BERNAT LÓPEZ / ©XTREM FOOTBALL
Under Armour launches latest innovation, HOVR, the brand’s new footwear cushioning technology. The system will come straight in with two new running styles – HOVR Sonic and HOVR Phantom. As Nike and Adidas continue to push out innovation with Boost and React technology, Under Armour is entering the race with their new pinnacle cushioning system delivering on the need to have a shoe that provides not only a cushioned ride, but also energy return.
The tech is a fusion of shoe design and construction, paired with connective technology that takes the tracker off your wrist and puts it on your feet. The UA HOVR midsole is made of a proprietary foam compound, made in partnership with the innovators at Dow Chemical, possessing a super-soft durometer with incredible cushioning and shock absorption for every single foot strike.
A key component of the UA HOVR cushioning system is the ‘Energy Web’, which is a mesh fabric that wraps the cushioning core to deliver strong responsiveness and energy return. This ideal combination of advantages makes runners feel and perform better with less fatigue. With UA HOVR, the shoe is absorbing some of the impact an athlete’s body would normally feel, aiding in comfort and keeping legs fresh for the road ahead.
The Phantom are the stranger looking of the two pairs, particularly in their signature bright red coloring. The tops of the shoes are made out of a 3D sculpted, perforated chamois leather that meets a knitting “collar” at the top. It looks a bit like the top of a sock, honestly. The Sonic, which is designed for distance runners, features a more straightforward knit top.
The real secret magic happens inside the foam soles, where all of the gadgetry is embedded. There’s a Bluetooth module, accelerometer and gyroscope inside. According to the company, the on-board battery should last about the length of the shoe’s stated running shelf-life.
The modules fire up when the system detects movement, syncing with a connected handset. There’s also some on-board storage, meaning you can go for a run without the phone and everything will sync up to the Under Armour MapMyRun app when you get back. The shoes track standard things like distance, along with more complex stats like stride length and cadence, so you can attempt to correct them over time.
That said, the new Hovrs are actually pretty reasonably priced as far as running shoes go, so no big deal if the whole smart bit doesn’t work out for you. The Phantoms run $140 and the Sonics are $110. And if you’re into the design and want to forgo the whole smart bit, the shoes run $130 and $100, respectively.