Photo of a sneaker
When it comes to the future of the sneaker industry, women are setting the stage for growth. Across the country, women are trading their high heels for sneakers and brands across the industry are taking notice. According to NPD, sales of high heels dropped 12 percent last year, while sales of women’s sneakers rose 37 percent to $2.3 billion. Further research suggests that more than 50 percent of women are willing to pay more for shoes that are comfortable.


All of this has big implications for the$19.6 billion U.S. athletic footwear industry, in which women’s sneaker sales account for $453.2 million. With growth in women’s sneaker market on the rise, legacy brands are shifting their male-dominated strategies and making plays tailored for women. Legacy brands have launched new shoe products, specialized social media marketing campaigns, and strategic collaborations with sneaker influencers- all geared towards meeting women where they already are, online.


To succeed online, brands must focus on building relationship with consumers at every touchpoint and nurturing those relationships over time. As such, leading sneaker brands have partnered with social media influencers to deliver personalized, relevant experiences for consumers at every touchpoint, increasing brand trust and accelerating the path-to-purchase.


This trend continues to be exemplified among leading sneaker brands where adopting digital-first direct-to-consumer strategies on social have given brands like Nike, Under Armour, Adidas and Puma advantages over traditional brick and mortar brands.


3 Sneaker Brands to Follow on Instagram

1. Nike

Influencer Share-of-Voice: 26%
Influencer Marketing Best Practices:
  • Nike IGC serves as a seamless extension of the brand by utilizing similar emotional branding tactics and by incorporating in-moment activation.
  •  Nike’s recent collaboration with Amazon enhances their direct-to-consumer e-commerce strategy, providing a significant competitive advantage over those who haven’t adopted a digital-first strategy and efforts.
  • This year, Nike introduced “four new ways of thinking about sneakers for women,” including the launch of a new product, Nike Unlaced, the company’s “new sneaker destination for women.”

2. Under Armour

Influencer Share-of-Voice: 26%
Influencer Marketing Best Practices:
  • Rather than selling an image or a lifestyle, Under Armour is marketed as a solution, manufacturing fashion as technology and putting innovation over image.
  • Under Armour’s acquisition of MyFitnessPal, MapMyFitness and other fitness apps position the brand as the largest digital fitness community in the world.
  • Under Armour’s “Unlike Any” campaign celebrates the unprecedented achievements of female athletes and highlights that their athletic wear is for all women.

3. Adidas

Influencer Share-of-Voice: 21%
Influencer Marketing Best Practices:
    • Partnerships with hip-hop icons like Kanye West enhance the brand’s style profile, expand the company’s creative ecosystem, and keep consumers engaged and excited.
    • With the goal of doubling their share in the female sports market by 2020, the brand has shifted it’s strategy to leverage fashion & lifestyle micro-influencers (and not athletes) to reach female consumers.
    • Adidas doesn’t limit itself to celebrities and professional athletes, and actively leverages micro-influencer to promote the brand.


Want more key insights? Download the full report here to learn which sneaker brands had the greatest share of influencer voice in the last year, as well as examples and best practices from category leaders.