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Nike Poaches Top Designer From Under Armour

Photo: Jack Arent/Getty Images

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Well, that's certainly got to hurt. Under Armour was just gaining ground in the US sportswear market, overtaking Adidas for the second most profitable company after Nike, but the big bad Beaverton-based company just swiped away UA's top designer, NiceKicks reports.

Dave Dombrow served as Senior Vice President of Design at Under Armour, where he has been since 2010. Dombrow was instrumental in designing Stephen Curry's signature sneakers, which have been by far Under Armour's most valuable sneaker. Curry is so widely beloved that his sneaker is expected to do more in sales than any other shoe in 2016, according to Quartz.

"UA's signature Stephen Curry basketball shoe US business is already bigger than LeBron, Kobe and every other player except Michael Jordan," an analyst for Morgan Stanley told Quartz.

Dombrow lead a preposterous 95% sales growth in the fourth quarter of 2015 alone. Still, Under Armour's sales paled in comparison to Nike, almost $4 billion in global sales compared to $30.6 billion. Nike clearly is not going to let another company eat up even a bit of ground.

There's an expected one year non-compete clause in Dombrow's contract — standard for the industry. But it means the designer won't be technically working for Nike until 2017.

If you'll forgive a footwear metaphor, Nike has just tied up its competitor's shoe laces and left it for dead in a race that wasn't all that close to begin with.