Under Armour taking heat from both sides in uproar over spear hunting
The hunter doused the Under Armour T-shirt with lighter fluid and set it ablaze, before repeating the act with an Under Armour cap.
"You go against the hunters, the hunters are going against you," said Craig Bell, looking into the camera for the video, posted widely on hunting sites.
Under Armour, the Baltimore-based athletic apparel brand, found itself caught up in a social media uproar over its deep involvement with hunting when it dropped its sponsorship of hunter Sarah Bowmar after she posted a video showing her husband spearing a bear in Canada. Wearing a camouflage jacket with a prominent Under Armour logo, Josh Bowmar exults by raising his arms after the kill, which was filmed partly by a GoPro camera attached to the spear.
Images of the baiting and apparent suffering of the bear angered thousands of people who spoke out in petitions and on social media, prompting Under Armour to terminate its partnership with Sarah Bowmar. Animal-rights activists demanded the brand denounce practices such as spear hunting and baiting, as well as captive hunting, where hunters pay to kill animals kept in a confined area.
Then came an intense reaction from hunters, who criticized the brand for failing to back what was a legal hunt that reflected how humans have hunted for millennia. Some called for boycotts. Ohio-based Sarah Bowmar, who runs Bowmar Fitness with her husband, a former competitive javelin thrower, took to Twitter and Instagram to defend the hunt as legal and ethical.
With its celebrity athletes, Under Armour has built a reputation as an urban, aspirational brand for the young, athletic and health-minded. Hunting, a passion of one of its founders, has been an important, if lesser known, category for the brand for more than a decade.
The dueling backlashes Under Armour now faces partly reflect the nation's divided sensibilities about hunting.
"You're going to upset one group, one way or the other," said Bob Dorfman, executive creative director of Baker Street Advertising in San Francisco. "You have to decide which market and which demographic is more important. It's very hard to appease both sides on such a hot issue and such a sensitive issue."
The company declined to comment beyond the statement it issued saying it had ended the relationship with Bowmar.
"The method used to harvest this animal was reckless and we do not condone it," it said. "Under Armour is dedicated to the hunting community and supports hunting that is conducted in compliance with applicable federal, state and local laws and hunting practices that ensure a responsible and safe harvest of the animal."
Sarah Bowmar blamed international pressure from "anti-hunters," for the termination, adding, "We did nothing wrong."
"It really breaks my heart," she said in an August post after the June video surfaced. "We lived and breathed the brand for years and gave them everything that we had."
Josh Bowmar, in an interview posted on Twitter by his wife, said he's been unfairly cast as unethical and argued that the animal suffered no more from a spear than it would have from an arrow.
"This animal ran on adrenaline and died very quickly and humanely," he said.
After seeing the video, one animal-rights activist from the Chicago area began calling and emailing Under Armour executives. Kelsey Brickl's Change.org petition called the hunt "sickening" and said the Bowmars took "particular pleasure in the blood and gore left behind by the bear, who staggered off with a terrible wound and wasn't found until the next day."
"There are not that many sportswear companies that try to target tennis players and golfers and European soccer fans and football fans and also hunters at the same time," Brickl said. "A lot of times those markets are not just unrelated but hostile to one another. This is a no-win situation for Under Armour. Now they've got hunters mad at them."
Brickl buys Under Armour's University of Notre Dame fan apparel as an alumna of the university, and expects her son will wear the brand when he starts playing sports.
But, she said, "I would prefer to buy fan apparel from Notre Dame from a company that doesn't have a hunting division."
Wayne Pacelle, president and CEO of Humane Society of the United States, argues that businesses should run their operations in alignment with their customers' values.
"A lot of Under Armour customers are quite surprised and a bit startled by the company's very close commercial relationship with the sport- and trophy-hunting communities," Pacelle said. "You just don't think of Under Arrmour and think of hunting bears or lions or other creatures."
While praising the decision to terminate its relationship with Sarah Bowmar, the humane society asked Under Armour to take a stronger stand on practices such as baiting. Pacelle said most states ban baiting of deer, a federal law bans baiting of waterfowl and only a handful of states allow baiting of bears.
"It's one thing to sell products that are going to be used by hunters. It's another thing to be an active promoter of recreational killing of wildlife," Pacelle said.
"You don't see Nike doing it, and many mainstream brands would absolutely steer clear of this sort of display of and promotion of killing wild animals for recreation."
Under Armour expanded into hunting around the time it went public in 2006. The company started marketing ColdGear and HeatGear products in brown, green and camouflage for hunting and other outdoors sports.
The brand became "huge" in the hunting community, signing celebrity hunters such as Cameron Hanes, Tiffany Lakosky, and Jim and Eva Shockey, said Bell, who owns an Indiana-based antler hunting and apparel company called Shed Heads. Hanes is a celebrity bow hunter, and Lakosky is on Outdoor Channel's "The Crush with Lee and Tiffany." Jim Shockey's hunting show on the same channel also features his daughter, Eva.
