For more than a decade the Adidas Supernova Classic has been one of the most cherished and popular running models for 3 stripes. Season after season this model has led sales for the brand. The interesting thing is that as much as people say they want their favorite shoes to remain unchanged, sales tend to fall off for popular models that don’t tweak things every season to keep things fresh. The only models that have been able to maintain a solid volume of sales every year while remaining largely unchanged are the adidas Supernova Classic and another Adidas model, the Brevard. For a shoe to remain largely unchanged and be a sales leader in a technical field such as running specialty for a major brand for over a decade is a testament to how good this shoe was and how strong the following has been.
The reasons for the near legendary following are the unique fit and ride characteristics of the shoe. It’s one of the few models that addresses the needs of a medium to high arched runner who slightly over-pronates. Virtually all models designed for runners who over pronate have a fairly wide base of support, particularly under the arch. The Supernova Classic has a fairly dramatic cut out arch area with a small medial post. This coupled with a form fitting upper makes it a fairly old school design, but one that works. Whether it was intentional or not, the result was a shoe that had a legendary fit and ride that no other shoe could match and it won a very fanatical customer base.
For the past 3-4 years, adidas has threatened to discontinue the Supernova Classic and force retailers and customers alike to convert to the new Supernova Sequence series. The problem was that retailers and customers complained a lot. The Supernova Sequence is similar to the Supernova Classic in the sense that it is a shoe designed for a mild to moderate over-pronator and the shoes are made by adidas, but that’s where the similarities ended. What was needed if the Supernova Classic was to be discontinued was a new shoe that had many of the key design elements of the original, a fit and ride that mimics the original, but update the new shoe with modern technologies to bring the shoe into 2010 such that it could maintain the past fanatics while hopefully attracting a new crop of converts. Enter the adidas Supernova Adapt. (click to see our Sneak Peeks on the men’s and women’s Supernova Adapt)
The Supernova Adapt features the same midsole heights as the original, the same post, the same footprint, the same upper last is also used to ensure a very similar fit. The major updates center around the addition of memory foam in the collar, a Formotion unit in the heel to tie in adidas’ franchise cushioning technology as well as the modern interpretation of the 3 stripes used on the side of the shoe to help lock down the foot. The shoe looks good and if you aren’t emotionally attached to the old shoe, the changes make sense. The problem is, the customers of this shoe are seriously invested in classic model.
From all accounts the wear testers have found the new model to be very, very similar in ride, fit and feel to the original. It fits so well it was awarded an Editor’s Choice Award recently by Runner’s World. Still, no matter how much the new Supernova Adapt has in common with the Supernova Classic in terms of mimicking it’s great fit and ride or how much the new model is but a slight tweak on the original, there is bound to be a whole slew of current users who will be in shock when news of the model change is made known. These same people will be scrambling to stock up on as many pairs as possible for future use and once that inventory runs dry, the Supernova Adapt needs to be the same shoe it was, only better, for this plan to succeed. If not, there’s always the change to the original Coke recipe, back in the mid 80’s, to look back on for inspiration of what to do when you change a consumer product for the better only to find the customer doesn’t want change, they want it the way it was.