Performance apparel is an athlete's best friend. It doesn't matter if you are exercising in the heat of summer or the cold of winter, if you're wearing well-made athletic performance gear, you will still be dry and comfortable. The latest technology in athletic apparel was originated by Under Armour, the company that makes gear for athletes to help them perform better. In an effort to continually improve and innovate their product line, Under Armour has developed workout gear using recycled plastic bottles for their UA Green collection, a step the company has undertaken in their ongoing effort to produce products that have the least environmental impact, and to ensure a green and sustainable operation into the future.
Who better to create top-of-the-line performance apparel then an athlete? In 1996, Kevin Plank, a former football player for the University of Maryland, wanted what many athletes had probably wished for . . . a better t-shirt. Wouldn't it be great to finish a workout and not have to deal with a wet, heavy, smelly t-shirt that leaves your skin feeling cold and clammy? Athletes wanted gear that kept them warm and dry in cold weather, or cool and dry in hot weather so they could focus on their sports performance rather than their discomfort. Under Armour was born, and introduced athletes everywhere to the Under Armour compression t-shirt, the first of this type of apparel in the world! They've continued to design gear to help athletes stay comfortable and dry with their HeatGear, ColdGear and AllSeasonGear. In the years since the company introduced their innovative products, Under Armour has become one of the most recognized performance apparel companies in the world.
Although the company's main mission is fulfilling the needs of athletes and helping them be the best they can be, the company also recognizes that successful companies have a responsibility to operate in an environmentally sustainable way. Under Armor takes their commitment to green seriously. Their decision to start the Catalyst line of UA Green products helps them keep an estimated 2,000,000 plastic bottles out of the landfills, since each Catalyst item makes use of up to four plastic bottles. Under Armour is also exploring how to green every aspect of their company's operations, from the manufacturing to the dyes to the packaging.
In addition, Under Armour is purchasing wind power for every kWh of electricity they use, building stores to their Green Standard with energy efficiency and recycled materials a priority, and monitoring their waste and supply chain for areas of improvement. Each step they take is one that lessens their overall environmental footprint and creates lasting sustainability for the future of the company. They also support two organizations' environmental efforts, Big Belly Solar and Habitat for Humanity. Big Belly is the City of Baltimore's effort to reduce waste collection costs by installing solar powered trash compactors. Habitat for Humanity has built two UA Habitat homes in West Baltimore that feature some of the newest and best green innovations in the building industry.
Currently, Under Armour's Catalyst collection features men's and women's caps and t-shirts, and men's shorts. The Catalyst items are made of fabric created with UA's green technology. The company takes plastic bottles and melts them down, then stretches the substance into very fine fibers. The fibers make the gear very soft yet extremely durable. Plus, the whole process ensures these items of performance apparel have a very small impact on the environment. Other important UA technologies are also incorporated into the Catalyst items: from their Moisture Transport System that takes sweat away from the body, to the Anti-Odor technology that prohibits microbe growth, to UPF sun protection of 30+ to 50+ for the t-shirts. All of the items are very lightweight so they won’t weigh down your workout.
With all the technology Under Armour employs, you might think the company has a lock on new, innovative ideas. However, they know that great ideas can come from many places, including the customers who have experience wearing Under Armour's items. The company features an idea submission tool, called My39, which allows people from anywhere to send in their ideas for better technologies, products, and improvements. It's another way Under Armour shows that they are always seeking to improve and enhance their products, in order to better serve the athletes who wear them and the planet that supports them.