The Adidas ADIZERO NHL jersey made its debut on Friday, and I was on hand at Pepsi Center to take a look at what many hail as a return of the Colorado Avalanche to its original aesthetic roots. Here are my initial observations of the Avalanche’s new(ish) look.
Everything Old Is (Kind Of) New Again!
One thing that did not change with the launch of the new Adidas jersey is the color scheme of having the home team wear its darker color kits at home and its lighter variant on the road. The Avalanche remain true to their burgundy and blue scheme, removing the much-reviled piping from the Reebok Edge era, and bring back the gray mountain trim. When compared to the original Avalanche designs of the mid to late 90s, the gray trim seen here isn’t at as steep of an angle. Additionally, the corresponding black mountain trim of that design does not return in the Adidas version.
The gray mountain trim also returns to the road uniforms as well. As seen above, the gray trim seen here isn’t at as steep of an angle compared to the original Avalanche mountain trim design. Also, the blue mountain trim that adorned the original design does not return in the Adidas version, either. Comparing the two colors, there appears to be a different shade of burgundy in use on both jersey schemes. The home jersey appears to have more of a reddish tint while the road jersey opts for a darker shade, echoing the color palette utilized by the Colorado Rapids of MLS (both organizations are owned by Kroenke Sports & Entertainment).
Collar and Reflective NHL Shield
The multi-colored collar is more rounded than its Reebok predecessor. The home jersey collar is arranged with a half-ring of gray lining the back of the jersey before two small sections of blue along the front. The collar layout on the road jersey is similar to the home design, using blue in place of the gray and burgundy replacing the blue sections, respectively. The new holographic NHL shield completes the collared look, affixed to a small pentagon-shaped section of burgundy at the base of the home jersey’s neck, while a white pentagon shape adorns the road jersey. I was very impressed with the amount of reflection and detail that went into the NHL shield. Diagonal lines mark the shield, while the “NHL” wordmark is set in a grid-like pattern. I give high marks to the league for putting such polish on its crest; compared to the crests of other professional sports leagues, this is a very aggressive (and smart) move by the NHL to set itself apart from its peers.
The Avalanche Logo
A closer look at the Avalanche crest reveals more detail on the Adidas jersey compared to its Reebok predecessor. The Avalanche crest on the Adidas jersey remained largely unaltered, but one of the things that caught my eye was the integration of the crest into the home jersey fabric. In previous iterations of the Avalanche jersey, the crest was crafted separately, with its own materials, and then placed on the jersey. This created more bulk on the front of the jerseys of the time. Here, the mountainous Avalanche logo is woven seamlessly into the home jersey, giving it a much lighter feel and design.
The borders of the logo are sharply crafted , and the stitching of the logo really shows a much-improved attention to detail over the Reebok design. Compare the crest of the ADIZERO jersey to the crest pictured on the RbK Premier jersey.
Aside from the integration of the mountainous logo into the jersey fabric, the tip of the Avalanche “swirl” also has added detailing. The lining of the entire crest is sewn into the jersey fabric, giving the logo less of a plated look compared to the picture below. The silver stitching is brighter, allowing it to stand out a little more. The silver accents on the puck are slightly elongated, and some of the icicle points above the puck are a bit more pronounced as well.
The crest on the Reebok has a very “plate-like” appearance in comparison to its successor. There’s an apparent shift in how deep the burgundy color is on the logo to that of the jersey fabric, and the “swirl” wasn’t as detailed. The logo itself doesn’t contain the stitched border, lending to a “mass-production” type of look. Adidas definitely deserves marks for adding simple touches to the main crest while adding an air of quality in its logo architecture when compared to the Reebok design.
As nice as this was to see on the home burgundy jerseys, I was somewhat disappointed to not see this level of craftsmanship take place on the road white jerseys. The logo on the Adidas jersey has the same “plate-like” feel as their Reebok counterparts. I feel Adidas could have capitalized on the same structure they used on the home burgundy jerseys, as there is an abundance of white within the Avalanche logo that could have been interwoven with the road white color scheme. Instead, we have the same pressed-on plate that has been a fixture with the organization since the beginning. On the plus side, the same stitching around the logo border and the enhanced details on the tip of the Avalanche “swirl” are present here, and the texture of the mountain logo differs from that of the rest of the main oval.
