Here's How Under Armour Is Growing in Footwear

With aggressive sales tactics, Under Armour is now making inroads into a lucrative segment of the athletic-footwear space.

Jun 13, 2014 at 10:05AM

Athletic apparel, footwear, and accessories manufacturer Under Armour (NYSE:UA) has done well in recent years to expand its product portfolio. The company offers products and services for just about every major sport and now even has a foothold in the growing wearable-fitness-technology category with its Armour39 line.

However, in order for the company to realistically compete with a global juggernaut like Nike (NYSE:NKE), Under Armour needs to do much better in the lucrative footwear category. For such a large market, Under Armour has a very small presence in footwear currently, but that may be about to change.


Source: Under Armour.

Running away with it
The standout footwear category for Under Armour recently has been the running segment. According to retail analyst Matt Powell at SportsOneSource, the company grew its running sales by a staggering 54% in the month of May and ended up controlling 3.4% of the running-footwear market.

While the growth is impressive, Under Armour still has a long way to go to catch Nike in running. The sneaker giant grew its running shoe sales by 7% in May but owned a whopping 59.5% of the running-footwear market.

For footwear in general, the results are similar. For the month of May, Under Armour grew its total sneaker sales by 30% and controlled 2.7% of the total shoe market, up from 2.3% in April. Meanwhile, Nike controlled 58.9% of the market, which marks the highest market share ever recorded for the company in the month of May.

Setting the bar low
SportsOneSource's Powell attributed Under Armour's recent success to drastically lower price points versus the competition. The average price point for an Under Armour running shoe in May was $55, which was significantly lower than Nike's average price point of $71.50.

This highlights two things. The first is obviously that Nike, as a far more established name in footwear, has strong pricing power when it comes to sneakers. However, the second is that Under Armour management is choosing to make inroads in the running segment by getting its products into the hands of consumers by any means necessary, including aggressive sales tactics.

The sharp focus on the running-footwear segment has cost Under Armour significantly in other segments, most notably basketball. The company's basketball sneaker sales dropped by 26% in May.

If we look at the most recent high-profile sneaker release by Under Armour, the focus has clearly been on running. The company's SpeedForm Apollo running shoe debuted in January under the "This Is What Fast Feels Like" marketing campaign to a mostly positive reception. It was named "Best Debut" in the 2014 Spring Shoe Guide by Runner's World.

Matt Mirchin, executive vice president of marketing, explained in the company's press release for the new product: "SpeedForm Apollo is the shoe we were born to make. We pushed industry boundaries to deliver breakthrough innovation in footwear that provides performance that runners need."


Source: Under Armour.

Bottom line
Under Armour is still very much the underdog in the athletic-footwear category. While Nike is busy taking its brand to record highs, no doubt helped by its massive presence at The World Cup right now, Under Armour management is still aggressively trying to get its products into the hands of consumers.

As long as the reception for Under Armour's footwear products remains positive and translates into increased customer adoption, the sales tactics should prove beneficial to the company and its shareholders in the long term.

With Under Armour up more than 1,000% since the Great Recession, can it still be your next multibagger?
Give us five minutes and we'll show how you could own the best stock for 2014. Every year, The Motley Fool's chief investment officer hand-picks one stock with outstanding potential. But it's not just any run-of-the-mill company. It's a stock perfectly positioned to cash in on one of the upcoming year's most lucrative trends. Last year his pick skyrocketed 134%. And previous top picks have gained upwards of 908%, 1,252% and 1,303% over the subsequent years! Believe me, you don't want to miss what could be his biggest winner yet! Just click here to download your free copy of "The Motley Fool's Top Stock for 2014" today.


Philip Saglimbeni owns shares of Under Armour. The Motley Fool recommends and owns shares of Nike and Under Armour. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

1 Key Step to Get Rich

Our mission at The Motley Fool is to help the world invest better. Whether that’s helping people overcome their fear of stocks all the way to offering clear and successful guidance on complicated-sounding options trades, we can help.

Feb 1, 2016 at 4:54PM

To be perfectly clear, this is not a get-rich action that my Foolish colleagues and I came up with. But we wouldn't argue with the approach.

A 2015 Business Insider article titled, "11 websites to bookmark if you want to get rich" rated The Motley Fool as the #1 place online to get smarter about investing.

"The Motley Fool aims to build a strong investment community, which it does by providing a variety of resources: the website, books, a newspaper column, a radio [show], and [newsletters]," wrote (the clearly insightful and talented) money reporter Kathleen Elkins. "This site has something for every type of investor, from basic lessons for beginners to investing commentary on mutual funds, stock sectors, and value for the more advanced."

Our mission at The Motley Fool is to help the world invest better, so it's nice to receive that kind of recognition. It lets us know we're doing our job.

Whether that's helping the entirely uninitiated overcome their fear of stocks all the way to offering clear and successful guidance on complicated-sounding options trades, we want to provide our readers with a boost to the next step on their journey to financial independence.

Articles and beyond

As Business Insider wrote, there are a number of resources available from the Fool for investors of all levels and styles.

In addition to the dozens of free articles we publish every day on our website, I want to highlight two must-see spots in your tour of

For the beginning investor

Investing can seem like a Big Deal to those who have yet to buy their first stock. Many investment professionals try to infuse the conversation with jargon in order to deter individual investors from tackling it on their own (and to justify their often sky-high fees).

But the individual investor can beat the market. The real secret to investing is that it doesn't take tons of money, endless hours, or super-secret formulas that only experts possess.

That's why we created a best-selling guide that walks investors-to-be through everything they need to know to get started. And because we're so dedicated to our mission, we've made that available for free.

If you're just starting out (or want to help out someone who is), go to, drop in your email address, and you'll be able to instantly access the quick-read guide ... for free.

For the listener

Whether it's on the stationary exercise bike or during my daily commute, I spend a lot of time going nowhere. But I've found a way to make that time benefit me.

The Motley Fool offers five podcasts that I refer to as "binge-worthy financial information."

Motley Fool Money features a team of our analysts discussing the week's top business and investing stories, interviews, and an inside look at the stocks on our radar. It's also featured on several dozen radio stations across the country.

The hosts of Motley Fool Answers challenge the conventional wisdom on life's biggest financial issues to reveal what you really need to know to make smart money moves.

David Gardner, co-founder of The Motley Fool, is among the most respected and trusted sources on investing. And he's the host of Rule Breaker Investing, in which he shares his insights into today's most innovative and disruptive companies ... and how to profit from them.

Market Foolery is our daily look at stocks in the news, as well as the top business and investing stories.

And Industry Focus offers a deeper dive into a specific industry and the stories making headlines. Healthcare, technology, energy, consumer goods, and other industries take turns in the spotlight.

They're all informative, entertaining, and eminently listenable ... and I don't say that simply because the hosts all sit within a Nerf-gun shot of my desk. Rule Breaker Investing and Answers contain timeless advice, so you might want to go back to the beginning with those. The other three take their cues from the market, so you'll want to listen to the most recent first. All are available at

But wait, there's more

The book and the podcasts – both free ... both awesome – also come with an ongoing benefit. If you download the book, or if you enter your email address in the magical box at the podcasts page, you'll get ongoing market coverage sent straight to your inbox.

Investor Insights is valuable and enjoyable coverage of everything from macroeconomic events to investing strategies to our analyst's travels around the world to find the next big thing. Also free.

Get the book. Listen to a podcast. Sign up for Investor Insights. I'm not saying that any of those things will make you rich ... but Business Insider seems to think so.

Compare Brokers