It all started out when Christian Zwinger (Senior Designer – adidas Outdoor Footwear) and I (Andrej Zwer – Senior Product Manager – adidas Outdoor) talked about the new season in 2010. What could be some highlights and how can we set new standards in the industry with our shoes?
Both being passionate mountain bikers, we always loved the grip of our Conti tyres. No matter what conditions were like outside, and how fast we went, the grip was always outstanding on the trail. Christian’s idea was to have Continental rubber integrated into our fastest shoe in the range – the Terrex Fast R!
How did we hit on the idea?
In the very beginning, it was just like two chaps fooling around with their ideas. However, on his first designs, Christian then just integrated the Continental logo on the outsole of the shoe. In the upcoming design review, of course, there were questions from Senior Management as to whether we now have a cooperation agreement with Continental… And our answer was: “Unfortunately not. But it would be great if we did! That way we could improve the grip on our shoes significantly. Especially when going fast!” That was how it all started. We then sat down with our adidas innovation team and discussed this topic. They contacted the Continental Headquarters in Germany and interest was very high from both sides!
The biggest topic for us was how to get mountain bike tyre rubber on the bottom of a shoe?
A team was set up within the adidas innovation team to go through all the details. And soon we had the very first prototypes made up. The grip was sensational and really outstanding, but we faced big issues in terms of bonding between the rubber and the midsole on our first prototypes. As you can imagine, a tyre sits on a rim without any cement. After many improvements and several more testing rounds, we finally had the optimal recipe to make the Continental rubber stick to our midsoles. Finally, we had long-term testing in different conditions to prove the greatness of the rubber! And it passed all the tests!
Looking back now, and also writing these words, it sounds much easier than it was…
But from the first idea to the final product, we achieved something very special – industry-leading grip in wet and dry conditions! We are very proud of all the achievements by everybody involved, but we also realized that it caused us a few additional grey hairs over the last two years…
Check out the test ‘Freerunner vs. Freerider’ – both equipped by Continental and adidas!