Athletic Footwear – Who’s the Daddy?

Athletic Footwear - nike sports shoesAthletic footwear and shoes have become extremely popular these days that it is practically impossible to go a day and not experience someone wearing one. Thanks to an aggressive marketing plan and succession of shrewd endorsements, the sports footwear market is predominantly dominated by the Nike with the well-known “swoosh” and “Just Do It” slogans. In a business saturated with aggressive market competitions, Nike’s 36% market share represents a substantial margin effortlessly.

How much is 36% of the market? At the time of writing, sales in the US local market alone from Nike shoes equated to approximately $7.2 billion, and that’s no trump change. This level of income from sport footwear is enough cash to buy every franchise participating in NBA related products. Isn’t it ironic a company that propelled its existence, rapid growth, product launch and endorsements on NBA’s brightest stars, could on a whim, buy the whole league all out?

Not everything is rosy for Nike in the athlete’s footwear market. Of the 50 or so “other manufacturers”, Adidas has stepped up the pace to second place and is now a major challenge to Nike’s competitive profit margins.

Athletic footwear is divided into two sectors; competitive which drives innovation and set the scene, followed by fashion which spins casual sportswear as spin-off from the mainframe. Globally, Adidas has long been the leader in competitive footwear as they were the “godfathers” of it all. Sneaking their 3 stripe trademark past stringent Olympics and World Cup sponsorship regulations of the 1950’s gave birth to a new, thriving and profitable sports footwear industry.

Adidas successfully acquired Reebok – who were the number 3 contender – for a wapping $3.8 billion, giving them a 21 percent stakes in the US footwear market place. Reebok held a much firmer grip on the fashion market than Adidas ever has and this takeover provided significant advantages for Adidas footwear market penetration strategies.

Each brand kept its identity, but there were expectations for new forms of cross-brand marketing initiatives designed specifically to capitalize on the strengths voice. With the Reebok brand blending into the Adidas mix, created innovative competitions for Nike who now had to contend with sportswear and footwear across the full market spectrum. It was expected that Nike would have to dig deep and find creative techniques that resulted in increased competitive advantage, such that even in today’s modern era, the fight still lives on.

The big business of whose sport shoes consumers should put on their feet assures has resulted in an exodus of other less known brands improving their products to become relevant and the choice for sportswear is already on the way.