Knowing how Adidas (or should I say, adidas) jealously guards its three stripe design on shoes, and is notorious for protecting against not only three, but two and four stripe buffers as well, my eyes were drawn to this display of Nike Shox sport shoes at our local Finish Line retail store.

While I suppose different consumers will see different things, I see four stripes of uneven length about where you would expect to see stripes on a pair of Adidas shoes.

It is for this reason I suspect it is no accident that the Nike Swoosh logo and the Nike Shox word marks are positioned in immediate proximity to those parallel bands — it’s kind of hard for Adidas to make out a case of post-sale trademark confusion with the obvious Nike indicia staring you in the face, right?

But, that opinion probably assumes consumers aren’t or won’t be led to believe Nike and Adidas are related or otherwise playing on the same team, so to speak.

With all the brand consolidation going on, that may not be a safe assumption. For example, I was told this past weekend that Nike had bought Reebok, and there apparently are others under the same belief, but it appears, Adidas actually owns Reebok now.

So, if there is existing confusion over whether Nike and Adidas have joined forces, and if the truth is they remain separate entities and vigorous competitors, how might that impact Adidas ability to kill the stripes or parallel bands on the Nike Shox shoes?

My curiosity would love to see some open ended survey evidence inquiring about who put out these shoes — and then follow-up questions like, anyone else, and anyone else? And then, why do you say that?

What do you think the survey would say, to paraphrase Richard Dawson of the Family Feud game show?