One of the first speakers at the Footwear News Summit today was Kevin Planl, Founder and CEO of Under Armour, who talked about the brands expansion into footwear seven years ago. Under Armour launched their footwear in 2006, 10 years after the brand first started with a simple solution to an Athletes Problem, not being comfortable when working out. They expanded from moisture-wicking T-Shirts to all apparel, then launched their footwear, with the mission to make everyone feel ike they could do more, they could be better, they could be whatever they wanted to be. But why launch footwear? Isn’t there enough already? Kevin acknowledged that they had to find a niche, they had to again solve a problem sand make something new. The consumer didn’t need anymore footwear choices, but Under Armour gave them something new. And something that has earned them around $200 million in just seven years.
Most of the designers for Under Armour’s Footwear were athletes, so they know how to design for athletes, and what their needs are. One product they launched was the Highlight Cleat, a cleat that eliminated the need for tape or spats, therefore saving time and money. This cleat is also 26% lighter from the usual 10-15 oz. of weight a football player might carry on his feet. Though these cleats are only for a small percentage of the population, Kevin stressed how it was important to build up their credibility and reputation before they expand any more. “Nothing happens overnight, but it’s coming, and it will be bigger and better next year”