Adidas On How It Plans To Catch Nike
Just a few years ago, it seemed like the global battle between Nike and Adidas for sneaker dominance was all but over. Nike emerged the clear winner. It was not only the bigger brand of the two, but its shoes were cooler, and simply put, Adidas didn’t really seem to have any kind of stylistic or athletic advantage over the Swoosh. In 2017, however, the story is very different. Today Adidas has red-hot collaborations with Kanye West and limited-edition NMDs that kids line up to buy, not to mention running sneakers like the UltraBoost, which have become gym and street staples. Thanks to its insanely comfortable Boost soles, it’s also made a strong case to Nike Air devotees about making the switch. Meanwhile, Adidas classics like Stan Smiths, Gazelles, and Superstars have all become favorites amongst fashion gods and regular guys alike. This cultural success is also reflected in Adidas’s numbers: Adidas’s overall sneaker sales jumped an eye-popping 80% in 2016, according to retail tracker NPD Group, while its stock price has jumped 67% in the past year alone. Meanwhile, Nike’s stock dropped by 3% over the same period, even if it is still by far the bigger brand, generating $30 billion of revenue globally in 2015 to Adidas’s $19 billion. (In the U.S., Nike’s dominance is even more apparent, being responsible for a whopping 45% of all athletic sneakers sold.) But if we’re talking about momentum, Adidas has given Nike a few reasons to sweat over the past few years, and they’re running faster than ever towards the Swoosh’s throne. So, the question is: how did they do it? What changed at their HQ in Herzogenaurach, Germany that reinvigorated their brand? How much has Boost changed the game for them? And how much has Kanye West’s ultra-hyped line of sneakers really helped the brand, anyway? We spoke to a man inside the machine—Arthur Hoeld, the company’s senior VP of global brand strategy—about how Adidas went from sleeping giant to the hottest brand in sneakers right now. Read more at GQ.