Athletic footwear sales for the first six months of 2021 grew more than 35 percent versus 2020 and about 23 percent versus 2019, according to a first-half recap report from NPD Group’s Matt Powell, VP senior industry advisor.

Women’s athletic footwear grew by about 40 percent compared to 2020. Share gainers included Brooks, Converse, Puma, Skechers, and Vans. Nike and Adidas were notable in losing share. Men’s and kid’s athletic footwear grew over 30 percent for the first six months versus the same period in 2020.

Largely reflecting year-ago store closures, shoe chains were the strongest channel so far this year, growing more than 50 percent over 2020 in the first half. Premium department stores and athletic specialty/sporting goods grew about 37 percent. Mid-tier and value-priced stores were up about 22 percent.

Among categories, performance basketball footwear grew 25 percent over 2020, up in the low-single-digits versus 2019. Performance running footwear grew by about one-third. Brooks solidified its leading position in women’s performance running shoes. Hiking and walking shoes outperformed the market with sales, on average, up nearly 50 percent.

Sport lifestyle footwear grew by about one-third but showed declines in July against year-ago comparisons.

Among footwear brands, Nike and Jordan underperformed and ceded share in the first half of 2021 compared to 2020. Adidas and New Balance grew by approximately one-third. Brooks, Converse, Vans, Under Armour, and Skechers sales grew by more than half. Reebok grew 75 percent. Hoka One One grew about 90 percent. On sales tripled. Merrell, Keen and Columbia each experienced a strong first half.

The top-selling athletic footwear for the first half of 2021 in dollar ranked in order was:

  • Nike Air Force 1 Low
  • Nike Air Max 270
  • Nike Air Vapormax Plus
  • Nike Air Max Excee
  • Nike Air Max 90
  • Jordan I Mid
  • Nike Revolution 5
  • Adidas NMD R1
  • Brooks Ghost 13
  • Brooks Adrenaline GTS 21.

Sales of activewear grew more than 40 percent in the first half of 2021 over the same time period in 2020, and more than 25 percent compared to 2019.

Women’s activewear grew about 40 percent in the first half of 2021, while men’s and kid’s activewear grew about 45 percent in 2021 versus 2020. In the women’s market, Nike ceded share to other brands in the first half.

Knit shirts and pants grew an average of 40 percent. Shorts and sweatshirts were up more than 50 percent. Underwear continued its strong growth, up 40 percent. Sports bras grew about 30 percent. Active swimwear sales increased close to 50 percent.

Activewear in the athletic specialty/sporting goods channel grew by more than half, while the premium and mid-tier channels grew by more than 40 percent.

Photo courtesy Skechers