Nike vs Adidas: Trainer Giant Face-Off

Adidas vs Nike

Meet the judges

Rocky of Third LooksKieran from The LevelFaya of Fitness on Toast
From left to right: Rocky is the founder and editor of Third Looks; Kieran writes at streetwear blog The Level and Faya is the author of one of the UK’s top fitness blogs Fitness on Toast.




ROCKY: In elementary school I was super into Adidas – I would stay in Adidas Shell-toed Superstars or Stan Smiths.   Since then though, I definitely favour Nike; they just put out so many iconic shoe designs.  Their shoe designs from the mid-to late-90s are my absolute favourites. I’m definitely a heavy Nike head at this point in my life.

KIERAN: I think Nike stand out to me more.  The first major pair of trainers I bought (over £100) were Nikes back when I was really young.  I saved up for months. To me they seem like the ultimate trainer, I don’t feel like anyone can make a trainer like Nike.

FAYA: From a consumerist perspective, my affinity would be towards Nike over Adidas. The reason is down to their marketing approach, which really connects with me as an active woman.  There’s been such time-honoured consistency around their brand messaging that seeing the tag line ‘Just Do It’ is almost like meeting an old friend; it’s comforting, non-threatening, welcome, and inspiring at the same time.  I would struggle to name an Adidas slogan and I’d find it far harder to accurately recreate their logo from memory!


Round One - Adidas 0 - 3 Nike




ROCKY: I think Nike is one of those few brands I can look back at nostalgically while still getting excited about their future.  I have so many great memories of wearing, owning and collecting Nikes over the years and it’s a constant evolution. I think Nikes definitely resonate with the fashion world, and in hip-hop.  Nike Air Forces and Jordans have been staples in popular culture for over two decades.  Then you have Adidas being really iconic; from Run DMC rapping about shell-toes to their current collaborations with Jeremy Scott, Y-3 (Yohji) and now Raf Simons and Rick Owens.

KIERAN: They are on par. Adidas appeal to a lot of people in music and high fashion, working with the likes of Jeremy Scott and Snoop Dogg.  Trainers such as the Jordans appeal to musicians (particularly in hip hop) and they had the Yeezys with Kanye West.  However – Kanye West has now signed a deal with Adidas to design a collection, so I guess the popularity of that will be useful in gauging how popular each brand is.  I would say Adidas is more synonymous with football – of course Nike sponsor the premier league and supply the balls, but Adidas sponsor the world cup and have been in the game for years.  I think the Adidas Predator (in particular their David Beckham design) was one of the best.

FAYA: I would say that Nike is more synonymous with contemporary culture – it’s more ‘lifestyle’. To my mind, Adidas would be the brand more keenly-associated with football, and indeed most functional sport specifics.


Round Two - Adidas 3 - 3 Nike




ROCKY: I really like anything with a lunar sole comfort-wise.  Nike Frees are incredibly comfortable, and I think Air Max 95s and Air Max Plus 1s are also underrated for their comfort.

KIERAN: To be honest I haven’t owned a pair of Adidas since the Stan Smith back when I was 14, but I have tried out the Adidas ZX700s and they were really comfy. But again Nike stands out; I think the Air Max sole is what does it. I also wear Janoskis pretty much every day and they are really comfy and great to skate in.

FAYA: That’s an impossible question to answer, by virtue of there being so many types of trainer for so many purposes.  Sport-specific shoes are always a logical choice. I find that the trainer which is most suited to your natural gait is the most comfortable one, so if you pronate, you go for one with more inner support.  Nike and Adidas have offerings that are equally comfortable, to my mind.


Round Three - Adidas 1 - 3 Nike



All-time favourite

ROCKY: I’m cheating here as my opinion shifts day-to-day, but definitely the Nike Air Max line from the Air Max 1 through to the Air Max 95.  I just don’t see myself ever getting sick of wearing these models.

KIERAN: At the minute it’s the Air Max 180, I think because of the shape and comfort.  It changes; I sometimes prefer a flatter-soled shoe, so the Nike SB Janoski is also a favourite. If you get the right pair, Cortez can be really nice too.

FAYA: I love the Free Run from Nike, and the Boosts from Adidas. I have owned several pairs of each.


Round Four - Adidas 1 - 3 Nike



The clothes

ROCKY: I want to say Nike.  I’m a big fan of the Gyakusou line. That gear is perfect for running but also looks great and is comfortable as hell.  Nike Sportswear also continues to impress me with some of their products and the white label stuff in particular is very   impressive in terms of design and quality.

KEIRAN: In terms of clothing it would be close between the two, I’ve got some really cool Adidas original tees and jumpers and I think for that retro feel Adidas definitely stands out. I really like Nike SB clothing, some of their NSW stuff, and for training all I wear is Nike.  That’s tough, I probably own an equal amount of both.  Adidas stand out to me because of the trefoil logo.  It can be transferred and still look good on different garments.  Nike is good for its functionality in sport clothing.  Both have a good archive of retro jumpers and tees, but the best designs can only be found in vintage shops.  I would say that I sway slightly more to Adidas clothing as they have managed to keep relevant retro styles popular.

FAYA: For their everyday workout offering, Nike.  They are perfectly functional, but slightly more fashionable than Adidas. That said, the Stella McCartney range for Adidas is a phenomenal tour-de-force of elegant design, luxurious materials, gorgeous cuts, and feminine aesthetics.  I really don’t think Nike have an answer to that, not that I’ve encountered (and as a switched-on ‘fitness consumer’, I should have encountered it, if there were something).


Round Five - Adidas 2 - 2 Nike


You can shop the winning collection from Nike here or even if you’re still a fan of Adidas Originals despite their defeat you can shop the trainers and clothing here.

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