See what apparel, footwear and backpacks landed in parents’ shopping carts as they sent their kids back to the classroom.

As kids head back to school, their wardrobe for studying, socializing and participating in sports prominently featured usual suspects Under Armour and Nike. According to data compiled by SSI Data through August 19, parents headed to mid-tier department stores over big box & mall specialty retailers to pick up active apparel. The mid-tier channel accounted for 17 percent of all sales in the SSI Data Measured Market while only accounting for 10 percent in the calendar year-to-date period.

In a rather poignant nod to summer not being quite over despite the resumption of classes, the Top Seller in kids’ active apparel was the Under Armour boy’s tech prototype short – the girls Nike Tempo short also cracked the Top 10. And two versions of the Under Armour Big Logo short-sleeve shirt sold big, namely the boys Hybrid and the Tech tees.

Proving that kids’ clothes purchases tend to skew more basic, 69 percent of sales in the kids’ sports and fitness activewear category came from loose-fit activewear and short-sleeve t-shirts.

This is the only four-week period this year in which Under Armour has outsold Nike in the kids’ active apparel category, driven by promotions and active distribution.

Kids headed back to school this year overwhelmingly shod in Nike and Jordan footwear. Converse, Adidas and New Balance also made appearances in the shopping carts of parents. The footwear Top Seller in the first half of the 8-week back-to-school selling season wasn’t a sneaker but a slide – the Nike Kawa. And kids’ outdoor/action sport sandals continued to be popular among outdoor footwear sales.

A staple of back-to-school sales, lifestyle daypacks, experienced market shifts away from backpacks that have been largely beneficial to the brands that make up the active outdoor lifestyle market. The category has shifted away from the independent specialty outdoor segment and sales remained relatively flat in the big box & mall specialty retail segment. Osprey and Patagonia posted strong brand share growth in the trailing 13-week period.

Photo courtesy Under Armour

SSI Data, managed by SportsOnesource, LLC, collects weekly retail point-of-sale data from over 20 retail channels of distribution and delivers timely sales trending reporting for footwear, apparel, essentials and equipment within 5 days of each fiscal week close, enabling retailers and brands to react to nearly real-time data to better manage their businesses. 

For more information on how your brand performed, email Matt Tucker at