Walking out of her mid-morning yoga class, Carrie tosses her gym bag into the trunk of her Audi Q5, next to her golf clubs and her son’s lacrosse stick. She has a tee time with her friends at the club in 45 minutes but, being trendy, before she puts the key in the ignition she quickly posts a photo of a cool pair of shoes she saw earlier on Pinterest.
Carrie still will have time to warm up on the range because, by tossing on a jacket over her shirt and swapping her footwear, she will be dressed for golf. She can even wear her spikeless golf shoes to dinner with her family at a local bistro tonight.
The women who design footwear and apparel for Adidas know Carrie very well, which is interesting because Carrie is not real. She is a muse, created in early 2017 to personify the woman they keep in mind when they create gear.
“Women like Carrie want their style to be unique and fashion forward. She loves to be noticed, just ask her,” said Courtney McHugh, Adidas Golf’s senior director of global brand marketing. “She also wants versatility, apparel that works on and off the golf course.”
That’s where women like Sarah Marai, senior product manager at Adidas Golf, and the brand’s lead designer, Larissa Grashian, come into the picture. Their teams, working in tandem with Adidas’s staff players such as Paula Creamer, Jessica Korda and Danielle Kang, create apparel and footwear using technically advanced fabrics and functional designs.
“Golfers like Nancy Lopez in the ’80s wore cotton polos and Bermuda shorts that didn’t perform, in boxy silhouettes,” Marai said. “Now we’re looking at tops that stretch, that are breathable. We have polos that have UPF (ultraviolet protection factor). We want a lot from our products.”
Grashian pointed out that golf is unique among sports because there is not a set uniform. Golfers can express their sense of style using their clothes, and Adidas wants to be able to provide its players with everything they need.
“We recently had a group come to our offices from a local course, and it was exciting for us because there were six Carries in the group,” Grashian said. “Going into that conversation, we knew we wanted to talk about skirts, shorts and bottoms, so we focused our questions to them on that area. We had a conversation about a silicon inner-gripper on the bottom of the short, and half the ladies liked it and half didn’t. We obsessed over things like that this season, the gripper that would feel right but still function.”
Fit is another thing the women at Adidas obsess over.
“It’s one of the hardest things to get right and something we have conversations about all the time,” Grashian said. “We worked with an outside group that Adidas corporate uses that studies your consumer. They helped us with the nuances of our athletic consumer, their lifestyles and demographics. That helps us define our fit standards and define the fit.”
On the footwear side, the age of taking men’s golf shoes and making them smaller and pretty, commonly referred to as, “shrink it and pink it,” is dead, according to Masun Denison, global director of Adidas golf footwear.
Women’s feet are, anatomically, different than men’s feet, tending to be wider in the forefoot and narrower in the heel, so Denison and his team create women-specific lasts and designs.
“There was a time when we took men’s styles and just made them for women, but we have been away from that for several years,” he said. “We know that women want products that flex properly for their feet and gives them the performance that is appropriate for them.”
Adidas golf is banking on that type of thinking – focusing on women-specific details, being versatile and staying ahead of the trends – to help it grow and make the Carries of the world happy.