Adidas Passed Air Jordan to Become the Number 2 Shoe, But Don’t Credit Yeezy

September 19, 2017, 9:27 PM UTC

Adidas made big news in shoes, announcing that the company had surpassed Jordan Brand to become the world’s second most popular sneakers behind Nike. At first glance it would appear that the company’s strategy of celebrity endorsements is paying off. But don’t be so quick to credit Adidas shoes popularity to Kanye West and Kylie Jenner, says NPD Group.

The news comes after Adidas made gains in the U.S. and China stealing market share from Nike. “Adidas has overtaken Jordan as the #2 brand in U.S. sport footwear,” tweeted Matt Powell, sports industry analyst with the NPD Group. “This is an achievement I never thought I would see in my lifetime.”

Adidas success comes largely on the back of its strong products, says Powell, and not necessarily from the celebrity endorsements it has strategized around. “The collaboration with Kanye West has significantly elevated the perception of our brand,” Adidas Chief Executive Herbert Hainer told analysts in March 2016.

Powell cites falling Nike and Under Armour sales, along with strong Adidas shoes as reasons for the striped brand’s surge. Adidas’ sport footwear sales grew more than half for the month, he reported, and share grew by nearly half, to 13%.

Still, Adidas didn’t have enough to earn the top shoe spot. That honor belongs to Nike and it’s popular Tanjun sneaker. Maybe next year.