It may no longer be the second biggest sportswear brand in the USA anymore (that title has gone to Under Armour), but adidas is doing an undeniably great job of keeping its name on the tips of everyone's tongues this year.

At the intersection of streetwear, sneakers and high fashion that defines the Highsnobiety universe, the Three Stripes has made vast gains, recapturing the imaginations of style-conscious people the world over. Thanks to its headline-grabbing YEEZY project, popular designer collaborations and innovative new concepts, the brand has made itself a permanent fixture in the world's street style galleries, sneaker conventions and fashion parties. Even high-brow financial publications are predicting a huge comeback for the German sportswear giant.

adidas has a long, long way to go if it wants to usurp Nike at the top of the sportswear game, but its recent moves have made it one of the brands - if not the brand - to watch this year. What makes the German brand so exciting right now is the two opposing directions it's moving in - honoring its illustrious past, while looking ahead with avant-garde designer collaborations and innovative new concepts.

With ’90s fever gripping the world, playing off its heritage has been a smart move for adidas, which has wooed fickle fashionistas with its striking three-striped basics and understated, classic footwear. The Stan Smith was undeniably huge in 2014 - a shoe that, much like the faithfully-reissued Superstar, looked just as good with a suit as it did with sweatpants. The resurrected EQT line is jam-packed with real sneakerhead sneakers, while the brand's ongoing Palace Skateboards and NEIGHBORHOOD collaborations both use sportswear nostalgia to striking effect, too.

Breaking new ground has produced similarly positive results, creating tons of buzz and some real standout pieces. Raf Simons, Rick Owens and Jeremy Scott's collaborations continue to deliver some of the most unusual sneakers in the game - when was the last time you saw bulbous, robotic runners, hairy knee-high sneaker-boot hybrids and high-tops that look like Cadillacs?

Similarly, adidas's renewed commitment to innovation is producing some pretty far out concepts - hello 3D-printed soles, one-piece leather uppers and footwear engineered from recycled ocean waste.

It would be impossible to write this story without mentioning adidas's partnership with Kanye West. While it appears that the brand will no longer be involved in YEEZY's ready-to-wear line, the 350 Boost and 750 Boost sneakers have been some of the biggest releases of the year and routinely fetch way over their retail on the resell market. Kanye's footwear line has grossed nearly $5 million on the resell market in 2015 thus far.

While it's unlikely the YEEZY project will solve adidas's problems in the broader sportswear battleground, West's absolutely vast fashion influence certainly hasn't hurt the brand. The high-performance Ultra Boost - supposedly "the greatest running shoe ever" - only needed to be donned by Yeezy for it to be an instant success with people who care more about fashion weeks than marathons.

It seems the Three Stripes is targeting the top in order to attract the bottom - delivering undeniably great products, collections and innovations to win over influencers (and Kardashian-affiliated rap megastars) in order to trickle down into the hearts (and wallets) of the mainstream. At the end of the day, the sneakerhead, streetwear and fashion demographic is only 5-10% of the overall sportswear market, according to industry experts - so the brand still has a long way to go if it wants to unseat Nike at the top of the sneaker game.

"In the USA, Nike is more than 10 times the size of adidas," industry analyst Matt Powell told us. Indeed, the German brand's 9% share of the American sports apparel market has declined every year since 2011 - while its arch rival has swallowed up nearly 50%. “adidas has made a lot of right moves and, if patient, can gain back some of its lost share,” Powell summed up for us, before warning “no one is a threat to Nike right now.”

It looks like adidas is making all the right moves but only time will tell if they're enough to reclaim lost ground. Regardless of what happens, the end consumer will no doubt benefit as the biggest players, alongside newcomers, put forward their best products for your hard-earned dollar.

For more sportswear-related food for thought, check out Do ’90s Revival Brands Actually Stand a Chance in 2015? as well as Nike vs adidas: Who Owns the Market?

Related Shopping Tips: 

Campus '80s Primeknit

$116

adidas Originals

Buy at chimp

YEEZY 950

$444

YEEZY

Buy at Footpatrol

Padded Jacket

$161

adidas Originals

Buy at asos

Stan Smith CF

$99

adidas Originals x ÉDIFICE

Buy at haven

What To Read Next

  • Spencer Phipps photo

    Spencer Phipps Says Save the Fucking World (& Have Fun Doing It)

    Style
  • Image on Highsnobiety

    15 White Sneakers You Need in Your Rotation

    Sneakers
  • Image on Highsnobiety

    These Classic Sneakers Should Be in Every Wardrobe

    Sneakers
  • Image on Highsnobiety

    Forget 5-Inch Inseams, Our Shorts Are Reaching 3/4 Length Territory

    Style
  • Image on Highsnobiety

    Shorts Are Getting Even Shorter This Summer

    Style
  • Image on Highsnobiety

    The Timeless Nature of Levi's® 501® Jean

*If you submitted your e-mail address and placed an order, we may use your e-mail address to inform you regularly about similar products without prior explicit consent. You can object to the use of your e-mail address for this purpose at any time without incurring any costs other than the transmission costs according to the basic tariffs. Each newsletter contains an unsubscribe link. Alternatively, you can object to receiving the newsletter at any time by sending an e-mail to info@highsnobiety.com

Web Accessibility Statement

Titelmedia (Highsnobiety), is committed to facilitating and improving the accessibility and usability of its Website, www.highsnobiety.com. Titelmedia strives to ensure that its Website services and content are accessible to persons with disabilities including users of screen reader technology. To accomplish this, Titelmedia has engaged UsableNet Inc, a leading web accessibility consultant to help test, remediate and maintain our Website in-line with the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG), which also bring the Website into conformance with the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990.

Disclaimer

Please be aware that our efforts to maintain accessibility and usability are ongoing. While we strive to make the Website as accessible as possible some issues can be encountered by different assistive technology as the range of assistive technology is wide and varied.

Contact Us

If, at any time, you have specific questions or concerns about the accessibility of any particular webpage on this Website, please contact us at accessibility@highsnobiety.com, +49 (0)30 235 908 500. If you do encounter an accessibility issue, please be sure to specify the web page and nature of the issue in your email and/or phone call, and we will make all reasonable efforts to make that page or the information contained therein accessible for you.