Under Armour expands connected footwear lineup
Under Armour is expanding its line of UA Record Equipped smart running shoes, which use automatic run tracking technology from the athletic apparel retailer's MapMyRun mobile app and global digital running community to provide runners with workout and fatigue data.
The new shoe models include UA SpeedForm Gemini 3 RE, UA SpeedForm Velociti RE, and UA SpeedForm Europa RE, which join the company’s initial smart shoe, the UA SpeedForm Gemini 2 RE, announced earlier this year.
As Under Armour gets more involved in the athletic shoe market, the company said it plans to ramp up availability of connected footwear, more than doubling the number of units worldwide in 2017 via global distribution to North America, Europe, the Middle East, Australia, New Zealand, Japan and, for the first time, Greater China.
Athletic shoes are a big part of Under Armour’s ongoing strategy. Unfortunately, the company’s shoe business has suffered a couple of setbacks recently. The brand endured extensive social media mockery following the release of its Steph Curry 'Chef' shoe, and its footwear fell off a list of hot-selling shoes at retailer Foot Locker, an occurrence that coincided with Adidas surpassing Under Armour as the No. 2 sports brand in the U.S.
But Under Armour also has had good news to report recently, as it scored a major licensing deal with Major League Baseball that was built on its previous relationship with the league supplying baselayer gear and cleats. A more aggressive push into connected footwear could help build on that high-profile win and become more popular in footwear for dedicated athletes who want to track and analyze their performances.
MapMyRun brings new features in the regard, including a new performance feature called the Jump Test, which scientifically measures and creates awareness of muscle fatigue. This type of feature could influence how intensely athletes train and help them understand what it takes to recover. MapMyRun also provides a runner's dashboard, performance scorecard, and gear snapshot with the shoe's total mileage, steps, and average cadence while training.
Under Armour is not alone in trying to drive now technology innovations into its athletic shoe lines. Adidas has been pushing into 3D-printed shoes, another area in which Under Armour has been innovating. The footwear game is changing, as athletic shoes become one more connected thing in an increasingly connected world.