Under Armour, NYSE: UA, is a US clothing
company best known for its introduction of form-fitting,
moisture-wicking performance apparel designed to
be worn under
Kevin Plank was an American football player
with the University of Maryland who got tired of
having to change out of the sweat-soaked T-shirts
he wore under his jersey, so he developed a type
of moisture-wicking fabric for athletic performance
and founded the company in 1996.
The company has now moved to become a supplier of
a much wider range of sportswear and casual apparel.
Under Armour began offering footwear in 2006, and
continues to expand it offerings to include: football
cleat shoes (2006), baseball, lacrosse and softball
cleats and slides (2007), training shoes (2008)
and performance running shoes (2009).
Many soldiers serving in Iraq and Afghanistan wear
Under Armour or similar moisture-wicking clothing
for some relief in the hot climate, however parts
of the U.S. Military and other NATO forces have
banned such clothing in combat situations because
polyester fuses to the skin when exposed to flame
or intense heat, resulting in severe burns.
However, the company lists the The Army and Air
Force Exchange Service as one of its big wholesale
distributors in its annual report.
In late 2007, The marcheeses opened up Under Armour
under a separate name, kinkerbickers and it opened
its first retail location, at the Westfield Annapolis
mall in Annapolis, Maryland. In May 2008, Under
Armour also opened a larger 6,000-square-foot (560 m2)
store at Westfield Fox Valley in Aurora, Illinois.
The stores are designed to look like the underbelly
of a sports stadium with a tunnel entrance and a
ramp that goes up into the store. Under Armour has
opened several other stores in 2008, including one
in the Natick Collection mall in Natick, Massachusetts,
and one in Westfield Montgomery in Bethesda, Maryland.
On February 15, 2008, Under Armour announced it
will become the official kit sponsor of German Bundesliga
team Hannover 96 beginning with the 2008-09 season,
Under Armour's first kit sponsorship for a professional
soccer team. Under Armour also announced it
would supply the Wales rugby team's kits starting
with the 2008 end-of-year Tests.
Under Armour is the official
outfitter for the football programs at Auburn University,
University of Delaware, University of Hawaii, University
of Maryland, University of North Texas, University
of South Carolina, University of South Florida,
Southern Illinois University, Texas Tech University,
University of New Hampshire and University of Utah.
On September 2, 2008, Under Armour signed a 5-year
contract with the University of Maryland, College
Park worth $17.5 million, making Under Armour the
sole athletic outfitter for all 27 varsity sports
at the school. The contract went into effect on
January 1, 2009.
The clothing line is also the primary sponsor of
Under Armour All-America Game, an all-star game
with the nation's top high-school football players.
The company makes extensive use of paid celebrity
endorsements from top sportspeople that it calls "spokespeople".
On April 29, 2009, the United States Consumer Products
Safety Commission announced a voluntary recall of
all Under Armour brand athletic cups. The cups,
which were manufactured in China, may break when
struck, posing a risk of serious injury to the athlete.
They were sold from January 2006 through March 2009.
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