Adidas Exec Reveals 2017’s Most Successful Sneakers — and Its Most Disappointing

Adidas’ North American business continued on its double-digit growth trend in 2017, finishing the year with a 35 percent bump in sales. And Mark King, the brand’s president for the region, shared what fueled its success.

In a call Tuesday ahead of today’s earnings announcement, the exec spoke with FN and said the fashion-focused Adidas Originals business was tremendous, and its running category — which King said has close to tripled in market share in the past three years — was also a growth catalyst.

Adidas Originals EQT Support Ultra King Push Bodega Babies
A look at the Adidas Originals EQT Support Ultra King Push "Bodega Babies."
CREDIT: Adidas Originals

He also made note of a footwear category that surprised him with how well it performed.

“What’s really starting to kick in is training, what you wear when you work out. We had a big year in training — specifically with Dick’s Sporting Goods,” King said.

King also highlighted the success of what he referred to as Adidas’ core business, its entry-price product found at department stores (including Kohl’s) and in family footwear doors.

But not every footwear category was a hit for Adidas last year.

“Basketball continues to be disappointing,” the exec said.

However, he is confident that a turnaround is coming soon.

“For the first time, we really see some optimism [in basketball] for the back half of ‘18. And that’s really around product,” King explained. “We have so many great athletes, but we really need breakthrough innovative product.”

Adidas Harden Vol. 2
Adidas Harden Vol. 2
CREDIT: Adidas

The North American president is confident that if the brand can develop a robust and quality basketball sneaker offering, it will round out Adidas’ successful footwear portfolio.

“Adidas has seen growth for a one- or two-year period in the past, but it’s really only been because of one category. Now we feel really good with training, running, core and Originals — they’re all really strong,” King said. “And if we get basketball right, we’re going to have five big categories to be able to have sustainable growth.”

Want more?

Adidas Raises Profitability Target After Strong 2017

Adidas Responds to Cultural-Appropriation Backlash to Pharrell’s Hindu Festival-Inspired ‘Holi’ Line

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content