For those interested in such matters, there remains a perception that Under Armour will sit amongst, if not usurp, the 'big boys' of global sports brands before the end of the decade.
For the week ending June 18th, Under Armour recorded a 131.4% increase in athletic footwear sales relative to the corresponding week last year (perhaps bolstered by Steph Curry's 'dad shoes' during the seven-game NBA finals) - very much in keeping with their projections that the brand will have almost doubled in value between 2016 and 2019. Not bad for a company that dipped their toes in the 'sneakers' sector for the first time less than a decade ago.
Their list of athletic clientele, too, seems destined to propel them to new heights in the next 10 years; an eye for young, bona fide sporting stars has seen the likes of uber-marketable boxer Anthony Joshua - himself destined for greatness on either side of the Atlantic having recently penned a tv deal with Showtime in the States - join ready-made icons such as Tom Brady, Michael Phelps and Dwayne 'The Rock' Johnson as well as the aforementioned Curry, amongst others.
At the launch of their 'Rule Yourself' campaign in London back in March, Senior Vice President of Global Brand Marketing Adrienne Lofton explained to me how Under Armour athletes are heavily involved in the design of new products, with the likes of Curry regularly consulted during the creative process. It serves to both establish a close relationship between athlete and brand but, more pertinently, enables athletes to use equipment or apparel tailored to their particular needs or the rigours of their chosen craft.
It probably speaks volumes to my stark lack of athletic prowess that my own chosen craft is one of writing about sport as opposed to partaking in it. Mind you, it could be argued that nobody on Earth - in sport or otherwise - is as quick off the mark as I am when it comes to putting off going for a run, particularly during the warmer months.
Nonetheless, Under Armour were kind enough to send me a few samples of their new CoolSwitch range, which is available to purchase on their website, and I felt compelled to try and run at least a portion of the Euros booze out of me.
In short, they look slick, and they're extremely effective even in warm weather.
- Pulls heat away from your skin for an instant cooling sensation
- Supercharges your body’s natural cooling mechanism
- Absorbs heat with the same technology used in NASA spacesuits
Men's UA CoolSwitch Run Singlet (€40)
CoolSwitch Run T-Shirt (€46)
CoolSwitch Run Compression Leggings (€65)
Run Racer 2-in-1 Shorts (€38)
While the cooling effect of the singlet is rather self-explanatory, the CoolSwitch Run T-Shirt will come as a massive relief to fans of, well, sleeves. It essentially affords you all the liberation of running in a singlet, or even topless - crucially, without having onlookers presuming you to be a colossal roaster.
I was sceptical, too, about wearing compression leggings in the humid weather we've been enjoying in Ireland recently, but was fascinated to discover that they do in fact cool your legs as you run. Under Armour explained that CoolSwitch uses an exclusive coating on the inside that pulls heat away from your skin, allowing you to perform for longer, even during the summer months. Plus, on a practical side, the leggings also have a secure back pocket along with reflective logos for greater visibility on low-light runs.
The highlight from my experience, however, was the new 2-in-1 shorts. Rather than line their summer shorts with the usual mesh which, speaking as a male, can frankly wreak havoc upon your sensory system and occasionally even your dignity, Under Armour's newest entry instead includes built-in HeatGear baselayer shorts to power your run. Again, this applies the cooling sensation of the aforementioned leggings, and it also keeps your house in order (think Phoebe's manscaping boyfriend in Season 3 of Friends - nobody needs that).
As amusing at it might sound, it's also important, particularly while running; anything can go wrong when you have to hot-step a rogue dog turd. The shorts too feature a reflective logo and piping for night-time jogs.
All in all, I'd recommend trying this CoolSwitch range and adding it to your workout arsenal - whether you're a fitness fanatic or not. This is a bit of a game-changer from Under Armour; it's clear that they're serious about developing products that do indeed assist the everyday man or woman in their sporting activities. You will notice a considerable difference.
For more, visit Under Armour's official website.