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Adidas’ Grand Slam: Old Icons, New Collaborations, and the Resurgence Against Nike

Think about your childhood memories of soccer – or as the world knows it, football. Can you recall the chilly air, the joy of post-match treats, or the memory of those blisters from uncomfortable cleats? Well, if you ever transitioned from open fields to indoor futsal, there’s a good chance your parents got you familiar with a very distinct shoe: the Adidas Samba sneaker.

Introduced in Europe during the early 1950s, the Adidas Samba sneakers were more than just footwear; they were a revolution. Designed exclusively for football, these sneakers flaunted gum soles for better grip, especially on icy surfaces. Its iconic black design with three white stripes has since become synonymous with the Adidas brand.

But as the 70s progressed in the U.S., a new player entered the court, with Nike’s strategic collaborations with renowned athletes, Michael Jordan being a notable mention. This partnership overshadowed Adidas and altered the sneaker landscape forever. Or so it seemed.

Just when fashion enthusiasts thought they’d seen the last of retro trends, Adidas has made a stunning comeback.

Recently, Adidas launched a campaign celebrating the “Adidas Originals,” marking half a century of setting trends. The aim? Introduce the legacy of Adidas to a fresh wave of consumers. Central to this campaign are three iconic shoes – Superstar, Gazelle, and Samba.

Adidas Originals are once again gracing the high-fashion streets of Paris and the football fields in Miami. The timing? Impeccable. Last October, Adidas faced a PR hiccup and ended its collaboration with Kanye West, which had contributed a significant 10% to the company’s yearly revenue.

But adversity seems to have spurred Adidas into action. The stock has skyrocketed since last October, nearly doubling. In a strategic move, Adidas has also formed collaborations with high-fashion titan Gucci, Latino rapper Bad Bunny, and designer Ronnie Fieg, with heartening results. The enthusiasm for these collaborations is evident in the long lines outside stores and the buzz across fashion circuits.

Moreover, Pharrell, the renowned rapper and style icon, is all set to unveil numerous trendy shades in collaboration with Adidas later this year.

The brand might still be recuperating from its West/Yeezy chapter, but the numbers tell a promising story. Excluding the Yeezy sales, Adidas has enjoyed a 9% increase in Q1 sales. And if current trends hold, Gazelles and their kin are set to become the must-haves as we move into the 2023 festive season.

As Adidas continues its play, the sneaker wars are heating up. The iconic Samba, rejuvenated collaborations, and a strategic pivot might just be the combo that lets Adidas take a shot at the big goal against its longtime rival, Nike.