Under Armour definitely seems rooted and invested in the future. Their greatest appeal seems to be with the young hoopers of tomorrow. The success of Steph Curry and the Warriors have had a phenomenal impact on the youth. With Steph being the face of Under Armour, as you can imagine this has been great for the brand as well. But, what does this do for the older demographics? Is the appeal the same for them, or is there still more work to be done? The answer is the latter. This can be tied to a couple of things, and none of them are too crazy or off-putting. Some of it has to do with Steph and his play style too. Though exciting, some people who idolized the “Iso and Athleticism Era” don’t naturally flock to his game just based of preference. Another part is that Under Armour was not the household name during the time many of those people were heavily involved in basketball. The question is, how do they change the narrative for that older demographic?
The money in sneakers isn’t necessarily in their performance appeal. The style and casual wear is where the greatest impact to the market lies. Sneaker buyers in their twenties and above tend to lean towards and go with what influenced them at an early age. This is why I say the future is bright for Under Armour because they have a great grasp on a lot of young athletes at an early age. However, what about snagging those people in the now? Nostalgia plays a great part in the success of sneakers. We see brands making it the cornerstone of their strategies as a tried and true method. There is normally a face that is tied to the shoe that takes many of these people back to a moment in time that meant something to them. This creates a greater desire for some of the sneakers that are being released. That’s not necessarily a luxury UA has just yet. With Steph being their biggest face to date and still being relatively new, it’s going to be some time before he has those connections for people. He is definitely forging his moments in history and when it’s all said and done he will be viewed the same as some of those other legendary faces, but that’s in time. The same should go for his shoes. This is something that normally goes hand in hand and with the on-court performance, which means big things in the future. But, once again I am still saying future. Along with Steph UA has also enlisted Dennis Smith, Josh Jackson, Terrance Ferguson, and Will Barton. All younger names that have their best days ahead of them, so yet once again I am speaking out to what’s to come. So, what do we do for the very moment then?
The answer is actually pretty simple. Under Armour has actually struck gold with their player exclusives and unreleased colorways. Without having the nostalgia or themes rooted in older moments of careers, its back to the basics to create success. Arguably the most important factor in a sneaker may be the colorway, and there have been some colorways that have brought out the best in some of their models. My first example was the extremely limited “More Magic” Curry 4, the color blocking, patterns, and schemes on these showed the potential in the model. They were they early release to the Curry 4 and tough to get, so if you have a pair consider yourself lucky. The second example is the “UA Association” exclusives. There were six shoes that nearly everyone wanted, but unless you played in the UA Association league, you weren’t going to get your hands on a pair. The exclusives ranged in an Orange, Red, Yellow, Purple, Blue and Green, across two different silhouettes. The final example is the upcoming HOVR Havoc release, which we will be featuring closer to the launch. The shoe shows its actual potential in a colorway that may not be hitting retailers. The only way to describe the pair is as a “Sunburst” colorway, featuring a yellow-orange gradient and a mint green sole. It’s literally love at first sight with these shoes and there is no other way to say it. The key to putting themselves “Over” is in colorways and schemes like these. These can still be limited runs, but they need to be on the people’s feet and in their collections to make the greatest impact in the culture, the market, and for the brand.
Under Armour has a great roadmap ahead of them. What we’ll most likely see coming will be more quality things from them as brand, and they will greater improve on their market share. With that said, the process may be able to skip forward a few steps by expanding on some of the things they have kept close to the chest. The sneakers many of us love today became classics by having amazing colorways that were available to the people. This is something that will only help.