Adidas Blends Function & Fashion As Free Hiker ‘Escape The Noise’ Aims To Shake Up Outdoor Sports

Led by a 2019 multi-channel boot campaign, adidas launched a New Year campaign called ‘Escape The Noise’ that looked to shake up the hiking and outdoor sector and ‘make it fit for today’s consumers.


Adidas is making a big investment in hiking space led by its latest campaign for its ‘Terrex Free Hiker’ footwear.


The campaign, which aimed to take a realistic approach to hiking, kicked off on 21 February when adidas seeded small batches of the Free Hiker boot to targeted retailers ahead of the official launching in order to create some ‘pre-launch noise’.


(The Pacific Trail hike was used in the campaign research)


This was followed up by an ad campaign, running primarily across adidas’ digital and social channels, called ‘Escaper The Noise’,


Created alongside All Conditions Media, the work aimed not only to promote the shoe itself, but also to push hiking in general: drawing on themes such as ‘mindfulness’ and ‘taking time out from busy schedules’.


The initiative was fronted by a world-renowned DJ, Diplo: whose job involves working through the night, often into the early hours of the morning.



“When we look at people in the cities, they’re always ‘on’ and are generally craving an outlet to recharge and become a better version of themselves. Diplo is a great example of that. This guy DJs around the word until 6:30am and is on such a high leaving the concerts that when he finishes he goes for a hike to bring himself back to a place of normality,” Adidas’s global VP of marketing and digital commerce Stephen Dowling.


“I’m sure it happens all around the world, for many people, their outlet is hiking too. But it might not be the kind of hiking you think about. Yes there are people who hike the Alps, but in the Hollywood Hills you’ll find people hiking and in Richmond Park people go for a short hike. Really, it’s every day.”


As well as Diplo, Adidas worked with a number of influencers for the Free Hiker launch.


According to Dowling, Adidas is clear that influencers must really be influencing in a specific category and that ‘authenticity is a non-negotiable’.


The campaign champions Free Hiker’s heritage, but the work primarily blends the brand’s stylish and trendy reputation while simultaneously focusing on performance.


Thus addressing what adidas sees as the sector’s fundamental challenge: the perception of hiking gear as being highly functional but not particularly fashionable.


The initiative also includes a hero video.



“Escape the Noise is where we tell the world that we realise the pressures of city living, we understand the daily environmental worries you have,” said Adidas’s global VP of marketing and digital commerce Stephen Dowling.


“We want to help [consumers] but we don’t want to help them in a talk-down way. We want to look them in the eye and say, ‘hey whatever you’re facing in life, if you want to escape the noise, we’re here to support you’.”


Adidas’ route to outdoor success is striking a product and a marketing balance between aesthetics and withstanding tough terrain.


To prove it’s not all about street style, the Free Hiker is being positioned as a product that can ‘live from the mountain to the streets.


Adidas claims it can endure about 1,500kms of trekking before a replacement is needed: that’s around twice the distance of most shoes on the market.


The Three Stripes brand has introduced the first performance hiking boot with Boost technology silhouette in three new colorways and


The boot is water repellent and stretchable Primeknit construction with an extended sock-like bootie, reinforcing TPU play on the heel, Boost cushioning and Continental rubber outsole for superb grip on any terrain.


“We’re being true to Adidas and Adidas Outdoor in this line because if we just create an overly styled product that lets someone down in the toughest terrain, we’re not staying true to being the greatest sport brand in the world,” explained Dowling.


“Or we could create an ultra-technical shoe that looks like something my great grandfather in Dublin would have worn, but then again that’s not really Adidas. Adding uncompromised performance and style while overlaying that with our purpose that sport has the power to change lives is sweet-spot Adidas and sweet-spot consumer.”




When many people think ‘hiking’ they think of heavy brown boots, functionally dull trousers and unflattering fleeces.


So it makes plenty of sense for adidas to focus more on fashion in order to reach a new generation of consumers who might be under the assumption hiking is only for older ramblers.


Adidas’ big investment in to the hiking space aims to shake up stigma around outdoor sports, modernise its stale image and appeal to a younger generation of consumers.


What might success for this campaign look like?


Adidas’ Dowling says there are two key markets it wants to reach.


“Success is seeing the Free Hiker in Soho, London, in Shanghai and in Manhattan but also seeing it when holidaying in the Alps or if you’re climbing Kilimanjaro. It lives in both worlds,” explained Dowling.


“We combine the best of everything. We might not create something for the top of Everest but we’re pretty close, and you can still wear it in the street.”


“Outdoor wear has suffered from a perception of staleness and oldness… We combine the best of everything. We might not create something for the top of Everest but we’re pretty close, and you can wear it in the street,” added Dowling.


Indeed, the new Free Hiker boot was created by a design team that completed the Pacific Coast Trail in the US: a gruelling six month trek.


“After a week, people on the trail are like, ‘this just isn’t sustainable and it’s also not me, it’s not who I am’. So we created the Free Hiker to be the best performance hiking shoe on the market, but one that you could wear daily on the street and bring that energy to urban environments,” said Dowling.


Even for a sportswear behemoth of adidas, launching in a new sub-category isn’t simple or easy.


But there are already some statistical signs that the new strategy is making some headway.


After all, adidas’ lead ‘Terrex Mountain Project 2018’ commercial notched up around 1m YouTube views on the brand’s own channel.



This campaign, also developed in harness with All Conditions Media, dovetailed with experiential activation at the 2018 Kendal Mountain Festival.


With 15,000 visitors over three days, the Kendal Mountain Festival is one of the biggest outdoor gatherings in the world and adidas made sure that its TERREX brand was in the thick of the action.


At the event the team set up a ‘Creator Hub’ on an elevated position overlooking the main festival village to act as a physical embodiment of the adidas TERREX Outdoor Creator brand mission.


Dovetailing with the festival’s umbrella vibe, the branded space enabled visitors to exercise body and mind either by creating their own mini shoes at the TERREX workshop or by taking new season trail running shoes out for a test in the surrounding countryside (accessed directly from the Hub itself).



This experiential space was supported by hyper-targeted location-based social media stings and high-profile athlete appearances.


The activation aimed to ensure adidas was a key part of the festival experience and to underline adidas TERREX’s position as the creator brand for the outdoors.












All Conditions Media



Leave a comment


Featured Showcases

Leave a comment