Summary

We spent 8.9 hours reading reviews from experts and users. In summary, this is what runners think:

8 reasons to buy

  • A lot of runners appreciated the Under Armour HOVR Sonic 3’s overall quality. 
  • This running shoe is comfortable to wear, based on reviews. 
  • Several users mentioned that this shoe is highly durable. 
  • One commenter noted that it is suitable for both hot and cold conditions. 
  • The shoe offers just the right amount of support, some buyers claimed. 
  • The shoe’s performance tracking feature was praised by a lot of satisfied wearers. 
  • A few purchasers appreciated this shoe’s lightweight structure. 
  • This running partner is flexible, according to some reviewers.

4 reasons not to buy

  • Some runners felt that the Under Armour HOVR Sonic 3 is a bit tight. 
  • One user noted that the sweat stains are visible on the upper. 
  • It is a bit expensive compared to other running shoes, according to a buyer.
  • A couple of testers experience tracking issues with the MapMyRun app. 

Bottom line

The Under Armour HOVR Sonic 3 is packed with advanced technologies helping the user become a better runner. It is designed to provide a light and well-protected ride, making the platform perfect for long-distance runs. This neutral running shoe is suitable for runners who are looking for cushioning, flexibility, and versatility. 

 

Facts

Rankings

Among the better Road running shoes
Top 4% most popular running shoes
It has never been more popular than this July

Expert Reviews

89 / 100 based on 2 expert reviews

  • 85 / 100 |

    Under Armour HOVR Sonic 3 - Excellent but not the one

    Under-Armour-HOVR-Sonic-3-Design.jpg
    Under-Armour-HOVR-Sonic-3-Heel-Collar.jpg
    More photos Under-Armour-HOVR-Sonic-3-Outsole.jpg

    Under Armour isn’t the first name that springs to mind when thinking of the big players in the running market. They have been on the scene for several years but haven’t made the breakthrough in the way that other relative newcomers have.

    Their mission to ‘make all athletes better through passion, design, and the relentless pursuit of innovation’ sounds good to me. I have a number of pieces of their apparel and have been impressed by the performance of each, so I was happy to try out the new HOVR Sonic 3 running shoe.

     

    High visibility head turner

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    It is pitched as an all-rounder aimed at the distance runner who wants some flexibility. I am not an avid road runner, but I put in the miles with a mix of focused sessions and longer runs to supplement my off road activities.

    The HOVR Sonic 3 features a Bluetooth chip that collects running metrics which are used to provide real-time coaching tips to help improve form and performance. It is an innovative approach and one which really sets Under Armour apart in the market.

    Out of the box

    My ‘Red’ is more like a luminous orange - its a knockout, very bright, and very distinctive! I have had comments about the colour from just about everyone I have met.

    Personally, I like some colour in my shoes, and I live in the countryside, so some of my road routes don’t have pavement.

    Anything that assists in helping me to be seen and makes me safer on the road is a good thing! The reflective details on the heel and tongue are effective and help with this.

    The upper feels soft, comfortable, and is well vented, which should make this a great shoe for warmer conditions. The only overlays on the forefoot are around the lace eyelets and at the end of the lace channel.

    These will definitely enhance durability and assist with fit, adding a little structure without impacting on breathability.

    A prominent feature of the HOVR Sonic 3 is the rigid TPU heel counter. The addition of hard plastic overlays on road running shoes isn’t so common, with most manufacturers stripping down exterior features in pursuit of weight saving.

     

    TPU Heel counter

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    Generally speaking, the build of these shoes is geared towards flexible comfort, but this is a very deliberate structured feature to provide extra support.

    You can be very confident that it won’t break down. It is integrated well into the design of the shoe and allows for a thinner, more sock-like fit at the heel notch.

    Outsole

    The outsole features blown rubber under the forefoot and high-abrasion rubber under the heel to help absorb ground contact. I like the idea of two compounds of rubber on the sole as I tend to wear the heel down over the lifespan of a shoe.

