Nike just made it clear that the sneaker market is no longer athlete focused with an announcement that they won’t produce an All-Star theme basketball shoe for 2017.
The reason? No demand.
This shift represents a move away from the signature athlete sneaker, as sneakerheads are going for a different lifestyle.
“I think they should have released them for all the real fans. I would say that was probably more of a business decision,” said sneaker lover, Hector Serrano.
That business decision came because of one problem: Nike isn’t selling.
Nike basketball sneakers are sitting on shelves. Signature shoes from Kobe Bryant, LeBron James and Kevin Durant are sitting for so long they’re going on sale. Thirty percent off for pairs of shoes that would sell out immediately six years ago.
Lifestyle sneakers are what’s popular right now and it’s likely not just a phase.
According to straatosphere.com’s “sneaker terminology guide,” a lifestyle sneaker can be defined as shoes meant for casual wear and not for performance.
Adidas has long been in the shadow of Nike, but with the release of the Adidas “Ultra Boost” in 2015 things changed.
The movement progressed when Kanye West started releasing his Adidas “Yeezy” boost. A lifestyle sneaker that mixed in Adidas “boost”, the most comfortable sneaker technology on the market.
“Kanye West isn’t an athlete and everyone wants what he makes,” said Delta student Luis Ibarra.
The sneaker market is no longer about what athletes you can gather to show off your basketball department. It’s about what big name celebrity you can bring in, to have them show off their creativity with a shoe.
Adidas also brought in Pharrell Williams to create his own spin-off of the Adidas “NMD.” Thus, creating the Pharrell “Human Race” NMD collaboration.
Puma and Rhianna joined forces to create the “Fenty Creeper” silhouette, which was a big seller in women sneakers for 2016.
Nike has attempted to reel in the celebrity signature shoe, with Mark Wahlberg and Kevin Hart joining the Nike team. However, nothing significant has been released yet by either of the two.
“For a long time Nike basketball, Jordan and Kobe’s were the shoe. You were the ‘cool kid in school’ if you had them. Yeezys have taken over the game, it’s the shoe everyone wants and needs. It used to be Jordan’s. The days of Nike and Jordan are behind us,” said Jorge Rodriguez, Delta Student.
While Nike scrambles to compete, it may have to do something they’ve never done before – look to other companies for inspiration.
Adidas is in the driver’s seat when it comes to owning running and lifestyle collections.
“Adidas is killing the game right now and their competitors do not have any answers,” said Rodriguez.