Under Armour Debuts Basketball

It’s been years in the making, but on Oct. 30, Under Armour will be officially in the basketball game.

Speaking at a media preview held last week at New York’s Cooper Square Hotel, Under Armour SVP of footwear Gene McCarthy said the Baltimore-based athletic brand finally felt the time was right to bring the shoes to market. “We will serve no wine until it’s time,” he said. “We wanted to wait until we could do it on our terms.”

Speculation about the launch of basketball has been part of the Under Armour story for the past two years, fueled by the brand’s signing of Milwaukee Bucks point guard Brandon Jennings in 2008, along with 25 college and 45 high school teams. However, McCarthy said, the long lead time has given the company an opportunity to wear-test the product and create performance shoes that could also entice the basketball lifestyle consumer.

The four-style Micro G line will roll out this fall in a limited way. Shoes will be available in Milwaukee and in what McCarthy termed the “I-95 corridor,” between Washington, D.C., and New York. The collection will retail for $80 to $110 at Foot Locker and Finish Line, and at regional sporting goods accounts, including Modell’s, DTLR, Villa and Jimmy Jazz.

After minor updates in the spring, the brand will truly launch next year. “Fall ’11, we’ll declare ourselves a member of the basketball community,” said McCarthy. “This we’re calling a taste.”

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