A huge win for the ADIZERO jersey is the shoulder patchwork. I was a huge critic of the Reebok shoulder patches, which were very flimsy and cheap in appearance. While the ADIZERO shoulder patches are heat-pressed onto the jersey fabric, the patches themselves have substantially improved in quality. Instead of a plastic-like feel, these shoulder patches have a texture resembling that of a soft, foam-like material. The patches are lined with an embroidered silver border as seen below, and–jersey enthusiasts rejoice–no imitation stitching along the patch borders! The burgundy “C” tint in the home shoulder patch matches the burgundy on the home jersey, and the shoulder patch likewise matching the burgundy tint on the road jersey. They may not be sewn into the fabric, but this change alone may make someone investing in one of these jerseys feel as though they’re getting a more quality product compared to the Reebok Edge design.
Another departure from the Reebok line is the fight strap, which adorns the new ADIZERO authentic jersey on both the home and away variants. The home jersey is stitched in burgundy threading around its border, while the road jersey is stitched in plain white threading around its border.
“Vlad, will the jerseys that Fanatics is selling online include the fight strap?”
No. Fanatics is selling the replica variant of the Adidas ADIZERO jersey, which will not be sold with the fight strap. They may come at a lower cost, but if you want that fight strap, you’ll have to buy the authentic version of the ADIZERO jersey.
Fan apparel can take a pretty hefty bite out of one’s wallet. Instead of paying a premium on fan merchandise, some have looked to retailers who specialize in counterfeit products–often at a much lower price–to show their team spirit. The prevalence of counterfeit jerseys has prompted Adidas to introduce technology into the ADIZERO jersey line to combat this growing trend.
Whereas the Reebok Premier jerseys had a patch near the hem of the jersey that took up a fair amount of real estate, the Adidas logo on the ADIZERO jersey is significantly smaller, having been condensed down to a slightly raised, black half-sphere fixed to the gray striping near the hem on both the home and road jerseys. Upon downloading and installation of the Locker Access app (which is available on both Android and IOS platforms), owners can authenticate their jersey, ensuring that the hard-earned dollars of Mr., Ms., or Mrs. Hockey Fan have indeed purchased a genuine Adidas product instead of being unpleasantly surprised with a cleverly designed knockoff.
This is a rather shrewd move on Adidas’ part. First, it helps protect their intellectual property and branding from the negative stigma of being associated with counterfeit goods. Second, it helps prevent the influx of said goods into the marketplace. Finally (and perhaps most important), consumers will have peace of mind knowing that they are getting legitimate merchandise from a legitimate company. As a jersey collector myself, I get annoyed at the sight of numerous counterfeit jerseys in the crowd, and I am pleased to see a manufacturer take such a proactive approach in combating this trend in sports apparel.
The Reebok Edge Premier line featured heavy use of the Reebok wordmark or its logo. In addition to the previously mentioned patch above, these trademarks also appeared on an equally large patch inside the jersey below the neckline, on the back of the jersey below the neckline, and on the sleeves of the jersey. Adidas opted to take a less invasive approach with its branding, which does not appear on the sleeves of the ADIZERO jersey.
As seen here, the Adidas logo is confined to a small, black strip on the inside of the ADIZERO jersey below the neckline. The logo makes one final appearance on the back of the jersey, replacing the Reebok branding below the neckline.
Sizing and Fit
The ADIZERO sizing system utilizes a numerical jersey sizing system. The sizes range from 46 to 60; a higher jersey number will increase the jersey size. I consider myself of average build, so when I tried on a size 46, I found my movement was slightly restricted and the sleeves to be just a little too short. Moving up to a size 50 yielded more comfort, a better range of movement, and the sleeves were the proper length. I like my jerseys to fit somewhat loosely, so this was an almost perfect fit for me (more on this later). I didn’t feel as though the main Avalanche crest was too bulky on either version of the jersey, and the shoulder patches contoured perfectly along my shoulders.
