Under Armour's Footwear Foray

The popular performance apparel maker will battle Nike and Adidas on the athletic shoe wall, hoping to transform itself in the process

Walk into the Dick's Sporting Goods (DKS) in Brighton, Mich., and you come to an Under Armour (UA) display of shirts, shorts, hoodies, underwear, and socks. The display is about the same size as Nike's space, despite Nike (NKE) being 10 times the size of the Baltimore upstart. That's because when it comes to reaching 10- to 24-year-olds, Under Armour "performance" apparel—which wicks perspiration off the skin instead of absorbing it—draws more dollars at Dick's than Nike does. Nearby, though, an entire wall is devoted to footwear, the turf on which Nike and Adidas (ADSG.DE) dominate. Under Armour is nonexistent beyond baseball and football cleats, yet it is on that very formidable wall that Under Armour CEO Kevin Plank aims to grow the company.

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