adidas go: How to let music listen to you

In late 2014, we noticed there was an unexplored territory in between running and music, and more specifically a lack of music-focused experiences for the millions of people who run to the beat. Together with long-time Animal partner adidas, we approached the folks over at Spotify. Apart from our realizations, they had identified that 70% of people running regularly were running with headphones, listening to music or podcasts while making their effort towards a healthier lifestyle. Without a doubt, there is a strong connection between music and moving – ­they belong together.

At the same time, every runner knows the amazing feeling of when the perfect song comes on at just the right moment. When the music seems to flawlessly match your pace, giving you an extra boost with every stride. But what if we could remove the element of chance and create this effect with every song and every run? We asked ourselves:

What if instead of listening to music, the music would listen to you?

And so the idea behind adidas go was born. 

As most other running apps focus on collecting data such as kilometers, calories and speed, with adidas go we saw the chance of creating a fundamentally different, more emotionally driven experience for the millions of people that run with music.


We asked ourselves:
“What if instead of listening to music,
the music would listen to you?”

To start building out the product, we needed a world class partner to deliver on the developer side of things. We connected with our friends at UsTwo (makers of Monument Valley among other great products), who said it would be tough. But rarely backing down from a good challenge, they joined the team. Thus began our journey. For the following 7 months, we worked closely with UsTwo to bring our idea to life. Building an interactive experience from the ground up with equal focus on both design and functionality is a real challenge. After loads and loads of testing, prototyping, and of course - running, we finally had a working prototype in front of us. 

With adidas go we focused on building out one key feature; to track and match the runner’s step frequency with the music’s BPM. The app uses music from Spotify and your own preferred playlists to extract songs in similar genres and matches their BPM to your current step frequency. Underneath the ”UI hood”, a sophisticated engine was built to automatically take care of all the selection/timing/pitching magic making so that the runner would only have to press ”go”. 

Beside main focus we also noticed that our test team started discovering new music, just by running. The longer we ran, the more songs in the right tempo and matched with our music taste played back in our headphones.

As the product was getting developed, another challenge was being tackeled in parralell: How to launch adidas go into the world. Together with acclaimed photographer Rick Guest Animal created the global marketing campaign, including visual material that later launched in all adidas markets worldwide.


Want to get nitty gritty on this one? Let Henrik walk you through it: +46 (0) 70 755 47 82 or


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