Nike has made moves to maintain its dominance in the footwear market according to reports that it has poached Under Armour’s top designer.
Under Armour’s senior vice-president of design, Dave Dombrow, has reportedly jumped ship and signed with Nike in what is being touted as a major tactical win for Nike.
Dombrow, who joined Under Armour in 2010, has been a major driving force in the company's gains into the footwear market which has long been dominated by Nike. He led development on a number of the brand’s high profile footwear projects including the hugely successful partnership with Golden State Warriors point guard Stephen Curry.
The Curry line has been instrumental in helping the brand establish a foothold in the lucrative sports shoe market and while Nike may not feel threatened by its noisy neighbour just yet, the headway which Under Armour has made in such a short space of time could see it poses a legitimate threat further on down the road.
According to WWD Dombrow was under a non-compete agreement contract with Under Armour, meaning he won’t even be able to start work for Nike until 2017. The delay is unlikely to concern Nike though given that it has just swooped in on its rival’s prized designer and in turn hindered its momentum.
Under Armour’s footwear business is still someway off Nike’s- last year it clocked $4bn in global sales compared to Nike’s $30.6bn – however it is accelerating fast. The fourth quarter of last year the company’s footwear sales increased 95 per cent compared to the same period in the previous year.