A battle just as fiercely contested as any worldwide, Nike and Adidas, the two sportswear giants, have been fighting for market position for decades. Nike, the archetypal American brand, loud and proud, against Adidas, representing European style and instantly recognisable through its iconic 3-stripes, are the two leading sportswear brands in the world. But what sets them apart?
- The logo
The tick versus the stripes both are world famous and synonymous with sports worldwide. Most of us have a preference. Whether basing it on the athletes or celebrities that you’ve seen wearing the logos or how aesthetically pleasing they are, you can only choose one, never both.
- The athletes
Nike have had the upper hand in these stakes. With 3 of the greatest sportsmen of recent times bearing the tick on their clothing. Michael Jordan, Roger Federer and Tiger Woods have all had unprecedented success in their respective fields. Success for them meant success for the brand and catapulted the Nike tick onto TV’s worldwide while their athletes transcended sport and even had personalised clothing lines.
- The teams
Depending on the sport you follow, this one can go either way. Brazil has been sponsored for years by Nike, while Ronaldo was its poster boy in the late 90’s. However long before that, Adidas had its stranglehold on the football market, sponsoring the FIFA World Cup for years and making some of the most iconic jerseys on the market including the winners of the ’90 and ’98 world cups. Adidas has been running the show on the international stage for years. For the upcoming world cup, they have produced 12 of the 32 kits on show, the largest proportion of any brand.
Acquiring Reebok, has also given them a stranglehold of the American sporting market with most of Basketball and American football kits counting Reebok as their manufacturer.
- The clothes
It’s a simple choice, do you want stripes running down your clothes or you want a simple tick on your chest? Adidas have a lead in this market releasing an “originals”, or retro line of clothing which is favoured for casual wear by celebrities. There’s no limit on the items of clothing you can get by either brand though, ranging from headbands down to your socks.
Adidas and Nike not only have each other to worry about. New Balance and Puma, the closest competitors to these behemoths of the sports apparel world, are growing and while sponsoring some big-name teams and athletes, they lag far behind the tick and the stripes for now.