SBD/June 9, 2014/Marketing and Sponsorship

Under Armour Expects ClutchFit Shoe Fabric To Help Drive Footwear Sales

Under Armour "is banking on a new fabric that conforms to the foot like a second skin to help the company break into the crowded athletic shoe market," according to Lorraine Mirabella of the Baltimore SUN. The company "is promoting its newly developed ClutchFit -- a lightweight, stretch material designed to move with the foot without bunching or binding -- as one of its latest innovations." It is "betting the technology will revolutionize shoes across multiple sports and pay off in a bigger share of the booming footwear market." But experts said that it is "too soon to tell whether the latest footwear will boost the brand's small but growing shoe business," a 13% piece of the company's $2.3B in annual sales. ClutchFit-designed shoes "began showing up in stores in March in this year's version of Under Armour's Highlight football cleats." Sports fans "got a first look at the basketball shoes" when Warriors G Stephen Curry wore a pair during the NBA playoffs. This month, the brand "is rolling out the ClutchFit Force soccer cleat and Spine ClutchFit running shoe." A new metal baseball cleat, an "attempt to get a bigger share of the high school athlete market, will be released during the MLB All-Star Game this summer and in stores by August." UA VP/Footwear for Team Sports Josh Rattet said that ClutchFit's "hourglass-patterned material also will make its way to base layer T-shirts, leggings and shorts by August and to other apparel and accessories later." The launch of ClutchFit shoes follows UA's debut of its Speedform Apollo running shoe in February, an "update of a version released last year as Under Armour tries to capture a bigger share of the running category dominated by larger brands such as Nike" (Baltimore SUN, 6/8).
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