Until the mid-1980s, the company manufactured only sports clothing, in particular football jerseys, shorts, and socks, but had no footwear range. Eventually, in 1985 Umbro decided to introduce its first football boot into the Brazilian market. This design, cheaper than the products of existing boot brands such as Adidas, proved popular and went into mass production internationally two years later.
Umbro also manufactured a popular style of shorts that reached its peak in the late 1980s and early 1990s. They were made of nylon, had a drawstring waistband, and often came in bright colours. With the growth of youth football (soccer) leagues in the United States in the 1980s, many youths, teens, and young adults began wearing them as everyday clothing. Like football itself, they were equally popular among both genders. At the height of the "Umbro" fashion, other brands of football shorts, such as Adidas, Diadora, Hummel, Lotto and Mitre, also became popular. Its major competitors in this market include Adidas, Nike, Lotto, Puma, and fellow North West England manufacturer Reebok.
Umbro also produced football-related pencil-cases.
In October 2007, JJB Sports bought a 10.1% stake in Umbro in a move to protect its stake in the market for England football shirts.
On 23 October 2007, it was announced Umbro had agreed to be bought by Nike in a deal worth GB£285 million (US$580 million), the equivalent of 193p per share. The Umbro board recommended to its shareholders they vote in favour of the approach as it offered a very competitive price for the business. Umbro's share price at the time of the offer was close to 130p. The deal was approved by regulators in December 2007 and concluded in February 2008.
Umbro currently manufactures all types of sports wear apparel including training gear and football boots. The company is also a major player in kit manufacture for some of the world's best known teams.
Recent innovations in Umbro's football boot department include the SX Boot. Deco has been playing in the boots which are visually striking with different colours for each foot, reflecting the left (logical, assertive) and right (intuitive, creative and passionate) sides of the brains. The boot uses Michelin tyre manufacturing-related technology which, is claimed, improves control by up to 90%, though this is unprovable ..
More recent releases by Umbro include the Stealth boot, worn by players such as Gael Clichy and Phil Jagielka, and released in a number of bright colours. The Umbro GT, released in July 2010, is worn by Aston Villa striker Darren Bent. It is claimed to be Umbro's lightest ever boot.
June 2011 saw the release of the Umbro Geometra Pro. Similar in many ways to parent company Nike's CTR360, these football boots are designed for creative midfielders, and their main endorser is Liverpool and England U-21s centre-mid Jordan Henderson. Umbro's products have been endorsed by many professional athletes around the world.
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