Published on August 4, 2018 by Brandon Austin  

The purpose of this article is to highlight Nike and why they remain the dominant athletic shoe company in the world. The article was inspired after I came across some data in the Sports Business Research Network. The data showed that Nike has consistently maintained a dominant share of the market and no other shoe company is even close. For example, in 2017 SBRN reported that Nike has a 76 percent market share of the basketball shoe market.  The closest competitor in 2017 was Adidas with an 8 percent market share:

Footwear-Basketball: % of Consumer Unit Purchases by Brand
Item 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017
Basketball Shoes: Nike 66.5 65.9 65.4 68.7 72.0 77.6 71.8 76.3
Basketball Shoes: adidas 7.6 6.6 8.7 10.0 5.9 8.5 11.0 8.3
Basketball Shoes: Under Armour --- 0.5 0.9 0.5 3.1 2.1 3.9 4.2
Basketball Shoes: Puma 1.3 1.2 1.0 0.6 0.6 1.2 1.5 2.6
Basketball Shoes: Converse (Nike) 4.3 3.7 2.4 2.3 2.6 1.7 1.0 1.7

Why will Nike continue to “Just Do It”? 

There are three primary reasons I believe Nike will continue to dominate in the upcoming decade. One is their dominance with young people.  72% of youngsters studied said it was their most loved activewear mark.  Being the leader in the under twenty market is significant for Nike's future since it is likely that youngsters will grow up and continue purchasing their favorite brand.

Another reason the brand will remain strong is the popularity of fitness and running. Individuals participating in fitness and running activities has consistently grown over the last twenty years. Many young people are also health conscious in general and are more interested in overall well-being than previous generations. 

The final reason Nike will continue to dominate is the roster of star athletes they are partnered with. The list is long but we’ll highlight a couple here:

  • Michael Jordan - He has been out of the NBA as a player for several years but his name and Jumpman logo are synonymous with excellence.  Nike and Jordan have created an image that transcends sports and has become a cultural phenomenon. In 2017, the Jordan brand alone generated more than $3 billion for Nike.  
  • LeBron James - The basketball prodigy started out with a bang when he signed a $90 million, seven year deal with Nike in 2003.  It proved to be a great deal for both as LeBron has become a global icon and sales of his signature shoes remain the top seller in the NBA.  With his new deal with the L.A. Lakers, Lebron’s sales are likely to only go up...which is great for Nike!  Nike VP of Innovation expects Nike can “build a nice story around the move to L.A.. And then, of course, from that, style can be unique and interesting and it can be what I would call – or what you just mentioned – a groundbreaking kind of product”.

Nike has benefited from great products, innovative marketing, and being associated with the best athletes in the world. As such, they will continue Just Do It (dominate sneaker sales) for many years to come!

This blog post was written by Samford University student Brandon Austin.  You can learn more about Brandon Austin at

Photo Credits

Nike Just Do It:

Phil Knight:

Lebron Equality Shoes: