Under Armour has been making incredible strides (no pun intended) in the footwear game in the past couple of years; and their latest tech, HOVR, continues their trend of putting solid product out into the performance sneaker market. I had heard incredible accolades about UA’s HOVR technology, so when Under Armour Canada surprised me with a couple of their latest models, I was ecstatic to give them a shot.
HOVR itself is a technology that is meant to provide a ‘zero gravity ride’. The actual HOVR tech is encapsulated in a compression mesh that acts as a mold for the cushioning system, and aids in maximizing the reactiveness and energy return of the shoe. Most of the tech is hidden behind the EVA foam midsole, with the only visible spots being along the heel, and through the cutouts on the medial side of the midsole.
My care package contained two pairs, and the first pair that I slipped onto my foot was the Phantom. I believe these were the very first pair the under Armour introduced featuring the HOVR technology, and the mid-cut design, complete with sock-like collar, is right up my alley. The midsole has a really cool marbled effect, which you don’t see on many sneakers – and is complimented by the bright red accents of the compression mesh on the side of the midsole.
I’m a huge fan of mid-cut sneakers aesthetically, so I was excited to get these on foot, and they really didn’t disappoint. I was pleasantly surprised with how easy they were to put on, because I have a wider foot, and I sometimes have a hard time with these types of collars. But the sock-liner is super flexible, and the shoe is a wider make, so the comfort level is immaculate right from the first step.
The second pair that I was able to test out was the UA HOVR Sonic; a low cut alternative that is nearly weightless on your foot. The upper on these is closer to a knitted material, while the Phantom is more of an engineered mesh. The forefoot and underfoot feel of the sneaker is very similar, and the main difference between the two is (obviously) the height of the collar. So if you like your running shoes to have a little bit more security around the ankle, the the Phantom is the way to go. Personally, I like the mobility of a low-cut shoe for running, so the Sonic was my personal favourite between the two (performance wise).
The shoes themselves were both amazing to run in. The HOVR is exactly as advertised, and has a seamless ride, with a ton of cushion, and lots of energy return. They formed perfectly to my foot and it was not one of those shoes that you can’t wait to kick off your feet after a gruelling jog. The question that is always raised when a new cushioning technology is “how does it compare to Boost?”; and I can honestly say, it is absolutely up there. I found myself looking down at my feet while running and just being so impressed that so much tech was packed into one – very inexpensive – shoe. The longevity of Boost is something I’ve always been impressed with, so only time will tell if HOVR can outlast Adidas in that sense; but as of right now, I’d have no issues using these every day for running. However, for the price, HOVR comes in way ahead of the competition; with the Sonic retailing at a staggering $120.00, and the Phantom coming in at $160.00.
Under Armour, you’ve got something really good here.