Adidas Give Away Shoes to Portland Runners Braving the Elements

When the weather is bleak, cold, and just downright shitty, it takes a little more than a new year’s resolution to motivate you to get out the door and go running. That’s why Adidas went out in the face-biting winds and unpleasant weather to greet hundreds of runners in Portland, Oregon, as part of their “Why I Run Portland” campaign last week.

The Portland-based sportswear giant loaded up a van full of their new Ultra BOOST, Uncaged, Pure BOOST X, and AlphaBOUNCE running shoe models and handed out free pairs to anyone who was out pounding the pavement despite the difficult conditions. The new shoe bribery came during a record-setting cold snap that left the city with below-freezing temps and several inches of snow.

Unsurprisingly, the opportunity for folks to switch out their current running shoes for a pair of $180 shoes — all for the small price of running a few miles in the cold — was wildly popular with Portland residents. The Adidas van reportedly ran out of shoes and apparel much sooner than the company anticipated.

And just as runners who caught up to the Adidas van had the opportunity to receive, they also had the opportunity to give back. The company gave lucky shoe recipients the choice to pay it forward and donate their current pair of running shoes to the Boys and Girls Club of Portland. If not, Adidas reps took down addresses and mailed their old shoes back to them.

As a way to introduce the campaign, Adidas said that getting out into the winter weather was the perfect way to kick it all off. By the end of the first frigid day, the company posted a message on their running Facebook page thanking hearty runners for their dedication that read: “From sunrise to sunset, you braved the cold, we brought the heat. Thank you for running, Portland.”

Just so happens, I was running in Portland last week heading west on Burnside Street towards Beaverton, where Nike World Headquarters are located. Stopped at a red light, an older gentleman informed me that I had “just missed some people from Nike who were on the corner handing out shoes to people who are out running.” I smiled, said, “that’s just my luck,” and shuffled off in my Asics. That's what you get when all the heavy-hitters of athletic and outdoor wear are headquartered in one town: petty competition that is beneficial to the general public.

Portland is home to Nike, Adidas, Columbia Sportswear, and is soon to be the home of Under Armour. The close quarters have created an undeniable air of everyday competition in the Pacific Northwest city, heightening the race to the top of the sportswear food chain. Currently, both Nike and Adidas are working on top-secret running shoe technology that will help elite athletes break the elusive two-hour marathon. Nike announced limited details of its “Breaking2” program in December, proclaiming it to be “an innovation moonshot designed to unlock human potential.” But as it turns out, Adidas also has a running shoe project that it hopes will allow athletes to break the two-hour marathon — and theirs has been in the works for at least two years already.

With the sub-two-hour marathon standing as one of the last frontiers of athletic accomplishment, you can guarantee that in 2017 both companies will be taking their efforts onto the streets to get into the record books. This is a good deal for all of us runners, from the average Joes getting free shoes in record-setting temperatures to the elite athletes utilizing new technology and claiming record-setting runs.