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CES 2017: Under Armour’s Kevin Plank Sees A Future Clad In Tech

In his keynote address at CES on Friday, Under Armour CEO Kevin Plank outlined his vision of a much more technologically advanced future for the athletic apparel company, with a robust investment in smart clothes and smart footwear.

While keeping an eye on main competitors like Nike and Adidas, Plank considered a rapidly changing market. “What are we going to do if Apple and Samsung decide that they want to start making apparel and footwear?” Plank asked rhetorically.

To that end, Planks introduced Under Armour’s “Future Girl” concept, a collection of workout clothes that measure biometric data and displays them on the sleeve of the shirt.

“Whoever invents the next great t-shirt wins,” he said.

Under Armour unveiled more models of its Record Equipped shoes which also report metrics to the wearer. The new models will feature a training mode in which the wearer exercises for three days and the sneakers, incorporating the free MapMyFitness app will then begin to offer training suggestions based on what it recorded, including recommendations for workload.

Olympic swimmer Michael Phelps appeared onstage to model the shoes and lead an impromptu jumping session with audience members to show off the shoes’ ability to detect fatigue.  “I wish I had shoes like this four or eight years ago. The ability to help my body recover from training is remarkable.”

He and Plank also screened Under Armour’s recent TV spot highlighting Phelps as “the world’s greatest Olympian.”

Plank also unveiled a new line of smart sleepwear for men and women. “No one is owning this space or has even made an attempt at this space,” he said, referring to Under Armour’s apparel competitors. The smart pajamas, the “Rest Win Repeat” line, are being endorsed by New England patriots quarterback by Tom Brady, who requested smart sleepwear from Under Armour to improve his sleeping. The pajamas use bioceramics to track sleep quality and quantity and can adjust, to, for instance, reduce inflammation and speed athletic recovery with infrared heat.

Brady made an appearance with Plank a day earlier to introduce the line.