Comparing Nike vs. Under Armour – Which is Best?

In the realm of sportswear, there are only a few brands that are considered very popular among athletes and fitness enthusiasts, and two of these brands are Nike and Under Armour. Along with Adidas and Puma, Nike and Under Armour are included in the top brands for basketball, which is evident by the number of people wearing Nike and Under Armour basketball shoes in the NBA and other professional leagues around the world.

While Nike and Under Armour are similar in terms of their popularity today in the sportswear realm, they are vastly different in terms of their history and the technologies of features that they apply to their products. Here are some comparisons that we need to talk about between Nike and Under Armour to determine the best brand.

Overview of Nike

Nike logo shoes

Nike is a sportswear company that was founded in Beaverton, Oregon, on January 25, 1964. [1] The company’s co-founder, Bill Bowerman, is a renowned track and field coach that invented some of the best sports shoes in the 1960s, namely the Nike Cortez and the Nike Waffle Racer. The other co-founder of Nike, Phil Knight, created the company as an importer of high-quality and affordable Japanese running shoes.

Nike would then grow to become the world’s largest supplier of sports shoes. Besides basketball shoes, running shoes, and other types of sports shoes, Nike also designs and produces clothing and accessories. You can identify a Nike product through the swoosh logo that is imprinted or stitched onto different areas of the item.

Overview of Under Armour

Under Armour logo on a basketball shoes

Under Armour is a sports equipment company that was founded in Baltimore, Maryland, in September 25, 1996. So, in terms of age, Under Armour is significantly younger than Nike. This company was founded by Kevin Plank, a former American football player of the Maryland Terrapins (the intercollegiate athletic team of the University of Maryland), who had an idea for a shirt or piece of sports equipment that can help wick sweat away from the body so that the wearer would feel more comfortable while playing different sports. [2] The idea would then lead to the creation of Under Armour.

The company quickly became one of the top brands in the United States, and after they formed a partnership with the legendary NBA player Stephen Curry in 2013, they became even bigger as a business. The sales of Under Armour after Curry joined the brand and won the NBA Most Valuable Player Award in two consecutive seasons between 2014 and 2016 have skyrocketed, and the company is still very popular today as Curry still wears his signature line of basketball shoes.

Comparing Nike and Under Armour Products

There are many different products that Nike and Under Armour produce and sell on the market, and some of these products differ in terms of materials and features. Here are comparisons for various Nike and Under Armour products for you to understand how different these brands are from each other.


Nike shirt

In terms of clothing, Nike and Under Armour may look similar in hindsight, but the features that they apply to the pieces of clothing they design are different. For Under Armour they have the Armour Fleece material that is stretchy and breathable while still allowing your body temperature to be normal even under cold temperatures. In addition, the brand also has the RUSH fabric that reflects your body’s energy so that you will be able to perform at your best for longer periods of time while working out or playing sports.

On the other hand, Nike has the Dri-FIT technology that wicks sweat away from the body so that the shirt or shorts would still be breathable and feel comfortable. Because Nike is the official jersey partner of the NBA as of 2022, they are also selling authentic jerseys of different NBA players, including LeBron James, Paul George, and Luka Doncic. In terms of price, a lot of clothing pieces produced by Nike are significantly pricier compared to the ones sold by Under Armour. Nike does have some affordable options, but those don’t have the same quality as their top-tier pieces.


In the realm of sports footwear, Nike and Under Armour offer different technologies and features that help in making their shoes have more support, protection, and cushioning. Nike has developed various midsole technologies over the years, but one of the most popular is the Nike Zoom Air bag, which is a small cushioning system that makes your feet feel bouncier on the court (for sports) or on the road (for running. Another popular cushioning technology from Nike is ZoomX, which is an ultra-lightweight midsole foam that provides the best energy return for your feet.

Meanwhile, Under Armour has the Flow cushioning technology that is durable enough that it doesn’t need the rubber outsole, which often makes the shoe heavier. So, the Flow shoes from Under Armour are much lighter compared to most basketball shoes. Under Armour also has the HOVR cushioning system that provides impact protection while helping propel you forward. If you are going to buy sports shoes from these two brands, read the features and details about each model of sports shoes so that you will know what cushioning system of technology they have.

When it comes to figuring out the best between the two brands, there is not really a clear answer to which one is better, as they both provide some of the best products for athletes, sports fans, and fitness enthusiasts. It’s all a matter of preference of what brand you like to wear and what type of cushioning system you would want your feet to experience. 


[1] Meyer, J. (2019, August 14). History of Nike: Timeline and Facts. TheStreet. Retrieved December 20, 2022, from 

[2] Baer, D. (2015, February 19). Here’s how Under Armour grew into a $15 billion athletic-apparel empire. Business Insider. Retrieved December 20, 2022, from