Business, Economics and Jobs

Adidas hopes to boost sales with high-tech sneaker


A detailed view of the Adidas Energy Boost sneaker at the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center on Feb. 13, 2013, in New York City.


Mike Stobe

There is no time to rest in the business of clothing and equipping the sports world.

As Under Armour prepares to launch a new ad campaign — as well as a new retail concept store in Baltimore, Md. — Adidas is launching a technology it claims will transform running shoes, which is approximately a $15 billion business.

The technology is called "Boost." It's a new cushion foam offered instead of EVA (Ethylene-Vinyl Acetate), which is the material used in about 95 percent of all running shoes.

"You try this shoe on. You run with it. You're never going to buy another shoe or go back to EVA," Adidas America President Patrik Nilsson told CNBC at the launch event.

In the box for the $150 shoe, there is a steel ball and two swatches of foam: Boost and EVA. If you drop the ball on both, it bounces higher off the boost foam. The company claims that bounce will be as pronounced even after months of running.

"This is the shoe for everybody," Nilsson said. "It is going to make it more fun and more energetic to run."

If that's the case, it could be a boon for Adidas, which has a paltry share of the United States' running market. The market is dominated by Nike, which accounts for about half of the revenue in the region.

Regardless of the share Adidas can grab from this new technology, the company will use it as a foundation beyond running.

"In 2014, all of the running shoes in the performance segment (will have it), and then we will branch out into basketball," Nilsson said. "And I can even see this being used in a cleat for RG3 (National Football League star Robert Griffin III) one day."

The shoe debuts on store shelves Feb. 27.