Matt Powell Talks the Business of Sneaker Collabs, YEEZY Skepticism, and the Rise of adidas

Regardless of whether you agree with Matt Powell or not, he is the guy with the numbers and facts to back up what he says. Recently, Footshop Europe sat down with Powell at adidas’ headquarters in Germany to talk all about the sneaker industry.

If you’re at all interested in the business of sneakers and sportswear products, this is the interview for you. Matt Powell, Senior Industry Advisor of Sports at The NPD Group, is one of the world’s most respected authorities on the sneaker industry, and he has insights that you can;t get from just reading blogs and being a part of the culture.

In this interview, Powell discusses the differences in strategy between adidas and Nike, how limited collaborations usually don’t make money (and what brands can do to fix that), how much bigger Nike Inc. is than adidas, how skeptical he is of YEEZY products and their benefit to adidas, the resale market, how performance is dying and lifestyle is winning, and much more.

This interview is worth the listen so check it out below and share your thoughts in the comments. Let’s discuss.


  1. That guy did a piss poor job hosting. I bet just a regualr sneakershop sales person can do a better job than this guy.

    1. I think he was nervous — it has happened to me too, especially when interviewing someone I respect/admire. What did you think of what Powell had to say though?

  2. Great listen. I disagree with Powell on a few things, but from a business perspective the research and data he refers to does prove that, in the case of Adidas and Kanye West, Adidas had the ball rolling before his announced signing. However, a groundswell of support following Kanye and the culture that proceeds him dictates that once a popular figure announces a partnership with any brand, there will be a shift in the dynamic that the culture will align itself with. During the 60’s, especially during the Black civil rights movement in America, Black entertainment, soul music, food and all associations to the culture saw an uptick in interest so to speak. Advertisers then began to look to James Brown, Jim Brown, Bill Russell, to associate with, and whomever got the deal, brought in revenue for said brand who would be remembered as a “supporter” of the Black civil right movement. In the case of Kanye West, liberation and a freedom to express oneself in a way that a company like Nike refused to allow, puts Adidas in the position of rebel, a reputation that Nike once enjoyed as a company itself. So fans of Kanye who understood his desire to create, finding inspiration in his struggle, then winning, will support his efforts through supporting that brand. “Fuck Nike!” That “fuck nike” will resonate, because, who in the fuck is Micheal Jordan anyway?

    “He never says shit!”

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