Nike vs Under Armour- Learn The Differences

Nike vs Under Armour- Learn The Differences


Sporting and athleisure brands are taking over the apparel fashion space. Due to the recent change in trends, their demands have gradually increased more than in previous times. Nike and Under Armour are big brands in the sports and athleisure sector. Sometimes, popular orders for certain products cause manufacturing companies of such products to operate alike. For this reason, it may not be easy to differentiate between them properly. Nike and Under Armour are notable brands in this situation. Although they have separate names and logos, people often mistake them for each other due to the similarity of their operations and designs. Hence, the essence of this article is to juxtapose both brands and clearly understand the differences that exist between Nike vs Under Armour; beyond their logos.

  • The Nike Brand
  • The Under Armour Brand
  • Understanding The Differences Between Both Brands

The Nike Brand

Nike is an American sports brand that creates and sells footwear, equipment, clothes, accessories, and related services globally. Phil Knight, alongside Bill Bowerman, established the brand in 1964. It was initially named Blue Ribbon before its name was changed to Nike in 1971, and it has always maintained its trademark “Just Do It.” The firm is based in Oregon and has a worldwide employee size of over 76,000. According to analysts, it is the biggest seller of athletic outfits and footwear globally. The sports brand retails its products to its shoppers without involving go-betweens. It can achieve this direct-to-consumer sale through its numerous sales outlets, distributors, sales reps, and other licensed individuals. Nike sells its products, as well as its services, interactively through its digital outlet. For the essence of diversity and effective marketing, it has subsidiary companies like the Converse and the Jordan Brand. It also has collections like Nike Pro, Nike Blazers, Air Max, and others.

Nike endorses prominent sports icons and teams, including but not limited to Serena Williams, Alex Morgan, Cristiano Ronaldo, Rafel Nadal, and Kevin Durant. In 2021, Nike published its intended refurbishing project. The project involved rebuilding returned sneakers and selling them at cheaper rates. The mission was to lessen consumer disposals and fight climate change. Since its inception, it has acquired different clothing and footwear firms, of which it has sold some of them. It started selling a couple of its subsidiaries in the 2000s and maintained only a few. In 2021, Nike was valued at virtually $30.45 billion.

The Under Armour Brand

Under Armour began in 1996 under its founder Kevin Plank. He was the team head of the Maryland University football club and noticed how much players sweated in their outfits. He resorted to designing costumes that could maintain dryness on the skin, no matter how much one sweated. He also ensured that the clothes were stretchy and fitted to offer maximum comfort during exercises and training. Under Armour further expanded to design and sell branded wear, sports outfits, and accessories for men and women. Currently, it is based in Washington, D.C., with over 15000 sales outlets worldwide. In 2018, the sports brand released two sets of running shoes at the annual trade convention CES. Each shoe contained a gyroscope and an accelerator. A Bluetooth device was fixed in each shoe to connect them.

In 2020, it declared its new alliance with NBA icon Stephen Curry. This union created a new label under Under Armour called “The Curry Brand.” This brand creation boosted Under Armour’s earnings. According to statistics, Under Armour had over 16500 employees in 2020 and a revenue value of approximately $6 billion in early 2022. Under Armour has endorsed sports stars like Tom Brady, Bryce Harper, Randall Cobb, and Cam Newton. The brand has also sponsored sports organizations like Deportivo Toluca, Sydney FC, and Samsung Lions. More so, it dominantly markets its products in Brazil, Chile, and Mexico, to mention a few.

Understanding The Differences Between Both Brands

Brand Ages

Both brands were founded in the 20th century. However, their ages differ widely and play significant roles in their levels of popularity.

Nike is older than Under Armour by 32 years. It is the oldest firm in the sports accessory industry, hence its enormous size. It competes significantly with gigantic brands like Puma.

Under Armour, on the other hand, is a new brand when compared to Nike. It began in the late 20th century and currently does not have as much reach and recognition as Nike.

Shoe Size

Obtaining a perfect shoe size is often a concern among buyers. Some brands do not produce true-to-size shoes. This causes inconveniences to consumers and makes them buy bigger sizes rather than tighter ones. This category reveals differences between Nike vs Under Armour.

If one purchases Nike shoes, one may need to buy a size bigger than one intends. Nike produces shoes of different sizes, of which their most enormous size is 18 according to the United States Standard. But most Nike shoes are slim and small, creating discomfort to the legs.

Under Armour’s most enormous shoe size is 16 based on U.S. standards. Although it has a lesser maximum size than Nike, it produces correctly sized shoes. Hence, its shoes do not cause inconveniences. 

Prevalent Market Locations

Both sports brands sell their products worldwide. However, there are particular locations where demands for their products are higher. 

