Under Armour Brought Its Sneaker Dome to SXSW and Added a Few Austin Touches

Visitors can try on the company’s new smart sneaker

Under Armour's Hovr House at South by Southwest was created by Etzel and Crown & Conquer. Courtesy of Under Armour
Headshot of Ann-Marie Alcántara

Under Armour wants its customers to hover–literally–at the brand’s South by Southwest activation.

One interactive portion of the “Hovr House,” named for the brand’s new smart running shoe, includes jumping on a trampoline and taking a photo of the moment.

Since launching the Hovr line in February, Hovr House has toured in Shanghai and Los Angeles. For its third stop in Austin, the company recreated the same experience but tailored it to the South by Southwest crowd.

The activation includes a wall dedicated to Austin’s popular running routes, taken directly from MapMyRun, a company Under Armour acquired in 2013. It’s also partnered with workout gaming company Zwift, to allow visitors to try on a Hovr sneaker and run virtually anywhere in the world via a treadmill and an app.

“What we wanted to do is take advantage of every location based on the cultural moment of that location and the location itself, of how the experience comes to life,” said Jasmine Maietta, senior director, global brand marketing at Under Armour. “So we’re here at [South by Southwest Interactive and] Zwift is a new emerging technology that we thought, why not bring it into our place to bring the runner in Austin this experience?”

The space is open to the general public every day, after the company’s morning jog for Austin runners. Consumers can learn more about the Hovr shoe line, the Hovr Sonic and Hovr Phantom, a connected shoe that can sync up with the MapMyRun seamlessly—no wearable required.

The company’s agency partners include Etzel and Crown & Conquer, which worked with Under Armour’s internal marketing, events, and creative teams.

The Hovr House experience will make its final stop in Washington D.C. for the Credit Union Cherry Blossom Ten Mile run April 8.

“In DC, [the Hovr House] is going to give runners in the area a sense of the community coming together,” Maietta said. But that experience won’t include the traditional dome that’s been in place for the past activations.

@itstheannmarie annmarie.alcantara@adweek.com Ann-Marie Alcántara is a tech reporter for Adweek, focusing on direct-to-consumer brands and ecommerce.