Under Armour: A History of Innovation

The axiom is that if you build a better mouse trap, the world will beat a path to your door. In 1996, Kevin Plank decided he wanted to build a better T-shirt, one that would help athletes better regulate their body heat by wicking perspiration away from their body, thereby keeping them cooler and dryer. He created the original compression T-shirt and founded Under Armour.
 
Under Armour’s desire for innovation quickly resulted in the ColdGear® mock turtleneck, which was launched in 1998. Still available today, ColdGear products give wearers the ability to battle the elements with a soft, brushed inner layer that circulates heat, and an element-battling outer layer that keeps them dry and protected.
 
ColdGear Infrared
 
Helping athletes and the rest of us stay even warmer in cold weather is Under Armour’s ColdGear Infrared, introduced in 2013.
 
“ColdGrear Infrared products go well beyond the compression products favored by many cold-weather outdoor enthusiasts. It features a soft, thermo-conductive coating on the inside of the garment that absorbs and retains body heat. Then, by taking advantage of a print format also incorporated into the inner layer of the product, the absorbed heat is redistributed evenly, keeping wearers warmer longer,” said Under Armour’s Brendan Hanley.
 
ColdGear Infrared is ideally suited for any snow sport. It’s lightweight and it’s not bulky, meaning it’s not cumbersome, thereby providing full range of motion. That also makes it ideal when you’re looking to extend the season of your favorite activity. A number of my fellow golfers use wear ColdGear Infrared apparel in early spring and late fall.
 
“For those who are likely to spend a great deal of time outdoors this winter, we recommend beginning with a ColdGear Infrared baselayer that includes leggings and a fitted mock turtleneck or crew neck shirt,” Hanley added.
 
From this base, it’s easy to transition into mid- and outer layers that are sport-specific. For example, for hunters, Under Armour offers ColdGear Infrared camo jackets and pants with the company’s UA Scent Control technology. This outer layer is 100% waterproof and features tapered seams to keep you completely dry and protected from the elements.
 
“Don’t overlook the importance of keeping your extremities warm. A number of our Under Armour hats, gloves and footwear also feature ColdGear Infrared, making them ideal for colder weather,” Hanley explained.
 
For additional warmth, a number of Under Armour products, including outer shells and boots, feature PrimaLoft insulation, a proprietary combination of natural down material and high-performance synthetics for optimal warmth. It was created by an Under Armour partner.
 
“Staying warm in cold weather used to require bundling up so much that movement was difficult. That’s not the case anymore. Our products with PrimaLoft insulation, for example, are lightweight, water-resistant, breathable, and can be compressed without losing warmth. A great deal of our hunting apparel features both PrimaLoft and ColdGear Infrared technologies, ensuring warmth and maximum movement for more successful hunts,” Hanley said.
 
UA MagZip
 
One of the latest innovations from Under Armour is this year’s UA MagZip. It features an ingenious design that makes it easier to zip jackets using only one hand.
 
“Our UA MagZip features magnetic male and female connections, so the minute the zipper ends get close, they line up and snap together. This a huge leap forward for anyone who’s ever had to fumble with lining up a zipper while wearing gloves,” Hanley added.
 
The idea for the MagZip came from Under Armour’s Future Show Open Innovation Challenge, a contest that allows entrepreneurs to submit ideas for consideration. It was submitted by someone who has a family member with myotonic dystrophy, a genetic disorder that affects many parts of the body.
 
Innovations Abound
 
Here are a few other noteworthy Under Armour innovations:
 
• Charged Cotton – 2011. It features the comfort of cotton, but dries much faster and performs with an athlete’s body.
 
• Charged Cotton Storm – 2011. It adds water-resistance to Charged Cotton, enabling the wearer to stay warm and dry. This makes Charged Cotton Storm ideal for hiking, running, practicing or playing.
 
• Coldblack – 2011. There’s a reason why summer colors are lighter and winter colors are darker. Darker fabrics absorb the sun’s UV rays and heat up quickly, while lighter ones repel UV rays. Thanks to Under Armour’s coldblack, a revolutionary fabric that reflects even the nastiest heat, you can wear black (or other dark colors) even in the middle of summer.
 
Kevin Plank went well beyond building a better mousetrap. What started as a business in Plank’s grandmother’s basement is today a global, multi-billion-dollar brand, creating some of the most innovative apparel, footwear and accessories in the industry. That’s testament to the company’s dedication to continual improvement.
 
