This Top-Selling Nike Shoe Is Dipping in Sales — & It’s Affecting the Whole Athletic Footwear Market

After a two-year streak as the best-selling sneaker on the market, the Nike Tanjun’s triumphant reign appears to be weakening.

Sales for the shoe dropped in the month of September, prompting a subsequent decline in the rest of the athletic footwear market ahead of the holiday shopping season, according to Matt Powell of The NPD Group Inc.

“The industry is lacking a hot item that can lift it,” said Powell, VP and senior industry adviser for sports. “This void will put pressure on the entire market. … If brands and retailers want to win with consumers this holiday, they must be careful to not sacrifice quality.”

NPD yesterday released data detailing predictions for the sports retail sector this holiday season. In its report, the firm noted that athletic footwear sales in the U.S. took a hit in August and September, compared with the same period last year.

Specifically, the market research firm reported that the August numbers were “disappointing,” while September sales decelerated for the big names: Sportswear giants Adidas and Nike, as well as its Jordan and Converse brands, saw negative sales in the latter month.

“Without growth from these major brands, the athletic footwear market cannot grow,” Powell remarked, adding that he sees “no catalyst to drive overall sales back into the positive column for holiday.”

(However, both Adidas and Nike were upbeat in reporting their most recent earnings, though for different reasons. Upon announcing its third-quarter results yesterday, Adidas raised its full-year guidance based on longer-term year-to-date sales gains. Nike, on the other hand, reported a 15 percent increase to $1.1 billion in profits for the first quarter, which ended Aug. 31 and thus did not factor in the September dip.)

Elsewhere in its report, NPD noted that a number of smaller and retro brands such as Puma, Fila, Reebok, Vans and Brooks Sports are outperforming the market, which Powell expects will continue leading up to Christmas. Another silver lining is the women’s footwear sector, which he said is the industry’s “greatest opportunity.”

Additionally, the running and casual-athletic categories reported growth. However, sales for performance footwear, sport-lifestyle footwear and basketball-inspired products either remained at a standstill or offset those gains.

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