Basketball Makes Slam Dunk

The U.S. basketball shoe segment is presenting solid gains in an overall down footwear market. 

According to The NPD Group, basketball footwear (which in NPD's data includes the categories of performance and classic basketball shoes) was up 21 percent in an athletic footwear market that was down 4 percent overall in the 12 months ending April 2014.

Specifically, basketball performance footwear sales grew by 12 percent, from $1.63 billion in the 12 months ending April 2013, to $1.83 billion in the 12 months ending April 2014. Basketball-inspired footwear, also known as classics (a style 10 years or older that stays true to its original silhouette and has switched from a performance to a lifestyle product) grew 9 percent, from $1.34 billion to $1.45 billion during the same time period. Overall, the dollar share of basketball-related footwear accounted for 25 percent of all athletic footwear combined, demonstrating its robust presence in the market.

Just one look at the colors, styles, innovation and launches in basketball footwear this year, and you will see the reason for its higher level of growth. The basketball segment is capitalizing on brand and star power performance, which is working to its advantage. On top of that, all of these features put together add greater appeal and diversify basketball footwear's place in the market. Consumers, whether shoe enthusiasts or not, are drawn to the product launches and styles, which are driving basketball footwear sales today.

Top U.S. Basketball Brands and Markets

Some of the top-performing basketball footwear brands based on dollar share in the 12 months ending April 2014 include adidas, Jordan, Nike, Reebok and Under Armour (in alphabetical order).

The top three fastest growing U.S. footwear markets during the same period were Atlanta, Ga., Philadelphia, Penn., and Dallas, Texas. The strength of the basketball shoe market in large cities is undeniable, but it's not only consumers in the larger urban markets that are buying into this craze. Consumers are reaching out from all corners of the U.S. to get in on the action. This category has universal appeal across the country.

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