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By Noel Young, Correspondent

March 11, 2013 | 3 min read

Adidas is hoping to overtake undisputed leader Nike in the US with a new running shoe - the $150 Energy Boost that promises users more bounce while expending less energy.

In a marketing video, three metal balls are dropped simultaneously on concrete, traditional sneaker foam and the Boost material. As you can see, the ball that hits Boost bounces higher and longer than the others.

Yet Adidas faces a very steep uphill task. Although a world leader in soccer cleats, it is in SIXTH place in in running shoes in the $15 billion American market, the world's biggest .

Yet Adidas is so bullish on what it calls Boost’s revolutionary sole, Bloomberg reports, , that it has pledged to sell a million pairs of the shoe this year.

Within five years it aims to overtake Nike, a company founded on running shoes, in its home country.

Says Bloomberg, "That’s like Nike vowing to sell more soccer cleats in Germany, where Adidas rules the sport with sponsorships of the national team and the Bayern Munich professional club."

Americans in the past have called Adidas running shoes "stiffer and clunkier than Nike’s. The “big difference” between the two companies is the U.S. market, Adidas CEO Herbert Hainer told Bloomberg Television last week.

In the rest of the world, he said, it’s a head-to-head race. Though Adidas is the No. 2 global seller of athletic footwear after Nike, its flagship brand accounts for just 4.4 percent of running shoes in the U.S..

Adidas keeps trying . It acquired Reebok for $3.8 billion in 2006, but that buy has disappointed, says Bloomberg.

Running is worth almost twice as much as soccer globally. Adidas wants to raise revenue 14 percent, to 17 billion euros, in the three years to 2015.

Sales of running footwear in the U.S., accounting for 40 percent of the global total, grew 8 percent last year, so Energy Boost could be the best chance for Adidas - even if it seems a long shot.

“We believe Boost is a game-changing product,” Hainer said last week . “We have the biggest potential in running, and that’s where we are focusing our efforts.”

Adidas released the Energy Boost shoes on Feb. 27 in about 200 U.S. specialty running shops.

The Naperville Running Co., outside Chicago, sold its allotment of 36 pairs in four days. Owner Kris Hartner said he was impressed when his staff members showed up for group runs in the shoes, said Bloomberg.

“That’s the true test, is the staff actually wearing them to run?” said Hartner.

The foam in the Boost’s sole -- developed in tandem with BASF SE -- is made from thousands of tiny capsules instead of a single sheet, like traditional shoes, Adidas says. That makes it bouncier and improves comfort while saving energy, the company says.

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