The most-talked-about sneaker of 2015 was the adidas Yeezy Boost 350, the second shoe that Kanye West made with the brand, but the best design of the year belonged to the adidas Ultra Boost, a performance running model. West wore the Ultra Boosts, gave them his co-sign, and they ended up selling like crazy in a short time. It looks like adidas is using this strategy to get people interested in its athletic footwear, according to Arthur Hoeld, the head of adidas Originals.
Reuters is reporting that adidas looks to build energy around its performance footwear through collaborations with celebrities such as Kanye West and Pharrell Williams, to name a few. "We will capture more of the growth of the sneaker industry with our performance products, but Originals will help us to grow a more significant share," Hoeld said. "We're not concerned here internally about the balance."
The striking thing is, though, that none of these entertainers have been aligned with sneakers made for sport, but their visibility is getting consumers interested in shoes made for athletics.
According to Reuters, the fashion side of adidas, which houses the brand's lifestyle models, accounted for 30 percent of the overall business in 2014, compared to 70 percent for performance product.
This strategy greatly differs from Nike's plan, who uses athletes as its biggest selling point and believes they're the brand's most important collaborators, according to the brand's CEO, Mark Parker.
Athletes have been seen playing in West's sneakers, which further blurs the line between fashion and sports. It's a divergent business plan for adidas, but the next few years will tell if the company is moving in the right direction.