Saturday, June 15, 2019

Under Armour UA Velociti 2 Review

Article by Mac Jeffries

UA HOVR Velociti 2 ($120)
Mac: I was curious: all I have heard about Under Armour shoes is that they are not on the same level as their competitors… until recently that is. There is a small pocket of runners who have been telling anyone who will listen that the HOVR foam is as good as any EVA foam out there. That, coupled with a motivated design team and a 2nd generation model made this feel like a great time to give UA a first try. So, is this the greatest thing since fully gusseted tongues? Read on!

Mac: Responsive. Runs lighter than it actually is. Feels great on foot & striking appearance; these are actually my current go-to “wear-around” shoes. Embedded MapMyRun chip seems to work fine.

Mac: At a spec’d 9.0 oz /255 g, it is on the heavy side of “Lightweight Trainers”. Foam not as lively as Floatride or Hyperburst. For the amount of stack, I expected a little more underfoot protection.

UA Spec Weight: 9.0 oz (size 9)
Stack Height: 28 mm (Heel), 20 mm (Forefoot), 8mm drop
$120. Available now.

Tester Profile
Mac is a former collegiate defensive lineman who runs to fill the competitive void left after school and to stay in shape. He is in his late 30s, runs 50-80 mpw, and at 6’3”, has come down from his playing weight of 275 lbs to a steady 205 lbs for the last 10 years. Jeff’s PRs are 19:30, 1:33:xx, and 3:23:xx; he also teaches and coaches XC & T&F.

First Impressions and Fit
Mac: I know looks are subjective, but this is a cool-looking shoe; it manages to be modern and complex without being gaudy. Taking the shoe out of the box, there is a very simple 3-step process for how to sync your (right) shoe to the MapMyRun app printed on the lid.It is significantly easier than programming a universal remote control! The shoe is clearly made with high quality materials, something I cannot always say for better known brands.

Upper & Fit
Mac: The upper is definitely a strong point for the Velociti 2; it feels like it is made with a rip-stop material, and is simple, durable, and comfortable. No hot spot on the bone spur on the outside of my little toe, so it passes my toe box test. The tongue stays in place and has a just-enough-not-too-much thickness, but the laces are a tad short, which kinda stinks just because the color would be nearly impossible to match if you wanted to switch them out for some longer ones. On-foot, the upper molds to your foot, but the fit is a tad voluminous. I did have to stop mid-run to relace / tighten them, and the heel may be a bit wide compared to the forefoot(?), but other than those trifles, everything above the upper is great.

Mac: I will start with the UA Record Sensor chip since it is embedded in the midsole. It communicates with the MapMy Runapp after your run and you don’t need to carry your phone during the run.  If you carry your phone it can provide metrics to the app in addition to GPS distance time and pace. Short answer: it works fine, and has lots of little metrics that you can play with, including cadence, stride length, pace, distance, and calories burned. I am leery of putting too much faith in most of these metrics with even the most expensive testing equipment, and even more hesitant to accept coaching advice from an app (it offers tips on how to “improve” cadence and shorten stride length, but it is something cool to look back on and seems to stay consistent over time. Accuracy appears passable, compared to my Garmin 235 and foot pod. I don’t see it replacing anyone’s Garmin or Strava account, but for dedicated MayMyRunners,metrics newbies, or those that don’t want to carry a phone or wear a GPS watch, this is a positive selling point and is included in all HOVR shoes at no extra cost.
The midsole itself is capable of holding its own compared to traditional EVA midsoles. This is my first UA shoe, so I cannot compare it to previous models, but judging from the vitriol directed at the brand’s early offerings, I have to assume this midsole is a vast improvement. It is firm, responsive, and stable. It reminds me of most Fresh Foam models: it is somewhere between the pillow-soft Beacon and the much firmer Zante. The HOVR part is a full length web enclosed sofer rebounding olefin based material embedded in the outer “Micro G” midsole rim, some form of EVA, seen below in the cavity at mid foot.

Mac: Nearly full outsole coverage makes for confident traction and good expected durability. Cornering on wet asphalt is no problem. It may be more coverage than absolutely necessary - thinking about the balance between durability and traction vs weight and ride quality - but this is an outsole that will definitely outlast the useful life of the shoe. Overall a positive.

Mac: The ride is firm and truthful - you feel like you are getting out what you put in - without being quite as lively as the superfoams out there. The shoe wants to go fast: easy paces feel like driving a Mustang through a school zone, but picking up the pace, the shoe gets out of the way for an overall enjoyable experience. This will be a very good uptempo training shoe for many; although it is light and responsive enough to pick up the pace and hit your splits, there is enough weight to drop and enough spring to gain when you switch to your racing shoes that you will feel a tangible advantage on race day.

Conclusions and Recommendations
Mac: 7.5/10 (Expect my scores to be, in general, lower than those of my peers.)
The Ride is capable, but not as dynamic as the superfoams I have come to be spoiled by. The Fit is very good, although the ripstop upper may be a tad stiff and the heel may be a little loose, but that is specific to my foot shape. Value at $120 is good but not great: the outsole will last and the MapMyRun sensor is a cool touch, but I don’t expect the same midsole compression resistance that we would get from polymer midsoles.


New Balance Fresh Foam Beacon 1 (RTR Review)
Mac: Similar Purpose - uptempo training - but the Beacon has better range (Long Easy down to 10k and possibly 5k races), is lighter, and at a similar price point. Although the Velociti 2’s outsole has better grip and is more durable than the Beacon’s mostly exposed Fresh Foam, this is an easy one for me: Beacon is one of my all time favorites.

Saucony Freedom ISO 1 (RTR Review)
Mac: Similar weights. The Freedom is more of a high mileage shoe with better expected durability in the midsole, has a greater range of paces (from Easy Long runs down to Tempo or faster, for me, if I remove the insole), but is more expensive. Still, I will take the OG Freedom 9 times out of 10.

Nike Zoom Streak 6 (RTR Review)
Mac: Similar Ride and Purpose - uptempo training, and in the ZS6’s case, racing - but the ZS6 is lighter with a more comfortable upper, even if it is more of a “race fit”. The Velociti 2 will feel better over longer distances, however, as it has a bit more cushion. I will take the Velociti 2 for longer, marathon-paced workouts, and ZS6 for shorter stuff and 5-10k races.

Hoka Carbon Rocket (RTR Review)
Mac: Similar Purpose and Range - uptempo training - but the rocker sole of the Rocket combined with the placement and angle of the carbon plate didn’t work for me as well as it did for others. Although the CR has a better upper, and both have the same aggregate score for me, I would spend my own money on the Velociti 2 before the Rocket.

Read reviewers' full run bios here
The product reviewed was provided at no cost. The opinions herein are the authors'.
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1 comment:

Bry said...

Reminds me of the old Puma Racers of the early 2000's.