If you are a frequent traveller and you know the importance of good shoes in your life, you will relate to this article and you would want to come to a conclusion in the end. When you think of sneakers for a trip, I am sure the two obvious brands that come to your mind are Adidas and Nike. Adidas vs Nike debate has been going on for a while now. Both of them are renowned brands and are the best at what they do. Nike has always been the king of sportswear and sneakers. But, there has been a change in this scenario recently. Let’s dive deep into it and see what changed, our minds or the quality of these brands?
Everyone has a past! These brands too had a starting point. The point where it all began. Where they took their first steps. Where… okay, sorry!
To start with, Adidas is the largest sportswear manufacturer in Europe and the second largest in the world after Nike. The company was started by Adolf Dassler. In 1924 his elder brother, Rudolf Dassler joined him and both opened “The Dassler Brothers Shoe factory”. Adolf had a strong love for sports and not just one of them. Skiing, soccer, football and boxing were a few of his interests. Since he knew sports very well, he knew that every sport is different and that a sportsman faces difficulty because of the same shoes being used in different sports.
That is where his thought process began to make sports oriented shoes that could improve the performances of athletes.
Enter SPIKE SHOES!
Later in 1949, both the brothers had a breakdown in their relationship. Adolf created Adidas and Rudolf built PUMA that became the biggest business rival for Adidas at that time. Adidas was named after the first two initials of Adolf’s first name and the first three letters of his second [AD-DAS]. The logo for Adidas was selected on the basis of their special feature in their shoe which was the three stripes used as a shoe design on the company’s shoes and for better comfort.
What makes them different was actually their logo! Smart move Adolf! 😉
Nike is an American multinational company that is the world’s largest athletic shoes and apparel manufacturer and supplier. In 2014, Nike was valued at $19 Million and thus it became the number one brand in the sports business. Originally known as “Blue ribbon sports” it was founded by Bill Bowerman and Phill Knight who was a University of Oregon track athlete in 1964. Blue Ribbon Sports later became Nike in 1971. The name Nike was taken from the Greek goddess of victory called NIKE. The company initially worked as a distributor for a Japanese Shoemaker Onitsuka Tiger. Bowerman made his first shoe for Otis Davis who later went on and won 2 Gold medals in 1960 Summer Olympics. In the first year, Blue Ribbon Sports sold 1300 pair of Japanese running shoes and made a gross amount of $8000.
But by 1971, the relationship between Blue Ribbon Sports and Tiger was nearing an end. By then BRS was prepared with their very first line of shoes having SWOOSH (designed by Carolyn Davidson). In 1977, the agency created their first advertisement called, “There is no finish line”. After that came “Just Do it” which debuted in 1988. Throughout 1980s Nike expanded its product line to surround many sports regions all around the world.
Let’s Talk Business!
In 2017, Adidas made an annual revenue of 21 billion euros and a brand value of seven billion US Dollars. In the same year, Adidas employed 56,888 people worldwide and generated 50% of its sales by the footwear category which is the most important category for Adidas. Adidas knows that North America represents 40% of the global sports market. They know it’s important to be dominant here. This is the reason Adidas is focusing on the North American Market.
“If you want to be the brand, you really want to be, you have to do better in North America”
-Mark King, President, Adidas North America
Adidas is much smaller than Nike, but what makes Adidas different is that it has a better sense of what its customers are looking for and hence work on it.
Nike is the most valuable sports brand in the world, especially in North America. For Nike, North America is also the main target because of the global revenue generated in 2017. The plus point with Nike is that they have strong marketing and sponsorship agreements to back it. Probably this is the reason, Nike made 30.57 billion euros in revenue in 2017.
The difference in revenue wasn’t this huge in 2006. The story was different back then. Though Nike was still leading with 13.44 billion euros while Adidas made 10.08 billion euros.
Nike in 2015 won the bid against Adidas and officially became the next exclusive provider of uniforms to NBA. And why not???
Let The Versus Begin!
Over the years I have realised that Adidas puts quality over quantity. Customer satisfaction is important for them and probably this is the factor that made me cheat on Nike. Adidas in the past has talked to the athletes and made shoes according to their preferences and comfort. Awww…
The game-changing point for Adidas was the innovation of Y-3 series. Y-3 is not just about re-evaluating sportswear but also redefining material. It uses boost technology in their shoes.
Wondering what boost technology is? Relax, I am coming to the point!
Boost technology is an innovative cushion technology that uses TPU (Thermoplastic Polyurethane) that compresses under pressure. This compression helps in better shock absorption and instantly bounces back to its original form. It is believed that the boost technology proffers a more consistent run because of the high energy return. Here are a few shoes by Adidas that made them a strong competitor for Nike:
Nike earns more in one quarter than Adidas earns in an entire year. But the truth is that Adidas is putting customer satisfaction and innovation at an equal ratio and this is making Nike sweat.
So where did Nike go wrong?
Nike undoubtedly makes more business than Adidas. The point of a shock for Nike was when Kanye West broke up with Nike and joined hands with Adidas. Well, he is not the only person who has done that. James Harden was also lured by Adidas from Nike.
“We ain’t even gonna mention that other company no more, right?”
“We ain’t wearing that other company no more, right?” Kanye asked the crowd.
We all know which the other company is. It’s not like, it cannot be named. It doesn’t have a nose though… oops!
In 2013, Kanye announced that he was leaving Nike and joining Adidas. According to him, Nike was not respecting him as a designer and was not giving him creative freedom. He also said in one of his interviews that Nike wasn’t giving him the opportunity to grow and also that Nike is working off an old business model.
After this Kanye spent a year and a half in developing Yeezy boots which vanished from the store within minutes of their release. The average price on resale sites was $1,500. Guess it was worth it, Kanye!
Customer reviews have deteriorated for Nike and there has been no innovation to get us mindblown recently. If the graph becomes stagnant for Nike like this, tables will soon turn in favour of Adidas.
What I Think!
I personally think that Nike should be a bit bold towards their fashion. For example, the Undercover X GYAKUSOU running shoe line is amazing and comfortable but it still feels as if it is just a result of altered colourways of existing models. Apart from this, they should let the in-house designers experiment and risk it. Not everything can be planned. I hope Nike has some innovation planned that would make me want to take back the above suggestions.
Lastly, Let’s Just Take A Look At Who Is On Whose Team
Adidas vs Nike debate is like debating with Arnab Goswami, it will never have a closure!
But in the end, the fittest will survive!