Washington, a Nike school for the entirety of the 21st Century thus far, announced Tuesday it is jumping ship to the three-stripe life.
University Of Washington Agrees To Terms On 10-Year Partnership With adidas
— Washington Athletics (@UWAthletics) April 10, 2018
The Huskies’ switch from Nike, which is seen as the dominant sports apparel manufacturer in America, to its rival adidas might be viewed as risky, or a bad move for recruiting. After all, it was Oregon — the flagship Nike school — that started this whole uniform revolution that is so important to recruits.
But what’s starting to emerge from beneath Nike’s hold is a fight back from adidas, which has chosen to stop battling the giant in pro sports and instead attack it via a grassroots effort. Adidas has become the official brand of the U.S. Army All-American Bowl, and has become increasingly involved with the prep level of the sport, especially in 7-on-7 competitions.
Washington’s current recruits proved as much with their reactions, according to 247Sports’ Brandon Huffman.
Brandon Kaho (2018 4-star linebacker and UW signee): “I actually really love adidas, but I’m happy with any uniform we get. I absolutely do think it will have a great impact to our team and the whole community. It’s something new and I’m excited.”
Dylan Morris (2019 4-star quarterback, UW commit): “I really like the switch up. I’m a fan of adidas. I wear their uniforms right now in high school and I think they’re awesome. I’m also really excited to see what adidas does with the UW uniform.”
Kamren Fabiculanan (2019 3-star cornerback, UW commit): “I think it will make a big impact just because adidas right now is doing so much for us during 7 on 7. Everyone is catching onto the wave, especially with the new cleats and gear they’re coming out with. I’m excited and definitely think it will be a positive for recruiting.”
D.J. Rogers (2020 4-star tight end, UW target): “The culture of adidas is something we have grown into from 7v7 to my high school team, and now with the hometown team, this is awesome. The three-stripe life is really taking over and I love it and the gear they produce. I’m excited to see the future of adidas.”
Sam Adams (2020 4-star running back, UW target): “With FSP being with adidas and me wearing it since the 8th grade, my high school being sponsored and now the hometown Huskies being adidas, this is really cool.”
How adidas treats the Washington identity will be interesting, considering it established a variety of looks that managed to remain congruous, despite a smattering of textures (chrome, matte helmets) and colors (use of black-dominant schemes). Where the Huskies trotted out in chrome gold lids occasionally (the Fiesta Bowl being the most recent) and chrome purple once last season for a purple-heavy night and also used matte black and white helmets with other arrangements under Nike, it’s difficult to predict where the school will turn under adidas.
UCLA’s 2017 switch from adidas to Under Armour took the football team away from an overly modern, gaudy look back to the classic light blue and gold. There have also been some abject failures on the part of adidas in recent years, like Louisville’s angry bird uniforms…
…and Nebraska’s and Wisconsin’s giant-letter nightmare uniforms:
Notre Dame was a school that was once a victim of adidas horror in the alternate uniform game…
…but has since leapt to Under Armour.
Adidas could send the Huskies toward a fate similar to the Bruins, or do something entirely different. In adidas’ favor, they’ve come around recently, producing some excellent throwbacks and alternates — Miami’s all-black alternate was fantastic last season, as was Nebraska’s 1997 throwback, complete with fake-mesh numbers.
We’ll learn the fate of Washington’s attire come July 1, 2019.