Under Armour occasionally sent Bell discount cards, he said, but now "the real true-blue hard-core hunters like myself, they wouldn't be caught dead in a picture with that stuff on."
Under Armour, he said, "just stuck the biggest knife in the back of every hunter possible. … I believe in hunting with a spear, knife, gun, bow. If it's legal and it's a clean, ethical way to hunt, that should be supported."
Bell's video, posted on his company's Facebook page, has more than 114,000 views.
Hanes, one of Under Armour's longest-sponsored athletes, has appeared with Under Armour co-founder Kip Fulks in episodes of "Ridge Reaper," which aired for three seasons on the Outdoor Channel and launched a fourth season last month on YouTube.
"I partner with them because they believe in me and I believe in them," Hanes said in a recent Facebook post about the controversy, adding that Under Armour has been one of hunting's biggest proponents for years. "I don't know of any other companies that are as successful that would even mess with the hunting minefield."
Hanes added that he has no problem with spear hunting but has refrained from posting his own hunting photos or videos.
"What might seem perfectly fine to us as hunters isn't perfectly fine with people on social media," he said. "Millions of people saw the spear kill and simply didn't get it, to them it seemed inhumane, unnecessarily brutal and unjustifiable. ... to hunters, killing is part of the hunt."
Under Armour had to make a calculation after the video surfaced. The company certainly knew it would face pushback from hunters, analysts said.
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But the number of people concerned about the way the bear was killed may outweigh the offended hunters, said Matt Powell, global sports industry analyst for The NPD Group in New York.
"I would suspect that there are an equal if not greater number of people who were outraged by the slaughter," Powell said.
Jason Moser, an analyst with the Motley Fool's Million Dollar Portfolio, believes as an investor that Under Armour responded to a polarizing episode in the best possible way.
"They've drawn their line. We know where they stand," he said. "The key is to remain consistent. Going forward, the opportunity is far greater for them beyond just this hunting population and this niche subsection of the hunting population."
Under Armour UA CH1 Hunting Boots Review
The Under Armour UA CH1 GORE-TEX Hunting Boots are a lightweight hunting boot with an innovative dual BOA lacing system. Under Armour designed the boots with legendary archery hunter Cameron Hanes.
To get us a closer look, Under Armour sent Man Makes Fire two review units to test. This is what we learned during our initial testing process:
UA CH1 Hunting Boots Review
The UA CH1 GORE-TEX Hunting Boots aren’t like any other hunting boots I’ve ever worn. For starters, the all-synthetic boot has an upper made into a lattice-like exo-skeleton that resembles something you might find in a science fiction movie.
Next, the boots use a dual BOA lacing system. Lots of manufacturers use BOA lacing systems on a wide variety of boots, including wading boots, snow boots, and even cycling shoes. In our experience BOA lacing systems have been very durable.
To create these boots, Under Armour set out to deliver a rugged hunting boot with an athletic feel. Under Armour says it’s made for “treacherous side-hilling and demanding pack-outs.”
So far I’ve only put the boots through some moderate hikes, tiny streams, and bow-shooting sessions. Man Makes Fire publisher Chris Maxcer has also been testing a pair, and he’s early in the process, too.
However, he wants to get a first-look review out the door to help guys who might be looking to buy this boot before hunting season.
The UA CH1 Fit: ‘Outstanding’
The UA CH1 GORE-TEX Hunting Boots fit is outstanding right out-of-the box. They are super comfortable and yet they’re also very supportive. Incidentally, Maxcer concurs: “The initial fit is truly excellent,” he reports.
In our experience so far, the UA CH1s don’t require a break-in period at all. They haven’t stretched. They just fit really well and the sizing is spot on for a hunting boot — just big enough for a thick pair of wool socks or a dual layer of thinner socks. But they also fit well with just a regular single sock because they tighten up and adjust so well.
In fact, I believe I’m more sensitive to the fit of these boots than most people these days. Here’s why: This spring while running a CrossFit course outside of my local gym, I was hit by a pickup and thrown into the street where I had a compound dislocation of my ankle and compound fracture in my lower leg.
However, with my elk season in jeopardy, I dove into the physical therapy. After a lot of hard work, I’ll now be able to archery elk hunt in Idaho this year.
The UA CH1 GORE-TEX Hunting Boots were the first boot that I felt comfortable wearing on non-level ground, and I appreciate the support. For me right now, the support has a bit of flex to it that heavier boots don’t have — and I think that lets my feet and ankles send me more information as I walk on uneven ground. And right now, as I recover, I think the feedback is more important than ever before.
