When Under Armour released the Curry Two Lows this summer to an onslaught of heckles and Seinfeld comparisons, it was easy to assume the sneakers were a total flop. After all, what lifestyle product in 2016 could survive the endless stream of mockery the shoes inspired across social media? But two-time MVP Stephen Curry defended the “Chef Currys” and their muted design, singing their praises despite the fact they look like a small town computer science teacher’s weekend go-to’s. That Curry himself defends them is understandable, considering that the sharp shooter is under contract with Under Armour through 2024, which is the same year billionaire Elon Musk and his company SpaceX plan to launch humans to Mars wearing, one would imagine, the new “Space Currys.”
Despite everything, the white “Chef Curry”colorway has done quite well, selling out on Under Armour’s website and confirming that Twitter doesn’t set the standard for what might be deemed hot fire everywhere in America. And as director of digital content for SneakerNews.com John Kim points out, the people who attacked the shoe probably don’t wear Under Armour to begin with.“It’s just not the same kid,” says Kim. “Under Armour is most of America, which is suburbs and white kids.”
It’s an interesting point, considering that 1) the shoes were named after a Drake lyric (“Been cookin’ with the sauce, chef, Curry with the pot, boy,” and 2) Basketball has been the most fashionable of all mainstream sports for decades.
Under Armour unveils a Steph Curry lifestyle shoe called the “Curry Lux” w/leather & suede. Launches 8/5 for $150 pic.twitter.com/ZnVQFBDYq5
— Darren Rovell (@darrenrovell) July 22, 2016
Last week, Under Armour unveiled the “Curry Lux,” a new leather and suede lifestyle sneaker that releases in five colorways on August 5, exclusively at Concepts in New York City. It’s the company’s attempt at expanding the Curry brand—which according to Business Insider is worth up to $14 billion—with some off-court heat. The discerning sneaker fan will notice three things almost immediately. First, the Curry Lux’s are a significant step up on the aesthetic tip, from the bold, black leather down to the gum sole. Swell job, team, really. But wait. The second thing you’ll realize is that they’re criminally boring, even though literally anything would have been an improvement. Lastly, and perhaps most importantly, there’s the undeniable fact that THESE SONSABITCHES ARE GOING TO SELL LIKE CRAZY, because Steph Curry is a winner even when he loses.
To let Under Armour tell it, these puppies are a thing to behold:
The Curry Lux collection is a reflection of Stephen, who represents what Oakland and the Bay Area is—visually stunning on the outside, easy to like and comfortable to know, but peel back the layers and you get something even more dynamic—evidence of hard work, grit, determination and unmistakable drive that fuels sustained excellence.
Stephen is connected to his city of Oakland and the greater Bay Area and its people through a combined work ethic, will to overcome and passion for culture. Curry Lux footwear takes this story off the court and onto the street.
Look, there’s a lot to appreciate here, but here’s the truth: Under Armour’s footwear will never see any real traction among die-hard sneaker fanatics, even if stars like Earl Sweatshirt and Chance the Rapper happen to have a pair in their closet. But obviously that doesn’t matter much. Curry’s line is on track to sell more kicks than LeBron James’s Nike shoe will in 2017. And if that sounds like a lot, it’s because it is. In 2015, Nike racked up $340 million in sales from James’s line.
Trying to appeal to the streets with a lifestyle shoe that is almost equally as dull as the last release isn’t going to win over the naysayers. That the “Curry Lux” line, or any Curry line, is going to make a lot of money is a safe bet. But it isn’t going to become a cultural institution; it’s no Air Jordan, it’s probably not even going to get to Larry Johnson Aero Jam level). For starters, that logo, which is featured so prominently on all of their shoes, is just problematic, especially on footwear. While proven brands like Jordan and Chuck Taylor can benefit from having achieved a certain duality—their styles are as revered off the court as they are on—Under Armour occupies a different space. Many of their lines look acceptable on the court, sure, I guess, but they’re far from dope. And they most likely never will be, at the very least not until something is done about that U and A which vaguely resembles two horseshoes making out. But as sales have clearly indicated, there is ample room for successful things that blow in the footwear business. It’s perfectly fine for a phenomenal athlete like Curry to have a less than phenomenal shoe. He certainly isn’t the first. Stephon Marbury had his fair share of snoozers and Karl Malone’s LA Gear line was ludicrous. But for the money Curry’s getting paid, you’d expect Under Armour to at least try and make something a little more inspired than a pair of Starburys without the pop.