Engineered to meet the performance needs of Anthony Joshua

AJ and UA Evolutionize Boxing from the Ground Up

How Under Armour Used Performance Insights to Advance the Traditional Boot

When Anthony Joshua steps into the ring at Madison Square Garden on June 1, he’ll not only be defending his three heavyweight belts against Andy Ruiz Jr., he’ll be making strides to advance the sport of boxing through innovation. In partnership with Under Armour, AJ will debut new boots engineered with a groundbreaking material – fitting for the champion who has vowed not to revolutionize, but to “evolutionize” his sport. 


"From the way I train to the gear I wear, I always want to push boxing's limits, and Under Armour is truly my innovation partner."

Anthony Joshua

UA’s Footwear Innovation team, led by Innovation Design Ambassador John Acevedo and Technical Footwear Innovation Lead Alan Toronjo, in tandem with UA’s Human Performance Team, deconstructed the traditional boxing boot to build AJ new boots from the ground up, beginning by studying his movements in the ring and at the testing facility in Under Amour’s Human Performance Center in Portland. 



Under Armour’s Human Performance Team observed that the power AJ generates with each strike puts him at risk for slipping or sliding backwards. Competing at the highest level, even the smallest error can cause great consequences, so the first step was to add an outsole traction pattern designed for movement and 360-degree torque – a major shift from the smooth soles of traditional boots. 


Next, the designers tackled the midsole. Rather than the usual squared-off edges, the midsole edges were rounded to promote natural motion. The same traction pattern from the outsole was extended to the edges of the midsole, creating grip when AJ rocks onto the side of his foot. 


Informed by their work on basketball shoes for another elite UA athlete, the team added a molded heel cup for increased lockdown and support. To brace the counterforce of AJ’s punches, a reinforced synthetic material was added to the heel side of the boot upper. 


"The balance of agility and sheer force that AJ demonstrates throughout a bout made for a welcome challenge for our designers and developers to address. AJ asked for boots that move with him and are so comfortable that he could almost forget they were on."

Clay Dean, Under Armour Chief Innovation Officer

The pinnacle element of the boot construction, dubbed “Project Chameleon” for its ability to move symbiotically with the body, is a new auxetic material used to form the entire forepart of the upper. The dynamic, second-skin feel belies the unusual durability and strength of the material, which is currently in testing phase to see how an upper would perform when deployed across Under Armour’s footwear platforms.


The designers also incorporated personal elements to accompany AJ into the ring – he’ll be wearing his heart on his feet with these boots. Learn more about these details below.