Meet Marc Dolce, One Of Adidas’s Biggest Weapons In Its War With Nike

by MR Magazine Staff

It’s impossible to talk about The Sneaker Wars between Nike and Adidas—the prolonged period of aggressive competition between the two brands, with the Three Stripes making up unforeseen ground on the Swoosh—without taking about Marc Dolce. From 2005 to 2014, Dolce was the global director of Nike Sportswear, overseeing its football and basketball divisions, and in that time was credited with designs like the Nike Lunar Force 1 (and updated version of the classic Air Force 1). In the industry, he’s just one of a handful of sneaker designers with actual name recognition, alongside guys like Nathan Van Hook (the man behind the Nike Air Yeezy 2) and Tinker Hatfield, the godfather of almost every classic Nike sneaker in existence. But when he decided to leave Nike, his exit was messy and litigious. In late 2014, he and two other designers working in Nike’s “Innovation Kitchen” jumped ship to Adidas, citing a “repressive” attitude at Nike, and in doing so set the cutthroat tone the rivalry has taken in recent years.Upon signing with Adidas, Dolce, along with designers Denis Dekovic and Mark Miner, were personally met with a $10 million dollar lawsuit from Nike. The brand claimed they brought proprietary Nike secrets with them to Adidas. All three denied the claims and the suit was settled for an unknown amount, but the bigger price Dolce paid was that he was sidelined from designing for a whole year—meaning he didn’t actually start working on Adidas kicks until March 2016. Read more at GQ.