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Under Armour Takes A Run--At Running Shoe Market

Under Armour
Under Armour

I'm at Under Armour Investor Day here in Baltimore today and the biggest highlight is that the brand formally announced it will go into the $2.5 billion running shoe market with shoes to debut in the first half of 2009.

That would put Under Armour in four categories: baseball and football cleats, training and running shoes.

The early results from those markets have been very good, taking 16 percent of the baseball cleat market and 24 percent of the football cleat market in two years.

Early reports have the training shoe, which just came out May 3rd, at 60 percent of the market vs. Nike's 35 percent--though analysts say that that lead has been falling every week.

I always felt Under Armour had to go into shoes, but I was shocked to hear Under Armour CEO Kevin Plank say today that he says that the company's goal is to sell more shoes than apparel. Plank also said that he's confident UA can take 5 to 10 percent of every shoe category.

The running shoe market is going to be the brand's biggest test yet and even though Under Armour does have issues that have kept them cold on the street--namely a 96 percent U.S. Business and too much inventory in the winter--I have a hard time doubting that they won't make a splash here.

No formal announcement on getting into basketball, but many believe that will be the company's next play.