Bottom line: Adidas is bringing history to the present in a stylish and impressively built way.
Ultrasuede and leather finishes feel premium
Cutout for cameras are precise
Plastic bumper runs around the whole phone
Trefoil case sticks to the back of the phone
Bottom cutouts are asymmetrical
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Everyone is making an iPhone case these days. If you type "iPhone case" into Amazon's search, you'll currently get over 70,000 results. Not only is there every kind of case you could want, from cases that hold credit cards to keep your phone safe if it's underwater, but cases from almost any brand you can imagine.
adidas is also in the iPhone case game, and they have recently dropped their new line of cases for the iPhone 11, iPhone 11 Pro, and iPhone 11 Pro Max. While maybe not one of the first brands you would think about, they've brought some interesting materials to their cases that will not only appeal to those loyal to the brand itself but those looking for something different than the average case found on an iPhone today.
I lived with three different cases for my iPhone 11, each of them for a week, and I have some thoughts.
The 3-Stripes Snap Case
The first case I tried out with the 3-Stripes Snap Case, a call back to the iconic Adidas white with black stripe shoes. The case is made out of a leather-like, but not actual leather, back with the black 3-stripe running through the middle of the case. Adidas even modeled a stitching look to the stripes to pay further tribute to the shoes that the case is modeled after.
"A legacy item in Adidas Originals history, this case goes back to the roots of streetwise style. It comes in a leather-like front with TPU edges to recreate the look and feel of the original. Finished with a contrast trefoil logo.
Below the 3-Stripes is the Adidas trefoil logo with the Adidas name in black, a solid contrast to the rest of the white that covers the rest of the case.
The bumper of the case is made out of TPU or Thermoplastic polyurethane, a popular material in phone cases. The plastic wraps around the top, sides, and bottom of the iPhone 11 and has just enough of a lip to it to protect your screen from scratches if you set your phone face-down.
The bottom of the case has two openings: one for your lightning connector to charge your iPhone, and holes poked in the bottom that line up with the speaker grills to allow your audio to come through clear.
After using the case for a week, I can say that it holds up great. The faux-leather did not stain or show signs of wear, and it did a great job of protecting my phone from basic dings and scratches. The leather on the back is more slippery than I was anticipating, so this case might not be for those who are looking for something more grippy, but otherwise, it is a stylish, well-performing case for my iPhone.
The 3-Stripes Ultrasuede Snap Case
The second case I tried out was the 3-Stripes Ultrasuede Snap Case, by far the most interesting case that I reviewed. The unique factor here is that the back of the case is made out of suede.
"A legacy item in Adidas Originals history, this case goes back to the roots of streetwise style. It comes in an Ultrasuede front with stitched on Stripes to recreate the look and feel of the original. Finished with a contrast trefoil logo.
I was both excited and skeptical of the Ultrasuede material that Adidas put on the back of this case. On one hand, it reminded me of the Alcantara fabric that is found on Microsoft's Surface line of tablets and laptops. Instead of a phone being cold to the touch, a fabric case could bring a sense of coziness and warmth, an unexpected but welcome experience for a phone case.
However, I have heard concerns about the longevity of Alcantara as far as cleanliness and aesthetics go, so I felt that same skepticism with the Ultrasuede on the Adidas case. While I have only used the case for a week, I can say that it has, surprisingly, held up fantastic. I have not seen any signs of wear or dirt on the fabric and it feels great. It's almost unsettling at first to hold your phone and feel warm fabric, but it was something I quickly got used to and started to really enjoy.
I'm not sure how long I can expect this kind of material to hold up, especially to long-term use, but the experience that I've had with it might be, dare I say, charming enough for me to forgo any concerns and pick one up anyway.
The case comes in one color, Collegiate Royal, a dark and blue that looks premium yet comfortable. The case, like the leather before it, has the 3-Stripe running through the middle in a darker shade that gives just enough contrast to notice yet not overtake the other color. At the bottom, a gold trefoil logo is displayed which mixes nicely with the blues across the rest of the case. It also has a TPU bumper with the same setup as the leather case.
The Trefoil Clear Case
I have to be honest - I did not try the last case that Adidas sent me. However, my wife did, and it did not last a week with her for one specific reason. Before we to get to that, however, let's go over the basics of this case.
"This Adidas Originals clear snap case helps protect your phone from impact and wear and tear. It's made of ultra-light TPU that's impact-resistant for optimal protection for your device. The case features an all-over iridescent Trefoil print for a stylish look.
The Trefoil Clear Case, instead of TPU being used as a bumper, finds itself here as the sole material across the entire case. This version TPU is more flexible which gives it better impact resistance to drops. It's completely clear except for the iridescent Trefoil logos that are printed across the case. Caught in the light, it is a pretty cool looking case as the logos reflect back a range of colors.
Where this case lost its aesthetics, however, is in just how flexible the back of the case is. When my wife would place her finger on the back of the case, it would form an air bubble with her iPhone and unfortunately left the back looking blotchy and strange. Because it is completely clear, it is incredibly noticeable and took away from the style of the case. Even the 20+ Trefoil logos couldn't save it from looking…worse.
As long as something like that does not bother you then it does a great job of protecting your phone and, like any clear case, let's you show off the actual color of your iPhone. However, this was enough for her to abandon it after a day or two.
Some wins, one loss
Overall, I am pleasantly surprised at the quality of cases that Adidas has rolled out for the iPhone 11. They pay tribute to the shoes that have become iconic over the years and, by doing so, bring some truly unique materials to a phone case that I wouldn't have expected but quickly grew to appreciate. If you are a fan of the Adidas brand or just want a stylish, unique case for your iPhone, Adidas Originals are worth the look.
Joe Wituschek is a Contributor at iMore. With over ten years in the technology industry, one of them being at Apple, Joe now covers the company for the website. In addition to covering breaking news, Joe also writes editorials and reviews for a range of products. He fell in love with Apple products when he got an iPod nano for Christmas almost twenty years ago. Despite being considered a "heavy" user, he has always preferred the consumer-focused products like the MacBook Air, iPad mini, and iPhone 13 mini. He will fight to the death to keep a mini iPhone in the lineup. In his free time, Joe enjoys video games, movies, photography, running, and basically everything outdoors.
By Tammy Rogers