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Creator of Under Armour's Curry basketball shoe has chosen Under Armour over Nike

The mastermind behind some of Under Armour's most popular shoes now plans to return to the Baltimore-based brand instead of joining rival Nike.

Dave Dombrow, who left his job as Under Armour's senior vice president of creative footwear and accessories in March, will start back at the sports apparel maker on Aug. 1 in a newly created role of chief design officer. In that capacity, Dombrow will lead the design of all Under Armour apparel, footwear and accessories, the company said today.

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Dombrow had been with the brand for five years and had a hand in every big footwear project as Under Armour expanded sneaker sales in key areas such as running and basketball. His departure was seen as a win for much bigger Nike.

"In his time at Under Armour, Dave played an instrumental role in creating innovative and cutting-edge footwear with international acclaim," said Kip Fulks, Under Armour founding partner, in the company's announcement.

"As Under Armour continues to evolve the key pillars of innovation and design while expanding global growth in all categories, Dave's unique abilities to challenge the status quo and to anticipate the needs of the future athlete are exactly what we need to further our success," Fulks said.

Dombrow, who was planning to start at Nike next year under terms of a non-compete agreement, was a co-creator of the UA SpeedForm Appollo, a running shoe that uses a four dimensional foam sock liner to conform to the foot's shape. Under Armour said the "groundbreaking" design formed the basis of subsequent athletic shoe designs. The brand also credits Dombrow as the visionary behind the Curry One, NBA star Stephen Curry's first signature shoe.

Curry shoes, including the Curry 2 and the Curry 2.5, have sent the brand's shoe sales soaring.

Under Armour founder Kevin Plank has credited Curry with bringing "unprecedented" attention to the company's footwear, even outside the United States. Footwear sales jumped more than 60 percent to $264 million in the first three months of the year, due to continuing popularity of Curry's signature basketball shoe line and more styles in running.

"I continue to be humbled and amazed by what we have built together, fueled by the core commitment to innovation and design, as well as the entrepreneurial drive to make all athletes better," Dombrow said in the announcement. "I can't wait to help create our next chapter."

lorraine.mirabella@baltsun.com

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