Because Under Armour is a fairly established brand name in its own right, many are surprised to learn that the company is a relatively young one compared to other sports apparel manufacturers. Founded in 1996, Under Armour was the brainchild of the then 23-year old Kevin Plank, a football team captain from the University of Maryland. During that time, Kevin wanted to find an alternative, better sportswear that would not react similarly to cotton shirts when drenched with sweat, prompting him to establish the Under Armour.
Although he is an American, Kevin Plank has chosen to use the British spelling of the word “armor” simply for vanity and marketing purposes; after all, a tailored company phone number was necessary for an easy recall. At the inception of his company, the very first product of Under Armour was a clothing article made with a synthetic base layer that works by wicking away sweat and moisture. The result is an innovative garment that helps keep athletes dry, cool, and fresh even during brutally hot conditions.
Word quickly got out, and soon, athletes were running over to Kevin and purchasing his breakthrough invention. By 1998, Under Armour has already made its mark in the sports-retail industry, and Kevin Plank was already able to build the company its own headquarters and warehouse.
The next few years saw Under Armour going no other way but up – numerous partnerships and sponsorship deals with athletes, sports teams and leagues, and other celebrity-related recognitions were all-around. Thus, expansion was inevitable. In 2003, Under Armour released their line for women, which was promptly followed by another line for young people. Such success has led Under Armour to tread around public trading, which was rightfully evidenced by its revenue amounting to more than a quarter of a billion dollars. What makes this special is that Under Armour has attained this feat in less than 10 years in the industry.
Now, having recently celebrated their 20th anniversary, Under Armour continues to deliver high-quality, high-performing products while simultaneously pushing tech revolution boundaries. With the brand’s strong presence in a variety of athletic-wear categories, it is safe to say that they are more relevant than ever. The company’s simple, straightforward mission, “to make athletes better through passion, design, and relentless pursuit of innovation,” is reflected in the numerous achievements they have displayed through the years.
Notable technologies of Under Armour running shoes
One of the most popular features of Under Armour running shoes is the SpeedForm. The SpeedForm is an upper construction technique that makes use of two elements – a smooth, seamless fabric and a molded thermoplastic polyurethane (TPU) heel cup – to create a secure and comfortable coverage for the foot.
The name of the technology is realized through these materials: the breathable textile encourages airflow and gives a next-to-skin feel that is not irritating, thus giving “form”; and the external heel counter wraps precisely around the foot to provide a custom fit that promotes a faster run, which allows “speed.”
In a nutshell, the SpeedForm could be likened to a brassiere, in terms of seamlessness and the level of comfort and support it provides the foot. When you wear an Under Armour running shoe with SpeedForm, you will notice that there is zero gap between the ankle and the shoe, making it feel like a second skin. This structure is done with the aim of creating a shoe with an anatomically-correct shape.
Some of the highest-rated (based on RunRepeat’s Corescore concept) Under Armour running shoes with SpeedForm include the SpeedForm Slingride TRI, which was commended by users for its comfortable fit, stylish design, responsive ride, and minimal weight; and the SpeedForm Apollo 2, which received a high rating due to its durability, precise fit, and well-cushioned underfoot support.
The Charged Cushioning is one of the midsole technologies that are proprietary to Under Armour running shoes. It is a lightweight and responsive material that is made up of two portions – a firm half in the heel and a soft half in the forefoot. This design enables the heel to maintain a consistent strike, as well as encourage the toes towards a springy lift-off. With Charged Cushioning, the shoe possesses a blend of comfort and support to ensure an excellent performance.
Under Armour running shoes that have Charged Cushioning are equipped with a certain level of responsiveness that translates impact into energy burst and mobility. As the material comes in interaction with the outsole, an added layer of flexibility is delivered to the runner. An example of this technique coming into effect could be seen in the Under Armour Charged Rebel, a road-running shoe that brings optimum performance even during daily wear; and the Under Armour Charged Bandit 4, a visually-appealing shoe that offers reactive underfoot support and a durable structure.
Another midsole component technology, the Micro G is a foam material that forms a cushioning system for Under Armour running shoes to be responsive and bouncy. It is 30% thinner than other midsole counterparts, allowing the shoe to be lighter, closer to the ground, yet still more responsive.
Because of the Micro G’s close-to-ground feel, the runner gets a better in-shoe and underfoot sensation, thus enhancing their ability to change direction quickly. With a high-rebound, low-compression quality, Micro G has a higher, better level of bounce and responsiveness, resulting in a little extra lift and energy return.