In fact, I’m not going to start out my elk season in my trusty Zamberlan 996 VIOZ GTX Boots — I’m going to wear the UA CH1s.
The BOA Lacing System
I am a big fan of the dual BOA lacing system. The system took a bit of getting used to, but now I don’t want to go back to regular lace ups.
If it were just a single BOA system, I might not be such a fan. Sometimes single BOA systems end up spreading the tension throughout the wire laces, which is good if your particular foot fits the boot exactly. If not, it can be hard to fine-tune the tension over your forefoot and ankle with single-BOA designs.
The dual-BOA system, on the other hand, lets you choose your tension over your forefoot, which locks your heel back into the boot properly. Then you can tighten your ankle separately to get the most comfortable and supportive blend.
Once you’re on the trail, if you need to make an adjustment, you can go right to the section of the boot you need to tighten or loosen. When you first put the boots on, I wouldn’t say the BOA system is significantly faster, but when it’s time to adjust your boot on the trail, the BOA system is definitely a fast and easy system.
Are the Boots Waterproof?
Because Under Armour is such a popular brand, we’re not sure how much we can trust the customer reviews online. We’ve seen a couple of reports that say the UA CH1 GORE-TEX Hunting Boots are not waterproof and that they leak. You can definitely get a bad boot that will leak, but then again, we don’t see many boots with GORE-TEX leaking. Sure, sometimes someone will put in an aftermarket insole with hard heel edges that wears a hole through the GORE-TEX liner over time, but generally high-quality gear made with GORE-TEX works pretty well and takes some hard use to wear out or fail.
That said, both of our review unit pairs are not leaking and haven’t over small stream crossings and walking through dewy meadows. Maxcer even walked around in 3 inches of water for 5 minutes just to see if he could find a leak while flexing the boots a lot. Nothing. Dry socks.
I can see, however, how some people could get water over the top of the GORE-TEX liner without noticing. How? The GORE-TEX liner ends a whopping three inches below the top of the boots. If water goes in over the top, it’ll stay inside the waterproof boot all day. GORE-TEX is breathable, but not that breathable.
What’s our take? We can’t see any reason in the construction of the boot itself that would compromise the GORE-TEX liner any faster than any other boot — unless cactus spines are poking in between the exo-skeleton. But if you do plan to hunt in wet areas, we would tend to recommend a boot with a higher, more traditional tongue that would give you more waterproof height to work with.
Got a Squeak?
We noticed a customer review at Under Armour that said the boots squeak, which for us, is an absolute no-go for hunting. I have noticed a very light squeak in one boot, but Maxcer hasn’t had any squeaking in his boots.
So far, that one occasional squeak is not an issue for me. Like I said, it’s very faint and unlikely to overshadow footstep noise in the woods.
I’ll report back right away if anything changes.
The UA CH1 GORE-TEX Hunting Boots have a modern, technical design that looks even better in person. Right now UA appears to be sold out of the Black option but still has its Ridge Reaper camo version in all sizes. Our review units look surprisingly good with pants and they wear well in non-hunting settings — that is, after you hose them off.
Maxcer put it this way: “I wasn’t expecting to like the look, but I have to say, they’ve grown on me — I’m surprised at how much I like the style.”
Shop the Under Armour UA CH1 GORE-TEX Hunting Boots at Cabela’s and get FREE Shipping!
More from Maxcer
Here’s a note from Maxcer to add his perspective:
The UA CH1 GORE-TEX Hunting Boots are quite a bit different from most hunting boots. Out of the box, they are super comfortable and supportive. Interestingly, they’ve been available for two years now, and the customer reviews are mixed. Some customers are all in with 4 and 5-star reviews, and they’re generally a bit better at places like Cabela’s and Sportsman’s Warehouse. But at Under Armour directly, which is where I would expect the most dissatisfied customers to end up, there are handful of 1-star reviews that tend to cite long-term issues with durability and/or waterproofing, giving the boots an average 2.6-star score. I’ve noticed these boots coming in and out of stock over time, which means Under Armour keeps the factory busy for a reason. If customer returns were truly higher than average, I would have expected Under Armour to discontinue them — and they haven’t.
On the other hand, in our experience, lightweight boots never last as long as heavyweight leather boots with heavy rugged soles. The benefit of lightweight hunting boots is the sneaker-like feel — but we don’t expect lightweight boots to last as long. That’s just physics.
Because the UA CH1s are nearly as costly as many heavyweight hunting boots, I think customers expect them to last just as a long as heavyweight hunting boots. That’s a fair expectation for your gear dollars — but maybe not realistic. Still, Under Armour set the expectations by saying the CH1’s were designed to be the “ultimate Western hunting boots.” Right now, I think these boots are best for guys who want a lighter, faster feeling boot . . . but who also understand that, over the long haul, they might wear out sooner than heavy leather hunting boots. If you want to cover a couple hundred very hard miles over multiple years, you should choose a leather boot with a solid sole. Even then, you may wear out the sole and/or wear a hole in your GORE-TEX liner. I have ‘lightweight’ expectations for the CH1 boots, but I must admit, I am far more pleased with their performance than I was expecting. And they do sidehill surprisingly well!
