In recent months, much hype has surrounded the Under Armour range of soccer cleats. Fulham’s Bobby Zamora recently had a public airing in front of other players and the media in Wandsworth, London, to demonstrate the style and technical aspects of the range. We are excited to have had the opportunity to speak with Alex Chater, the Senior Manager at Under Armour soccer. Alex works with Design, Development, Sales, and Marketing to help create the product and the story behind the new range of Under Armour footwear. His passion for soccer began early with the influence of a Chilean mother, British father and German grandmother all combined with a Scottish youth coach. Add two High School Soccer State Championships in Kentucky and a college career at Wake Forest and Alex brings a vast amount of soccer experience to the Under Armour team. Here is how the conversation went:
Alex, thanks for taking the time to talk to us. Tell us a little about the new range of cleats that UA has recently released.
We began the process of making soccer boots with one mission in mind: Build the best soccer boots possible that performs at the highest level of competition in the world. By truly understanding the needs of the soccer athlete we found two distinct types of player: The Create player and the Dominate player. The Create player wreaks havoc with speed and strength while the Dominate player controls the pitch with skill and will. We created two different boots to fit those player profiles.
What are the properties of each cleat’s design?
The Create Boot focuses on being lightweight, breathable, supportive and protective. We have built and exoskeletal support frame in the upper combined with a perforated microfiber for enhanced ventilation and water wicking capabilities.
The Dominate Boot blends technology with tradition. This player relies on touch to control the match. This boot is created with our Water Intelligent Leather which is substantially more water resistant than other leathers. We have also incorporated our MPZ (Modular protection Zone) technology on the forefoot to protect the metatarsals from impact and help hold the metatarsals on the “chassis” or outsole of the shoe.
It seems like UA has quickly moved into the US soccer market, how important is it for the company to establish a control here?
We really haven’t moved quickly. These boots have been on field for well over a year. They represent the most research and wear testing we’ve done in footwear to date.We’ve researched, built product and wear tested in the US market, which is critical to the success of our Soccer Boots. While soccer is the most popular sport abroad, its popularity across all levels of competition in the United States is undeniably growing. We are launching the boots on both the US and European front to reach all athletes of the game.
With companies like Adidas and Nike dominating when it comes to soccer, what approach is UA taking to gain a position in the marketplace?
Our company was founded on the guiding principle of performance. We offer a Universal Guarantee of Performance on every piece of product that Under Armour makes to ensure that our product technology performs as hard as the athlete who is wearing it does. Telling our story and offering soccer athlete’s specific boots that work to meet their needs as a player is what will differentiate us in the market.
UA is well established and one of the leaders in sports like Baseball and American football, has this helped with the transition to soccer?
Absolutely, we’ve taken many lessons from our experiences with these categories and utilized them in soccer. We’re also leveraging the performance attributes of our apparel in to our footwear.
When did UA decide to tackle the US market? Was there a lot of planning behind it, and what process was put in place to create the current range?
We have a dedicated team of footwear experts across Design, Development, and Marketing both in the US and Europe. Through extensive research focusing on players at all levels, trainers, managers and key retail partners, we developed the two types of boots based on the needs of the soccer athlete. Wear–testing is also a crucial aspect in the development process. Through our wear-test program, in which some of the world’s top players compete in our boots, the brand is able to produce the most technologically advanced and authentic product.
Does UA have any plans to enter MLS?
We’ll keep that information internal at this time.
We appreciate UA taking the time to talk to us about their range of soccer cleats and for allowing us to test and review. If you want to see the full UA soccer range of footwear and clothing check out their website. Also, watch out for our full reviews of the Create and Dominate in the coming weeks.
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Under Armour Dominate set for US Release