Like energy drinks, titanium necklaces, and green M&M's*, Under Armor seems like just another athletic fad, bought into people who say they just like it, even though, deep down, you know they think it makes them run faster.
But when I joined up with a certain group of hard working volunteers, and found that members of "The Black" were singing the praises of Under Armour from all sides, I decided it was worth a try.
So I bought one of their shirts to use at PAX this year. Does it work?
No idea, haven't even put it on yet. That's not the important part.
As I clipped the tags off of my purchase, I realized that it doesn't matter if it really does keep me cool and dry while working the expo. The price of admission is covered completely by the little tag of ridiculous features the Under Armour people have attached to the product.
Let's take a look-
Anti-Microbial: Prevents growth of odor-causing microbes
Moisture Management: Moisture wicking keeps you dry, light and comfortable.
Ok, not so bad, that's what I'd understood about the shirt to begin with. I don't know if the product lives up to these claims, but they both seem reasonable enough.
Stretch & Recovery: Provides greater mobility and fabric recovery via lightweight materials with exceptional stretch.
WHAT DOES THIS STATEMENT MEAN?! I've read it like ten times now, I still have no idea! What are they trying to say, that their shirt is lighter, so it won't weigh me down as much as a regular shirt? Cause I'm pretty sure that my 100% cottons aren't exactly the limiting factor when I work out. Fabric recovery? What is that? Is the shirt really easy to find? I don't know! Explain yourself, Under Armour!
UPF 30+: Blocks 97% or more of the sun's harmful rays.
Yeah, ok, Under Armour man, we're not even to the bottom of the list, and you're already stretching to come up with new features. It's ok that you're stretching, though, since the shirt you've got on has excellent FABRIC RECOVERY.
But yeah, I guess the shirt does block out those rays from the sun, physical objects that I place over my body usually do. In fact, honestly, 97% seems a bit low.
Noise Reduction: Makes the garment exceptionally quiet so you can focus on your game.
Yeah, that's always happening. I can't tell you how many times I've missed a final shot in a basketball game because my shirt wouldn't shut the hell up. Typically, I can't even hear the sound of the ball bouncing on the floor over the terrible roar of cotton against my skin.
*I hope seeing this again gave you that dizzy form of nostalgia where you see something that's long been mentally filed away with stuff you dreamed once. I think about it nearly every time I eat M&M's, so ingrained was their marketing message.