Competition & Alternatives
While there are many lightweight hiking boots available these days, they tend to be short and lack the durability needed to spend days far off the trail. So we’re not going to include hiking boots as competitive options here. If you’re looking for a true lightweight hunting boot, one of the best alternatives might be Under Armour’s own HOVR Dawn Hunting Boots.
The UA HOVR Dawn is a few ounces lighter and has more cushion than the UA CH1 boots. The UA HOVR Dawn also costs less and has a traditional lacing system. The drawback is that the cushy soles might not be stiff enough for heavier guys carrying heavy loads. Read our full HOVR Dawn review for more detail.
Alternately, for a slightly heavier option, consider the Danner Vital. It lacks the innovative style of the UA CH1 and is a bit bulkier, but it costs less and Danner has a sweet 365-day warranty on its hunting boots.
The Verdict So Far
The Under Armour UA CH1 GORE-TEX Hunting Boots are stable but also supportive. They’re not as stiff as heavyweight hunting boots, but for me right now, that’s a good thing. Remember my ankle injury? I really appreciate the UA CH1 blend of support and comfort right now. If you’re looking for a lightweight hunting boot that’s comfortable yet supportive, so far I’ve had a great experience with the Under Armour CH1 GORE-TEX Hunting Boots. In fact, I have enough confidence in them to wear them after my ankle surgery — and to use them during this year’s archery elk season.
Get the Gear:
UA CH1 GORE-TEX Hunting Boots
The out-of-the-box fit is fantastic
Very lightweight but also supportive
Dual BOA lacing system is surprisingly effective
The waterproof GORE-TEX liner ends 3" before the top of the boot
The relatively high cost may create unrealistic longevity expectations in a lightweight boot
Looking for a great gift for your bowhunter? Check out our 25 Best Gifts for Bowhunters guide!
Elevating a leader in performance hunt apparel.
We’re proud to serve as a strategic partner for Under Armour Hunt. Helping this coveted brand develop a singular, authoritative voice across multiple hunt categories is right in our wheelhouse.Hunters are forever on the lookout for incremental advantages. So we built authentic product stories that position UA Hunt layering systems as the solution to keeping them in the woods or on the mountain – no matter the terrain or weather.Add in additional messages around conservation, investment in the next generation, respect for the animals we harvest and we’ve got a strategy that positions UA as a long-term leader committed to a healthy future for hunting. Our work spans strategy, branding, retail, digital and social media, all geared to build constant momentum and a loyal following.
This legendary endorsement called for an unforgettable intro.
Tom Brady, Steph Curry, The Rock, and now – welcome to the UA stage, Cameron Hanes. He wrote the book on backcountry hunting (you can buy it on Amazon). So it’s fitting that Under Armour’s first signature hunting boot bear his initials.Idea Ranch helped introduce CH1 to the world via a launch strategy, messaging framework and PR push that centered on Cam’s relentless pursuit of his goals. The work resulted in significant media coverage, massive release-day demand, and the boot selling out multiple times since hitting market.
CH1 Launch Video
Our growing roster reflects our people and pursuits. Join us. In an industry that attracts ego, our path is rare. It serves as a beacon to like-minded clients and talent. If that’s you, we look forward to talking.
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twitter announced today that it will be removing its implementation of stories dubbed “fleets.” the feature was either loved or hated by twitter users since its initial release last year.
this short-lived feature, which was released in november of last year, will be removed on august 3. twitter acknowledged the controversial nature of the snapchat/instagram clone with the farewell tweet. notably, there was no fleet from the main twitter account announcing the departure of the feature, only a standard tweet.
in the goodbye, the company said it is working on “new stuff.” one can hope that they add the ability to edit tweets, in addition to the new edit audience and monetization features.
in a more detailed blog post, twitter shared that it hoped fleets would make people more comfortable posting onto twitter. as fleets disappear, some of the fleet creation features, like gifs and stickers, will be implemented into the standard tweets composer.
ftc: we use income earning auto affiliate links.more.
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Armour hunting under
In fact, I was sitting on my knees on his penis in front of an expander fixed at the top, the lower end. Of which had 2 loops for the hands. Then I took the loops and began to beat vigorous bows with my hands in loops near the head. The press was buzzing, and the anal hole went back and forth along Sergey's penis, tightly squeezing it, getting off because I tensed all the muscles in a snatch and.Cam Hanes Must Be Nice - Ridge Reaper Films Season 7
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