Adidas is constantly pumping out footwear at the moment. We seem to be seeing a new Ultra Boost colorway every week and that is alongside the ever expanding line of the NMD and Yeezy sneakers. Alongside these limited releases, we seem to be seeing a huge surge in popularity of normal Adidas sneakers such as the Superstar and Stan Smith. But in a market where Adidas seems to be taking control, NikeLab is that competitor that just won’t go away, while making great products.
So what is NikeLab?
Well, firstly it is a sub-brand of Nike that first opened its doors in June 2014. It currently has nine stores worldwide and an accompanying website. It focuses on up-cycling current Nike apparel and footwear with improved materials and enhanced designs.
NikeLab is clearly Nike’s way of trying to capitalize on the athleisure market. If you don’t know what athleisure is, it is a trend in fashion in which clothing designed for athletic workouts and the gym (activewear), is worn outside of the gym. Sounds just like the NMD, Yeezy Boost 350, Sock Dart and a whole host of other sneakers right?
A great clothing example of this currently is the NikeLab x Stone Island Windrunner. The normal Nike Windrunner isn’t anything special. But the NikeLab version in collaboration with Stone Island has tweaked materials and design including subtle changes such as a quilted lining so that you could actually wear it as a day-to-day jacket.
It looks like the main Nike brand are just fine with going about their business; putting out countless more Air Max varieties, more retro Air Jordans, such as the Air Jordan 12, and some infrequent celebrity collaborations such as the OVO Jordan 10.
Nike are also putting out more questionable sneakers with a ankle-height sockliner (I’m looking at you Nike Koston 3 Hyperfeel). But people just don’t get as excited about Air Jordan as they used to due to people getting fatigued by the frequency of Jordan releases and the fact that Jordans are so accessible now that they don’t have that “limited sneaker charm” due to higher stock being set in place.
It is easy to see that people are switching over to Adidas with how many people are going crazy over the Ultra Boost and any other Boost or Primeknit sneaker. All of this, alongside the huge influence and hype surrounding the Yeezy collection between Kanye West and Adidas, means Adidas are in for the long haul.
A shoe that launched recently on NikeLab that has really caught attention is the Techfleece Sock Dart and Techfleece Moccasin. These two sneakers have captivated many with their premium materials and eye-catching design, all this alongside the exclusivity of NikeLab.
NikeLab also have a lot of upgraded Air Force 1 sneakers on their website right now amongst other, so there is no lack of premium product. The one thing perhaps holding back NikeLab from hitting the mainstream is that it is usually highly priced and not well marketed (probably on purpose). But it is definitely the last hope Nike has of holding on to the premium running sneaker market. Yes, Nike have the Lunar Racer but you can’t compete with other brands using one sneaker alone.
It could be a huge year for NikeLab. Adidas have been making inroads to Nike’s market share; their market cap rose by $1bn over the last year (although Nike’s rose by $17bn and Nike are currently $70bn bigger than Adidas).
NikeLab is the perfect tool for Nike to use to stay on top for the foreseeable future.