Under Armour announced plans Wednesday to expand its latest material innovation, ClutchFit, into all of its performance categories.
The two-way stretch material, akin to a second skin, launched earlier this year in the brand’s best-selling–and the market’s number one football cleat–the UA Highlight. In the wake of positive performance results, the company will roll out the technology in men’s soccer, running and baseball footwear, as well as men’s apparel, during the second half of 2014.
“Team sports and footwear will be critical to Under Armour’s growth for the next three to five years,” Under Armour vice president of Footwear and Team Sports, Josh Rattet, said. The brand is hedging bets on ClutchFit, its form-fitting compression technology, to appeal to a breadth of athletes and improve upon the brand’s iconic compression gear.
Soccer is expected to provide the biggest growth for the company, Rattet noted, boosted by the introduction of the non-leather ClutchFit Force cleat. “In soccer touch and feel is paramount. A cleat is the player’s only tool,” he said. The lightweight, microfiber upper works with the symmetrical lace system to create a contoured fit and feel across the foot, he said.
A running sneaker called the Spine, and Deception baseball cleat will launch next month incorporating ClutchFit, followed by apparel in late August.
ClutchFit apparel uses the technology’s signature auxetic-shaped hexagon in jacquard, which Justin Door, Under Armour product line manager of men’s training apparel, explained can expand evenly as the fabric stretches across the body. “Where a flat piece of fabric would stretch thin, like a rubber band, the auxetic pattern allows a full range of motion and moves with the wearer,” he added. The initial men’s collection of base layers includes short- and long-sleeve shirts, shorts and leggings.
ClutchFit basketball sneakers will debut later this year. Footwear prices range from $100 for running shoes to $175 soccer cleats. Apparel prices span $70—$75.