We’re excited to bring back the WearTesters Weekender segment! I hope you enjoy the article and look forward to engaging in some discussion in the comments section. Each section will end with a question so be sure to join in the discourse! If you are looking for some good reading and news that doesn’t revolve around the Yeezy, keep reading. Without further adieu, let’s get right into it.
A Bold Brand
As I’m sure many of you have seen this week across the blogosphere and in business news, Under Armour CEO Kevin Plank is out here fearlessly calling out competitors. Yet, as he said in the interview with Bloomberg Television, he doesn’t like the other guys, it is his job not to. The interview and comments came in the wake of UA officially securing the largest database and community of fitness applications. They’ve most recently acquired Endomondo, MyFitnessApp, as well as MapMyRun and others. They’ve amassed so many digital fitness assets that they are now the world leader in the sector, and Kevin Plank feels it means a lot to the company as a whole become #1 in something above the likes of Adidas and Nike. Having that taste of being on top should continue to push the entire corporation towards excellence.
In context, Under Armour is run by a fierce competitor. They are a young company that is growing and innovating at a high rate and their crosshairs are on anyone above them. Under Armour just recently surpassed adidas for #2 in sports apparrel sales in the U.S. and they don’t plan to stop there. Whether it has been in apparrel, gear, or footwear, Under Armour has undeniably continued to improve. These fiery comments from their CEO are just a reflection of the brand’s driven, relentless modus operandi. To play on the words of a recent UA advertisement, “THEY WILL WHAT THEY WANT”.
First question for discussion, who has recently been turned on to UA, whether it be for footwear, apparrel or even their new UA Record app? Let’s hear your thoughts!
In light of the previous section, there is no better time to talk about competition. In the free market system, increased competition is a benefit to the consumer. More options, better quality products, and sometimes better prices all result from companies competing for your business and your time. If you take a look at the developments in the footwear industry over the past 12 months, competition is building.
Brandblack, Li-Ning, and Peak continue to grow and bring unique products and designs to the basketball shoe market. Across the board, adidas has been gaining momentum with the Pure Boost (ultra comfortable, if you are reading this and haven’t tried a pair, stop sleeping!), ZX Flux, SL Loop, Tubular, Ultra Boost, the Rose 5, JWall, the Lillard, and now the insane hype for the release next week. You can’t read that line up and say you’re not impressed. The thoughtful creativity and materials I saw in their BHM collection alone was impressive and enough to edge out Nike for the occasion, in my honest opinion. Then, we’ve got Under Armour dropping the hammer with the ClutchFit Drive High/Mid/Low and the Curry One especially.
Not to mention, we have New Balance entering the soccer sector, as well as UA making some waves with the ClutchFit Force on the pitch. Then we have Diadora returning to the U.S. market with their casual runners, Brooks dropping the heritage line, Asics continuing with collabs and clean colorways, Pony teaming up with Ronnie Fieg, Clae continuing their clean product catalog, etc. etc.. We won’t even go into the diversity of options in the performance running shoe sector….Skora, Vibram, Inov-8, Brooks, Asics, adidas, Nike,Hoka One One, Karhu, VivoBarefoot, Altra, Pearl Izumi, Scott, the list goes on.
Moral of the story, there are a plethora of brands driven by bright minds and designers out there that should not be overlooked. As WearTesters continues to review a wide variety of basketball shoes we want to keep this scope in mind. Competition pushes progress. Under Armour and adidas in particular are gaining momentum of late, Nike cannot be complacent nor underestimate their competition. Our only job as consumers is to maintain an open mind.
Tell us about your experiences with any of these less common brands I mentioned, or perhaps another one I didn’t mention. What else do you enjoy wearing?
In Case You Missed it…
The TR1 offers a bit of everything that you might look for in a trainer. You can take care of things in the gym, on the track, and on the field. Strengthening, conditioning, agility and pretty much anything you throw at them they can handle.
361° may best be known for signing Kevin Love, but they are actually the second-largest athletic shoe and clothing manufacturer in China. Their designs, until just a few years ago, were very “familiar”, for lack of a better term, but with the insertion into the US market, things have changed. A new cushioning system, new designs, and new athletes bring new reviews, so here we go Chromoso.
The KD Trey 5 II’s best feature is its durability in both traction and materials. If you are an outdoor baller and need a shoe that will last you a long time, the KD trey 5 II is an option you should consider as the traction is extremely durable and the materials are built for he harshest conditions.
The designer and developer of Enko Running Shoes, Christian Freschi, has been a runner for many years and run many thousands of kilometers competitively. The idea for Enko came to Freschi when he realized, after passing age 40, that all the running shoes on the market did the same thing and did not offer enough shock absorption for his body. He also owns an aeronautical design and production company. After 12 years of developing this running shoe, he finally has the shoe’s design patented.
WearTesters Wordplay of the Week
In regards to music and sportswriting, I’m gonna give two shoutouts here for our readers to go check out.
First and foremost for music, go give Lupe Fiasco’s newly released Tetsuo & Youth a listen. In my eyes, one of the most musically unique and excellent rap/hip hop albums dropped in recent memory. Go ahead and enjoy a rap song finishing with a minute and a half long saxophone solo that just flat out kills it on Body of Work. Indulge in the smooth masterpiece that is Dots & Lines, with violins and a chorus that will take you places. And if you’re just looking for straight bars true to Lupe’s reputation for lyrical mastery, strap yourself in for a full play through of Mural. Yeah, I’m gushing about the album because I am a huge Lupe fan with a little bit of bias. But, if you listen to those 3 songs all the way through and consider my comments, the rest of the album will be a no-brainer.
In a sports world run by ESPN media, it is easy to forget and overlook some of the smaller guys doing great work and putting out great articles. I do a lot of reading each week about college and NBA basketball and I thorougly enjoy finding writers and analysts from different localities with a great take on the game. This week I wanted to spotlight Jonathan Tjarks, who currently writes for RealGM. He also runs an independent blog called the Pattern of Basketball (the link is embedded and I strongly encourage you to read some articles that interest you). Not only does he bring some great insight to the table, but he is blunt and realistic enough to ensure sincerity in his writing. While reading, it is easy to see that he is just telling it how it is. Also, it is clear that he has a soft spot for big men in his thoughts and opinions and that standpoint is rare these days.
I think there are a lot of basketball fans amongst our readers that would enjoy his writing, so go have a look.
So, read, listen, and get back to us with some feedback in the comments below!
To close things up I just want to thank all of our readers and those who chime in on the comments section for all of your support. I hope you enjoyed the resurrection of the Weekender segment and look forward to your answers to my inquiries below.