    There is a large cutaway under the heel, exposing a chunk of the web-wrapped HOVR foam. The foam feels soft but supportive and promises lots of energy return.

    This exposed section compliments similar elements on the side of the midsole and heel counter providing a nice design detail and helping the visual flow of the shoe.

     

    Dual compound outsole

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    Fit & comfort 

    The fit of the HOVR Sonic 3 was a real highlight for me. They have a ‘Microthread’ upper, which is soft, flexible, breathable, and comfortable. Inside, the seamless construction offers no opportunity for hotspots or irritation.

    The tongue is attached to the footbed of the shoe with stretchable support wings. This helps to keep the foot snug but with enough flexibility and breathability to allow for swelling on longer runs.

    In the absence of any major structure on the upper (apart from the aforementioned details around the eyelets), the wings are a clever source of compression and support.

    The toe box has ample room without being oversized or baggy. I found the fit to be a nice centre point between my previous two pairs of road shoes - the Nike Pegasus 35 and the Reebok Forever Floatride Energy.

    My normal UK 10 was perfect in length and width. It is a neat looking shoe, and I found it easy to adjust the lacing and get a comfortable but secure fit.

     

    Great fit

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    At the back, there is a horseshoe-shaped collar inside the heel counter. I have never had a shoe with this feature, and visually, it is a bit of a turn off.

    I worried that such a prominent ridge would be uncomfortable, but it isn’t at all. I am definitely aware of its presence when putting the shoe on and for the first few seconds of wearing it, but it feels surprisingly normal and really keeps my heel locked in.

    It should work well for someone who experiences heel lift.

    On the run

    Under Armour pitches the HOVR Sonic 3 as an all-rounder offering’ flexibility, cushioning, and versatility. They tick all those boxes to some extent.

    My initial feeling was that they were a  little firm underfoot. Not uncomfortable but by no means the soft but responsive feel that I expected and which prevails on many of its one-piece foam dominated competition.

    Great, if that is what you like. Compared to my previous two pairs of road shoes, the HOVR Sonic 3 definitely feels the firmest.

     

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    The stack and drop are quite standard at 25mm/15mm (10mm drop), but I did feel a little more elevated than in other shoes due to the firmer feel of the midsole. There isn’t an abundance of feel underfoot, which is hardly surprising given that it is quite a substantial shoe.

    Over the course of my first 50+ miles in these shoes, I have carried out a range of workouts to make a fair assessment of them.

    On longer, slower days, I would prefer a softer feel with some more cushion below my feet. After a 20 km effort, I was experiencing a little discomfort in my knees, which isn’t normal for me.

    On long, muggy days, breathability, and comfort were excellent. It’s clear that Under Armour has put a lot of thought into the design of the vents in the upper. They are extensive and very effective.

    I found the sweet spot of the HOVR Sonic 3 is brisk running. Tempo efforts and pacy running offered a really enjoyable experience - sharp, responsive, and stable.

    Although the midsole is thick and relatively firm, it never felt clunky or heavy and provided a nice combination of support and response. When my form was good, and I was traveling at speed, I really felt like I was effortlessly gliding along.

    This is what UA promises, and the HOVR Sonic 3 delivered.

    Tech

    Under Armour is pushing the technical side of their shoes, and the HOVR Sonic 3 comes with a built-in Bluetooth connection.

    This gathers information on time, distance, and pace as well as various performance metrics such as cadence, foot strike angle, and ground contact time. This is collated and displayed by connecting the shoe to the UA MapMyRun app, which is very straightforward to set up.

    When you purchase Under Armour’s smart shoes, you get the premium version of the app, giving access to lots of useful plans and analysis.

    This is some nice added value. The app also offers integration with various third parties, including Garmin Connect, which I use.  

     

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    All sounds good, yeah? Well, maybe.

    On my first run, I ran my Garmin 735XT alongside my phone running UA MapMyRun, and it was a pain, constantly sending commands to my watch, lighting it up, and running down the battery.

