen muscles you never knew you had in your feet, lower legs and throughout your core.”

adidas toe shoe.jpg

Adidas Adipure Trainer, women’s model

It will be fun to watch for reactions in the barefoot-shoe world, which is stacked with passionate, evangelistic followers. And we’ll be monitoring the legal wires to see what Vibram’s attorneys think. Will Adidas be served a “we’re suing” letter from Vibram like Fila received last month? I wouldn’t bet my pinky toe against it.

—Stephen Regenold

Posted by quentin - 08/25/2011 10:51 AM

I think people are taking way too broad a view at Vibram’s lawsuit against Fila. I don’t think it was just because it had toes, it was because Fila pretty clearly ripped off some, less obvious, designs from Vibram with the visual design of the shoe, not just the toes.

Posted by Alecia - 08/25/2011 11:11 AM

I wish Vibram wouldn’t sue. It doesn’t matter who comes out with the next toe shoe, theirs will always be unique. Kind of makes me disappointed in their company.

Posted by Jordan - 08/25/2011 03:28 PM

I have no idea what the big deal is with these shoes. Why is everyone going crazy over these?

Posted by Don - 08/26/2011 05:19 AM

It can be disputed whether or not Vibram came up with a toe encapsulated shoe, however they were the first to patent the idea. Which gives them the right to sue other companies that infringe their patent.
With any patent or trademark you need to protect it and show that you are doing so in order to have a valid claim on the idea, otherwise a court could deny your claim and you would be unable stop anyone from using your idea for profit.
Vibram is a business and the first thing any business is going to do is make profits and protect how they do so. If Fila and ADIDAS were to ask Vibram if it would be okay to use thier patent and Vibram agreed, it would be okay. However from the lawsuit it seemd that they didn’t.
Vibram did what any other company would do protect their profits, the same as apple or Microsoft does on a regular basis.

Posted by Yilmaz Yuksel - 09/02/2011 09:02 AM

Next step “No shoe, no problem” all natural…

Posted by Nole Gingerich - 10/24/2011 11:32 AM

I believe this is all a business strategy. Adidas doesn’t want to get left behind in any segment of the shoe industry and they are diversificating into a new one in hopes of a new slice of the market pie. A segment that Vibram started and I believe the focus on gym wear is just adidas finding a loop hole to enter the market.

Posted by Joey - 01/01/2012 08:55 PM

I can see a problem with Vibram taking on a company like Adidas though. I’m not saying Vibram is tiny, but I can’t see them winning in a lawsuit against the footwear giant.

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