Adidas executive reveals a huge advantage that's helping it beat Nike and Under Armour

AdidasFacebook/AdidasAdidas Superstars, one of the most popular shoes in Adidas’ lineup.

While sportswear makers in the US face shrinking growth and increased competition, Adidas is staying ahead. 

When Adidas’ parent company announced earnings in Germany on Thursday, the brand posted a stunning 36% growth in North America.

Fuelled by the continued success of the retro “Originals” line and a popping running and training line of sneakers — both of which posted double-digit sales increases — Adidas has momentum in a market that was one of its weakest only a few years ago.

Adidas’ North American head Mark King told Business Insider the brand differs from its competitors in one huge way. While it maintains a sports company with a performance focus, it also has a focus on style that is just as important.

“It’s that mixture, that coming together of performance and style that gives us an advantage over pretty much everybody we compete against,” King said.

AdidasFacbeook/AdidasThe Adidas Ultraboost, another hot shoe in Adidas’ lineup.

Adidas has participated in — and been buoyed by — the shifting consumer tastes into casual everyday stylish sportswear, otherwise known as athleisure. King calls athleisure a “transformation,” rather than a trend.

“We are definitely going to benefit from that, because we make not only performance products, but we make these style products that are right in the sweet spot of this [transformation],” King said.

Brands that have not fared as well in the current climate, like Under Armour, don’t have this infusion of style and performance in their products. Under Armour CEO even admitted the brand needed to become “more fashion” to compete with brand like the resurgent Adidas. Even Nike posted slowing growth as of late, and revised guidance to be lower on in their fiscal year outlook.

 To King, this is only the beginning, and Adidas is looking to sustain this growth in the region.

“We’re just really excited about the opportunities that are still ahead of us,” King said.

The two keys to sustaining interest for Adidas is staying “very connected to the consumer” and acting “with speed to bring products to the market place that are really relevant in the moment,” King said. 

“That’s really the magic,” King said. “To have the right product in the right market at the right time.”

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