First Look: Under Armour Micro G Bloodline

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The Under Armour Micro G Bloodline — the signature shoe of Bucks guard Brandon Jennings — dropped on Friday, Nov. 4. I’ll be wear-testing them in the weeks to come, just as soon as I’m finished with another shoe. Really interested to compare them to my other low-cut shoe, the Zoom Kobe VI.

For now, enjoy the photos. This white colorway isn’t available yet, but you can get the black launch colorway on UnderArmour.com for $109.99.

Disclosure: Under Armour provided the shoes for this post and the subsequent review that will be posted later this month.

Quickie review: Eastbay cold weather gear

Because of such a drastic price difference, and what I’m betting is at least a little bit of curiosity on the part of consumers, I thought I’d throw together some brief thoughts on Eastbay’s answer to Nike Hyperwarm and Under Armour Cold Gear. It doesn’t have any fancy name, but what I ordered about a week ago was Eastbay’s Cold Weather Tight Mock and Cold Weather Tight to wear as a base layer for running outside. (We’ve somehow just about skipped fall and when I got up this morning to run at 8:00 — Thanks, time change! — it was still sub-40 out.)

I’d actually been investigating buying either Nike or UA’s version of this gear, but it’s just so expensive for a base layer when you consider that the shirts run $50 and the pants often run $60. Eastbay was (and still is) running a special where you can get the shirt and pants for $50 total. To pay less than half of what UA and Nike were charging, I had to give it a try. (Link to the Eastbay deal can be found here, if you’re interested.)

When I checked the temp this morning, it was actually 34 out. I’m not a big outdoor runner when it’s cold. It can just be hard to breathe and it’s so easy to be stiff the whole time. But this seemed like the perfect chance to try out the new gear. Having used some similar “moisture-wicking” gear from adidas, I can say the Eastbay stuff delivered in that department and I wasn’t soaked afterward or anything. I did actually wear this stuff under a light hooded sweatshirt and some light sweatpants. I can say that I would’ve been freezing and probably cut the run short had I not had the extra layer.

Now, I’ve got no basis for comparison here because I’ve never used either UA’s Cold Gear or Nike’s Hyperwarm apparel, but for the most part I stayed warm enough to tolerate a 3-mile run. Now, cold is cold, and I can tell you when I wasn’t in the sun, I could really feel how cold it was on my face, but my legs, arms, etc. never got that cold.

If you’ve already got the Nike or UA gear and you’ve got some sort of built-in brand loyalty, I totally get why you wouldn’t want to switch. I’m that way with other stuff, too, but I think for the savings if you’re open to something new, you’d be crazy to not at least throw down $50 and try a set of Eastbay’s stuff.

How is Under Armour’s shoe launch going?

In lieu of an actual review — no samples were made available to me (such is the life of doing this blog independently now — I wanted to sort of scan the marketplace now that we’re a few weeks beyond release date for the Under Armour Micro G hoops line. While I haven’t played the shoe, I did at least try them on at a local Finish Line and made a few observations about the fit, feel and design, too.

First, a look at how they’re selling. I scanned some of the major sites like Eastbay, Under Armour and Finish Line. (Eastbay’s online system feeds into the same site as Foot Locker, Foot Action and Champs, so checking those would just be redundant.) The black colorway of the Black Ice shoe, the one that Brandon Jennings wears, appears to be selling well. The UA site has just 8.5, 9 and 11.5 in stock. Eastbay has an 8.5 and 9.5. Finish Line has a wider range with everything from 8-15. Not sure if that’s a re-stock or their first batch though. The white/black/red/green colorway isn’t selling quite as well. Eastbay has 9-13.5 in that colorway, while UA has 8-12.5.

The high sales surprise me, given what I’d heard from people on the street. While I was out shopping the last few week, I tried just anecdotally to get numbers or at least vague ideas of how the shoe was being received. At one Finish Line, I was told two pairs were sold, but one pair was returned by a larger player who felt like it wasn’t a shoe made for big men.

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Brandon Jennings’ Under Armour spot

With the release of Under Armour’s basketball shoes this week (Oct. 23), the company dropped its first teaser for Brandon Jennings. We had this discussion on Twitter (we being myself, Nate Jones and a couple of other folks), but does this campaign fit Jennings’ personality? Jennings — while not being a full-blown clown or anything — does seem to have a more loose and fun personality. It seems like UA could’ve gone one of two ways: 1. Follow right along with the sort of gruff, intimidating image they’ve built in football or 2. Build an entirely new persona in basketball, as Jennings is their first guy. Clearly, they went for option No. 1, but how do you like it? Still hoping I’ll get to check out something from the Micro G line in the future, but don’t know for sure whether I will.

Under Armour vs. Nike vs. Reebok vs. adidas

I generally stick in the muted white/black/red colorways, so with that, I present some of the top options for the upcoming season. I think it’s a really interesting year in the sneaker game. You’ve got John Wall trying to put Reebok back on the map. Brandon Jennings is just trying to put them on the map, period. Nike carries some of its momentum from the FIBA Worlds with the Hyperfuse. adidas follows a banner year with the TS Supernatural Creator by releasing an adiZero Derrick Rose shoe.

adidas adiZero Rose (image via US10)
Eastbay, $99.99

Nike Hyperfuse, (image via Nice Kicks)
Eastbay, $99.99

Reebok Zig Slash, (image via HoopChina)
Eastbay, $99.99

Under Armour Micro G Black Ice (via UnderArmour.com)
Available later this month, $109.99

Sure, there will be more expensive signature sneakers from the likes of Kobe Bryant and LeBron James, but this is a pretty competitive year in the $99 range. Which sneaker will you choose? (Or will you go in another direction, like the Zoom KD3, which undercuts all of these in price at $88?)

Under Armour moves up Micro G release

The sneaker release that seemed about as mythical as the existence of Tiago Splitter is finally coming. Under Armour basketball has really only been notable in its association with Maryland and Brandon Jennings to this point, but finally, we’ll get to see them in the consumer market. The release of the Micro G line was moved up to Oct. 23, Under Armour announced on Twitter today. The Micro G collection will range from $80-110 with the highest priced sneaker being Brandon Jennings’ Micro G Black Ice, which is pictured far left in the image above.

There’s a lot of heat on the basketball footwear marketplace as is. Kobe’s upcoming shoe from Nike looks outstanding. Jordan Brand is always there gobbling up part of the market. The various Hyper lines continue to do big business for Nike, too. Still, Under Armour has built a ton of brand loyalty in other sports and in apparel in general, so I think consumers will at least be willing to give these a chance. Will you pick them up for this season?

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