Nike vs. Adidas seemed like an actual competition maybe 30 years ago, but then Nike pulled away from the pack and literally destroyed any semblance of competition between itself and its rivals. It's still that way for the most part. Nike makes way more money and runs the game on the 'Gram too. But little by little, people are remembering that Adidas actually exists and GQ took a look at how the "rivalry" is slowly becoming just that, a rivalry once again.
Sneaker sales as a whole have skyrocketed in the past few years and Americans spent $28 billion on sneakers in 2014 alone. Nike dominated the sales charts partly because of its widespread empire covering just about any area of sneaker-related business possible. Adidas, on the other hand, continued to play on its soccer roots and kept its western Europe market satisfied. However, that came with a bit of a price as Adidas' top brass seemed to acknowledge the brand is a bit out of touch with the American consumer. Now, it's shifting focus as we've seen, grabbing big name athletes like James Harden and stocking fashion names like Raf, Rick and Pharrell for the lifestyle side. And even though it can't shell out as much as Nike, it's relying on cool factor to take shit to the next level.
With Adidas on the comeback trail, Nike has also gone over the top to make sure information and designs don't leak like they did when designers Marc Dolce, Denis Dekovic and Mark Miner left for Adidas. Those three were apparently lured away from Nike to a more creative and open atmosphere at Adidas compared to Nike's "stifling" work environment. If you look at the craziness that Adidas has come out with and has on deck, they're certainly playing to the creative and off-beat. Whether that's enough to bite into Nike is more of a long-term question, but as legendary Nike designer Tinker Hatfield tells the writer, it's going to be "pretty hard to pass us right now" and when Tinker speaks, you listen.