Anta seems to be riding a wave of nationalist popularity in China, where its stock has been beating Nike at its own game. Now, the Chinese sportswear titan, endorsed by NBA stars like Golden State Warriors sharpshooter Klay Thompson, is looking to wield its growing influence with a new venture.
In June, Anta worked with Tsinghua University to birth the Tsinghua University-ANTA Group Joint Research Center for Sports Fashion to advance innovation in the athletic sector, and simultaneously revealed the “M·O·V·E-Born by Movement” centered on their shared mission and values. They also launched the Global Sports Equipment Innovation Design Competition, a creative talent platform not just to identify and nurture promising global designers but also to help these young talents “exhibit their skills, gain creative training and realize their ideas and dreams.”
“Innovation is the foundation for survival of the company,” said Ding Shizhong, Anta Group chairman and CEO, noting the company’s 30th anniversary this year. “We will continue to invest in technological innovation and R&D while rapidly transforming the group’s global resources. The triple R&D model of industry-university-research cooperation that integrates R&D and academic resources is the only way for ANTA to go global.”
Anta’s 2020 “ANTA Cup” China Footwear & Apparel Design Competition garnered north of 1,000 submissions worldwide and ultimatelt crowned Cui Tiehan and Wang Shengyu with top honors in the footwear and apparel categories, respectively. The former’s award-winning showcase “Superflex Clog 2030” was notable for its “simplicity and a celebration of the ordinary,” Anta said, noting that Dalian Jiaotong University graduate had entered the competition for the first time.
“I fervently hope there is value and raison d’être in the shoes I design,” said Cui, adding that design should center on the marriage of user experience and “creative inspiration.”
The designer’s shoes were inspired by clogs, among the oldest styles of traditional Chinese footwear. Fully recyclable and degradable wood composed the main midsole. Cui believes that in addition to harnessing new technologies to enhance convenience and comfort, sneaker design must employ new technaiques and materials to conserve both costs and resources. Sustainable green design also aligns with the Anta’s Keep Moving ethos.