9 Reasons Why Nike is Better Than adidas
Never afraid to tackle big issues, we tackle the biggest rivalry in sneakers: the Three Stripes VS. Swoosh. Why is one better than the other? Which is the winner - as our illustration shows - in the ultimate battle of the brands? Read the story, then check out the other perspective here.
There's no denying that adidas has made a lot of right moves in recent years. But even if the hype gives the impression that the Three Stripes have taken over everything - and overtaken Jumpman, some claim - the Portland-based powerhouse with the Swoosh is still the world's most valuable sports brand. And you could also argue that Nike is still the world's leading trainer brand - it holds 95% of the US basketball shoe market, according to Forbes - and will continue to do so. Here are 9 reasons why Nike is (still) on top.
1. Nike has the most dynamic logo in the world. Although it was designed by then-student Carolyn Davidson for a few dollars, the Swoosh is one of the best logos of all time. It's simple, looks good on shoes and other things, and at the same time suggests activity, excitement and victory - perfect for a sports brand.
2. Nike started with running. There's no denying that the focus of the sneaker scene has slowly shifted to running, even in the US. And notwithstanding all the Jordan hype, Nike began as a running company - not just a track and field company. Co-founder Bill Bowerman recognised the potential of "jogging" in the early 1960s and published a book with that title in 1966. His ideas led to the development of a running shoe that was finally named "Cortez" in 1968.
3. Nike has Jordan. Despite its roots in running, Nike is synonymous with basketball - and basketball, in a way, is Jordan. Together, they formed the cornerstones for the rise of a global trainer culture. Although adidas had been successful with basketball shoes a decade earlier, it was His Airness who popularised sneakers as a fashion and style item. The Air Jordan 1 was also designed by Peter Moore, almost a decade before the same Peter Moore designed the "three bar logo" that is now synonymous with adidas equipment.
4. Nike has Back to the Future. Nike's use of this film was not just clever product placement, but arguably the most brilliant and long-term marketing move of the millennium, spanning three decades. First: the presentation of the Nike Bruin in Part 1 in 1985 - in one of the most iconic pop culture films of all time. Second: the fictional imagining of how the trainers would evolve 30 years later, in Part 2 and the introduction of the Nike Mag. Third: the actual release of this shoe as predicted in the film - finally with power lacing and endorsement by Michael J. Fox - no other company even comes close.
5. Nike owns basketball. Not because of names like Michael Jordan, LeBron James or Kevin Durant, but because the Swoosh dominates the category - today. With a market share of 95% in the US, there is no way around this fact, even if adidas is making many right moves at the moment.
6. Nike owns collaborations. Even though there are individual collaborations from other companies dating back to the 1970s or even earlier, Nike invented the collaboration game as we know it. From late 90s releases like the Wu-Tang Clan x Nike Dunk High or all the Stüssy collaborations of the early 2000s to the entire Nike SB range including all the Supreme Dunks - Nike got the ball rolling.
7. Nike invented the limited retros edition. It's hard to imagine, but a shoe used to be ready when the next model came out. Thanks to some US retailers on the East Coast, Nike saw the potential to reissue the Air Force 1 in a limited edition in their "Color of the Month" collection. Watch the Air Force 1 documentary here to get the full story.
8. Nike has the most famous designers. Besides the famous architect and sneaker designer Tinker Hatfield, there are other designers whose names have become synonymous with sneaker culture - like Bruce Kilgor (Air Force 1), Sergio Lozano (Air Max 95), Eric Avar (Air Foamposite One) or even Tinker's own brother Tobie Hatfield (Nike Free). Hiroshi Fujiwara from Fragment Design should also be mentioned because of his close connection to Nike.
9. Nike has the best ads in the archive. Marketing has always been Nike's strength. Here we have picked out a few ads from the archive for you. This is branding at its best.
Did you like the story? Then read the other perspective here: Why adidas is better than Nike.