Under Armour Now Officially A Shoe Company

Wall Street was quite impressed with Under Armour’sfirst-quarter earnings today as shares have soared.

In the stories you’ll read about the company today, you see numbers like 38 (percent the company’s earnings climbed in the quarter) and 200 (the company’s net revenue in millions of dollars).

But the one number that should impress investors wasn’t uttered by company officials and, in fact, hasn’t been talked about at all.

That number? 28.4.

That’s the percentage that Under Armour’s shoe business now contributes to the net revenues of the company.

What does that mean?

It means that Under Armour finally deserves to be called an apparel and shoe company, instead of an apparel company that just happens to make shoes. It also means that the folks in Oregon that call themselves a “shoe and apparel company,” because shoes came first for them, now have to wage a greater foot war with Under Armour.

Even though the company was incredibly successful with its moisture-wicking apparel, it was easy to dismiss Under Armour’s bold play at getting into the footwear market. They took some serious share in niche markets with the launch of football, baseball and softball. Then they got bolder with a training launch, building up to its running launch this January.

But more important than the market share number is the percentage of money made by the shoe business.

In 2006, when Under Armour was just into cleats, shoe sales contributed 6.2 percent to the bottom line. Adding baseball in 2007, jumped that number up to 6.7 percent. Last year, the training launch gave shoes an 11.7 percent piece of the company’s profit pie.

The net revenue on the first quarter shoe number announced today was $56.9 million, which means that if shoes and apparel are sold at the same ratio through the end of this year, shoe sales will make up 28.4 percent of the bottom line.

I’m still slow to come around on the company’s international growth plan, but I think that Under Armour’s growth in the shoe business in the face of a tough retail environment – and more importantly while they were no longer the underdog – is pretty impressive.

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