Who’s the king of sneakers? Nike or Adidas?


Looking for a sustainable and reliable sneaker? Want to get the best bang for your buck?

Well, in that case, you’ve probably come across two specific brands that match that description: Nike and Adidas.

This blog will guide you on how to choose the best-suited sustainable sneaker according to your preferences.

Let’s start off with some background on the two giants:

  • Nike was built on trying to achieve the best performance sneakers tailored to athletes of various sports from basketball to football. They believe that anyone can be an athlete if they “just do it” and help try to encourage their consumers to achieve new heights. 

  • Adidas is also no stranger to creating amazing performance and lifestyle sneakers and clothing. They have been around longer than their competitors giving them a rich history which may sway some people to buy from them.

Here in the UAE, there isn’t a clear divide between people who wear Nike or Adidas sneakers as we are an international hub making us neutral to both brands.


Adidas – 

  • Adidas shoes are generally cheaper(according to Forbes)
  • Adidas is the world’s 2nd most popular sportswear brand (according to Wall Street)
  • Adidas is known for making comfier shoes thanks to their boost technology.
  • Youths currently prefer Adidas over Nike due to their collaborations with influencers and artists such as KanyeWest. (in recent studies)
  • Adidas is known to update their sneaker models more consistently than Nike, in terms of shape and technology.
  • Adidas has the Yeezy line which is one of the strongest and most sought after sneakers in the world any brand at the moment – it is so popular that many brands have copied it!

Nike –

  • Nike dominates the basketball market thanks to their collaboration with Michael Jordan, making it the most popular collaboration of all time.
  • Nike is the world’s No. 1 Footwear and Sportswear brand to date.
  • Nike sells more sneakers annually. 
  • Has a brand value of 32$B as of 2019!
  • Has more collaborations with influential people than Adidas in almost every sport.
  • Has recently been creating more sought after sneakers with collaborations with Travis Scott and Sacai.

On the sustainable side of things…

Nike is counted as sustainability leaders in its industry. They partner with many corporations, however, doesn’t advertise its environmentally friendly activity as they are afraid they might face backlash.

Nike tries to develop new ways of production and materials to reduce its impact on the environment. Some examples of Nike’s sustainable initiatives include FlyKnit and ColorDry technologies. Nike is also active in recycling and investing in future technologies to preserve the environment. Nike is very innovative in terms of sustainability.

Some of their partners include:

Sustainable Apparel Coalition (since 2009)

Fair Labor Association (since 1999)

Better Cotton Initiative

For more detail- https://purpose.nike.com/partnerships-collaborations

Adidas has 6 priorities it hopes to achieve by 2020. 

Reducing water usage, paper usage, and energy usage and using sustainable cotton.

Using 50% less energy.

Using 50% fewer chemicals.

Using 25 litres less water per shirt according to their website.

  • Adidas has teamed up with Parley to save the ocean and started a line of products using plastics taken from the ocean to make sports shoes.
  • Adidas plans to make a whopping 11 million pairs of sneakers in 2019 with recycled ocean plastic, I mean, I think that’s amazing!
  • Adidas as the sponsor of Real Madrid and Bayern München decided to provide the products that were produced with plastics collected from the ocean. That was a wonderful way of demonstrating its sustainability. Adidas accepts that there is a market for environmentally friendly products and proudly advertises their own products. We should be proud of using green products!
    Both Adidas and Nike have taken significant steps to reduce their environmental impact. Both started using sustainable materials, sustainable production, and sustainable recycling.

Nike or Adidas? Adidas.

It is clear that Nike and Adidas both have pros and cons.

Nike makes more sales and invests more in sustainability programs than Adidas, but I would rather buy a pair of shoes that are known to be environmentally-friendly at a lower price and more comfortable.

Personally, I don’t have a specific preference due to the reasons I stated earlier in the blog. I’ve been wearing both brand sneakers throughout the years and never gave it much thought. 

It really comes down to what you’re looking for in terms of design and comfort, as well as keeping the price in mind. Overall it seems that Adidas is producing the better sneaker’s, however, it’s up to you guys as consumers to make the judgement.

– Fatima the intern