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The sneaker and sportswear industry is a competitive one – even more so than the playing field of the athletes who wear the product.
It was only a short while ago in 2013 that the industry was shaken by the word that Adidas was no longer the second largest brand in the sneaker and sportswear apparel space, after falling behind Under Armour and not long after falling behind Skechers.
It was Adidas’ time to regroup, restructure, and refocus.
Big names have joined the roster of Adidas talent since, including top athletes of their respective leagues, but most notably, Kanye West can be thanked for a colossal shift in momentum.
“In history, we will look back at the Kanye signing as the catalyst for the momentum shift. ?Adidas was in a downward decline in sales and brand image, but the moment Kanye was signed, it was clear that things changed direction and have not stopped going down that road,” says a buyer at a nationwide retailer who wished to remain anonymous.
Not long after the word was out of Kanye working with Adidas, three of Nike’s top designers made a very public exit from Beaverton in exchange for new digs in Brooklyn, as Adidas was making a major investment in design talent. ?Design directors including Marc Dolce, Mark Miner, and Denis Dekovic are said to start work in 2016 for Adidas.
above:?Pharrell Williams in circle of Supercolor Adidas Superstars
Artist collaborations including Pharrell Williams’ Supercolor pack of Superstars kickstarted momentum in a tremendous shift for the brand on the sales front as well as in consumer opinion of the brand. ?Many of our sources have confirmed that the Adidas Superstar has had the strongest resurgence in its brand’s history in terms of percentage increase in sales. ?No one from adidas was able to confirm exact numbers or revenue from the Adidas Superstar franchise.
“Beyond the turn around in sales, adidas has seen a tremendous turnaround in its temperature in the marketplace,” says Deon Point of Boston-based sneaker boutique Concepts. ?“You have consumers?walking in like never before looking and asking for Adidas and what is new from the brand.”
Across the map, we talked to Derek Curry of Sneaker Politics, who has several stores in the state of Louisiana.
“Attitude towards adidas? ?Oh, tremendously different!” he emphatically stated. “Tubular is getting the attention of many young consumers. ?The Kanye effect is real. ?It, without question, is helping Tubular business.”
“Boost, Primeknit, Tubular, and Yeezy. ?It is all coming in and crushing,” Curry continues. “The shelf life of Boost at the shop is literally measured in?hours after we post them on social media. ?I’ve never seen people race to the shop for a shoe like this in years.”
And those four fields are where so much of the momentum has shifted and changed in favor of the three stripes.
Boost has proven itself to be the hottest cushioning technology in years with the versatility of utility in a multitude of products. ?Currently, Adidas and Adidas Originals have shoes from almost every sport, hiking, casual, and running outfitted with adidas Boost.
Primeknit has been another clear winner for Adidas. ?Despite its similarity to Nike’s Flyknit, Adidas has branded their own twist on the woven knit technology opting more for simplistic colors that are much more versatile and on trend than Nike’s bright color palette used on Flyknit.
Tubular has proven success outside of just the runner silhouette market with the Tubular X and soon-to-release Tubular Defiant. ?Despite sharing the same name as a performance runner from 1993, Adidas Tubular is very much a non-sport play that does not have direct ties into athletics, but rather fashion.
Fashion and lifestyle continue to be driving forces for the brand and have extended far beyond the Stan Smith appearances on high-fashion runway shows.
Lastly, Adidas has Kanye and Kanye has Adidas. ?The mutually beneficial relationship has given Adidas star power with one of the most visible celebrities worldwide, while at the same time being a brand that respects and encourages Kanye’s creativity in design. ?With Kanye’s ability to create freely as an artist coupled with Adidas’ manufacturing and execution capabilities, we are witnessing a partnership that is something unlike any other brand-artist relationship within the sneakers and sportswear space.
This year has been a major turning point for Adidas, but is the best yet to come? ?Stay tuned for some previews and announcements from Adidas for what the brand has prepared for 2016.