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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