In an ever-escalating retail game of chess or “anything you can do, I can do better,” Adidas has opened up a new high-tech retail outpost in New York City. You’ll recall that Nike recently did the same thing. Some things never change — these two sneaker titans have been battling it out for the hearts, minds, feet and wallets of the American consumer since the late 1970s, when Nike finally got a waffle-soled foothold into American culture.
So what do we have here? “Adidas NYC” is a massive multi-storied edifice with the usual industrial touches, reminiscent more of Q Branch in the latest 007 movie than the usual shoe store. Indeed, these huge retail stores are more about sending a message to the consumer than merely selling sneakers, shirts, and socks. These buildings are a mission statement of purpose, a huge multi-dimensional sales tool designed not only to get shoes on your feet, but to suck you into the (brand name here) lifestyle. As the website Highsnobiety put it, “The goal for the space is to usher in a new era in how consumers experience creativity and sport in stores.”
The entire store is some four stories tall, with 45,000 square-feet of space, and is located at 565 5th Avenue. According to Retail Design Blog, Adidas’s biggest store in the world has everything from exos trainers, healthy juices, and snacks from the local Grass Roots Juicery to a concierge desk and same-day hotel delivery service. There’s also a “gait analysis tool” for runners. The interior of the building is modeled after American high school stadiums, with a tunnel entrance, stands for live-sports viewing on the big screen, locker rooms instead of dressing rooms (don’t know about the privacy angle there) and “track and field areas where avid shoppers can test and experience products.”
On the Adidas corporate news website, Adidas Group North America President Mark King said “Adidas NYC will constantly challenge the status quo and what consumers expect when they go to a store. We’re giving consumers an experience that’s really authentic to them. Our job isn’t to dictate what they need or what we think they might want, but to listen to our consumers and athletes and create the future together.”