Under Armour has its sub-bases in North America (primarily in Canada and America), Europe, Africa, Latin America, the Mideast, and Asia-Pacific. However, the dominant market among the above listed is North America. Its products are majorly sold in different parts of North America, as the region consumes about 94% of its products. 

Nike, however, has its markets in Taiwan, Vietnam, Poland, China, Spain, South Africa, America, India, Turkey, and Malaysia. However, its primary market is not just North America but particularly the U.S. The United States of America accounts for about 50% of its total revenue. America has over 245 Nike retail stores, with California alone having nearly 16%.

Design Variety

When considering Nike vs Under Armour, the “variety of design” factor draws a line of difference between both brands. 

Nike releases large varieties of unique designs, providing several options for buyers to pick from. It uses this method to get as many sales as possible as its assortments are mouthwatering.

For Under Armour, its designs on every release are usually limited. It can be considered a minimalist producer. Consumers always find high-quality designs with few options for them to pick from.

Product Cost

When analyzing Nike vs Under Armour, it can be deduced that high and low-end customers patronize the two companies. However, their products cost differently. 

The costs of Nike wear are on the high side. Even their regular outfits are relatively more costly than other brands.

Under Armour sells inexpensive outfits that most people can afford. However, their more economical prices do not depict low product quality.

Target Market

Considering Nike vs Under Armour, it can be observed that both companies specify in marketing sport and athleisure wear. However, their target markets differ by age range, gender, and financial capability.

Nike is an expensive brand and targets influential individuals in society. It targets customers of both genders from 11 years to 55 years. Its large target span gives it an advantage. As much as it reaches out to the aged, it also taps into the younger generation to gain more audience and maintain them for a long time. What makes Nike’s target market very powerful is that most of its users are high earners.

Under Armour, on the other hand, is a quality brand with a growing fan base. A spot-on difference is that most of its customers are males. They make up to 69% of its consumer population. Also, it targets individuals within the age range of 18 and 25. This is more like a Gen Z targeted brand. However, it does not aim for high-end earners as Nike does.

Upper Basketball Shoe Materials and Designs

The upper part of a sports shoe reveals how supportive, fitting, and reliable the shoe will be. This category reveals the upper basketball shoe differences between Nike vs Under Armour. Although both brands produce great shoes with fitting uppers, their materials and designs differ.

Nike basketball shoes have their uppers produced with either synthetic or mesh designs that are supportive and readable. For instance, the Lebron 17 has a Flyknit upper design. Flyknit is a design technology that weaves strong fibers and makes them fitted, lightweight, and seamless. With this technique, the shoe upper encircles the user’s whole foot perfectly to offer a cushion and relaxing effect.

However, Under Armour’s shoe uppers are designed with either thermoplastic polyurethane skins or synthetic leather. In some cases, they are produced with both materials. They also provide relaxation and proper fits.

Subsidiary Companies

It is a trend for successful brands to own subsidiary brands as they are means of expansion and higher profits. While some brands have subsidiaries within their industry, others own subsidiaries across several sectors. The notable differences between Nike and Under Armour in their subsidiary companies are explained below.

Nike, in time past, acquired some companies; however, it sold them. Nike’s subsidiary companies are Jordan, Converse, Datalogue, and Hurley Int. Out of its sub-firms, only Datalogue is not in the sports industry.

But Under Armour has several subsidiary brands that cut across different industries, including the real estate, financial, and sports industries. Its subsidiary incorporations include Triple Pte Ltd, Under Armour Europe B.V., Armour Retail, Inc., My Fitness Pal, UA Global Sourcing Ltd., U.A. International Holdings C.V., U.A. Sourcing CBT, UA Connected Fitness, Endomondo, and several others. 


The essence of a tagline is to reveal what a brand stands for to the public. It is an effective sales medium as it can keep the brand registered in the minds of customers and prospects. Both companies have great tag lines. Hence, they can be used to learn the difference between Nike vs Under Armour.

Nike has a powerful tagline that states, “Just Do It.” It is a compulsive and gearing phrase that depicts the brand’s support for goals and positive actions irrespective of surrounding conditions. It explains that Nike is about proving you are right.

Under Armour has a self-strengthening tagline. It speaks of tenacity and assurance. It can be traced to Plank’s humble beginning when he began the brand in his truck. The tagline promotes the brand’s support for consistency and self-belief. It also shows that Under Armour is about proving that others are wrong.


Nike and Under Armour are prominent companies known for manufacturing sports accessories. Despite being influential, they have differences that need to be learned about, from their target markets to their designs and product costs. It is expected that more dissimilarities will evolve as the brands grow.

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