The world’s largest sportswear maker, Nike Inc. (NKE) has seen its shares decline 4.4% over the past investors fear mounting competition from European rivals such as Adidas AG (ADDYY) and Puma SE (PMMAF) in an increasingly disrupted and competitive apparel and footwear space. (See also: Puma Lifts Forecast as Turnaround Plan Pays Off.)

The Beaverton, Ore.-based multinational athletic clothing and shoe maker is no longer America’s favorite, according to a report from Piper Jaffray’s released last week. The survey indicates that Germany’s Adidas has hit records for its footwear preference, and replaced Nike as the leading “new brand” sported by men. As Adidas’ retro Superstar sneaker beat out Nike for the top-selling shoe of 2016, the U.S. leader is quickly reevaluating its portfolio in order to catch up with the trends.


The American shoe brand thinks that a re-release of its Air Sock Racer, which made headlines in 1986, will spark a buzz among Millennials. The new release will come with 2017 updates, such as a breathable and supportive upper. The sneaker itself maintains its retro style, looking like a pair of socks attached to a sole with seatbelt-style straps.

Forward Into the Past

Nike’s new Air Sock Racer is set to hit stores by the end of this month, starting at $130. The footwear maker is likely to spend heavily on producing a hype leading up to the product release, as the company has invested in bolstering its in-store experiences to hedge against a rise in online shopping.

Earlier this year, Nike announced its “most successful and largest shoe launch in history” with a $220 Space Jam XI throwback shoe. Similarly, Adidas recently updated its old-time favorite Stan Smith model, popular in the 1970s.

Nike’s latest product releases demonstrate the firm’s efforts to get on board with Millennial trends, increasingly attracted to athleisure and retro styles, feeding the growth of European brands Adidas and Puma. (See also: Sergio Garcia, Adidas Are Having a Very Good Year.)


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