For those of you who enjoy wearing hoodies underneath your jerseys, I offer this public service announcement: the ADIZERO jersey has more of a tailored fit than the Reebok design, so if you enjoy the feel of a hoodie under your jersey on a cold hockey night, you may need to select a bigger jersey size than what you’re used to wearing.
As this article goes to press, there were no options for women’s or children’s sizes. This is something that won’t be an issue, I presume, once the season officially starts.
But Wait, There’s More!
In addition to the home and away designs, Adidas is also selling its new practice jersey design, which I found in very limited quantities while at Pepsi Center, featuring the burgundy variant on the sales floor. The practice jersey traditionally has had fewer bells and whistles compared to the home and away jersey designs, and Adidas has upheld this, um, practice with this jersey redesign. This jersey features a predominantly burgundy color scheme with a touch of white along back of the neck of the jersey. The Adidas logo occupies a small amount of real estate in a near identical placement on the front of the jersey. The biggest change, of course, is the adoption of a dotted ring with “Colorado Avalanche” above and below the logo.
The NHL reflective shield is present, a move which I find remarkable for the league to adopt–it is a practice jersey, after all–but if the NHL is about anything, it’s consistency in its branding.
The Adidas logo appears sparingly on the practice jersey as well. While the practice jersey does not have the security features found in the home and road designs, the logo does appear on the black sizing strip inside the jersey below the neckline and again on the back of the jersey in a white trapezoid, used more to give the jersey a little splash of color.
When the announcement was made that Adidas was taking over the jersey designs from Reebok, there were a few concerns that the Adidas triple stripe would be a prominent feature. The practice jersey is the only place that the triple stripe makes an appearance, and it does so in a very aesthetically pleasing way.
The stripes remind me of a 1980’s era track suit, which sounds insulting, but it really isn’t. Hockey is a game built on speed, as are track and field sports. Both sports pride their athletes’ explosiveness and stamina. Both sports demand its participants be fleet of foot. Track and field fans get excited when they see a sprinter pull away from the pack during a race, and hockey fans feel that same excitement when they see a breakaway develop. Segue aside, the stripes are a nice touch, again giving the practice jersey a bit more of a color splash.
The fight strap even makes an appearance on the practice jersey, too! Burgundy stitching lines the strap in a fashion similar to the burgundy home jersey.
While the look of the practice jersey is pretty solid, the “ring around the logo” prevents me from fully embracing it. It’s not that the ring design isn’t done with a fair amount of style, it’s how the design has been applied onto the jersey: the material comprising the logo appears to be similar to that of letters and numbers one would have heat-pressed onto a recreational league jersey. While this give the design a very slick and polished feel, I couldn’t get past the heat-pressed look. I realize this position makes me sound like a total jersey snob (and maybe that’s true to a certain extent as a jersey enthusiast), but when I’m choosing to spend a fair amount of cash on a jersey, I want the quality to be there in the product I’m purchasing, and in my eyes, this look doesn’t scream one of quality.
As I mentioned earlier, only the burgundy practice jersey was on the sales floor. At the time this article goes to press, it is unknown whether the blue, black, or gray variants will be available for sale in the near future. It is fair to speculate that one or more of these colors can be purchased in the future, so stay tuned!
Ah, the question at the forefront of everyone’s minds. “How much will these new Adidas jerseys cost, Vlad?” The fine folks at Altitude Authentics, the merchandise store at Pepsi Center, were kind enough to provide this pricing sheet.
It’s important to keep in mind, however, that this pricing sheet compares the authentic versions of both the Adidas and Reebok jersey designs at regular price. The cost of the Reebok Premier jersey is substantially lower. Currently, Altitude Authentics has dramatically reduced the prices on its entire stock of Reebok jerseys, selling its Premier stock for $50.00 USD and its authentic stock for $100.00 USD, which may delight bargain hunters looking to represent the burgundy and blue of the Avalanche. (The third jersey featuring the Avalanche triangular “C” logo isn’t a part of this sale, folks, sorry.)
