This review first appeared in EDGAR, and has been repurposed with the permission of the author.
Last year, Under Armour introduced its HOVR technology to the world. HOVR is the company’s proprietary cushioning platform that supposedly offers a ‘zero gravity feel’. The first two pairs to feature this tech were the Sonic and Phantom. The collection will soon grow with the recently announced HOVR SLK and September’s Havoc.
Under Armour recently announced a new colour drop to the HOVR collection. With the collection growing, and HOVR soon becoming a staple addition to any sneaker head’s closet, we decided to take a closer look at the range.
At first glance they’re sneakers you won’t instantly fall in love with. You won’t find these on sneaker enthusiast’s wish lists. Sure they are not instantly recognisable as the iconic Jordans, or as strikingly handsome as the EQTs, but its looks do grow on you.
While they are engineered for sport and fitness – with comfort and practicality trumping design and looks – it won’t hurt to turn a few heads on the way to the gym. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
However, when you get up close, you do notice the level of detail that has gone into creating these shoes.
There are over seven individual designs, patterns and elements that have gone into its construction. Subtle design cues such as the speckled laces, the heel guard, and the colour accents on the sides and underneath just add to its charm.
The embossed Under Armour logos on the outer sides of both heels deserve a mention as well. If you are brand conscious and need the world to know you’re rocking HOVRs, you can opt for a colour that highlights the logo. A few combinations such as the black/red have the logo stand out in bright orange. If you prefer the subtler route, you can choose a Phantom where the colour of the logo matches the shoe – it’s a lot more discreet.
Several sneakers and trainers feel different on different surfaces. You notice the inconsistencies while transitioning from road to treadmill, or carpeted flooring to pavement. That mildly annoying transition just does not happen with these Under Armour HOVRs. You’re in a perpetual state of comfort. It’s almost like you’ve shoved your feet into a cloud. They are very comfortable.
The construction of this shoe is a thing of science. As mentioned before, over seven designs and sectioned patterns make up its construction.
The micro thread, soft knit upper isn’t as fragile as it looks. It’s quick drying and quite breathable. The panels on the midfoot section are 3D moulded and laser perforated for additional ventilation – despite the majority of the shoe constructed for ventilation anyway.
The outsole sports a knobbed texture, which is reportedly responsible for traction and durability; we’ll just have to take their word on that since almost every leading manufacturer sport similar soles.
The fit’s a bit funny here. As always it does come down to personal preference, but take your time in the store while picking the right size.
If you were using these exclusively for running or sports, a snug size would be perfect. However a snug size as an everyday shoe would get a bit claustrophobic.
On the other hand, if you do use them as an everyday trainer, a size slightly larger would be incredibly comfortable giving your toes ample wiggle room. Similarly, a larger size would make it a bit sloppy if you do decide to sprint to the bus stop.
On fit, just make sure you know exactly what you will be using these shoes for, before finalising on the size. TLDR: Snug for sport, Loose for laziness.
At the end of the day it does come down to your foot, a wide foot would fill out the midfoot section while the ankle collar mentioned below would essentially grip your leg in a comfortable tight embrace.
Regardless on how your midfoot and toes would fit, the ankle cuff keeps your shoes in place. This is an incredibly neat addition that I’ve come to love in sneakers. It’s fashionable when paired with skinny jeans, yet practical in terms of overall fit. The knitted ankle collar effectively moulds the shoe into your foot quite seamlessly.
The first two days were mildly uncomfortable, as it can be quite tight regardless of the shoe size (we had a US13 in) but it is something that you get used to once it’s worn in a bit.
What we do love about the HOVR Phantoms is the external heel support. While it looks like a design add-on, you do tend to feel the stability during a run.
Sitting comfortable in a price range dedicated to top-of-the-line sneakers, this isn’t an impulse buy. The HOVR Phantoms set you back a little over AED 700. They seem to be in demand, as several colour options are already sold out and awaiting replenishment in the UAE.
We would recommend these shoes if you are truly passionate about sport and training. These shoes were made for running, the HOVR foam is kitted with Under Armour’s ‘compression mesh Energy Web’ that returns the energy exerted on it, giving you that little extra spring in your step.