In the ongoing cold war between German-footwear giant Adidas and the U.S.’s beloved Nike, the Three Stripe brand has inched a little bit closer an even playing field. Today former Nike designer Marc Dolce made his official move to Adidas after his contract agreement ran out. With Dolce taking the reigns as Vice President and Creative Director, Adidas has firmly planted itself in Nike territory.
While the U.S. has long since been Nike’s home base and incubator for global trends, Adidas made a strong push for the top by signing Kanye West, swooping up top basketball talent, and expanding their Adidas Originals program for the more fashion-forward consumer.
The Dolce saga started when three of Nike’s main designers, one being Marc Dolce, the others being Mark Miner and Denis Dekovic, left the company.
People change teams; this is a normal part of the paper chase. The problem was that Nike accused Dolce, Miner, and Dekovic of lifting some “sensitive materials” (probably top secret designs and sneaker technologies) to bring with them to Adidas. Nike of course, sued. After a waiting period in litigation limbo, the three designers will set up shop at Adidas’ brand new outpost, the Brooklyn Creator Farm.
It’s no doubt that Dolce’s previous role as head designer for Nike Sportswear division will solidify Adidas in the U.S. market. In the previous years, Adidas European-centric image did not equate to top sales in the U.S. In 2015, Adidas was worth about $19 billion. While nothing to joke, this was tiny compared to Nike's 2015 market cap revenues of $63 billion.
However, putting the Three Stripes next to names like Pharrell and Kanye helped boost their image. As one might imagine, celebrity and athlete recognizability plays a huge part in sales. Think about this, Michael Jordan (via Nike/Jordan Brand) is still getting millions in residuals and he hasn’t played basketball (or baseball for that matter) in decades.
No crying memes here.
While Nike’s sales still tower over any gains Adidas has made in the past two years, it’s no doubt that Dolce will steer Adidas in the new direction. Or maybe better yet, he’ll keep them on the right path while putting out more fire in the coming seasons. So if you didn’t catch the NMD this most recent restock, there might be something new and fresh coming out of Dolce’s mind. Maybe you’ll get some more Primeknit joints that you can dress up with our 3M rope laces. We’ll have to wait and see.