The almighty Swoosh is suddenly in an unlikely — if not uncomfortable — position: playing defense.
Nike, the world's largest sneaker maker, with revenue topping $20 billion last year, is mostly watching from the sidelines as its name has been linked with consumer rioting outside shopping malls in Florida and Maryland over limited access to the $220 basketball shoe Foamposite One Galaxy. The release of the $180 Air Jordan XI shoe before Christmas also caused a riot at a mall in Indianapolis, fights in Seattle and a stabbing in Jersey City.
For Nike, industry dominance comes at a price. While the brand has successfully stayed cool — if not cutting-edge — over nearly 40 years in the highly competitive sneaker business, the way it stays on top may need to evolve in a fast-changing world of social media that has greatly democratized knowledge of and access to its newest and coolest shoes.