You already know Nike dominated U.S. sales in the first quarter of 2015, but another interesting ranking has just surfaced that may surprise you.

A new report published by Brand Keys, a consultancy that specializes in predicting and tracking consumer habits, focuses on brands with the most loyal followings. The 2015 Customer Loyalty Engagement Index analyzed 540 brands over 64 categories, with one of those being athletic footwear brands. The results are as follows:

1. Nike/New Balance
2. Skechers
3. Reebok
4. adidas
​5. Mizuno
6. Under Armour
7. ASICS
8. Fila
9. Brooks

While it's not all that surprising that Nike sits at the top, the rest of the list could likely raise a few sneakerhead eyebrows. For instance, who would have thought that New Balance would tie with Nike for the #1 slot? Skechers is killing it lately, but does it really have a more loyal following than adidas? And why is Under Armour, one of the fastest growing brands in recent years, ranked so low? 

It all comes down to what Brand Keys founder and president Robert Passikoff calls "drivers." According to Passikoff, these drivers are the key factors that keep consumers coming back to the same brands time and time again. The most important is what Brand Keys calls "Brand Value and Empowered Design," which essentially means what the brand represents in the mind of the average consumer.

Next is "Personal Innovation and Performance Optimization" — think groundbreaking technologies such as Nike Flyknit and adidas Boost. The least important, but still noteworthy, drivers are sneaker customization and variety of sneaker types, both of which are so ubiquitous​ that they're offered by almost every brand on the list.

Passikoff also touches on adidas' ranking at number four and the steps they've taken to change sales performance in the U.S. For the full report, check out his piece on Market Research World.

[via Market Research World]