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LA Gear Case Study

A relatively late entrant into the athletic shoe market, LA Gear has successfully carved out a niche among fashion-conscious consumers (primarily women) who purchase LA Gear shoes not only for athletic purposes, but also as casual footwear. LA Gear has tapped into the growing demand for fashionable shoes in a segment which was once dominated by function. As a result, the company has positioned itself as a viable third competitor in an industry dominated by Nike and Reebok (Converse has yet to make the transition to selling casual footwear), and is now poised to move upward to a dominant position.

Until the 1980s, athletic footwear was sold nearly exclusively to athletes. Children and teenagers were outfitted in "sneakers," canvas shoes which were relatively inexpensive and which could be easily replaced when they wore out. Professional athletes and serious amateur athletes typically purchased shoes which were made for their sports by a few manufacturers, but even adult amateur athletes often used adult sneakers for their leisure time activities.

This situation began to change in the late 1970s when jogging and running became increasingly popular. At the same time, health and fitness were becoming more important to Americans, with the result that health club memberships increased and more Americans began participating in sports as leisure activities. With this increase in sports participation came an increase in demand for shoes which were more specialized than the traditional sneaker. Adidas, which specialized in running shoes, experienced an upsurge in demand after Frank Shorter won the marathon in the Olympics and this sport experienced greater participation by Americans. At the same time, an increasing number of Americans wanted to look like athletes even when they did not participate in athletic endeavors. This gave rise to demand for shoes that looked like athletic footwear, but which did not necessarily have to hav...

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LA Gear Case Study. (1969, December 31). In Retrieved 22:03, July 01, 2022, from