Under Armour reveals its vision for sportswear in 2020

Article by Lauren Hartzenberg, BizCommunity

Under Armour (UA) has grown to become a respected name in global athletic apparel, despite launching decades after many of its primary competitors, including Nike, Reebok and Puma. US-born Kevin Plank founded the company in his grandmother’s basement in the mid-90s, and created the first UA product, a moisture-wicking compression T-shirt designed to keep athletes cool and dry.

Today, the sportswear brand retains its keen focus on performance-enhancement, with a product range spanning apparel, footwear and accessories for men, women and kids. Innovative developments in textile design has resulted in athleticwear trusted to improve endurance and performance, and aid in recovery.

Under Armour South Africa recently hosted a Tech Summit in Cape Town, showcasing its latest product technology and the collections at the forefront of its strategy in 2020. These were some of the highlights:

HOVR Machina: UA’s popular connected running shoe mixes the speed of a racing shoe with the comfort of a long-distance trainer, and now it comes with real-time Form Coaching. This new feature provides personalised guidance, helping runners better manage their risk of injury and improve their performance.

Runners can also measure their foot strike angle and ground contact time, offered in a post-run analysis, to give them deeper insights into their form. Users can access this data using AU’s MapMyRun app.

Rush: UA’s Rush line of apparel is made from special fabric infused with 13 minerals (created in collaboration with Celliant), which recycles the body’s energy during performance. The intention is to provide the same benefits as an infrared sauna.

The Rush technology captures the heat energy released from the body, recycles it and returns it to the body. This recycled energy is said to increase temporary localised circulation, promoting improved strength and endurance, and powering tires muscles.

In 2020, UA is introducing Rush Seamless, a line of garments that are form fitting but with fewer seams to improve breathability.

Recovery: UA claims the bioceramic pattern printed on the inside of its Athlete Recovery apparel uses the body’s energy to increase the amount of oxygen reaching the muscles, helping to restore them faster.

In addition to faster recovery, the technology is said to promote better sleep, reduce inflammation and regulate metabolism. UA’s Recovery apparel is made using super soft materials for maximum comfort, and is available in Sleep, Travel and Compression collections.

Infinity Bra: This one-piece, injection-moulded sports bra is described as UA’s fastest-drying yet. The injection follows a figure 8 (infinity) pattern to offer adaptable support during exercise, as the company discovered that in addition to moving up and down during movement, breasts also move from side to side and in and out.

The bra is available in light, medium and heavy support.

Meridian Infused Leggings: These leggings were designed to address the dryness and itchiness one can feel during and after working out, due to moisture evaporating from one’s skin. UA created a responsive textile that’s embedded with quiospheres, which it says are essentially encapsulated moisturisers that activate as soon as the leggings are put on.

UA claims this is all thanks to a bacteria called Antarcatine, which produces glycoproteins that help retain water. In a nutshell, the latest iteration of Meridian Leggings combines UA’s softest fabric with moisturiser properties.

Tribase Reign 2: With greater grip, stability and flexibility, UA’s Tribase gym shoe was designed with high intensity workouts and CrossFit training in mind.

The updated Tribase Reign 2 has a larger external heel counter, more rubber traction, and a stretchy knit upper to secure the foot comfortably. The improved grip and durability, helped by the full-rubber outsole that wraps up the sides, is especially handy for training involving rope work.

The Only Way is Through brand platform

Under Armour’s local team also used the Cape Town event to announce the launch of the company’s new global brand platform, titled ‘The Only Way is Through’.

UA states that the campaign was created to bring to life the value of momentum; how momentum through work helps athletes push themselves to be better than what they thought possible, and how Under Armour technology is supporting those athletes constantly in search of incremental change.

The platform launch includes a 90-second anthem, supported with additional content throughout the year, including spotlight pieces on athletes exploring their “through” moments. It taps into the personal stories of celebrated athletes like NBA star Steph Curry, Olympic gold medalist Kelley O’Hara, NFL legend Tom Brady and Olympian Michael Phelps.

The Only Way Is Through will run across broadcast, online, out-of-home, and social media platforms with a focus on key global sport and cultural moments in 2020. Experiential activations will take place in major cities, and there will also be an eight-episode The Only Way is Through podcast presented in partnership with iHeartMedia.