Under Armour have come a long way since our origins in Baltimore in 1996, where a 23-year old student called Kevin Plank began the business. From those humble beginnings we’ve become one of the leading sportswear brands in the world, gracing the bodies of top athletes and having starring roles of our own in such top Hollywood movies as The Avengers. Come back in time with us to discover our origin story.
Kevin Plank was a fullback at the University of Maryland, who was getting sick of changing out of sweat-drenched clothing, and noticed that his compression shorts stayed dry. This gave him the brainwave of designing a T-shirt made out of synthetic technical fabrics, and, guess what? It stayed dry.
After graduation, he would go on to design and sell his first prototype of the shirt, which was made of microfibres that kept athletes cool and dry. People would sit up and take notice when the cover of USA Today featured Oaklands Raiders quarterback Jeff George wearing an Under Armour mock turtleneck, and the first batch of orders would be placed with the company.
Under Armour were ahead of the curve, as soon all the major sportswear companies from Nike to Reebok would be investing in the future of moisture wicking sportswear. More publicity would come the company’s way when we were asked to outfit Jamie Foxx in Oliver Stone’s Any Given Sunday, as well as another major movie, The Replacements. Within a year life was imitating art, and Under Armour were outfitting the new XFL football league.
Baltimore itself was making a splash in the media, as the setting for the groundbreaking US TV show of the era, The Wire, so it was only natural that Under Armour would dress some of the actors in this classic cop series.
Under Armour’s reach was extending well beyond the local, however. The brand were known nationally through their TV ads, and internationally, opening stores from Canada to China. If we had revolutionised sportwear through our ColdGear, to keep athletes cool and dry, we would push things further forward with Infrared, which would circulate heat round the athlete’s body.
Keeping cool can be as important as keeping warm when you’re on the track or field, so we developed Coldblack fabric which reflects back the heat of the sun’s rays to keep you cool on sunny days. Our SpeedForm running shoes are the next development, with their minimal design for speed and responsive cushioning for comfort.
With our reputation as an innovator, it’s little wonder that top athletes and sportsmen are queuing up to wear our clothes and endorse our products. We have long-standing relationships with top basketball star Stephen Curry, the famous ballet dancer Misty Copeland, who has become the face of our women’s range, and Dwayne Johnson. Of course, The Rock’s given up wrestling to become a film star, and we continue to costume big Hollywood movies, including The Avengers collectively and Captain America and Iron Man individually.
Whether we’re clothing sporting icons or comic book legends, they make clothing fit for heroes.
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