- Under Armour has come under fire on social media over its new Curry Two Low “Chef” basketball shoe, the latest version of the signature shoe for Steph Curry, the NBA star and current league MVP.
- Part of the derision comes from how the shoe — an almost all-white shoe that has been described on social media as having an uninspiring profile — contrasts with its namesake, who is known for hitting long-range jump shots with ease.
- Bronx-based comedian Daniel Baker, known as Desus Nice, told the Wall Street Journal that the shoes are like “plain unflavored yogurt.” He added: "He’s the MVP of the NBA, the crème de la crème in the flashiest sports league in the world, and he’s got these bland sneakers. If I were given these for free, I probably wouldn’t wear them.”
The brouhaha over Steph Curry's new Under Armour shoes comes as the Golden State Warriors, Curry's team, are battling the Cleveland Cavaliers in the NBA Finals, seeking a second straight championship season.
Curry is Under Armour's star endorser in its battle against the long-dominant player in the athletic footwear market, Nike. Nike built the Air Jordan shoe brand into a franchise, and followed that model in recruiting the next generations of basketball stars, including Lebron James, Curry's rival for league MVP and the NBA Championship. (In fact, Curry was once under contract with Nike, but they lost him after a reportedly uninspiring pitch.)
But Under Armour's latest Curry shoe appears to have fallen flat. The panning of Curry's new shoes serves notice to how important design and branding can be with products where form overshadows function. It's unclear whether Under Armour tested consumer reactions to the show, showing that banking alone on someone's stratospheric popularity to guarantee a successful launch isn't enough. Instead, the brand is now facing critics of the worst sort for a status item like basketball shoes — a social media commentariat working to outdo each other in delivering the biggest burn on the shoe.
“I’ve not seen anything like this," Neil Schwartz, vice president of business development for industry tracker SportsOneSource, told the Journal. "This has been kind of funny, the sneakerheads are pretty frank. People think the style looks a bit older, it looks like what a nurse might wear,”
For his part, Curry said the shoes are "fire," adding that, "I love the nicknames, though, that they came up with, but I like [the shoes].” Under Armour did not speak to the criticisms raised on social media in comments to the Journal.
— RAVENS1 (@azravensfan) June 10, 2016