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.”

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