The Micro G lends its technology not only to Under Armour running shoes but also to some of the brand’s basketball shoes and training shoes. Meanwhile, a few of the series in the running shoe line features the Micro G, such as the Lightning, the Assert, the Gemini, and the Pursuit.
The HOVR foam technology is the latest technology introduced into Under Armour running shoes. As a revolutionary cushioning technique, the HOVR aims to combine lightness, comfort, responsiveness, and durability. Developed with the help of chemical company DowDuPont®, the HOVR comes in the form of a light and soft foam that is similar to the insulators used in aircrafts.
The “magic” of the HOVR foam is provided by a unique element called Energy Web – a compression mesh material that contains and molds the HOVR, giving the Under Armour running shoe a responsive quality to let it give back the energy put in by the runner. Energy Web also prevents the foam from losing shape by promptly returning the impact that is absorbed by the HOVR during footstrike. Thus, the midsole’s structure is kept because energy is not retained within the foam.
Finally, staying true to its name, HOVR provides Under Armour running shoes with a zero-gravity feel, allowing the user to maintain energy return that helps eliminate impact on every run. It also brings durability that guarantees each stride is consistent, from beginning to end.
Under Armour running shoes that utilize the HOVR foam also have a high-tech, digital variant called the HOVR Connected. This cutting-edge feature uses a unique contraption, dubbed the Record Sensor, which connects with a specially-developed smartphone app. As the name implies, the Record Sensor gives a detailed report of running metrics, which includes pace, cadence, distance, and stride length. The Record Sensor employs several digital innovations, such as GPS (Global Positioning System), motion sensor, and Bluetooth, so that it can still obtain and record running data even if the smartphone is not within reach. The HOVR Connected is relatively novel, and, as of writing, there are only two running shoe models with this feature: the HOVR Sonic Connected and the HOVR Phantom Connected.
Under Armour road running shoes
A good majority of athletes and running enthusiasts alike are more inclined to do their running activities on the road, primarily because it is more accessible, less challenging (especially for beginners), and less stressful physically. Many, if not most, of running shoe manufacturers produce a higher number of road running shoes than trail running shoes because of the higher market demand for it. Under Armour is one of them. Currently, there are numerous models of Under Armour running shoes for the road that are offered to consumers. With the fierce competition, here is what the brand delivers to set them apart from the rest:
- Under Armour running shoes for the road have exceptional stability. While it could also refer to a feature that controls overpronation, a lot of Under Armour road running shoes possesses a quality that allows for a steady and consistent ride. This characteristic allows the user to maintain a smooth-sailing and problem-free running activity.
- Under Armour running shoes for the road promote balance. Arguably, many other running shoe manufacturers also endorse their products as something that provides a solid form and a balanced stride. However, what sets Under Armour running shoes apart is that their one-of-a-kind technologies work unlike any other that ensures runners get a tailored experience.
- Under Armour running shoes for the road bring ultimate comfort. Although running shoes from other brands are undoubtedly comfortable in their own right, the running shoes from Under Armour are in a unique level all on its own. However, this doesn’t mean they are better than the other brands; instead, it says they are on a separate category regarding comfort. Thanks to their carefully and thoughtfully developed midsole technologies, Under Armour running shoes are continually bringing a luxurious underfoot sensation and an overall cozy in-shoe feel.
Under Armour trail running shoes
Although the Under Armour brand is relatively new, they are still able to bring something to the race with their modest but reliable collection of trail running shoes. Compared to road runners, the trail-running market is a bit smaller, but that has not stopped Under Armour by delivering a competitive line of running gear for trail-lovers. The Under Armour running shoes designed for trails are excellently constructed to match the demands of the outdoors. To support this claim, trail running shoes from Under Armour boasts of the following qualities:
- Under Armour running shoes for the trail are durable. Each component of Under Armour trail running shoes is built from materials that have been considerately selected. The aim is to provide a long-lasting running experience that allows the user to stay confident as the footwear withstands the stresses of the environment. Durable trail running shoes are dependable, and high-endurance and these qualities are something that Under Armour trail running shoes guarantee.
- Under Armour running shoes for the trail are adaptable. Because the “workload” of trail running shoes are demanding, it is crucial that they are able to adjust accordingly to the ever-changing conditions presented by the outdoors. Luckily, Under Armour trail, running shoes are made with premium elements and top-notch technologies that enable them to handle from the softest mud paths to the roughest slopes.
