Andy Murray’s custom Under Armor shoes

Andy Murray hasn’t lost yet wearing the very first Under Armor men’s tennis shoe, designed specifically for and with the Scots.

Murray won the Queen’s Club title ahead of Wimbledon wearing the Clutchfit Pursuit, then claimed a first round victory at the All England Club on Tuesday. Under Armor VP of Footwear Josh Rattet loves the start.

“Working with Andy has been great,” he told SI.com. “It’s been a whirlwind, but he’s an accomplished professional in terms of preparation, the way he attacks training and preparation for the game.”

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Murray signed with Under Armor in January this year, but with no men’s tennis shoes in their brand, he wore UA clothing and continued to perform in his Adidas shoes. Rattet says they did their best to change that as quickly as possible.

“We had to work really quickly to get it into the product,” says Rattet. “The challenge was that he was in the middle of his season.”

The process of creating the Murray-only size 12.5 shoe began in late January with a meeting in Florida. “We did a real autopsy of what he wears, what is successful, what he likes and what he doesn’t,” says Rattet. “He’s very in tune with his body, which is great for us on the product design side, we can really discover and build a product that matches his needs. “

From the start, Murray’s desire was a light offer that didn’t drag him down, but still offered durability. “In the tennis world, you see a lot of heavy orthopedic-type products with big pieces of plastic,” says Rattet, noting that his previous shoes were “heavy and stiff”. The Baltimore-based company wanted to change that, using their own exclusive fabrics, textiles and constructions to put their stamp on their shoe.

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But the process was tricky, as UA designers flew all over the world to follow Murray, showing him samples along the way. A designer stopped in Paris, Rome, Madrid, Barcelona and London in the space of a few weeks, working on trips to China with engineers to get more samples.

The quick process almost ended in time for Under Armor to launch the Murray shoe ahead of the French Open, but Rattet says they needed a little more time to fully test it, instead of focus on the turf version he wore for the first time. a competitive match at the Queen’s Club.

The Clutchfit Pursuit makes Murray a low profile shoe with a lot of flexibility. The Clutchfit technology used by UA in cleats, basketball, running and many other two-way stretch synthetic features combined with an overlay to provide flexibility when needed – a key request from Murray – and the possibility of “locking in like a second skin”.

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Around the upper of the shoe, Under Armor has constructed a foam sole for added comfort and additional stability to support lateral movement.

To get to the final product quickly, designers always had to give Murray choices. “We had two or three options simultaneously to make sure one would be perfect for him,” says Rattet. “We transformed the product in record time. Even though UA has a leading female player, Sloane Stephens, outfitted with her product, she built the Murray shoe from scratch, with a “completely different platform” than the one Stephens wears.

Murray, who loves worn-out shoes, has several match-ready pairs at one point and often works up to four pairs a month.

“Traditionally, tennis is more rugged, (the shoes) have a really industrial look,” says Rattet. “We wanted to give it a cool, understated aesthetic but with traction, flexibility and durability.”

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The launch of the Clutchfit Pursuit comes with a subtle twist to Murray’s style, using an “AM” logo on the tongue as the main appeal. But you can blame the half-hearted debut of Wimbledon’s color rules a bit, which Rattet says they were happy to join out of respect for history. All of that will change during the hard court season and leading up to the US Open, when Under Armor showcases Murray’s personality, playing with patterns – camouflage is coming – and color from head to toe.

All of this work to create a men’s tennis shoe is not about a men’s tennis shoe. This is Murray. Rattet says UA’s designs were ‘born on the pitch’ and they want to make sure Murray has everything he needs first before they start moving the shoe to college programs and possibly retail. .

The only way to see the Clutchfit Pursuit is if Murray keeps winning.

Tim Newcomb covers stadiums, design and equipment for Sports Illustrated. Follow him on Twitter at @tdnewcomb.



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