Nike's 'Tanjun' Was The Bestselling Shoe Of 2018; Mid-Market Footwear Dominates Top 10

NPD Group has released its annual list of the top 10 best-selling shoes.

In 2018, Nike Inc NKE posted a mid-single digit increase and VF Corp VFC’s Vans had a banner year, with sales increasing 60 percent, said analyst Matt Powell. 

"The biggest thing is the amount of mid-market shoes that are on the list. Most of the growth came out of mid-market, and this shows they are increasing in importance to the athletic shoe business in the U.S.," he said. 

A key shift in fashion is that consumers — not brands — are now in charge of trends, Powell said. 

“The peer-to-peer conversations people are having with each other are driving this trend. They look around and ask what they should buy [and] they are sharing that stuff on social media — all that [put] the consumer in charge." 

No. 1: Nike Tanjun

A perennial top seller, Nike’s mid-market favorite also topped the list in 2017. Part of the Tanjun’s appeal is that it's attractive to multiple demographics, with a greater percentage of female buyers than seen in the overall indsustry. 

“It was by a far substantial margin, considering the price point, the number of pairs that were sold were staggering vs. (Air Max) 270 or (Jordan) Concord 11,” Powell said.

Sales of the Tanjun began to decline in the second half, and the sneaker is likely to fall down the list from here, he said. 

No 2.: Nike Air Max 270

A new entrant in the top 10 list this year, the Air Max 270 was initially released in early 2018.

“Mostly because it is a $170 shoe ... shoes at that price point don’t need a huge increase in units to make the list," Powell said. "To some extent, it speaks to adidas' weakness in the marketplace, because they haven't had any shoes to replace their big sellers, and that seems to help Nike by default.”

No 3: Converse Chuck Taylor Ox Low

It’s no surprise to see a Converse Chuck Taylor model on the top 10 list.

“Their shoes are perennially in the top 10,even though sales are down against a year go. While it remains a top seller, the trend line is not good for Chuck Taylor," Powell said. "There are a lot of great inexpensive shoes in the marketplace that has always been a hallmark of Chuck Taylor.”

No. 4: Jordan XI

“They just put a lot of pairs in the market, a lot more than a year ago. It tends to make the top 10 just on price alone,” Powell said of the shoe. 

No. 5: Nike Air Huarache

“That’s part of the retro story that’s still important," Powell said of the Air Huarache. "People are gravitating to '90s product, but again, it looks like the shoe is going to decline in 2019.”

No. 6: Vans Ward

“Another mid-market shoe on the list, this shoe is very much in fashion, the brand is as hot as a pistol and we should expect that one to continue to grow.”

No. 7: Nike Revolution 4

The Revolution 4 is another shoe selling at a mid-market price point, Powell said. "It’s a nice, basic shoe that comes in a bunch of colors, [and] it shows how important mid-market and Middle America is for the shoe business."

No. 8 : Nike Flex Contact

This year's list is extreme in that there are no true performance or basketball shoes on the list, Powell said.

"I’m not seeing any signs of that [changing].”

No. 9: Adidas Yeezy Boost 350 v2

German footwear maker adidas AG (ADR) ADDYY "put a ton more shoes in the marketplace, and the price point drove that shoe into the top 10 list," Powell said. "I am concerned they are going to oversupply the market like Jordan did and break the mold of the scarcity model that’s driving this product.”

No.10: Nike Air Force 1 Low

“Another perennial top-10 shoe, it is pretty much always on the list," Powell said of the Air Force 1 Low. "It is not as exciting of a product as it used to be, but we are in a smooth leather, basic, low-price story.”

Related Links:

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Photo courtesy of Nike. 

Posted In: Matt PowellNPD GroupYeezyNewsRetail SalesInterview

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