- Under Armour running shoes for the trail are protective. Although this is not a unique trait, it is undoubtedly an important one and, thankfully, Under Armour delivers by incorporating their trail running shoes with the ability to protect not only the runner but also itself. The construction of Under Armour trail running shoes involves the use of materials that are uniquely designed to tackle and survive outdoor conditions. Some shoes, in particular, even go the extra mile and add another level of protection by being waterproof or water-resistant.
With all these qualities together, it is undeniable that Under Armour running shoes are not only high-quality but also high-performing. These running shoes are sturdy and resilient, but not at the expense of providing a luxurious running experience.
Differences of Under Armour running shoes from other brands
As a consumer, it is inevitable to compare running shoes from one brand to another in order to help in the decision-making process before purchasing. Making this move is important especially for runners who are particular with their gear, and it is also important for beginners who should make a wise, conscious choice with the running shoe that matches their needs.
But what sets Under Armour running shoes apart from those of other manufacturers? At first glimpse, it is easy to say that all running shoes are generally, substantially the same. But upon closer inspection (and further research, and numerous fittings), users would be able to find out that Under Armour shoes are different from other brands, showing off their best qualities in a way that only they could.
Under Armour versus Nike
It is not questionable that in terms of market reach and number of brand loyalists, Nike has the upper hand, especially considering that they have been in the business longer than Under Armour has. However, it does not mean that Under Armour is a lower-quality brand compared to Nike; it merely means that has had a long time to connect with the market and, therefore, establish their name earlier.
On the one hand, Nike running shoes have more technologies and proprietary materials within their reach that allow them to be developed into high-performing running companions. Because Nike has been creating running shoes longer, they have had more time and opportunities to formulate what they believe works best with their market. On the other hand, Under Armour running shoes are simpler and more straightforward, applying technologies only on the crucial components. This is, of course, not a bad thing, as such a philosophy allows them to build running shoes that would appeal mostly to runners who are just starting out, and those who prefer a pair that would cover the bare essentials without the need for fancy terminologies.
In a related note, where Under Armour running shoes seem to focus on instead is the advertising and marketing aspects. Because Nike is undeniably more popular, they do not need to spend as much effort as Under Armour. The situation gives Under Armour running shoes an opportunity to shine because with their clever advertising concepts and their well-known endorsers, they are able to reach into a new niche – the younger generation.
In terms of sizing, Under Armour running shoes are quite notorious for being smaller than the standard sizing schemes used by other running shoe brands. Compared to Nike, there have been more Under Armour running shoes that were criticized by users for fitting smaller than its intended label. Among the many examples of this would be the Under Armour Speed Swift 2, the Under Armour Micro G Assert 7, and Under Armour Horizon RTT.
Under Armour versus Adidas
Similar to Nike, Adidas running shoes also place considerable importance on their technologies. The brand even takes it a step higher by constantly reinventing their existing developments to ensure it keeps up with the ever-changing demands of runners. In contrast, Under Armour running shoes have been known to stick with tried-and-tested structural concepts and materials, which get the approval of users who believe that simple is always the best. In fact, the majority of Under Armour running shoes have, at most, three separate technologies in each model; they tend to focus more on the traditional materials that are guaranteed to deliver a fantastic performance.
Although Adidas running shoes pride themselves of being affordable, Under Armour running shoes beat them in this category, if only by a little bit. In between the running shoes of Under Armour and Adidas available in their respective websites, the Under Armour ones have lower prices compared to the Adidas ones, for both new shoes and discounted shoes. The same runs true for the shoes of both brands that are available in retailer sites.
A third factor that separates Under Armour running shoes from Adidas ones is the popularity of the latter. However, it isn’t all that bad for Under Armour, because they are only just one rank below Adidas. It means that Under Armour running shoes are as well-recognized as Adidas ones are. In fact, some of Under Armour’s offerings are considered to be more popular than other models of Adidas, such as the SpeedForm Gemini 3 and the Charged Bandit 4.
Under Armour versus Asics
While Nike and Adidas have numerous running shoe technologies under their belt, Asics running shoes are not about to get left behind. Asics is also known for their innovative and highly-effective running shoe technologies that mostly focus on pronation, stride, cushioning, and performance, all of which are components of a midsole structure. Meanwhile, Under Armour running shoe technologies do not have a particular emphasis, but instead deliver developments for the overall construction of a running shoe. Such a setup might appeal to those who take comfort in knowing that each part of their running shoe – from the outsole to the upper – has been well-thought and well-built.