    The phone itself was fine, and the real-time coaching delivered by voice commands could be useful for lots of runners. Every few minutes, I would get a cadence related prompt, which I tried my best to take on board.

    Data from the shoes was initially inaccurate. I found it to be around 5% short on distance and, on average, around 30 seconds per mile slow over 10km compared to the figures from my watch.

    I contacted UA MapMyRun support, who responded very promptly and advised me to recalibrate the shoe, which was easily done using a slider in the app. I was impressed by the accuracy of the figures after this.

    Cadence tips were taken on board and implemented and certainly made a difference to my running, with a related impact on my foot strike angle.

    Although not an obsessive technician, I am happy to listen to advice and work on improving my running form. This is a really tangible benefit of the connected shoes and will work for a lot of people.

    Finish line

    The HOVR Sonic 3 definitely has its moments and will retain a place in my rotation, but I just don’t feel that it fulfills all its promises.

    There is a lot to like. The technology and fit are real highlights, but I would prefer a snappier feel to the midsole. I can’t help feeling that with a little less weight and a little more foam, it could be the true all-rounder I was expecting it to be.

    The tech will be useful for the runner who wants to work on their form, and some of the metrics produced are interesting and very helpful. I’d recommend the shoe to someone who doesn’t feel the need to invest in wrist-based tech.

    The form tips could prove very useful to them. It may also appeal to folks who want to run free and not be a slave to their watch but who still like to have a record of their activities.

    This is a good shoe at an excellent price point with the bonus of coaching from UA MapMyRun. It’ll work for a lot of runners, but I can’t help being left with the feeling that the discerning runner with a specific idea of what they want from a shoe might want something more.

  • 94 / 100 |

    Under Armour HOVR Sonic 3 – Will you hover through your next PB?

    With the increasingly popular ‘coach in a shoe’ feature, UA HOVR foam and compression-like microthread upper, is this a shoe that can do it all?

    A shoe that survives into its 3rd iteration is obviously a winner, but just how good is it? I have put these shoes to the test to find out!

     

    Size and weight

    As I found when reviewing the UA HOVR Infinites, they run true to size. I am usually a UK 9.5-10 and found that the UK 9.5s were perfect. One important thing to note is that UA has opted for ‘stretchable support wings’ to attach the tongue to the footbed.

    This hugs the foot and is great for support; however, it does make the shoes feel narrower than they are.

    My pair of UK 9.5s weighed in at 320g per shoe. This is definitely not the lightest shoe I’ve run in but, similar to the HOVR Infinites, the weight is well distributed, and they feel lighter than they are.

    Visuals

    Whatever anybody tells you, how a shoe looks will have a direct impact on how it feels when you are running in it. Under Armour has done an amazing job on the aesthetics of this shoe.

    The colour popped right out of the box when I opened it and the smooth lines on the shoe were the first thing I noticed. The micro thread upper looks breathable yet durable whilst the firmer heel counter blends seamlessly into the upper.

     

     

    The black outsole with the white midsole is a nice contrast to the zany upper and UA have incorporated a nice wave-type pattern on the slit in the midsole and round the back of the heel.

    On my first run in these shoes I was complimented 3 times by total strangers on how they looked – a definite testament to their eye-catching design!

    Stack and drop

    The Sonic 3s have a stack height of 25mm at the heel and 15mm at the toe (an offset of 10mm).

    This is a standard offset for a supportive shoe and means that you have a nice thick layer of HOVR foam between you and the road.

     

    Upper

     The microthread upper is breathable and lightweight. It is slightly stretchy which allows it to cup your foot and keep the shoe secure.

    Under Armour describe it as ‘compression-like’ which I totally agree with – your foot feels snug in the shoe and is anchored in place with the help of the upper.

