Under Armour’s Quest to Dethrone Nike and Jump-Start Baltimore

Jul 06, 2016

In March, Under Armour won a minor skirmish in the war for sportswear dominance when it became the first to sell a performance shoe with a 3D-printed midsole. The shoe, the UA Architech, sold out online in 19 minutes. Sure, there were only 96 pairs available, but, as Chief Executive Officer Kevin Plank says one recent afternoon, “Everyone was trying to do it. No one thought that we’d get there first.” Plank is sporting a pair of the $300 Architechs as he tours the Lighthouse, the new home of Under Armour’s innovation division, which is set to open on June 28 in an industrial tract off the Middle Branch of Baltimore’s Patapsco River. Plank’s attitude seems to exist on a narrow spectrum between pumped and superpumped, but the shoes are particularly enthusiasm-inducing. “They’re like two clouds of awesomeness I’m walking on right now,” he says. “I stole that from my 9-year-old, actually. My kids have been watching a lot of My Little Pony, and it’s rubbing off on me.”

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