Meanwhile, the Stan Smith, which debuted in 1963 but didn’t get Smith’s name until 1971, has become a mainstream favorite, after being a staple of the fashion community for years. Adidas engineered that popularity, according to Jon Wexler, Adidas’ marketing director. About five years ago, the company stopped producing them, which pumped up the exclusivity of the pairs still floating around. When it relaunched the sneakers in 2014, Adidas played up their association with high-profile fashion influencers, such as Raf Simons, who has a Stan Smith line, and singer Pharrell Williams.

The move worked perfectly. ”We knew three and a half years before we did step one what would happen,” Wexler said, calling it a “classic model of a trend continuum actually working.” Stan Smiths have been selling since.

Adidas’ old-school momentum isn’t showing any signs of slowing. As a category, retro sneakers are currently one of the top performers in the US, the world’s biggest sportswear market, and Adidas is leading it. According to Matt Powell, the sports industry analyst at research firm NPD Group, Adidas’ sales were up by more than 50% in March, and it led Nike in lifestyle running (meaning non-performance sneakers) and classics.

Sales of classics and lifestyle sneakers such as the ZX Flux helped Adidas lift its US market share up from 4.8% to 7%. For the first time in years, investors believe the company should be as richly valued as Nike, and Adidas’ stock is trading at a premium to its rival.

Another positive sign: Adidas is also increasingly popular among teens. In its most recent semi-annual survey, investment firm Piper Jaffray found that, while it still trails Nike, Adidas is one of the hottest brands in the sports market among upper-income teens. A new generation is discovering their Adidas.

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