NBA MVP Steph Curry might be one of the few people who can be teased for wearing something
The all-star basketball player was raked over the coals on the internet Thursday night while debuting his new Under Armour shoes, the Curry 2 Low “Chef Curry.”
The general takeaway from the criticism is that the shoes were boring, with many commenters complaining that the shoes looked like something a grandfather might wear. This is especially apparent when compared to some of the flashier basketball sneakers usually seen on the court.
But there’s one thing that these armchair fashion designers are missing: the shoes are supposed to be boring, because that’s really what people want.
Under Armour’s coup in signing Steph Curry was huge, a deal that could be worth up to $14 billion when all is said and done, according to Morgan Stanley analyst Jay Sole. The brand wasn’t about to blow it all by designing something fanciful and outlandish.
This is also evidenced by the company’s entire approach to designing sports apparel, as told to Business Insider by Under Armour’s vice president for sports marketing and sponsorships, Ryan Kuehl.
“Quite frankly, we want to make stuff people will wear,” Kuehl said, explaining that Under Armour believes that consumers will generally choose blue, black, grey, or white clothing over another colour like green or purple, if they have a choice.
“We base it on that stuff, because that is what we feel the consumer wears,” Kuehl said. “And then you have it fit great and perform real well and now all of a sudden … you’ve got a pretty good cocktail.”
Under Armour is apparently attempting to make Curry’s brand follow a similar path to Michael Jordan’s ’80s collaboration, which launched Nike’s successful Jordan brand. Changes down the line, like the UA logo shrinking as Curry’s “SC” becomes more prominent, will accelerate this.
Under Armour is starting off Curry’s sneakers with something relatively safe, just as Nike began Jordan’s collaboration with a simple black and red shoe that matched his Chicago Bulls uniform. That original design would, at least today, likely be considered safe or boring. But the shoe was actually an enormous hit, and the Jordan brand has since matured beyond it to create some of the most interesting designs on the market today, which are highly collectible and coveted.
Under Armour’s shoe division has slipped up before, however. When signing star tennis athlete Andy Murray, the brand allowed him to continue wearing his previous sponsor, Adidas, while they designed a shoe exactly to his specifications. He debuted the shoe in June of 2015 at the Under Armour Clutchfit Pursuit, but went back to wearing Adidas by the US Open. This fact did not escape Adidas’ notice, which tweeted it out much to the chagrin of Under Armour. Murray has since switched back to the Under Armour shoes.
It’s clear the company doesn’t want anything similar to happen again, so that may play a contributing role to the safe design of Curry’s nurse-chic shoes. But if these shoes weren’t going to sell well before, they likely will now after all of this attention. They’re set to be released on June 11.
Sports editor Cork Gaines contributed to this report.
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