Despite all the buzz behind fashion-forward sneakers from the likes of Balenciaga and Gucci, what do actual sneaker companies think of the explosion of luxe runners and premium sport shoes? Not much, according to Kasper Rorsted, the CEO of Adidas.
“The high end and luxury brands are a minuscule part of the market,” Rorsted said. “Take Gucci or Versace or something like that, their market share — and I mean this respectfully — is so small it’s irrelevant,” Rorsted points out that the current sea change in footwear is the technology behind production. “The cost of 3-D print, which two years ago was unaffordable, will in two years time be affordable because the technology curve is so rapidly taking that price point down,” Rorsted noted. In due time, adidas will introduce its 3-D printer-equipped Fifth Avenue store — “that will change [things] much quicker than people think. That’s going to attack the luxury brands.”
adidas claims that it produced over 400 million pairs of shoes in 2017, while Nike delivered over a billion pairs in the company’s 2018 fiscal year. The luxury brands deal in exclusivity over excess stock, with four-figure price points keeping customers limited to the wealthy. This move, in particular, keeps them out of the same league as the sportswear brands. Instead, Rorsted sees fast-fashion as a better counterpoint.
“Where you’re seeing a much bigger impact on transforming the market are the Zaras of the world — fast fashion, very fast product life cycles,” the CEO stated. “They’re setting a trend that the sporting goods industry will have to follow. It’s naïve to believe that the supply chain we’ve known in the sporting goods industry will not come under attack, which is why [Adidas] creates speed programs or replenishment programs with in-season creations.”