Monday, December 04, 2017

Under Armour Spring Fall 2018 Previews: HOVR Midsole, Sonic HOVR Info with First Run Impressions, Apparel

Article by Peter Stuart and Sam Winebaum

Under Armour came to The Running Event going all-in introducing their new HOVR midsole tech. They're saying that this is what UA Running will be focused on for the foreseeable future.

HOVR Midsole
HOVR is a dual density midsole. In the center, under foot, seen through the window,  UA uses a new soft Olefin based material from Dow, similar to EVA, but with greater energy return and which is also  claimed to be lighter and more durable than EVA.
To contain the soft material they wrap the inner unit in Energy Web, a textile mesh. We are seeing similar approaches to contain and direct forces vertically with these next gen midsole materials in the Levitate with its TPU outer skin over PU midsole and 361 where their QuikFoam layer, also a soft foam is painted on the outside with a skin. Finally to  provide torsional stability while retaining flexibility, the inner core is wrapped with a Charged Foam outer carrier, the white areas.

There will be initially be two HOVR models.

Conventional height  Sonic HOVR  daily trainer, 9.6 oz. 8mm drop  ($100-$110 Connected)
and a mid height 10.6 oz, 8mm drop  Phantom ($130, $140 Connected)
Both will be coming February with later in fall 2018 high style winterized versions of both

The HOVR Sonic is a very reasonably priced neutral shoe weighing in at about 9.6 oz with an 8mm drop. It has an Engineered Knit upper using, UA told us, being unique as it uses two types of yarn in the same upper: stretch in forefoot and stability in the mid foot. The tongue wraps over the foot and there is an internal bootie.
Read our full review of the Sonic HOVR here
The heel counter is external to reduce achilles irritation and retain the softness of the HOVR under foot.
The full coverage Sonic outsole is durable rubber in the heel and blown 1:1 rubber in the forefoot.

The developer of the Sonic HOVR presents the shoe in our YouTube below

UA kindly provided us pairs to test and we ran them one morning during The Running Event.

Peter: The upper and fit are terrific. The Bandit 3 tongue was slightly unwieldy and that has been solved here. The HOVR Sonic has plush materials, fits beautifully with just enough stretch in the engineered knit upper and laces comfortably and efficiently. My first run in them was surprisingly fun. While they are a hair heavier than my current favorite the Bandit 3, they are nicely balanced and are in the same category as a Pegasus and other daily trainers. The first mile or two the shoe felt a bit stiff and I was worried that the ride would be a bit firm and punishing. About mile 2 the shoe just opened up and felt great. There’s a really nice mix of cushion and bounce to these and they felt particularly good while I was trying to hammer up a hill and really slamming into the forefoot. I think the HOVR sonic will hold up really well and be a go-to daily trainer for me. More to come…
Sam: The Sonic has an excellent fit and ride. I particularly appreciated the wrap around tongue and fit. The ride was a superb combination of well controlled softness and decent pop, a very difficult balance to achieve. The round heel outsole pattern at first reminded me of a court shoe and I was worried about transition off the heel as there was no obvious decoupling. Yet, in combination with the HOVR midsole and the rest of the relatively flexible outsole things went smoothly indeed on my first 7 mile run in them. The Sonic is clearly a strong new competitor to shoes such as the Nike Pegasus , Brooks Ghost and Launch, and Saucony Ride 10 for those wanting a softer yet still efficient responsive ride.

The winterized versions are high style for sure, reasonably priced, and will be available in October. They are very lightly insulated and water resistant.

Below the men's HOVR CG Reactor Mid ($130/$140-Connected).
The winter versions feature a Michelin outsole with design and compounds designed for optimal winter traction.

HOVR CG Reactor ($110/$120 – Connected)

Some cool apparel stories from UA
The UA SWYFT T with a mesh back

Speed Pocket Shorts--probably the best incorporation of a pocket to carry a phone that we've seen. The phone is held in a water resistant pocket on the inside front side of the shorts. The drawstring is offset to the right. It looks to be a no bounce, no moisture on the phone solution.

There's also a cold weather top with a balaclava hood to keep head and face nice and toasty.

View our YouTube Channel for 2018 Run Previews and Wearable Tech/GPS Reviews here
Visit our Index Page here for over 80 in depth 2017 shoe and gear reviews
Visit our 2018 Previews Page here for 2018 run shoe, apparel, and gear previews

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