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Cinderella's Neon Slippers 09/09/2009 - 12:46 PM

Oudin's believe shoes When Melanie Oudin continues her Cinderella run tonight at the U.S. Open, her slipper company will be along for the ride. All the way to the bank.

Oudin's pink and yellow Adidas Barricade V's that she and her boyfriend designed this summer on may look more like neon bowling rental shoes than tennis footwear, but they've become the big fashion buzz of the Open. As the 17-year-old Georgian has spun her way through four rounds of against-the-odds Russian Roulette -- first Pavlyuchenkova, then Dementieva, Sharapova, and Petrova -- traffic and sales on the Adidas website has increased five-fold, according to a company spokeswoman.

Oudin's performance has been a match made in marketing heaven. Adidas couldn't have paid for better on-court exposure in front of the packed Flushing Meadows crowds and the global TV cameras. All eyes are naturally drawn to Oudin's hip-hoppity Barricade V-clad feet, reminiscent of Jennifer Beals in "Flashdance" ("she's a maniac on the floor"), the 1983 movie musical that, not unlike the Melanie Oudin story, also tugged at the heartstrings and made you believe in the power of dreams. And the shoes' wild colors pop even more with the contrast to her muted dark purple tank and skirt.

Be-Like-Melanie fans can click and buy her shoes or they can substitute their own color picks from a huge palette for the midsoles, midfoot, laces, outsole and uppers on a computer model for $140. The "MI Adidas" ("MI" stands for 'My Individual') build-a-pair webstore was launched this year by the company for some of its tennis, soccer, basketball, running and training shoe products. (Nike also has a color customization shoe program at its site, but it doesn't include tennis.)

Of course, the biggest draw of the MI Adidas program is the option of inscribing a personal message on the side of the shoes. As everybody around the world knows by now, Oudin elected the word, "Believe" on hers.

Adidas spotted Oudin's potential three years ago at the Racquet Club of the South in Atlanta when she was 14 and her star power was just a twinkle in her coach Brian de Villiers' eye. The company enlisted her to join its National Junior Team, a group of about 25 boys and girls in the United States who are supplied apparel and footwear. Adidas became Oudin's official sponsor when she turned pro last year, but the company declines to discuss the money relationship.

Ironically, her opponent in the quarterfinals tonight is Adidas' most prominent women's tennis endorsee, Caroline Wozniacki, who presumably signed a megabucks deal this summer as Adidas' spokesplayer for its tennis line designed by Beatle daughter and celebrated designer Stella McCartney.

So tonight's fashion match-up at Arthur Ashe Stadium under the bright lights pits Wozniacki in her pale purple-colored ensemble with ruffles from the "Adidas by Stella McCartney Collection" against the kid from Georgia in the "Adidas by Oudin" shoes.


Posted by Superman1272 09/09/2009 at 12:55 PM

I think this HAS to be the biggest pay-off for the "MIAdidas" webiste that they could have ever hoped for! I can only imagine the footwear the courts will see with junior players gearing up for the high school season. What a great way to market your shoes.. allow the people buying them to design them!

I know Nike has something similar... just wish they would get on board the tennis train. I really like my (discontinued) Nike Oscilates, but look like they will getting my next shoe purchase.

Hmmmm... maybe some in a red, blue and yellow color scheme... LOL!

Posted by Candace S. 09/09/2009 at 02:15 PM

I saw her shoes wen se was playing against Sharpova. I was thinking, those look really cool. I live in Ga and am sooo proud of her performances. Go Oudin!

Posted by Jack 09/09/2009 at 02:22 PM

Now all the wannabes can rejoice a return of the 90s fashion of hot pink, neon yellow, and replace "believe" with the ever annoying nonstop "C'MON"...

Posted by Mark 09/09/2009 at 03:13 PM

Really enjoying her performance and pulling for her but the shoes are a disaster! Awful! Are they really selling them?

Posted by TuTone 09/09/2009 at 03:23 PM

I think if Nike were a little more arrogant they would do better.
Loving the shoes. Keep it up. Adidas deserves it for backing her early with more than just clothes.
McFlurry is going to beat McCartney, you wait and see.
Clean neon will beat dirty mauve. You just wait and see.
Adidas on Adidas violence. What fun. Wacky Wozniacki sure did clean up her act in a hurry. Let's see how she does with crowd control this time.

Posted by darthhelmethead 09/09/2009 at 03:32 PM

Looking at those shoes hurts my eyes.

