Adidas or Nike?

I’ve never owned a pair. Lovely though. Via davesneakers. Usual rules apply.

Which side are you on?

Words to live by, via the Dropkick Murphys.

Nike v Adidas is kind of like this. Sure, there are pretenders. Your Reebok, K-Swiss, Converse or New Balance.

But none come close to the main rivalry. I’ve had friends who were so strongly Nike it hurt. I think for Seb, it’d be like i’d slapped his face if I told him Adidas were better. I think the same applies to Age.

Both of these guys are about my age (*coughs* older), with vaguely similar interests and within the same professional world. But I completely and utterly disagree with them as to who is the ‘better’ brand.

I love Adidas. Always have, and recently, it’s turned into a bit of an obsession (my new ones, sniped off ebay are here). I love the professionalism, the styling, the sports heritage (they are strong supporters of football, tennis and golf, the three sports I most enjoy watching and playing).

Nike, for me, denotes basketball, running (no thanks) and a different culture all together. Those of you who have met me will realise i’m about as far from being ‘street’ (or ‘urban’ or whatever the kids call it) as it’s possible to be – I even helped organise a tweed meetup last Friday.

And it’s strange, no about of communication will really change how I think. I love the new Nike 5 a side work W&K have made:

Well done Doug and co (also, check out the Rooney nutmeg on youtube, it’s genius). The work manages to capture just what I love about football, and about how it can be so social, yet so competitive, even for the bigger players. I love the old Parklife spots for Nike as well, and the ‘Eric 1966’ print work:

Despite these being wonderful spots, I still love Adidas more. I admire Nike, but I buy Adidas. I trust that the Germanic precision applied to my trainers will mean even someone of my limited talent will be able to kick a ball like Muller or Beckenbauer (or at least, give me a fighting chance). Plus Stevie G wears them, so it’s good enough for me.

Adidas have just launched a new website too, which amalgamates all of their content in one place. I like the football spots, and the little interactive Liverpool bit I fooled around with. I think, in its way, it communicates WHY people like football, though I do wonder about uniting the originals content (which, like Nike’s hip hop allegiances – features artists who love/have customised Adidas).

To be honest with you, when it comes to how i’d use the site – I don’t care about the originals/hip hop bit. It’s nice, but i’m more interested in the sport. I’m sure others will be, and Adidas do well when they use their ‘straight’ trainers and embed them in popular culture, though I’m sure Run DMC helped a lot. Heh.

Perhaps what i’m trying to say is that I view Adidas as professional, with a real history. Nike seems to me to have that for running, but not for football. Now, it got me thinking – what would cause me to switch to Nike? What would they have to do, or how could Adidas strengthen the bond?

I’m not a fully paid up believer in Gladwell esque Mavens, but I do think both brands could do a lot worse than using their trainer heritage (and ‘something from nothing’ mentality, if you check out their histories – do, it’s worth a read) to help others realise their goals. Not just big sportstars, and not just ‘fashionable’ sportspeople or celebs (though those are naturally, important).

Again, though I think defining a brand in one word is largely bollocks, for me – if Adidas is all about professionalism, and Nike is all about perseverence, what does it mean? Well, if Adidas values professionals, why doesn’t it do more in this area? I like the fact they sponsor Garcia and Goosen, two of the more expressive and thoughtful golfers on the circuit – and that the footballers they get into bed with tend to be the more Germanic, sparing variety. Could they not run initatives off their new site in some way?

You could see how it could apply for Nike as well, and something like Run London came closest to putting this perseverence into practice. Amateurs may never be pros, but they can damn well train and try like them. What happened after? Did they capture the stories of people north and south of the river? How has it changed their lives?

In short – I prefer Adidas to Nike, and like what both brands have recently communicated to me. But to both – deepen the relationship. I love 5-a-side, but i’m not sure i’d sign up for the Nike event (i’d get blown away), nor order a customised football shirt for Adidas, much as I had fun shooting at Pepe Reina.

How about you? Which side are you on? Why?