UA/NKE: The Two Horse Race Begins…

Nike proactively launched 3 new running shoes (one of which is the Air/Shox hybrid 'Shox Experience +2') at the same exact time as UnderArmour’s running launch. The result? Adidas, New Balance, Saucony, Asics and Puma all took a dive.

The common view out there is that for UnderArmour to win in running, Nike has to lose. That’s simply not true – at least not yet. Nike’s share is nearing 70%. Yes, that’s huge, and it is probably not headed higher. But there’s no way that Nike will roll over and play dead in this category – the category that the company was built on. As an aside, Nike’s first athlete was NOT Michael Jordan, but rather Steve Prefontaine -- perhaps the best middle-distance runner in US history, and the first Nike athlete a decade before MJ.

This means that brands like Adidas, New Balance, Asics, Reebok, K Swiss, Saucony, and Puma need to watch out. Someone is going to lose. In fact – this past week ALL of them did. One to watch is Saucony. I like what Collective Brands (PSS) is doing there. K-Swiss as well. Adidas, Reebok and New Balance have the most to lose – and lose they will.