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Athleisure Trend Helps Skechers Pull Ahead of Adidas in US Sneaker Race

According to global information provider The NPD Group, Skechers edged out Adidas as the Number 2 athletic footwear brand in the country, with five percent of total U.S. retail sales, slightly higher than the German brand’s 4.6% share. Nike/Jordan remained the undisputed leader with a 62 percent market share. Asics is the fourth largest brand, at four percent of the market.

The NPD Group reports that sales of athletic footwear grew by eight percent in the first quarter of 2015 compared to the same period in 2014, a sharp contrast to last year when overall first quarter sales were flat. The continued strength of the athleisure trend was a main driver of the phenomena, motivating people to wear athletic footwear whether or not they plan to work out.

Although Skechers sells performance footwear products (in 2014, American Meb Keflzighi won the Boston Marathon wearing Skechers running shoes) most of its growth is coming from its comfortable trend-right product sold at much more affordable prices than the conventional athletic shoe brands.

Children’s had the biggest athletic footwear sales gains of any age/gender category, up eight percent in the quarter. Classics improved in the high single digits, while basketball grew in the high teens, and running in the low teens.

Men’s athletic footwear grew by 6 percent overall, driven by a strong surge in walking sneakers, with sales up in the mid-teen. Classic and hiking sneakers also experienced double-digit gains. Basketball and training shoes helped offset a low single-digit decline in running, the largest category.

Women’s athletic footwear grew by seven percent in the quarter. Classics surged by almost 75 percent, while walking, hiking and training were offset by the flat sales performance of running footwear.