Majambo and the concept of performance in Swahili

Often, when we pick up a pair of running shoes in a store, we look at the color, weigh the texture, try them on, buy them. But there is one question we hardly ask: how were they developed?

Or rather, what are the stages from when the idea is born to when you see the shoes appear in the market?
There is one in particular that I would like us to focus on: product testing.

In fact, before running shoes are put on the market, they are tried, corrected, tested, analyzed. Most importantly, they go through the feelings of different categories of testers.

And so it was with the adidas Adizero Adios Pro. But with exceptional testers because, if you want to create race shoes that are winners, you have to rely on some of the strongest athletes in the world.

An adidas athlete shows the first version of the Adizero Adios Pro that made say the first majambo!


Part of the adidas development team then moved to Kenya for some testing sessions. And the development process is what you can imagine: prototype / testing / opinions / changes / prototype / testing… and so on, until the shoes are perfect.

Perfection, in the case of the adidas Adizero Adios Pro, has translated into: majambo!!! The word was spoken by the athletes as soon as they put on their feet the shoes, the same ones you find in the store. One would almost have to think of Sofia Coppola’s film “Lost in Translation,” because it is not such an easy word to translate. Behind it are many meanings, feelings, emotions.

In Western languages it would come to translate “majambo” as “wow,” however, it is still reductive. Majambo in Swahili represents something new, unexpected, amazing, that you can’t tear yourself away from. And, indeed, the adidas Adizero Adios Pro are just that (find the review here).

And I like to think that behind all the technology involved in developing these shoes, there is also an emotion, a feeling and a beautiful story. Outside the laboratories and on the dusty roads of the Kenyan highlands.


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