The top-selling sneaker of 2017 is one your mom probably loves

She’s probably looking for the Tanjuns.
She’s probably looking for the Tanjuns.
Image: Reuters/Stephen Hird
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There’s a good chance you’ve never heard of the Nike Tanjun. It isn’t among Nike’s more famed shoes, like an Air Max or an Air Jordan. It’s a simple, inexpensive style for men and women that costs about $65 and sells at outlets like Kohls and Shoe Carnival. Sneaker-obsessed kids aren’t waiting in lines for the latest Tanjun drop.

Yet according to research firm NPD Group, it was the top-selling shoe of 2017 in the US, the world’s biggest and most valuable sportswear market.

The sneaker, which GQ described in September as “a shoe only a mother could love” after a streak of strong sales, is above all comfortable and easy—making it very attractive to a lot of American moms. They comprise a quiet but powerful demographic, along with the legions of other American women and men buying uncomplicated footwear to mow the lawn or shop for groceries in. The name Tanjun comes from the Japanese word for “simplicity,” and Nike says it offers “an elevated everyday look.”

NPD’s list ranked the shoes in order of dollars sold, not units. Even against much higher-priced competition, such as Air Jordan IVs, which can cost nearly $200 for certain models, the Tanjun took the top spot. Matt Powell, NPD’s vice president and sports industry analyst, noted that typically the top shoe of the year is one of those pricier styles.

Adidas, meanwhile, reached another milestone in 2017. While Nike, which also owns Jordan brand and Converse, dominated the list, Powell pointed out that it was the first time in memory Adidas had two shoes in the top 10—showing its continued strength against long-time market leader Nike. Adidas’ retro Superstar sneaker couldn’t quite repeat last year’s achievement of coming in at number one—the first time an Adidas shoe had done so in more than a decade—but it was again a strong seller, along with a newer Adidas model, the Tubular Shadow. Overall, the sneakers that Americans bought show the ongoing domination of lifestyle shoes meant for casual wear, at the expense of performance sneakers designed primarily for athletic use.

Here are NPD’s top 10 sneakers of 2017 in the US, based on dollar sales:

1. Nike Tanjun

2. Chuck Taylor All-Star low

Chuck Taylor All Star low
Image: Nike

3. Nike Air Huarache

Nike Air Huarache
Image: Nike

4. Adidas Superstar

5. Nike Revolution 3

6. Jordan IV

Air Jordan IV
Image: Nike

7. Jordan XIII

Air Jordan XIII
Image: Nike

8. Adidas Tubular Shadow

9. Jordan XI

Air Jordan XI
Image: Nike

10. Jordan VI

Air Jordan VI
Image: Nike