Under Armour is a US based multinational company listed on the NASDAQ since 2005. The company started off with their tops, “The Shorty”, back in 1996. Today Under Armor has expanded their apparel line to cover all aspects for sportwear and move into new areas such as footwear and technology (i.e., connected footwear). Under Armour has a relatively short history in the running shoes department. It started in 2006 in the football cleats before moving into running around 2009. Later, the Speedfoam Apollo was introduced in 2014 with its Micro G midsole.
As of publishing, Under Armour’s running shoes can be classified into 3 series based off their midsole technology: namely, the Charged, HOVR, and Flow. Similarly, the price goes in an ascending order with the Charged having the most affordable line up. The Micro G midsole is used in the Charged Rogue 2.5, but it is not seen or marketed widely anymore.
Under Armour Running Shoes Line-Up
Budget range: $
The Charged series includes the well-known Bandit, Impulse, Assert and Rogue among others. The Charged midsole is a compression moulding EVA foam which is shaped and created through a 3D mould pressed under pressure and heat. Compression moulding is a method of production and is widely used in the industry. However, that will be a post for another day where we can explore the various manufacturing method. Except for the Charged Bandit, retailing at S$129.00, the remaining running shoes are below the S$100.00.
The top of range Charged Bandit started as Under Armour’s light supportive / stability running shoes in the long-distance segment but over the years it has evolved into a neutral trainer. Currently in its 7th iteration, the design of the Charged Bandit has changed significantly. From a personal perspective, the change in aesthetic can make or break the attractiveness of the running shoes, albeit a personal preference.
The Bandit 6 and 7 have an aggressive and sleek design compared to its earlier iterations. Both iterations have a comfortable upper and a plush heel collar area. While it provides a lot of comfort, I am not sure how it would be when going long distance with all the sweat. However, an accurate and fair assessment can only be made after running in the shoes.
In my opinion, the Charged series is targeted towards runners who want to keep their budget low while obtaining a good value for their running shoes. As a runner the Impulse and Rogue interest me the most. Aesthetically, I like the Rogue 2.5 more than the Impulse. The Rogue 2.5 also has more rubber outsole which can increase the useability of the running shoes over time. I could not find the weight for Impulse and Rogue 2.5 online and hence can not see the difference between the two.
UA HOVR Series
Budget range: $$
Moving up a notch in Under Armour’s line-up, we will have the running shoes with UA HOVR midsole technology. The UA HOVR midsole works in conjunction with the EnergyWeb, another UA technology, to hold the HOVR foam in shape. HOVR foam has a “super-soft durometer” and possessed incredible cushioning but missing out on energy return and responsiveness which is delivered by the EnergyWeb. The HOVR first came out in 2018 when Under Armour released their Phantom and Sonic.
In the HOVR series, the price starts from SG$ 179.00 with the Sonic and goes up to US$229.00 with the Machina. Others include the new Mega Clone 2, Infinite 3, and the previous Velociti 3. The Sonic 4 is certainly one of the most versatile choice given it overall build and technology. I have tried one, Sonic 4, on foot for myself and it fits well even on my wide foot. It is also the pair which I am deeply interested about in this series.
The Velociti, as I believe, has switched over to using the latest midsole technology , the Flow. The naming convention is very similar as you will see later. If the Sonic is the versatile daily trainer, then the Velociti is the partner for your shorter tempo and speed workouts.
For the distance, you can count on the Machina or the Infinite. The Machina 2 is equipped with a Pebax propulsion plate together with the UA HOVR midsole. In addition, the Machina 2 has the UA RUSH lining with CELLIANT infused within. The Machina 2 with its reported weight is 10.24 oz or 290 grams firmly puts in the similar basket as Nike Pegasus 38 (10 oz) or New Balance 880v11 (9.7 oz).
To be honest, it does looks to me that Under Armour’s running shoes can take the beating for the distance. In addition to the midsole technologies and stack height, the outsoles are covered with thick lugs of rubber which enhances its overall durability and useability. The Sonic 4 and Machina 2 is certainly on my watch list to see how it performs over different types of workouts and how it holds up over time as it clocks up the distance.
Budget range: $$$
Finally, we come to Under Armour’s latest series with their newest Flow midsole. The Flow midsole is a proprietary midsole released in early 2021 for running shoes. The UA Flow eliminates the need of an outsole thereby reduced the weight significantly. At present, there are only 2 selections in Flow series: (i) Flow Velociti Wind and (ii) Flow Velociti SE. The former has Under Armour’s Wrap upper while the latter is a knit upper with a bootie construction. The Flow Velociti shares the same naming convention as the HOVR Velociti 3. Although I am unable to find information if this is continuation from the HOVR series, it does have that association in name.
I have tried the Flow Velociti Wind on foot, and it indeed feels super light and comfort. In addition, there is a slight rocker at the forefoot area which can help with your running efficiency. On foot, the upper felt airy and comfortable to wear which is a plus especially when it is marketed as a high-performance pair of running shoes and in the hot weather of Singapore. As Flow midsole is a new technology under UA, it remains to be seen what breakthrough will be possible with it. Could it be possible to vary its hardness, or can it be used with HOVR or Charged?
Conclusion & Summary
Under Armour is a listed US company which started off their tops, “The Shorty”, back in 1996. Today the company has expanded their apparel line and move into new areas such as footwear and technology (i.e., connected footwear). The running line up has a relative short history starting in 2009 and its Speedfoam Apollo in 2014. In 2018, Under Armour also released an update in their footwear technology with the HOVR. Today, about 3 to 4 years later, the FLOW midsole was released.
Of the various major running shoes brands, Under Armour is one of the major brands which does not have a carbon plated running shoes. Although, similar to Mizuno, the company has already implemented plate in its running shoes prior; the Machina 2 with its Pebax speed plate.
The running shoes which I look forward to trying for Under Armour, one from each of the categories are: (i) Charged Rogue 2.5, (ii) Sonic 4, and (iii) Flow Velociti Wind. These running shoes peak my interests in wanting to know if they are worth their value or discover what downsides there are.
Under Armour’s release of the Flow series is one of the company’s expressions to innovate and compete in the market. A radical change from what is typically associated with the Under Armour’s running shoes. While the Run category is projected to make up only 18% of the company’s total revenue by 2023, it has the largest CAGR of 13% – 15% from 2018. After a change of CEO last year and a new campaign where “the only way is through“, it will be exciting to see what other innovations and developments Under Armour will have in the near future.