     

     

    A nice feature of the upper is the small UA logo added onto the bottom of the lacing detail and the slightly different colour of the lace holes plastic. I can see that this will prolong the life of the laces by allowing smoother plastic holes for the laces to slide through but also adds a nice addition to the one-tone upper.

    Insole

    The insole is on par with other insoles that you would expect to find in a supportive shoe – comfortable and durable. UA has added a nice touch here by including the name, weight, and drop of the shoe on the insole.

     

    Midsole

    The midsole consists of a nice thick piece of Under Armour’s HOVR foam. I first experienced this when testing the HOVR Infinites and although the shoe was cushioned, it was firmer than I expected.

    I am not sure whether UA has changed the way they produce this, but this shoe feels softer and springier than the Infinites. Straight from the box the shoes have a little pop through the stride and feel nice and soft, but not too soft that you feel you are sinking into them.  

     

     

    The sides of the midsole feel firm which I have always experienced as meaning that they will stand up to scratches and scuffs more.

    The HOVR foam isn’t the lightest when looking at the weight of the shoe, but it certainly feels good and from my previous use of it I know that it lasts well (having run over 500km in the Infinites and not feeling any major decrease in performance from the foam).

     

    Outsole

    I say this about very few road shoes but one of my favourite features in this shoe is the outsole. It consists of blown rubber under the forefoot and high abrasion rubber under the heel.

    The result is a shoe that grips whatever you are running on (wet grass, road, dirt tracks). Undoubtedly, this has added a few grams onto the shoe, but it certainly performs.

     

     

    After over 80km there are few signs of wear to the outsole and it is as grippy as the first run out of the box. I tend to pronate more on my left foot and often see the outsole wearing down quicker in that place; however, this is not an issue in these shoes.

    One very small criticism is that small stones can get caught in the grooves – but you can only tell this once you are home and are actually looking at the outsole.

     

    Tongue

    The tongue is in these shoes takes a little bit of getting used to. It is attached to the footbed by two elasticated support wings.

    At first it felt like I hadn’t put my foot into the shoe properly as I could feel the two support wings on my foot; however, after a couple of runs in them it felt completely natural and is nothing to put you off the shoe.

     

     

    The tongue itself is lightweight which helps with the breathability of the shoe. It is not the plushest tongue I have tried and when I first laced up the shoe, I had to loosen the laces slightly as they were biting through the tongue.

    It does have some level of padding to help and I personally wouldn’t want it to be any thicker but for those who are wanting a very cushioned shoe all over, they may be left wanting more.

    The reflective HOVR SONIC logo at the top of the tongue is excellent for those running in darker conditions and is visible even with the laces tied.

    Heel

    Like the tongue, the heel is slightly different from any that I have tried before. Instead of the usual thick padding all the way down the heel, Under Armour has opted for a short, padded strip towards the top of the heel (as can be seen in the photo).

     

     

    I initially thought that this was a recipe for disaster but, like the rest of the shoe, I was very impressed by it. Your heel feels well cushioned and secure without the need for the heavier full heel cushioning.

    The heel has excellent rigidity provided by the external heel counter which allows greater support for your feet. It also looks good with the big UA logo and the reflective detailing at the back of the heel.

     

    Mapmyrun connection

    A big selling point of many of the UA shoes is their connectivity and smart training features.

    Having been lucky enough to test the HOVR Infinites before, I have experienced this and use it regularly on steady runs to ensure that my cadence is in the correct zone.

    It is also brilliant if you do not have a GPS watch as the shoes will record your route and upload it via Bluetooth to MapMyRun (UA’s own app). Connecting the shoes initially is incredibly easy and after that it is a case of turning on your device’s Bluetooth and wiggling your foot – it is really that simple!

    If you haven’t tried using the smart features of UA shoes before then I highly recommend it. By having smart shoes, you also get a free permanent upgrade to the premium version of MapMyRun meaning that you get training plans, full insights such as Heart Rate analysis, foot strike angle, and other excellent training features.

