Adidas Goes High Tech to Ward Off Competition

Adidas (ADDDF) has introduced a new soccer shoe to stay ahead of the competition with its revamped Adizero f50 shoe.

The $383 shoe uses an embedded chip that collects and transmits information wirelessly so athletes can take their game up a notch. The previous Adizero f50 shoe had been introduced just last year as the lightest one on the market at 165 grams based on a men’s size 8.5 shoe.

The new shoe’s 8-gram chip, called a speed cell, has been inserted underneath the sole. It transmits data to either a computer or mobile device and measures the wearer’s maximum speed, distance and the number of sprints by using Adidas’ 2006 miCoach system, which had been previously launched to monitor running stats. The new chip differs with its ability to “measure speed and distance in all 360-degree movements.”

Adidas has been in the soccer market since the 1920s and with the new shoe, the company believes its performance capabilities will make it a success.

Ryan Mitchell,head of the product introduction team in Adidas’s interactive business unit said of the shoe, “We’re able to show you what you did, give you the key metrics of your game, and enable you to compare this to your previous performances, the performance of your friends, competitors, or our global stars.”

Pro soccer players including two-time FIFA World Player of the Year Lionel Messi, wore the shoe in September. It is currently on sale in Latin America, Europe  and Asia with the U.S. launch set to hit stores on Dec. 1. Adidas estimates it currently has one-third of the soccer market share, with a value of  EUR $5 billion ($6.8 billion) annually. Analysts have forecast a 15 percent increase in soccer sales for the company  in 2012 to EUR $1.6 billion, according to a Bloomberg article.

The company faces competition from Nike, Inc. (NYSE:NKE) with its Mercurial Vapor soccer shoe. Soccer great Ronaldo wears them and the company recently said its seeing “great results” from its soccer products. Analysts are skeptical of the Adizero’s $383 price tag for kids; however, Adidas has a strong brand identity and parents may be willing to pay up for this.