I agree with you on the over-engineering of basic shoes like women's pumps and air units in dress shoes just to warrant high prices. I'll be sad to see Cole Haan go the way of the dodo though.
I know you're alluding to MJ here, but Bill Bowerman is still well noted.
The problem with Umbro and Cole Haan is that Nike cannibalized the former with its own soccer product and the latter was trying to hustle 'Made in China' product on the same level as Gucci, LV, etc... I can't front though, I've got some wicked Cole Haan deals at the outlets. If they priced 'em reasonably they would not have to sell it off.
You are right. However, in the luxury footwear market, there was a time that Cole Haan was a smidgen outside of the Allen Edmonds and Alden genre pre Nike. Once Nike got involved, they fell off completely, while trying to compete in that specialized market. I remember when they tried to put zoom air into women's pumps, claiming improvements in foot balance due to that usage, then watching them fail miserably. Outside of the niche market that Nike and Jordan does dominate, Adults who are active do not take Nike seriously. The main reason they sell so well, is that the volume of stuff they produce. They are in bed with certain retailers, so that when you walk in the store, you'll see nothing but Nike, being forced to choose from their stock.
What's really killing Nike, is that they've tried to gain a foothold in the running community, which is filled with adults with MONEY, and they've failed there as well. Sure, some runners wear Nike, but New Balance, Asics, and a few others are looked upon as being far superior.
Now, imagine what's going to happen if Phil Knight suddenly disappears again...
*sits back with arms folded behind my head*
Some of Nike's fundamental running shoes are OK - Pegasus, Structure Triax. It's the gimmicky, over-priced models that leave a bad taste with people.
You think Phil Knight's return had an impact on their growth in the last few years?
Oh, there is no doubt about it. While on the sidelines and the other dude
took over, Adidas started going all in
. They bought Reebok, took over the NBA uniforms, started really making waves that Nike didn't see coming. The new guy in charge wanted to play fair, unlike the old Nike that we were used to with their advertising campaigns. Under new guy, all of a sudden, Nike started making good basketball shoes again like the Zoom BB line, those not of the pocket emptying experience, the LeBron III was made at this time as well. The quality of Nike Basketball shoes suddenly became a more bang for your buck type of experience!
All hell broke loose in Beaverton, and they got rid of the fair minded guy. He wasn't a dig dirt, kick dirt, think nasty kind of guy.
I suppose they looked at the future, saw the comp rising, then had to do something to separate themselves from the pack again.
In other words, they panicked.
Now they've divested from Cole Haan and Umbro.