SBD/Issue 154/Sponsorships, Advertising & Marketing

Under Armour Working On Designs For Running, Basketball Shoes

Under Armour Working On More
Designs Of New Prototype Shoes
Under Armour (UA) Saturday will launch its New Prototype cross-trainer shoe, and UA Chair & CEO Kevin Plank said that the company already has "begun testing prototypes of a basketball and a running shoe," according to Andrea Walker of the Baltimore SUN. At least one of the shoes "could hit the market as early as next year." UA several weeks ago tested prototypes of the running shoe in Baltimore, and Falls Road Running Store Owner Jim Adams said that the shoes "were very colorful and looked cutting edge." Adams noted that other reactions "varied from liking the shoe to thinking it might be too fashionable to run in." Walker reports UA's foray into shoes "signals the company's intentions to make the [UA] logo as prominent as the Nike swoosh in the sports apparel market," and the success of the New Prototype also is a "test of the company's strategy to broaden the brand." The success of the new cross trainer, based around the slogan "Stop Training in Running Shoes," will determine "how fast and aggressively the company enters other shoe categories." Plank: "The opportunity is there for us to enter additional categories, but we're going to know a lot more after Saturday." Analysts said that the success of the New Prototype "could determine just how powerful the [UA] brand is in attracting consumers." But Plank is "optimistic the cross trainer will sell well." UA is "pitching its shoe as a performance trainer for a niche group of hard-core athletes who train 'not to maintain. But to get better every day.'" Plank: "Athletes will still need to train. If we're really doing our job, our brand will grow" (Baltimore SUN, 5/1).

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