It's not controversial to say Addidas owns the top spot in terms of "cool sneakers" in 2016. They've got Yeezys, NMDs, a host of designer collaborations from Raf Simons to Rick Owens to White Mountaineering, and a stable of reissued classic silhouettes that feel fresh again. They've managed to appeal to the tastes of fashion insiders and cool teens alike—which is not an easy thing to do. And there's proof their footwear-lead efforts are working. Adidas made $877.6 million in the United States during Q1 of 2016, and ended at $4.8 billion globally.
Nike, on the other hand had a Q1 revenue of $3.74 billion in the U.S. this year. (It also made over $9 billion in the first quarter globally.) In case there's any question about it, the Swoosh still reigns supreme stateside (in 2013, it accounted for 59% of the North American athletic footwear market share). Adidas would have to make up a lot of ground (and sell a lot more than just limited-edition kicks) to close in on that top spot, but there's progress being made.
In fact, Adidas and Under Armour—the company that passed Adidas the number two spot behind Nike in North American sales just last year—are poised to make a serious run (no pun intended) at Nike. But U.A.'s meteoric rise recently lost steam after its projected growth failed to meet expectations. Still, according to Forbes, the Baltimore-based brand's footwear sales grew from $239 million in 2012 to a whopping $1 billion in 2016, yet its 60% fall in stock price left the door open for Adidas to regain the number two spot behind Nike in the great sportswear wars.
This success comes at the hands of a 60% increase in sales for Adidas Originals and Adidas Running shoes, which makes sense when you consider the hyped-up NMD is the heart of the Originals line and the insanely popular Ultra Boost is the marquee product of Adidas Running. Investors are also feeling the effects, as a year ago, Adidas stock prices were around $90/share, while today they're close to $150. It's impossible to calculate the halo effect that limited-edition products like Yeezy Boosts have on Adidas's larger sales figures. But the fact of the matter is the brand with the three stripes continues to put out quality products that generate buzz, while Under Armour and Nike are firmly (and understandably) dedicated to sports performance before anything else.
But here's the underlying truth: Air Jordan retro styles continue to sell out with regularity, sure, but no athlete in the entire world—not even LeBron or Steph Curry, each of whom's sneakers are projected to make around $150 million in total sales this year—even come close in terms of generating the hype that surrounded Michael Jordan's sneakers in his heyday. In today's market, there are simply way too many options to choose from, and with more access to athletes through social media, their personal style off the court seems to have become just as important as the shoes they wear on it. And that's exactly the market Adidas is selling to. Whether Adidas's could one day overtake Nike's North American market share only time will tell, but as Adidas once said, anything is possible.