Sunday, June 15, 2008

Goodbye Adidas

Needed a pair of sports shoes . For years I have been buying Adidas shoes as my experience (UT) of the quality and the range had been terrific . From the time I bought the last pair a lot has clearly changed at Adidas .
* UT = until today

Visited a store near my house and found that they had a very small selection of shoes which looked a lot like each other . And the 1-2 styles that seemed worth a closer look did not fit . Thereafter I decided to visit a larger Adidas store where I was sure I’d find my next pair of shoes . The women’s range in this store was marginally more than the first store . As I stood there and looked at the display I noticed that the total collection of shoes was pretty vast . A closer look revealed that most of the styles on display were for men . Approximately 119 styles for men. And about 60 styles (incl slippers and floaters) for women . The disparity in numbers was not a problem . The issue was the lack of meaningful variety and hence options in the women’s range . Adidas has assumed that women will only want shoes which have a white base with some predictable colors like pink , blue etc . No women’s shoes with darker colors that can survive a mud track jog . Women will daintily walk on a treadmill in a closed environment . And they will only want shoes with white color near the base of the shoe . 

This line of thinking is unfortunately not limited to Adidas . A lot of companies in various product categories apply stereotypes when designing products for women (at least in India ) . 

Watch companies will make a vast range of ornate watches for women. Too bad if you want a simple , sleek style with Roman numerals . Unless one is willing to pay the premium for brands like Longines , Tissot or Rado you have to accept a compromise if your design preference in a watch veers towards sleek , classic styles .

The ranges of several Indian clothing brands appear to be designed by men who have been given a rigid brief (by men) on what women want . I often find myself looking at the ranges in stores and wonder ‘who is the target consumer for this range ? ’.

Coming back to the shoes….I finally managed to get a pair at Nike . It was one of the unisex styles in which they thankfully had a small size . A choice aided by the fit and the fact that I don’t have the time to make shoe search into a hobby . I’m not ecstatic about the color . It fits well , feels terrific and promises to make long walks easy on the knees . 

Goodbye Adidas…

Learning of the day – while shopping for sports shoes carry a pair of socks to avoid having to use the pair at the store which they give to everyone who wants to try the shoes . I suppose this would qualify as 'wisdom through experience ' :) 



happy jogging..


Priyank said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Priyank said...

I think ( if you forgive my male chauvinistic thinking), such companies do have a point when they select a man's point of view in mind while designing shoes etc. for women. Most of the women especially in performance wear category like Adidas are perceived and appreciated as more like males and tomboyish than with feminine qualities especially in a country like India. This country is so much dominated with male mentality that today the share of manswear category is more than women's wear category unlike any other country in the world. Most of the women look to their male counterparts when selecting a performance wear category. No wonder companies recognise this and stock themselves with such seemingly 'irrational' products.

But, neverthless, your point holds that you don't find good variety suiting to the needs of the women even in companies like Adidas.