As the latest literation of their HOVR™ Sonic series, the Under Armour HOVR™ Sonic 5 retains many of the properties from the Sonic 4 with one major change being the upper to make it more breathable and durable.
The Sonic 5 is marketed as a daily runner meant for long distance running, yet versatile enough to also be used for walking and short distance runs.
- Weight: 290g (Size US 9)
- Forefoot height – Heel height: 17mm – 25mm
- Drop: 8mm
- Retail Price: SGD$179.00 (USD$110.00)
As the running experience may differ depending on the profile of the runner, I feel that it is important to be transparent on who I am, and how I run.
My current weight is 70kg, and my average weekly mileage is 8km – 10km. I usually run between 3 – 5km during each run depending on my goal for the day, and on rare occasions will do a 10km run. I have a neutral foot, and my strikes are most midfoot/forefoot strikes.
Lastly, my shoe size is US 9, so a runner with a larger foot may wish to take note of the weight of UA HOVR™ Sonic 5 at their size as it might reach or even exceed 300g, which is relatively heavy for a running shoe.
Under Armour HOVR™ Sonic 5 Review
The upper is made of textile and polyurethane, which results in a breathable yet durable upper that wraps around your feet. Compared to the UA Sonic 4, the Sonic 5 has a slightly more narrow cut near the forefoot area.
I would have preferred the cutting at the forefeet area to be slightly wider as it does feel a little tight around the area since buying half a size larger for the shoe to accommodate the narrower cut may result in unforeseen issues due to the increased length and width of the shoe.
The laces provide excellent lockdown once you have tightened them. I did not have to re-tie them even once during a 5km run. It is also not too tight that it compresses your feet in an uncomfortable manner.
It also comes with its own heel counter in the form of an external TPU heel wrap that provides support and added lockdown. Its stiff nature provide excellent stability for the runner, which on top of their HOVR™ cushioning technology, makes the shoe feel great for longer distance runs.
However, this TPU heel wrap may take some time to get used to as it is very noticeable due to it constantly pressing against the runner’s heel.
The upper provides great air ventilation while the laces helps to secure your foot, allowing you to concentrate on the run itself. I did not see any tear or deformity in the upper even after clocking 90km on the shoe, although the upper was understandably more stained now after being exposed to the elements (and it being a white base upper).
The UA HOVR™ is Under Armour’s own proprietary foam that has been used as the midsole for a series of shoes such as the Machina and Sonic. A compression mesh known as Energy Web works in tandem with the foam to provide cushioning and shock absorption, resulting in essentially what Under Armour dubbed as “energy return”.
The HOVR™ felt comfortable throughout my runs due to its soft cushioning. While not as soft as the FuelCell midsole that the New Balance Rebel v2 offers, it serves as a good middle ground as midsoles that compress too easily may be problematic for heavier runners.
It is also surprisingly durable as even after running it for 90km, it still felt as responsive as it was when I first acquired it. There were also no obvious signs of deformation.
The outsole of the Sonic 5 is a combination of carbon rubber and blown rubber. The carbon rubber is used for the heel and toe-off for added traction and durability whereas the blown rubber is used in the forefoot for energy return.
While not certified as slip-resistant, I did not have any issues running on shallow water puddles or wet pavements.
Disclaimer: This experience is based off after running 85 – 90km on the Sonic 5.
My initial impression of the Under Armour HOVR™ Sonic 5 was that it felt a little awkward to run in due to the stiff heel counter. The weight of the shoe did not help as my daily trainer before acquiring the Sonic 5 was the New Balance Rebel v2, which weighs at only 204g for a US 9 size shoe. Suffice to say, I was not thoroughly impressed during my first run on it.
As I clocked more mileage and did longer distance runs on the Sonic 5, I began to appreciate what the shoe can provide in terms of stability and cushioning. While the shoe personally felt heavy and cumbersome for shorter speed runs, the “energy return” technology of the HOVR™ foam was much more evident during longer runs at a tempo pace.
A 5km run with the Sonic 5 felt less tiring than when I was doing the same distance with the New Balance Rebel v2.
All in all, the Sonic 5’s heavier weight may not be ideal for shorter distance runs such as the IPPT 2.4km run, but its breathable upper coupled with its HOVR™ foam midsole makes the shoe very comfortable and stable for longer distances. This essentially negates the one major negative of the shoe, that being its heavy weight.
Under Armour Special Feature – MapMyRun
No review of an Under Armour shoe is complete without a mention of their MapMyRun app. MapMyRun is an app created by Under Armour which sync with the Bluetooth-powered sensors located in their running shoes. This tracks your run and customize a personalized training programme depending on your running profile.
By pairing your Under Armour shoe, you get to unlock this MVP membership for free, so there is little reason to not take advantage of this powerful tool that can provide live updates and advice on how to improve your running form.
The Under Armour HOVR™ Sonic 5 is designed as a neutral running shoe that balances flexibility and cushioning. At a retail price of SGD $179.00, it provides a lot of value such as breathability of the upper, cushioning of the HOVR™ midsole form, as well as free personalized training from its companion app MapMyRun. Not to mention, the cost competitiveness of Sonic 5.
The weight, however, made the Sonic 5 more suitable for longer distance running so that you can make the most of the energy returns from the HOVR™ form rather than shorter runs.