China dominates as a manufacturing powerhouse, while the US boasts a history of iconic brands.
One such brand, Under Armour, often prompts questions about its manufacturing base.
Known worldwide for its superior athletic wear, is Under Armour made in China or the US?
Join us as we delve into the production story of this renowned sportswear brand.
Is Under Armour Made in China or the US?
Founded in 1996 in Maryland, Under Armour embarked on a journey starting with football tees, now posing competition to giants like Nike and Reebok.
While its headquarters remain in the US, its production story is more complex. A substantial segment of its shoes finds its genesis in China, Indonesia, and Vietnam, with a noticeable shift towards Vietnam recently.
Clothing, despite the brand’s American roots, is predominantly produced in China and other Eastern countries.
The brand, with its vast global manufacturing network across 154 countries, is weaving a strategy that leans more towards ethical labor practices and transparency, ensuring both quality and integrity in its products.
Who Founded Under Armour?
Founded by Kevin Plank, a former fullback at the University of Maryland, in 1996, Under Armour began its journey by producing wicked tees for football players.
The brand, headquartered in Baltimore, Maryland, has expanded exponentially since its inception, challenging industry giants like Nike and Reebok.
Where Does Under Armour Manufacture Their Clothes?
Under Armour, a renowned brand in athletic wear, has a manufacturing network that’s truly global, spanning over 154 countries.
This vast network demonstrates the brand’s dedication to meeting the demands of its international consumer base, as well as optimizing production costs and logistics.
When it comes to their footwear line, the major production hubs have historically been China, Indonesia, and Vietnam.
Of these, China was a significant player. But in recent times, there has been a noticeable shift, driven by both consumer concerns regarding ethical labor standards and the brand’s own strategic decisions.
Vietnam, which once was a focal point for shoe manufacturing, is now also emerging as a pivotal hub for the brand’s clothing production.
Speaking of clothing, while the brand was born and is headquartered in the USA, the majority of its apparel is not produced domestically. Instead, these products are largely manufactured in China and various other Eastern countries.
That said, as we enter 2023, Under Armour has embarked on a strategic redirection. The brand is aiming to reduce its clothing production dependency on China and has laid out plans to transition a significant volume of its manufacturing to nations like Indonesia, the Philippines, and Cambodia.
This shift is emblematic of the brand’s adaptability, responding not just to geopolitical and economic factors, but also to the evolving demands and concerns of its global consumer base.
Is Under Armour Made in China?
Historically, Under Armour has relied heavily on Chinese factories for both its raw materials and the final production of its products. From the fabrics to the finished athletic wear, China’s role in shaping the brand’s inventory has been undeniable.
However, recent strategic decisions signal a change in direction for Under Armour. The company is now set on a determined path to curtail its dependence on Chinese manufacturing.
The goal? To reduce the sourcing of materials from China to a mere 7% in the near future. But what’s prompting this significant shift?
Several factors come into play. Prevailing trade tensions between the US and China have underscored the vulnerabilities of over-reliance on a single nation’s manufacturing prowess.
Moreover, the burgeoning “Made in America” movement has also played its part, echoing a call to brands to bring more of their production back to American shores, both as a nod to quality assurance and a commitment to domestic economic growth.
Does Under Armour Follow Ethical Production Practices?
Brands with a global reach, such as Under Armour, inevitably face scrutiny on this front, given the varied labor standards across different nations.
Under Armour’s manufacturing is diversified, with units spread across several Eastern countries. Historically, these regions have been under the microscope for labor malpractices, especially concerning sweatshops.
However, Under Armour stands as an exception to many of its competitors. While numerous apparel giants have grappled with controversies surrounding sweatshop labor, Under Armour has been notably successful in steering clear of major scandals.
That being said, it’s worth noting that concerns have been raised regarding the transparency of the brand’s production processes.
Complete transparency is vital to ensure that every aspect of production — from sourcing of materials to the final stitching — adheres to ethical standards.
For a brand of Under Armour’s stature, this encompasses a range of responsibilities: from ensuring that workers are paid fair wages, to guaranteeing safe and humane working conditions in their factories.
So, does Under Armour follow unethical work practices? Based on available evidence, the brand has made concerted efforts to maintain ethical standards.
However, like many global entities, the demand for increased transparency in its operations remains, ensuring that every step of their production chain is in line with global ethical standards.
Where are Under Armour Factories Located?
Under Armour’s production isn’t restricted to a few locations. The choice of factory locations plays a pivotal role in determining the efficiency, cost-effectiveness, and even the environmental impact of the production process.
For those keen to understand the intricate matrix of Under Armour’s manufacturing network, here’s what I was able to find.
Pan-Asian Production Dominance Asia stands out prominently in Under Armour’s manufacturing map.
With a colossal 65% of its production rooted in this continent, it’s clear that countries like Cambodia, Vietnam, the Philippines, and Indonesia play a vital role in shaping the brand’s inventory.
Each of these nations boasts a unique combination of skilled labor, infrastructure, and strategic location that makes them attractive for apparel manufacturing.
Diverse Supplier Base Going beyond the primary production hubs, Under Armour has ensured a diverse supplier base to fortify its supply chain resilience.
Major suppliers are strategically located in Malaysia, ensuring easy access to Southeast Asian markets, China with its unparalleled manufacturing scale, Taiwan known for its technological innovations, and Mexico, which offers proximity to the vast North American market.
Global Reach with Specific Focus While the primary production powerhouses are essential, Under Armour’s global edge is further sharpened by specialized smaller plants situated across different continents.
These factories, found in countries as varied as Brazil, Egypt, Israel, and Madagascar, hone in on crafting specific product categories.
Such specialization not only ensures quality but also introduces efficiencies in production by concentrating expertise.
A Strong Footing in the Americas The Americas, both Central and North, hold their significance in Under Armour’s production narrative.
Central America, with its strategic location and growing manufacturing sector, accounts for 14% of the brand’s output.
Meanwhile, Mexico, with its blend of skilled labor and logistical advantages due to its proximity to the US, contributes 5%.
As we reflect on Under Armour’s journey, it’s evident that the brand places paramount importance on the well-being of both its customers and employees.
Their proactive measures to foster safe working environments, paired with their keen sensitivity to market demands, speaks volumes of their dedication.
The brand’s innovative spirit shines through products like Coldblack, crafted to regulate temperature for athletes, and the pioneering integration of Bluetooth modules in footwear.
Moving forward into 2023, Under Armour remains unwavering in its pursuit: to deliver exceptional sportswear while steadfastly embracing ethical and transparent production standards.
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