The Warriors won their first Championship in 40 years last June, which will be a tough act to follow. Equally tough, for Golden State’s best player, will be to repeat the success of his first signature sneaker. In February, Stephen Curry and Under Armour launched the Curry One, which instantly became one of the most popular models on the basketball performance market, selling out damn near everywhere it was available. Considering the killer combination of high-performing product, beloved player and wavy design, it was no surprise. This fall, Curry and his UA team are looking to come back with a second round of hot-sellers right away.
As early as May, Stephen was spotted rocking what we all presumed to be the Curry Two at Warriors’ practice. A few months later, he wore a patriotic colorway of the Curry Two at Team USA mini-camp in Las Vegas, and by early September he was releasing the sneaker’s first retail colorway, “Iron Sharpens Iron,” exclusively during his first-ever tour of Asia, which included stops in China, Japan and the Philippines. Inspired by Curry’s mantra to constantly “make my teammates better,” the Iron Sharpens Iron colorway has a gray upper with a back layer of yellow that seeps through the perforated patterning, contrasting with the orange to yellow fadeout in the midsole. Look closely and you’ll see the speckling, a little flair to represent the forging of metal, according to the brand.
Two weeks after the Curry Two was officially unveiled, Under Armour announced the extension of Stephen’s partnership with the brand through 2024. Just like the Dubs, UA hopes this is the beginning of a dynasty.
“Under Armour has felt like family since day one,” Curry said in a statement. “In the first two years of our partnership, we accomplished so much both on and off the court, and I’m looking forward to being part of the brand’s story for the rest of my playing career and beyond. Together we share a passion for making athletes better and instilling self-belief in athletes everywhere. The entire team has done an amazing job to develop innovative product that performs on the court and build platforms that allow me to connect with athletes all over the world. The best is yet to come.”
UA bills the Curry Two as the first basketball shoe with a full-length Charged Cushioning midsole unit, which absorbs impact and turns it into a responsive burst, and a UA SpeedForm seamless upper, which is molded to Stephen’s foot, giving him full range of motion and the ability to move without restriction. Perforations keep the sneaker light, durable and breathable, whether for the NBA Finals or a streetball showdown.
Concocting footwear to make a wizard like Curry even more unguardable? Defenders be like, Aw man... Just listen to Celtics PG Isaiah Thomas describing how hard it is to contain him: “If you play too far up on the three, he’ll take you off the dribble,” IT wrote this summer in The Players’ Tribune.“If he beats you on the first step because you were playing too far up, say goodbye. He’s already gone. If you sink back with him, he has the shiftiness and the quick release to step back and shoot.”
“In the Curry Two, Stephen has freedom of movement, responsive cushioning and strategic stability,” says Dave Dombrow, VP of Design, Footwear and Accessories at Under Armour. “What makes Stephen great is that he plays like no one we’ve seen; at any moment he’s going to do something we didn’t think possible. We drew from that to build a shoe that allows him to play untethered while staying in control of movement and speed.”
Dombrow’s design team also included an external heel counter on the Curry Two that locks the foot into place for a secure, snug fit that cuts down on sliding. A rubber herringbone traction pattern on the outsole gives it multi-directional grip, too.
“The first time I put my foot in the Curry Two, I knew having Charged Cushioning through the whole shoe would be a performance difference-maker,” Curry said via UA release on the day of the shoe’s official unveiling. “I’ve been wearing the Curry Two all summer in my workouts, and I’m excited that the design and performance of the shoe will not just enhance my game, but it will provide all basketball players with real innovation that works.”
The Curry Two made its on-court debut in Golden State’s pre-season opener against the Raptors, with the MVP splashing in 14 points while rocking what the streets called a Carolina Panthers blue PE. Expect to see the reigning MVP get buckets in a variety of colorways this season, including editions like “Dub Nation,” “Father to Son” and “Suit & Tie.” The inline colorway of the Curry Two drops on Saturday, October 24, with a $130 price tag.
The first place the Curry Two hit retail, though, was in Asia, when Steph and Under Armour CEO Kevin Plank took a five-day tour around the continent dubbed the Under Armour Roadshow, which included the early September release of the sneaker. At stops in Tokyo, Manila, Beijing, Chongqing and Shanghai, Curry was treated like an immortal by the throngs who showed up just to breathe the same air as the Warriors PG.
In Manila, Curry played ball with local kids in front of a packed house, flashing his world-famous handle, raining threes from deep to the delight of the crowd and even busting out a rare reverse dunk—prompting us to wonder if it’s gotta be the kicks. In downtown Shanghai, the pair helped officially open a 15,000-square-foot Under Armour Brand House store, the newest of more than 60 UA retail stores in the country. "I want to say thank you to all my Chinese fans out there," Curry told the fans there. "You've welcomed me with open arms, and I'm happy to bring belief, inspiration and courage to every single one of you, whether you're playing basketball or not."
The challenge of releasing a player’s first two signature sneakers in the same calendar year is a daunting one. Even downright risky, if you ask some. But if there’s anyone who can go back-to-back, it’s Stephen Curry.