Under Armour's (UA) CEO Kevin Plank is notoriously no fan of Nike (NKE) , but his red-hot athletic-wear company is actually morphing into its most hated rival in one way: How much it charges for its newest, hottest sneakers.
Recently, Under Armour unveiled a limited-edition training shoe called UA Architechs, which feature components made by 3D printers. Talk about limited-edition. Only 96 pairs of the UA Architechs will be made. The price? A cool $300, which is light years removed from the mostly $85 running sneakers Under Armour sold when it entered the footwear space back in 2008.
In January, Under Armour released its first-ever "smart" shoe, the UA SpeedForm Gemini 2 Record-Equipped. For $150, a person could slip these kicks on -- which are embedded with a fitness tracker -- to accumulate and store data from a workout. The sneaker even offers up an alert for when a person should purchase a new pair (usually after 500 miles).
With its brand on fire, thanks to the success of athletes such as Steph Curry, Jordan Spieth and Cam Newton, Under Armour seems to be trying to capitalize by charging more for its sneakers.
To celebrate the birthday of its superman-like sponsored athlete Steph Curry on March 14, UA created the Curry Two Surprise Party. The sneaker's soles are decked out in bright birthday sprinkle colors. The price? A mere $130, which is $10 more than the Curry One that originally launched in February 2015. The birthday-inspired sneakers come on the heels of Under Armour dropping a special pair of all-star edition Curry shoes last month, also for $130.
"With Under Armour blowing out of Curry sneakers [at retailers], they are trying to charge a little more," said Sam Poser, a veteran footwear industry analyst and managing director at Sterne Agee. Poser added that although some of Under Armour's latest footwear offerings may cost more than past ones, they are still priced well below Nike's Jordan line, where sneakers tend to fetch between $170 to $220.
Similar to what Nike did with NBA great Michael Jordan, Poser expects Under Armour will eventually launch lifestyle shoes under the Curry brand.
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