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Under Armour is hot: It’s now going after basketball shoes

The battle of the brands

Under Armour is winning a lot these days.

Its star athletes are winning about every major award on the planet, and the company just announced its 21st consecutive quarter of 20% or more growth.

No wonder Under Armour (UA)stock soared over 8% to hit an all-time high of $ 97 a share on Thursday.

“I would like to go to the race track with [Under Armour CEO] Kevin Plank. He picks winners,” says Corinna Freedman, an analyst at BB&T Capital Markets, who follows the company.

The company’s next goal is clear: Beat Nike (NKE). The basketball shoe market is central to that goal.

under armour shoes
The Under Armour Curry One worn by Stephen Curry of the Golden State Warriors is seen as he warms up for the 2015 NBA Playoffs at ORACLE Arena on May 27, 2015 in Oakland, California.

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Under Armour champs: Basketball superstar Stephen Curry wore Under Armour on his way to winning the NBA championship and becoming the most valuable player in the league. Young golfer Jordan Spieth surprised many by winning the Masters Tournament this year and followed that up by besting everyone at the U.S. Open. He, too, was sporting Under Armour attire.

Under Armour is even crushing it in the world of ballet. Under Armour had run an iconic ad with Misty Copeland in the summer of 2014. And Copeland just became the first African-American dancer promoted to principal at the American Ballet Theatre.

The brand knows how to win, and wants to translate that into more sales. Under Armour raised its 2015 forecasts. It now expects revenue to grow 25% this year.

Related: Nike, Under Armour face off over new golf stars

“We want to see (the success in golf) in basketball and running,” CEO Kevin Plank said on a call with analysts Thursday. “We want to win.”

Nike currently controls about 90% of the basketball shoe market thanks to the huge success of its Air Jordan brand. But Stephen Curry of the Golden State Warriors is the new face, and his shoes are Under Armour.

Wall Street analysts like Freedman are keeping a close eye on shoes sales. It will be a key indicator of just how strong the Under Armour brand is going forward.

“We think the momentum is still there. They are riding a wave of incredible success this year that should help sales for next year,” says Freedman.

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Beyond shoes: The other big focus for Under Armour is growing a mobile and online “fitness community.” Under Armour claims it is adding a massive 100,000 new users a day to its Connected Fitness community platform and that it has 140 million users already there.

The signature piece is a gear tracker that allowed people to track the performance of their shoes or gear.

“Eventually everything we have will have a chip in it,” says CEO Plank. “We hope to use this to sell more shirts and shoes.”

Under Armour bets big on fitness apps

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