PLAYING TO WIN

Byline: Rosemary Feitelberg

Activewear giants Nike, Reebok and Adidas, brands that have built steady followings with their T-shirts and sneakers, are now in the precarious position of trying to court the fashion crowd without alienating their more athletically inclined customers.
Earlier this year, for example, Nike launched a slick Nike Goddess magazine and a store, in Newport Beach, Calif.
At Reebok, instead of gearing their pitches to hard-core athletes, the company is giving its image a lifestyle twist. Even Venus Williams, the brand’s favorite pro athlete, shed her tennis dress and glammed it up in designer clothes as part of Reebok’s “Defy Convention” ad campaign.
This time around, L.A. Gear knocked Adidas from the number-three spot on the survey to the fourth. Earlier this year, L.A. Gear saw a major changing of the guard, when Herbert Hainer took over as chairman and ceo, succeeding Robert Louis-Dreyfuss.
Puma, a newcomer to the top 10, got a lift last year by launching Nuala, a yoga-inspired lifestyle line backed by Christy Turlington. Surprisingly, London club kids jump-started the interest in New Balance, a brand that focuses on runners, by wearing the company’s footwear out at night a few years back.

Activewear Top 10
1. Nike
2. Reebok
3. L.A. Gear
4. Adidas
5. Puma
6. Danskin
7. Converse
8. Spalding
9. New Balance
10. Rockport

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