    Durability

    As I have alluded to above, this shoe is certainly durable. After 50 miles on a mixture of roads, trails, and grass the only sign that it isn’t brand new is that the upper is slightly dirty!

    The outsole has worn fantastically with only a slight abrasion to the rubber occurring where I supinate.

    The upper shows no stretching or snags and the midsole still feels springy and supportive over all terrain. For shoes that aren’t as durable normally around the 50-60 mile (80-100k) mark is where you feel a drop off in the performance of a shoe but this is certainly not an issue here.

    Comfort & fit

    Apart from the initial few minutes getting used to the internal support wings, this shoe has been incredibly comfortable.

     

     

    It took 1 run to break in and even on long runs it hasn’t caused me any discomfort or blisters. The midsole excels at dampening the terrain so on gravel or stony bridleways you don’t feel the sharpness of the stones.

    Size-wise UA is true to size. Compared to my other shoes in rotation (Brooks, New Balance, and Asics currently) the Sonic 3s are slap bang in the middle of them. Width is not an issue either and the lacing is accommodative of narrow feet as well without any pinch points occurring.

    Performance

    So, the bit you have all been waiting for. How do these shoes perform?

    On the first few easy runs I did in these shoes I thought they would be an everyday mileage shoe. They had a good return of energy but on the easy runs I wasn’t feeling anything magical from them.

    Don’t get me wrong my legs felt fresh afterward and my turnover was good throughout the runs (as confirmed by the MapMyRun data after the run) but I couldn’t imagine running fast in them at that point.

    Well how wrong can I be! I took them out on a road interval session which was 9 miles in total. The intervals were at 4:50-5:00 minutes per mile pace (3:00-3:06/km) and the shoe performed outstandingly. Normally I opt for a road flat for this kind of speed but the Sonic 3s performed just as well as my racing flats would have done over these intervals.

    I would even go as far as saying they performed better as my legs were not as beaten up at the end of the run as they may have been in a less cushioned shoe. The HOVR foam provided great energy return through each stride and the shoe’s weight (which I thought would be an issue) was unnoticeable.

    I also took them on a 16-mile long trail run at sub 6:20/mile (4min/km) average pace and found the same thing – the weight was almost unnoticeable and the shoes just loved going faster.

    Great work Under Armour!

    What I like

    Where do I start? I loved that the shoes weren’t confined to one area of running – I was able to throw in some trails and grass halfway through a run if I fancied it rather than sticking purely to roads.

    I liked finishing runs in these shoes not feeling beaten up, and I definitely like the look of these shoes on my feet (perhaps not 4% physical performance but probably 4% mental!).

    The more I have run in the shoes, the more things I like about them. I’m not saying that they’re perfect but of the numerous shoes I’ve trained in, these have to be pushing towards my top 2 pairs. If I had to pick one favourite feature it would be the versatility of the shoes. Trails or roads, slow or fast, and uphill or downhill; these shoes just love to run.

    What’s more they have felt natural on all my runs – something that is a rare find across all pairs of shoes. I probably wouldn’t take them into a mountain race, but I would for most other runs!

    What I didn't like

    Yes, I have said that this is one of my favourite pairs of shoes, but yes, they aren’t perfect. The shoes are on the heavy side and, although they perform as well as a far lighter shoe when the speed picks up, they are still over 300g.

    This isn’t an issue if you aren’t looking for a racing shoe, although there are similar style shoes that weigh around 60g per shoe less than these. It isn’t a dealbreaker, it's just something to consider.

    Overall

    Believe it or not, I am a big fan of these shoes! They are reasonably priced, perform excellently, and can be thrown into any nearly any situation and excel.

    The smart connection is a win for new and seasoned runners alike, whilst the midsole will help you HOVR through your training and races.

    If you are looking for an everyday mileage shoe, a more supportive performance shoe, or one that can do both, then this is the shoe for you!