Posted by Mark AL 09/09/2009 at 04:01 PM

one of friends recently ordered a pair from that site. I'll be interested to see them. I'm sure "C'MON" will be a popular word to have on the shoes, however I'm more a fan of "That's Right!" after I hit a

Posted by rg 09/09/2009 at 04:18 PM

i love her shoes. i want a pair. she is like fresh air. i hope she wins. i love her spirit.

Posted by rosebud 09/09/2009 at 04:26 PM

i love her shoes. she has such spirit. i hope she wins.

Posted by Corleone 09/09/2009 at 04:29 PM

Oudin is great. I hope she and Clijsters play in the finals, but I think she's going a little bit overboard with “C’MON” every time she wins a point. That’s little bit annoying, I hope she can control that. When she played Sharapova, my god, both of them, “C’MON”, “C’MON, too much.

Posted by Gdub 09/09/2009 at 05:15 PM

I just wished they would offer more colors- that would really be nice like yellow for the inside and outside bases of the shoe- that would be nice.

Posted by Clare A. Mohs 09/09/2009 at 06:54 PM

I know people don't like the "C'mon!" from her, but it really doesn't seem to come with any of the the obnoxious attitude that sometimes accompanies its overuse.
I think she's just a real enthusiastic and motivated 17-yr. old.

But I mean, look at Rafa. VAmos! with that surly face!
When I first started watching him, my impression was "what a jerk!" But he's NOT.
You get the interviews after the match, and also read about his personal inter-relationships, and you can see that it's just a highly motivated and and enthusiastic player.

I'm thinking...same here.

Posted by Andrew 09/09/2009 at 07:44 PM


The other benefit of the miadidas system and the key one for me is that it allows you to select a wider fit for the shoe. Personally, I don't care what colour my shoes are and I don't have any need for them to include personal messages (I don't expect anyone to read them, I won't and I pity the day I take motivational advice from my sneakers) but I do need a slightly wider fitting than the standard model. The Barricades are the best hardcourt shoe on the market and I'm happy to pay that little bit extra in order to get them made to fit.

Posted by lois 09/09/2009 at 09:28 PM

Oudin, I wanted her to win so badly, I kept yelling at the TV-move up some. She may have lost but she played great and beat some very good players and will only get better. VAMOS OUDIN.
I wish you the best and you were great at your very 1rst big tournament.

Posted by Ray Clark 09/09/2009 at 09:29 PM

Color "palate"? Please. Don't trust your spellchecker.

Posted by Shannon 09/09/2009 at 10:13 PM

Personally you couldn't pay me a million dollars to wear those shoes. Okay you could but I wouldn't be proud wearing them. Maybe it's because they look a bit too flashy and young but that's just me. Congrats to Melanie on a fantastic US Open, she was so refreshing and exciting to watch. All the best to her.

Posted by princepro110 09/10/2009 at 09:33 AM


I love the story about the shoes.


I read in the New York Times last week that the men use the Wilson hard court ball while the women use the lighter/faster clay court ball. How much speed in MPH does that add/loss to a serve?

Also....what ball do they use at the Open for mixed doubles??

Posted by Maggs 09/10/2009 at 12:40 PM

That was Stella McCartney's design? That dress was the ugliest, least flattering thing I have ever seen on a tennis player! The color was drab and boring and the silouette was frumpy.

Posted by John 09/11/2009 at 09:29 AM

$140 is a lot to pay for custom colors and a word. Do they still come with a 6 month warranty? I'll just stick with the off the shelf barricades.

Posted by brknstrng 09/11/2009 at 01:25 PM

Personally, I think the coup would have been to allow folks to print their own inserts for the little "word window" and change them at will. Think of all the sales to team (school, club) players: "Trounce Trinity"; "Crush Crowley"; "Bounce Baylor." And right now, players at the Open could slide "Rain Delay" into those little windows...

Pink and yellow. I never understood how someone could have decided those hues went well together. My personal opinion is that's the reason Rafa lost at the French this year, not the bad knees or Soderling. It was karma for Nike making him take the court in that garb. ;-)

Posted by CourtCo 09/15/2009 at 05:22 PM

I love 'em, Bill. Now, what to wear with them?

Posted by JimF 09/18/2009 at 02:18 PM

I bought a pair, but not for the colors (I made mine yellow and black) but because Miadidas let's you buy three shoe widths and specify different sizes for each shoe. In my case, the narrow size fits much better than the standard one-size-fits-all offerings of Nike etc.

You can also specify the shank stiffness and choose an insole.

Posted by Jeffrey 11/25/2009 at 08:54 PM

If it were pitch black I think those shoes would still light up an entire city block!

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