It started with Stephen Curry asking for one split second.
That was the challenge when he met with the Under Armour innovation & design team in 2019. Could a new shoe give him just one extra split second to create enough distance from defenders and get off a clean shot?
The answer was Curry Flow 8, Under Armour’s most technically innovative basketball shoe. Its revolutionary UA Flow sole eliminated the need for a rubber outsole, giving Curry unparalleled traction and lightweight performance on the court.
One of the game’s best got even better, and the same goes for the shoe.
If the C8 was an off-the-backboard pass, the Curry Flow 9 is the subsequent alley-oop dunk. Under Armour’s design team built in even more revolutionary innovations, including the addition of a unique upper technology called UA Warp, which acts like seatbelts on the foot.
Designed to be lighter and more breathable than a traditional upper, UA Warp locks the foot into the shoe’s midsole without getting in the way of natural movements. The UA Warp on the Curry Flow 9 is a crossover application of technology found on Under Armour’s Flow Velociti Wind running shoe, but a tremendous amount of design and optimization work went into meeting the needs of the modern basketball player.
“You can get away with quite a bit less structure in a running shoe, but in basketball, you need quite a bit
more because of hard movements like lateral cutting and stopping on a dime, which you would never do
in running,” says Tom Luedecke, creative director of footwear innovation at Under Armour. “We did a lot of design work and testing to get the Warp laid out really well to work for basketball.”
“It’s such a big impact to be locked into your shoe,” Curry says of the UA Warp tech. “Having that stability to execute any move or cut that you need to with the most efficiency possible.” – Stephen Curry. Other innovations to the Curry Flow 9 include an improved UA Flow sole, which has been fine-tuned based on feedback from multiple NBA players. The foam has been carried over, but the traction pattern has been elongated and refined in the toe and lateral edges.
“Really I just wanted people to get it on their feet and be able to give their own feedback about how it felt,” Curry says. “There were a lot of comments about it being the best basketball shoe ever made.” – Stephen Curry. UA Flow’s unprecedented traction proved to be a game-changer for Curry—not only from an offensive perspective but also when it comes to defense and recovery.
“There’s something about Flow that prevents him from getting too beat up during a game or practice, so that he feels he’s more refreshed after playing,” Dean says. “Post-game, he’s not as tired, his muscle recovery is much faster. Prevention from breakdown is the path to a much quicker recovery!”
The seven-time All-Star, two-time league MVP, and three-time NBA champion has little left to prove, but he’s still setting records and closing in on new ones. He recently became the oldest player in NBA history to score 50 points and have 10 assists in a game, and he’s on pace to surpass Ray Allen this season as the most prolific 3-point shooter in league history.
“I think the Curry 9s will improve my game this season even to another level—just the same way the Curry 8s did,” Curry says. “Just to have a little more court-feel, a lower profile shoe that still has great weight, great stability, and great cushioning. It’s a great ride from heel to toe.”