Adidas grabs Runtastic for digital health push

Adidas has bought Runtastic, bringing the popular fitness tracking app in-house and promising to "unleash its knowledge of sport" on its 70m users. The deal, which values Runtastic at around $241m, sees the app join Adidas' own fitness wearables like the miCoach FIT SMART, and could give the sportswear brand a lower-cost way to engage new users via their smartphones.

For instance, Adidas already offers a $33 miCoach Heart Rate Monitor and a number of other wearables, spanning the gamut to smartwatches.

Runtastic, though, is offered as a free download for iOS, Android, BlackBerry, and Windows Phone handsets. However, while a free tier is one thing, the acquisition also opens the door to Adidas getting into subscriptions.

Paid apps are also available for runners and cyclists, Runtastic PRO, priced at $4.99 apiece.

The company also has a range of its own wearables, including heart rate straps and watches, along with a health-tracking smart scale.

Exactly how the combined might of the two firms will affect products down the line is unclear; there's the usual chatter of "an impressive pipeline of innovative concepts" but nothing specific. With big names in the tech and smartphone OS space like Apple, Google, and others paying more attention to fitness now, it makes sense for players like Adidas to bolster their digital footprint.