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Friday, July 23, 2010

Adidas - Improvement Continues

When they launched their initial line, nearly everybody agreed that it was complete crap. When John Grant Jr signed on as their top endorser, people saw dollar signs in his eyes. When Michigan's MCLA team switched to their gear, people thought the move would doom them. After Michigan won two of their three consecutive MCLA championships wearing only Adidas gear, people claimed that it was "the wizard and not the wand."
But very few would argue that the Grant line is garbage. The gloves are protective, breathable, and (in my opinion) stylish. Most members of the Michigan team wore Grants throughout the season.
The shafts are quietly gaining a strong reputation for being reliable and of high quality. Offered in all lengths, the stick line is functionally complete. Not too many things have been said about their heads, but that is not surprising. No other piece of equipment seems to command as much loyalty or skepticism as the head.
Although their shoulder pads still look suspicious, the rest of the Adidas line seems to be maturing quickly. The company recently announced its 2011 line. Opposite most conventional product lines, higher numbers indicate lower price points - 111 is the top of the line (presumably under Grant) while 311 is the bottom. The utilization of Adidas technology such as Formation and ClimaLite brings plenty of promise to the new line as players seek to find the answer to sweaty palms.
The styling is classy and clean, as one would expect from such a storied company. Visually, this line is a major departure from their first attempt - and that is a great thing. The gloves finally look like something that any player would be proud and comfortable to wear.
Perhaps the most interesting thing the 2011 line offers is customization. Both the 111 and 211 ranges are available for tweaking which increases the likelihood that club teams across the country will at least explore Adidas. Sponsored schools such as Notre Dame and Brown are now one step closer to using Adidas lax gear. I anticipate that the former will definitely move to Adidas once their Brine contract runs out, if not sooner.
*The included images are mock ups of Drake University lax gear used to illustrate the 111 line. Drake was chosen because they are an Adidas sponsored school and they recently launched a lacrosse club. There is no indication that the club team will wear Adidas, however.

Tribe 7