Under Armour / Speedform
Under Armour unveils its shoe inspired by space suits and bra manufacturers
Under Armour's senior creative director of footwear, Dave Dombrow, took to the stage at the brand's London launch to explain how the American sports brand set out with the aim of owning 'fit' when developing its latest running shoe.
Speedform, Under Armour's new shoe, has a seamless heel cup, is welded, rather than stitched and has an anatomically-shaped sole to guide the runner's foot. To inspire the shoe's development, the brand looked at things that exemplify a good fit: an F1 seat, shaped to a specific driver, a bike perfectly atuned to its rider and a rock climber and his or her equipment.
Dombrow explained that this rethinking of the shoe's construction didn't involve tweaks to the established sneaker construction process, instead a required rethink of the entire procedure.
Speedform was inspired by the rather bizarre combination of the Apollo Spacesuit and bras, when the design team discovered that Playtex won the contract to build the Apollo spacesuit, beating the likes of the Army and Navy. Armed with that knowledge, Under Armour turned to a bra factory, which it already uses to construct its precision sports gear, to see if their skills could improve the production process.
However, as Dombrow added, 'the key to innovation is performance' before introducing Ironman champion and UA athlete Chris 'Macca' McCormack to talk through his experiences of competing wearing the shoe.
Matt Mirchin, SVP global brand and sports marketing, said of the brand's heritage: 'We have a very fortunate brand position, we were born on the football fields in America. Everything we do either performs or protects.'
Working with Pretty Green, London, the brand also introduced its 'I Will' positioning and launched Tottenham Hotspur's new football kit, modelled by Gareth Bale, Jermain Defoe, Brad Friedel and captain Michael Dawson, and explained the importance of the sponsorship in the sports brand's agressive international expansion plans.
Mirchin sees simplicity of purpose as key to the brand's success: 'Build a great product, tell a great story, service the business and build a great team.'