Visit your local Dunham’s Sport and speak with one of our knowledgeable experts to discover Under Armour products that can make your favorite sport or hobby more enjoyable.
 
-Your Friends at Dunham’s
 
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Stay Warmer Longer with High-Tech Apparel

Coldgear® Infrared from Under Armour Incorporates Space-Age Technology and Innovative Materials
 
By the time this magazine is available at your local Dunham’s Sports store, the Midwest is heading toward the coldest months of the year. The frigid temperatures, however, don’t have to deter you from pursuing your passion: skiing, snowboarding, ice fishing, heck, even golf if there’s no snow on the ground. And while sport-specific apparel has been available for these outdoor activities for many years, today’s technology is designed to keep you warmer longer, without being bulky. One such product available at Dunham’s Sports is the new Coldgear Infrared line from Under Armour.
 
“Our Coldgear Infrared is ideally suited for any snow sport. It’s lightweight and it’s not bulky, meaning it’s not cumbersome, thereby providing full range of motion,” said Brendan Hanley of Under Armour.
 
Coldgear Infrared products go well beyond the compression products favored by many cold-weather outdoor enthusiasts. It features a soft, thermo-conductive coating on the inside of the garment that absorbs and retains body heat. Then, by taking advantage of a print format also incorporated into the inner layer of the product, the absorbed heat is redistributed evenly, keeping wearers warmer longer.
 
“Perhaps the best analogy I can use to explain our Coldgear Infrared technology is a ceramic coffee mug. Compare that coffee mug to a paper or plastic one and I’m sure you’ll agree the coffee stays warmer longer in a ceramic mug because of the heat-transference aspect of ceramic,” Hanley explained. “The thermo-coating we use on our Coldgear Infrared has ceramic particles for the same reason.”
 
Advanced Aircraft Technology
 
If ceramic doesn’t exactly sound high-tech, keep in mind that numerous military aircraft and the Space Shuttle feature ceramic coating on their outer skins. The ceramic coating absorbs infrared waves, a kind of heat. On the Space Shuttle, the ceramic tiles also insulate the aircraft, ensuring the heat buildup during re-entry is kept away from the aircraft’s interior.
 
While traditional cold-weather gear is designed to trap body heat, Under Armour’s Coldgear Infrared goes a couple of steps further.
 
“In essence, our Coldgear Infrared garments becomes living things. They absorb the heat generated by the wearer and redistribute it, creating what we call a ‘microclimate’ inside the material,” Hanley added. While the weather may be near freezing, you can be comfortably warm, enabling you to pursue your passion for longer periods of time.
 
Start With A Solid Base
 
Dunham’s Sports carries a variety of Coldgear Infrared products. For ultimate warmth, we recommend beginning with a baselayer that includes leggings and a fitted mock turtleneck or crew neck shirt. These baselayer items sit close to the skin without the squeeze of compression apparel. They are lightweight, feature four-way stretch material for maximum flexibility and anti-odor technology to prevent the growth of odor-causing microbes. They also feature a moisture transport system that wicks perspiration away from the skin, further enhancing comfort.
 
From this base, your choices are endless and sport-specific. For example, for those of us who wish we could golf year-round in the Midwest, Under Armour offers Coldgear Infrared quarter-zip jackets. They deliver all of the features and benefits of the baselayer, plus add technology to repel water and block the wind. (PGA professional Hunter Mahan wears these products during the early and late part of the season. They’re also ideal for play during the British Open.)
 
The company’s shell jackets and snocone pants are ideal for any type of snow sports: snowmobiling, skiing, snowboarding, etc. Available in a wide variety of colors, including camo, the pants are 100% waterproof and feature fully taped seams to prevent moisture from seeping through. They are specifically designed to deliver maximum warmth where the body needs it (more in the seat and knee areas, for example) and can withstand 10,000 mm of rainfall (nearly 394 inches) in a 24-hour period.
 
The shell jackets, meanwhile, can withstand 20,000 mm of rainfall in a 24-hour period and feature a RECCO® avalanche rescue reflector to keep the wearer safe in an emergency. It also features a helmet-compatible hood with a back zip expander, ensuring the hood lies against your head, whether you’re wearing a helmet or not.
 
-Ski Bum
 
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