Adidas, Nike shoes no good in durability

Most running shoes from popular sportswear brands such as Nike, Reebok and Adidas lack durability as they use mesh fabrics in an effort to be lightweight, a consumer group said Wednesday, citing quality test results.

“With customers’ growing demand for light running shoes, shoemakers produce products using mesh fabrics, but this led most running shoes to lack durability,” an official from the Korea Consumer Affairs Institute (KCAI) said.

In clothing, mesh refers to a loosely woven or knitted fabric that has a large number of closely spaced holes and is consequently much lighter than other conventional fabrics.

The civic group conducted a survey to compare the quality of 18 different shoes from eight sportswear companies ㅡ the most expensive and cheapest ones from each brand ㅡ through tests on durability against repeated folding and friction, and levels of slipperiness, shock absorbing and adhesive strength.

The surveyed brands were Nike, Adidas, Reebok, Puma, Lecaf, Prospecs, New Balance, Asics and Fila, with their running shoes’.

Despite their relatively high prices, eleven products sustained severe damage on their surfaces in the friction durability test, although most of products showed good results in other tests, the civic group said.

The problem associated with the short durability in expensive running shoes has been already raised by consumers, as about 60 percent of complaints about running shoes using mesh fabrics were related to their short lifespan, the KCAI official said.

Of them, seven shoes ㅡ Prospecs’ R Lite Wind 2 and R Lite Fit 5; Lecaf’s Flex on 2.0; Reebok’s One Cushion; Adidas’ CC Solution and CC Revolution; and New Balance’s M884BB2 ㅡ sustained damages on their surface in the early stages of the friction durability test.

Reebok’s Sublite Duo, Lecaf’s Alpha Run Go and Nike’s Air Max +2013 were chosen as relatively good running shoes.

But Sublite Duo, priced at 109,000 won, gets slippery on a wet surface, while Alpha Run Go, sold at 124,000 won, has low adhesive strength. Air Max +2013 boasts good results in most tests but it is much more expensive than other shoes, which sell for 209,000 won.

Prospecs’ R Lite Wind 2 is the cheapest among the surveyed products, available for 69,000 won, but it scored low in most tests including durability, shock absorbing and adhesive strength tests.

KCAI suggested sportswear brands should make a greater effort to enhance durability in their running shoes, while the government should come up with quality standards on durability of shoes.

The survey is the latest in the series of quality tests on various products by civic consumer groups with the support of the Fair Trade Commission under the title of Smart Consumer, the Korean version of Consumer Reports in the U.S. All the quality comparison results are available at the official site:

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