There is a constant discussion on how performance footwear remains sluggish as retro and casual make up the bulk of sales. This discussion is reinforced with data, but the data appears to me to be made up of labels without a look into why performance footwear isn’t selling. The primary reason in my book was price when I initially considered why performance lags behind casual. adidas just dropped their latest basketball shoe and from a design standpoint it is on trend and is equally stylish from a fashion view. The question is, will it sell?
When you consider that the adidas NMD is now one of the best selling adidas shoes at 130-170 a pair for the NMD_R1, to the NMD_R2 Primeknit, then my argument that price is a factor goes out of the window.
The Crazylight 17 boasts a 150.00 dollar pricepoint. The Crazylight features reinforced primeknit and a lightweight construction. The price is comparable, and design is on trend presenting a shoe that has the sock like construction that exists with many adidas designs. The shoe is a higher cut and this removes the appearance of ease of placing the shoe on foot. With casual and retro dominating the market it appears that people want quick access into their shoes.
Point: In other words people are becoming lazy and don’t want to work to put on their shoes. A high cut shoe takes an extra 5 seconds to slip on and lace. The NMD can be slipped on almost like a houseshoe, so can this shoe. AND… Jordan Brand remains a big seller in retro and they are primarily high cut, heavy leather sneakers. If Jordans are still selling and high top Superstars from adidas are still selling, then it can’t be the high cut and design of a shoe preventing the interest in performance. Also, running shoes are not high cut and are constructed in the same manner as an NMD and sales are down there… It’s not design, or is it?
This latest rendition of the Crazy Light 17 features a monochromatic look which hides the height and size of the midsole, heel chassis and outsole. There is sculpted BOOST which is definitely on trend as a lightweight cushioning system, but the outsole/midsole of a basketball performance shoe is rigid and is made for lockdown. The shoe can feel confining.
Point: In looking at why a shoe will or won’t sell, I’m realizing that there has to be a separation of performance types. Basketball doesn’t sell for a different reason than running shoes. The paragraph above explains why basketball may be a hard sell: comfort.
The Crazylight 17 looks a lot like the Nike Hyperdunk and Curry 4. There are only three real players in performance basketball in UA, adidas and Nike. All of the brands are attempting to remedy the sluggish sales by creating shoes that look more like runners atop performance basketball outsoles. The trend is not this way with less expensive basketball shoes. which are performing very well. The Kyrie signature line remains a solid performer and the Paul George line is also performing better than the KD, LeBron and Kobe.
For adidas basketball isn’t performing very well at all. The Harden Vol. 1 has been the best seller, but the release is very controlled. From a style standpoint the Harden is cut like a trainer. It’s a low top with BOOST cushioning, a stylish toebox and features varying materials in each release. The shoe also retails at 140.00. The less expensive Lillard (retail 110-120) does not sell as well.
It can’t be price although the Nike signature lines sell at 110 and 120 for men’s but not at 150 and up for the higher end shoes. This is a paradox, but not really. For Nike price is a factor, but this is about adidas.
For adidas, Rose is maligned and the signature shoe for him should be ended. They are also poorly designed and overpriced. The Harden performs well and nails both design and price. Lillard utilizes Bounce which has been successful in the alphaBounce runner, but not so much for Lillard and they are the same price at 110-120. When adidas looks at the Crazylight 17 they should be happy about the design. It’s a great looking shoe. When they look at the price, they should worry. At 150 the shoe retails for more than the Harden. The shoe is not attached to a specific athlete who is marketed beyond footwear. The shoe is worn by committee and contrary to what I stated needed to be done to inspire interest in adidas basketball, adidas has not reinstated the Basketball is a Brotherhood for their team led shoes and this is a mistake.
Will the Crazylight 17 Sell? No, but it should.
Reasons: Price, poor perception of performance footwear comfort, and lack of marketing/storytelling around the shoe.