Year in Review: Epic Wins vs. Epic Fails

For the hits and misses of footwear in 2014, look no further than this cheat sheet.


Nudist, Naturally vs. Mackle-Less
Stuart Weitzman hands-down rocked the red carpet this year, thanks to his universally beloved heel. More than 75,000 pairs of the sandal have sold since first hitting retail last December.

Meanwhile, Macklemore may want to stick to the thrift shop for his kicks. Macklemore took a hit online when his “Northwest King Salmon” Jordan Melo M10 launched in April, with USA Today questioning whether they were the “ugliest Jordans ever.”


Will Wins Out vs. Retrograde Feminism
Female empowerment got a boost from Under Armour’s “I Will What I Want” ad campaign. Celebrating athletes like ballerina Misty Copeland and Gisele Bündchen helped the firm break new ground with women, previously its hardest-to-engage audience.

But then Nine West took it a step back, opting for marketing themes like “Starter Husband Hunting” and “Anticipatory Walk of Shame.” @HannahMajella tweeted it best: “How about promotion snaring shoes? Merger clinching shoes? Too busy serving hubby and raising baby I guess!”


Upper Hand vs. Own Goal
The Ultimate Fighting Championship hammered out a deal to make Reebok the exclusive outfitter for the mixed martial arts organization; it’s expected to give the athletic label a leg up in the “tough-fitness” business.

Elsewhere in sports: At first, Adidas seemed poised for advertising victory, dominating the social media conversation and captivating audiences with its World Cup campaigns. But then the soccer hype died down, and Adidas found itself lacking the sales to match its ad spend.


Good Morning, Vietnam vs. Trapped at Sea
Vietnam has been steadily making its name as a footwear supplier that could possibly supplant China. This year, exports in the first half of 2014 increased 21.9 percent compared with the same year-ago period.

Sadly, on this side of the world, ships carrying stock into the U.S. are stalling at West Coast ports due to massive congestion, raising concerns for retailers fulfilling high demand. Relief isn’t due anytime soon: Easement plans likely won’t go into effect until well into next year.


Lock Smith vs. Crocodile Tears
The Adidas Stan Smith got its second wind this year. The iconic sneaker broke all boundaries of shoe styling, appearing alongside skirts, formalwear and even, as with Gisele Bündchen for a fashion shoot with the shoe, nothing.

Crocs, on the other hand, has had it tough, with its sales results floundering year after year. Despite a generally lauded recovery plan it announced in July, earnings flagged again for Q3. That said, new CEO Gregg Ribatt is expected to turn things around.


Underdog Rising vs. Strike Outs
While Under Armour’s bid to endorse Kevin Durant ended up falling through, the move to challenge Nike is a sign that UA is one step closer to achieving its dream of surpassing the athletic giant. Above all, the move created wild buzz around the label.

So Nike kept Durant, but the media didn’t seem to care. It’s been a bad year overall in sponsorships for the Swoosh, which dropped NFL runningbacks Ray Rice and Adrian Peterson, both under fire for domestic abuse, and UFC fighter Jon Jones for brawling in public.


Want to view the visual chart? Click on the image below:

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