If you’re reading this, chances are breast cancer has impacted your life. One in every eight women in the United States alone will develop breast cancer in their lifetime, so whether you’ve been diagnosed yourself or you know someone who has, the fallout impacts us all. This year, the folks at Adidas are joining the fight to raise awareness and support with a limited edition release of their most popular mountain biking shoe, the Five Ten Freerider Pro Canvas.
This new colorway combines all the industry-leading features of the standard Pro model (grippy Stealth S1 outsoles, impact-resistant toe boxes, durable synthetic uppers made from recycled ocean plastic) with attention-grabbing style, but the Freerider Pros are more than just a handsome piece of gear: This is a pair of shoes with a story.
This particular story starts all the way back in 2010, when an avid mountain biker by the name of Luke Hontz was offered his dream job as the bike project manager at Five Ten shoes. Hontz says biking had been his greatest passion since he was a kid, but he never expected he’d get a chance to turn that passion into a career. Sadly for Hontz, his new career honeymoon was short-lived: A few months after starting the new job, Hontz got the news that his mom had been diagnosed with breast cancer.
“I was really shaken. I was in the thick of a new career, my dream job, helping to kick off the Five Ten Bike business. Plus, that first year, Five Ten was bought by Adidas (2011) which added many additional layers to my job title. I traveled a lot to major bike events, in North America and Europe. It’s nothing I would ever complain about, but it meant I was on the road rather than being with my mother.” – Luke Hontz, Adidas Five Ten Senior Product Manager
Luckily for Luke, his mother is a fighter: Today, Susan Hontz lives cancer free, and like many of the 3.8 million breast cancer survivors currently living in the US, much of her success is due to early detection. According to the National Breast Cancer Foundation, 65% of breast cancer cases are diagnosed before they have time to spread to other parts of the body. Of those early-detection cases, the relative survival rate among patients is a heartening 99%.
Hontz says his mother’s experience inspired him to find a way to give back. He wanted to design something that would get people talking, which meant it had to be more than just another pink shoe. Hontz had worked with women’s pro mountain biker and Five Ten athlete Vero Sandler on a previous project, and knew she also happened to be a talented artist. When he approached her about collaborating on a design, the response was overwhelmingly positive.
Like many of us, Sandler had a close friend who had suffered from breast cancer, and was happy to help. She spent the next few weeks speaking with breast cancer survivors, and found a common thread between them that ultimately inspired the sweet design you see here.
“Spending time in nature or thinking about nature helped them stay positive through difficult times,” says Sandler. “Some significant people in my life have suffered from breast cancer. It’s important to spread awareness, and I’m stoked to be involved with designing this collection.”
With the designs completed, Hontz took his proposal to the rest of the team at Adidas. The result looked so good that the company decided to run a full line of Adidas shoes with the BCA graphics, and included their Terrex Free Hiker and Agravic Ultras in the campaign, as well as the ever-popular Adidas Ultraboost running shoe.
Although we’ve tied a pink ribbon around breast cancer awareness month for the year, these new designs will be on sale through the month of November. Adidas has pledged to donate $15 for every shoe sold to either the National Breast Cancer Foundation or UK Breast Cancer Now, so whether you’re due for a new pair yourself or you’ve got an active person on your holiday shopping list this year, they’re a great gift for a great cause.
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