In 2013 adidas enticed 40-yard dash sprinters with an endorsement deal for the fastest athlete in Indianapolis. Marquise Goodwin, now of the Bills, easily outpaced everyone with a 4.27-second time. He signed with Nike.
So adidas has changed it up a bit this year, instead offering $100,000 to the fastest dasher wearing adidas products. Goodwin wouldn’t have been eligible to win the cash, as he wore the Nike Vapor Talon cleat last year. Adidas wants the focus on its adizero 5-Star 40 cleat instead. The German-based apparel company says you don’t have to be the fastest at the combine to win the cash, just the fastest in three stripes.
Last year’s Vapor Talon was a first for combine athletes, as Nike worked with sprinter Michael Johnson to create a 3D-printed cleat specifically designed for the 40-yard dash. The Oregon-based company changed up the stud pattern of a traditional football cleat, moving studs around, changing their geometry and focusing on acceleration in initial steps.
Adidas has upgraded its adizero Prime football cleat with its own track-inspired version for a 40-specific model.
The racing is on, both on the field and for endorsement supremacy. Tim Newcomb covers stadiums, design and technology for Sports Illustrated. Follow him on Twitter at @tdnewcomb.