The ADIZERO replica jersey sold online by Fanatics, as mentioned before, will be less expensive, but the fight strap will not be included on the jersey. The only way to get them is with on an ADIZERO authentic jersey, so factor that into your decision as well.
Want that blank jersey customized? Altitude Authentics can do that for you for an extra $75.00 USD (and a turnaround time of 2-4 weeks). None of the Adidas jerseys featured any player names or numbers while I was covering the jersey launch.
No Player Jerseys? Why?
Only the blank versions of the ADIZERO jersey were made available for purchase on launch day. Staff at Altitude Authentics told me that, as of launch day, Altitude Authentics is the only Denver-based brick-and-mortar retailer selling the Adidas ADIZERO jersey and has an exclusive retail window of 72 hours (less as this article goes to press); other B&M retailers will be able to begin selling the blank jersey as well once this exclusivity window has elapsed.
Nathan MacKinnon will the first Avalanche player jersey available for purchase beginning on Tuesday, September 19. This coincides with the Avalanche’s home preseason opener against the expansion Vegas Golden Knights. The player jerseys for Erik Johnson, Gabriel Landeskog, and Mikko Rantanen will become available on Thursday, September 21, when the Dallas Stars pay a visit to Pepsi Center for the Avalanche’s second home preseason game. Currently, there are no other plans to release other player jerseys in the near future, so fans of other players on the team may have to resort to other alternatives.
Final Musings (For Now)
It’s great to see a return to the design that made the Avalanche jersey a unique look around the NHL landscape. The gray mountain trim, a signature of the nearby Rocky Mountains, is a welcome sight after years of staring at the oft-maligned Reebok piping which never blended well with the Edge design. While some may pine for the return of the oval Yeti foot shoulder patch, this jersey wasn’t designed to be a complete return to yesteryear; the Colorado “C” patch is destined to be a fixture in the Avalanche jersey scheme for the foreseeable future. The fact that the patches are actual patches and not a flimsy piece of cheap plastic with phony stitch marks is as big of a gain as the return of the gray mountain trim. Fans deserve a quality product for the prices charged for the merchandise, and to never have to see imitation “stitching” lining a shoulder patch again is nothing short of a victory in my eyes.
I’m glad to see Adidas offering the ADIZERO authentic jersey at a price point low enough to justify the purchase. I balked at the price tag of the Reebok Edge authentic jerseys; there were several other ways–practical or otherwise–I could spend that kind of money. Don’t get me wrong, it’s still a significant investment to buy the Adidas jersey, but it’s a cost that, in my jersey enthusiast mind, I can live with.
The minimized Adidas logo branding across the entire Avalanche ADIZERO jersey scheme also deserves praise. On the flip side, my biggest aesthetic complaint is the plastic-like look of the “ring around the logo” design on the practice jersey. However, since I don’t collect practice jerseys, I am willing to put this complaint to the side.
Speaking of gripes, the fact that Adidas and the NHL made such a big deal about the new Adidas jerseys but didn’t bother to release any sizes for women or children is a blunder. Granted, it’s a correctable blunder, but it’s a preventable blunder in the current day and age. Women and children are a big part of the hockey market, and not carrying a highly anticipated product line that is tailored for them can be misconstrued as exclusionary. If Adidas is not planning to offer an ADIZERO line for women, they can easily say that the jersey line is unisex and dodge that bullet, while also saying that there’s a children’s ADIZERO design being released soon. Again, a correctible blunder, but it’s a preventable one.
The biggest question marks I have about the jersey remain unanswered, simply because the player jerseys weren’t available at launch. I mentioned earlier that the fit of the jersey felt nice, but the extra weight and feel of the numbers and the look of the lettering are factors I have yet to take into account. Once I can get my hands on a player jersey, I will release a follow-up article containing my observations about its design.
Overall, Adidas did great in providing a fantastic offering sure to please Avalanche fans. I can confidently say this is a jersey I will add to my collection!
I just have to decide which one!