New Marathon Jacket Seeks Balanced Design

If you have yet to see the 2014 Boston Marathon jacket, you may—or may not—be in for a treat. The marathon’s 2014 “Celebration Jacket” was revealed by Adidas in January, when it faced instant criticism throughout the Internet.

While the annual jacket rotates colors regularly, the committee faced the task of creating a design that could simultaneously commemorate last year’s tragedy and portray renewed strength.

Photo courtesy of The Boston Calendar/Twitter.

Photo courtesy of The Boston Calendar/Twitter.

The dominant orange color, dubbed “Solar Zest,” is punctuated by light blue and white stripes down the arms and across the back of the jacket. An embroidered Boston Athletic Association logo with the words “Boston Runs as One” lines the back of the collar instead of the normal “B.A.A. 26.2”.

“The tragedy is beyond anything we can do for color palette or verbiage. It’s bigger than this jacket,” Mikal Peveto, director of running apparel for Adidas America, told the Boston Globe. “We want to look back and be reverent, but it’s a new beginning.”

For some runners, even acknowledging the bombings in the jacket is a misguided effort.

“I don’t think [the BAA] should make such a statement,” said first-time runner Joe Ranft. “Making a big statement on the bombing on the jacket almost, in a way, gives the terrorists a little publicity they want,” he told the Boston Globe.

Symbolism aside, reviews of the jacket on the Adidas website are rife with design complaints.

“In 2011, Adidas chose a great colour but nothing was embroidered, then in 2012 lots of complaints about the orange colour and here it is again,” wrote one reviewer.

The 2014 jacket. Photo courtesy of Andrew Ba Tran/Twitter.

The 2014 jacket.
Photo courtesy of Andrew Ba Tran/Twitter.

The bright orange color was the main complaint for many reviewers. “This is a colour that a slight fraction of any population would truly enjoy,” another wrote.

Reviewers on the site also suggest a proliferation of alternate ideas to respectfully commemorate last year’s tragedy.

“Honoring the BAA with a traditional blue and yellow, or even going with red white and blue would have been fitting,” suggests one reviewer, while another argued for “a patriotic theme.”

Despite the complaints, the jacket release has not been without support. “The message is simple, loyal, and in unison,” said radio personality Sue Brady, who signed up to run the 2014 marathon. “It’s perfectly put,” she told the Globe.

Even online, the support for the design was evident with a little scrolling. “Yeah it’s bright, but it’s not a dinner jacket, it’s a running jacket and does a great job for what it is designed to do,” one reviewer remarked.

Photo courtesy of Flickr

Photo courtesy of Flickr

An unannounced percentage of the profits from the $110 jackets will go to The One Fund Boston, which helps those affected by the 2013 marathon bombings.

Internet insults aside, the intentions behind the jacket design are clear. When worn by thousands of runners, volunteers and officials come Marathon Monday, the jacket may be seen in a different light. The light, perhaps, of its own “solar zest.”