Become an expert

  • The Under Armour HOVR Sonic 3 is a road running shoe that works best for neutral runners or individuals who supinate. It offers a perfect balance of cushioning and flexibility for a comfortable and efficient ride. 
  • In the upper of this lightweight running shoe is MicroThread technology, which provides a compression-like fit for breathable comfort and support. The top is designed with lesser overlays in the forefoot to help prevent irritation. An updated heel counter is also used for additional support. The heel counter keeps the foot locked in place while walking or running. 
  • A redesigned outsole is integrated into the shoe for better traction on various surfaces. The outsole allows for smoother transitions and provides reliable protection against abrasive elements.

The Under Armour HOVR Sonic 3 uses the standard sizing measurement for both men and women versions. Runners can assume a good fit in their regular sizing, though it should be noted that some reviewers highlighted that the shoe is a bit tight. It is recommended to try the shoe in-store or utilize the general feedback of consumers about sizing before making a purchase decision for a pleasant wearing experience. 

The technical factors that directly affect the fit of the shoe include the shoelaces that offer a secure and customized fit. Other elements that influence the comfort around the shoe are the removable OrthoLite sockliner and tongue. The sockliner offers tailored cushioning and added underfoot protection, while the unique tongue construction helps ensure a snugger in-shoe feel.

Providing protection against sharp rocks and uneven surfaces is the blown rubber outsole. This lightweight material is highly durable and abrasion-resistant. It helps absorb ground contact and provides a firm grip on both wet and dry surfaces. 

The UA HOVR™ technology is featured in the shoe for zero-gravity feel. This technology offers excellent energy return and eliminates impact in every stride.

The compression mesh Energy Web is featured in the midsole of the Under Armour HOVR Sonic 3. This technology contains and molds the UA HOVR™ foam, providing a high level of comfort. The UA HOVR™ foam gives back the energy that the runner exerts in every step, giving a plush feel and responsive running experience. 

This Under Armour running shoe also integrates a small chip in the midsole that connects directly with the MapMyRun app. This technology helps the runners analyze the running metrics to help them improve their performance. It allows the runner to track everything from running pace to stride length.

For a personalized cushioning, the removable antimicrobial OrthoLite® insole is included in the Under Armour HOVR Sonic 3. This material molds to the natural shape of the foot for customized cushioning. Apart from providing comfort, the insole also offers added underfoot protection. 

Other popular running shoes that feature the OrthoLite® sockliner are the Asics Gel Contend 5 and Brooks Transcend 6.

The Under Armour HOVR Sonic 3 features MicroThread technology, which is a fast-drying upper material. This component is responsible for creating a cool and moisture-wicking microclimate inside the shoe. It provides a compression-like fit and keeps the foot dry for an extended period. 

A breathable textile lining is infused in the upper to provide long-lasting comfort free from irritation. The soft padding also protects the foot from irritation. 

For a secure ride, a molded external TPU heel counter is incorporated into the Under Armour HOVR Sonic 3. The heel counter locks the foot in place to prevent it from sliding up and down while walking or running. This material is also added to help provide structure to the shoe. A cushioned heel collar is also used for added comfort and support. 

The unique tongue construction helps maintain a snug in-shoe feel. The tongue is adhered to the footbed by stretchable support wings. It also safeguards the top of the foot from rubbing and getting pinched by the shoelaces. The tongue also helps prevent the entry of small rocks and debris inside the shoe. 

The traditional lacing system is featured in the shoe to ensure a secure and snug fit every time. The shoelaces allow the runner to easily adjust the tightness and looseness around the shoe.

Author
Jens Jakob Andersen
Jens Jakob Andersen

Jens Jakob is a fan of short distances with a 5K PR at 15:58 minutes. Based on 35 million race results, he's among the fastest 0.2% runners. Jens Jakob previously owned a running store, when he was also a competitive runner. His work is regularly featured in The New York Times, Washington Post, BBC and the likes as well as peer-reviewed journals. Finally, he has been a guest on +30 podcasts on running.

jens@runrepeat.com