Nike vs. Under Armour… who’s better?

Nike vs Under Armour

Photo Credit: Photo via Vimeo under Creative Commons License

Above is the two logos of Nike and Under Armour going side by side as a symbol for comparison.

By: Zachary Kaye, Fall Reporter

The question in the athletic gear industry is and has always been Nike or Under Armour? Ever since Under Armour created a new product in 1996 after being tired of easily sweat-soaked cotton T-Shirts. This created a new rivalry between them and the powerhouse of athletics, Nike. Since then, Under Armour has worked its way up to a household name but has always been like Nike’s little brother. People seem to forget all the things Under Armour and its billionaire CEO Kevin Plank do just as well.


In this business, the most money is made off of the superstar athletes that the company signs. In this category Nike easily wins and no one even comes close… including Under Armour. Their list of main athletes include: Lebron James (NBA), Roger Federer (Tennis), Kevin Durant (NBA), Rory Mcilroy (Golf), Kobe Bryant (NBA), Neymar (Soccer), Cristiano Ronaldo (Soccer), Serena Williams (Tennis), Peyton Manning (Former Football Player), Russell Wilson (NFL), Mike Trout (MLB), and the list continues. Under Armour’s athletes include Jordan Spieth (Golf), Tom Brady (NFL), Cam Newton (NFL), Julio Jones (NFL), Steph Curry (NBA), Bryce Harper (MLB), Clayton Kershaw (MLB).

Although it seems like Under Armour has star power to compete with Nike, they really don’t. The biggest and most grossing product for Nike is in fact shoes; such as the basketball sneaker. They have signed more than 50 basketball players around the world compared to Under Armour’s 4. They seem to be untouchable in terms of athletes. 


This next category is what Under Armour built its company on, and continues to be its main selling point. The athletic-type shirt that most people know of came from Under Armour. CEO Kevin Plank in 1996 said he was, “The sweatiest guy on the football team.” His cotton shirts were not drying easily and it was a very uncomfortable feeling for an athlete. His technology ColdGear®–now HeatGear– revolutionized the sports world and took it by storm. Although creating this revolution type of clothing, Nike still managed to compete. Not only compete but take over the industry with their Dri-Fit technology.

Nike and Under Armour split just about 90% of this industry and leave little room for competitors. Based off experience I believe Under Armour makes the better shirt. I think it performs better than Nike when playing sports and doing rigorous activities. This industry is the one thing that seems to keep Under Armour alive.


The sports shoe industry is completely dominated by one company in particular, and that is not Under Armour but Nike. They actually makes more than 50% of their earnings off of shoes compared to Under Armour’s less than 20% shoe earnings per quarter.

Nike has a much larger selection than Under Armour and has many more athletes that draw customers in. In fact, Under Armour is not even Nike’s top shoe competitor as that title now belongs to Adidas. Under Armour seemed to be competing with Nike in this category in years 2015 and 2016 with the signing of back to back MVP winner at the time, Steph Curry. As Curry began to cool down and no longer was dominating the league as much, the sales dropped with him.

There have been complaints of Nike shoes being too expensive. But Under Armour did not take advantage of this by pricing their latest Curry shoe at $150. Due to the lack of athletes and focus on shoes for Under Armour, there is no possible way they overtake Nike in their biggest grossing category. 


Under Armour’s stock has taken a huge hit in the year of 2017 and is by far the company’s worst ever year. Their stock has dropped almost $20 a share since the start of last year and has really been declining since May of 2016. It was once worth over $120 in 2014, is now worth only $11 a share and still falling. Nike’s stock is still doing well with each share being just over $55. Their stock has been around this point for the last two years.

The big difference between the two companies is how much they are worth. The Under Armour company, as of now, is only worth just over three billion dollars. This is where you see how dominant Nike is. They are worth 28 billion dollars, eight times the worth of Under Armour.

Overall, Who is Better?

Just from the last paragraph, it is clear to see that Nike does in fact dominate this industry. Although Under Armour is able to compete, and even make good products, there is no way they can ever catch up to the powerhouse that is Nike. Nike consists of better management, products, and a vast amount of athletes that Under Armour just does not have. Unless there is a significant price drop or something unexpected, most people, including myself, will continue to favor Nike in every category when looking for new sporting or athletic equipment.