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How Innovation Is Driving Sales at Nike

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Nov. 20 2020, Updated 1:20 p.m. ET

Footwear innovation

Nike (NKE) has a history of innovation and filed 540 patents in 2013 alone. Innovation enables the company to launch new products that are highly sought after by consumers (XLY) (XRT) (RXI) and are also priced at higher price points.

Innovation in one category can also be extended to others, enabling Nike to get the best out of its product development efforts. The company plans to launch innovations in footwear products over the next 18 months.

The company launched a number of footwear products recently, including:

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  • The tenth Kobe Bryant signature shoe, Kobe X, sells for ~$180, and the customizable version sells for $220. Nike reported strong sales for the newest model in the Kobe Bryant signature line in the NBA, owing to its traction-providing and cushioning properties.
  • The Kyrie 1 is the first signature shoe from the new Kyrie Irving line, produced using Hyperfuse construction. Each pair is priced at ~$155–$175.
  • The redesigned Air Max 2015 running shoe can be customized on NikeiD and sells for ~$220.
  • The LunarTempo running shoe, designed for longer runs, retails for $110. The shoe enhances speed and provides cushioning for the runner’s feet.
  • The Nike Vapor Untouchable football cleat retails for $200.
  • The Nike MetCon 1, a high-intensity shoe designed for men’s training, sells for ~$120.

Apparel innovation

While Nike derives most of its revenues from footwear products, the company has also been innovating in apparel technologies. It’s been able to leverage its apparel platforms such as Aeroloft, Dri-FIT, and Nike Pro across multiple sports and product categories. This enables the company to benefit from its wide product portfolio by being able to position products across categories.

In contrast, rivals Under Armour (UA) and Lululemon Athletica (LULU) are primarily apparel players. LULU developed innovative fabrics like Luon and Silverscent in collaboration with several apparel manufacturers. UA also developed proprietary technologies like HeatGear and ColdGear.

To learn more about UA, read our earlier series, High-Performance Winner? Your Must-Know Guide To Under Armour.

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