Under Armour running shoes also place importance on the performance of the average runner. While this is not automatically a negative thing, it is something that Asics gets leverage on: they have running shoes that are marketed towards triathletes. Of course, it isn’t much of a comparison because there are only very few brands that produce triathlon running shoes; thus, Under Armour could stay concentrated on further improving the running shoes for their established market.
In the aspect of availability and inclusiveness, both Asics and Under Armour running shoes are known for their extensive selection, as several of their offerings have been available in various width options, as well as a wide range of colorways. This factor is appealing to runners to usually have difficulties in finding perfectly-fitting pairs, and also to running enthusiasts who are also avid collectors of shoes that they see themselves frequently using because of its extraordinary quality and outstanding performance.
Improving your performance with Under Armour running shoes
- Under Armour running shoes are considerably very useful for improving one’s speed when training for races. Some of the running shoes from the brand possess racing-specific technologies, especially in the midsole, that are lightweight and minimal, thus making them highly suitable for speed training and racing.
- Improving stride and pronation are also achievable with Under Armour running shoes. Their selection of stability and motion control running shoes have proven to be effective in decelerating and correction overpronation. Meanwhile, their neutral running shoes are also reliable in providing a flexible run without sacrificing gait efficiency.
- Many runners have varying terrain preferences, and Under Armour running shoes have this covered. Their road-running shoes have always been commended for being responsive and stable enough for pavement running. Meanwhile, trail running shoes are guaranteed to provide protection and traction.
- If you are the sort of runner who prefers more ground feel, or if you excel while wearing minimalist shoes, there are Under Armour running shoes that have a low-drop. These shoes give you more ground contact without sacrificing support and cushioning, both of which are necessary for endurance and longevity in the running activity.
Frequently asked questions
What is the best Under Armour running shoe?
Based on RunRepeat’s Corescore ranking, the Under Armour Charged Bandit 3 is currently the highest-rated Under Armour running shoe, with a Corescore of 95 gathered from almost 300 reviews from users. The Charged Bandit 3, a shoe for daily running, has been praised by wearers for its lightweight and breathable upper, its secure and supportive fit. Its consistently excellent performance has also been approved by both beginner and seasoned runners.
What brings the Charged Bandit 3 to the top of the ranks is the combination of SpeedForm and Charged Cushioning technologies to create a running shoe that is responsive and durable. This Under Armour running shoe provides optimal cushioning and energy return, as well as a precise fit that allows a smooth ride.
Of course, this “best” running shoe might not apply to runners who do not fit the target market for neutral, daily-running shoe for the road. In terms of other categories, other shoes emerge as the top contender. For example, the brand’s best trail running shoe would be the Horizon RTT, which has received a vast majority of positive reviews regarding structure, comfort, traction, durability, versatility, and even aesthetics.
Are Under Armour running shoes accessible worldwide?
Although the brand is internationally recognized and has a presence across the globe, their products might still differ from country to country. The motive for this is that the demand for one product might not be as huge in one area than the next. Thus, some consumers might be confused that a running shoe model that is available in a particular country is not offered in another one.
If you are a potential buyer living in an area where a certain Under Armour running shoe is not available to you, you could make use of online retailers or online shopping malls that cater to worldwide shipping and deliveries. With these services, consumers are able to have access to region-specific products; sometimes, they even get bonuses through discounts and other promotional packages.
Which Under Armour running shoe is the most affordable?
Amounts of Under Armour running shoes vary from one retailer to another. If you check out RunRepeat’s ranking of Under Armour running shoes according to price, the cheapest pair costs 55 USD, while the most expensive one costs 140 USD. Meanwhile, other retailer sites offer Under Armour running shoes under prices that range from as low as 45 USD to as high as 130 USD. The pricing schemes of running shoes depend on the market demand and the novelty of the running shoe model. Thus, it makes sense that the new models or the most recent iterations of a shoe series would cost more than older editions.
Which Under Armour running shoe is recommended for beginners?
For beginner runners, it is important to consider a number of factors before choosing a running shoe in order to ensure a smooth-sailing and a problem-free run. Some of the aspects worth pondering about are the following:
- Beginner runners need to consider and evaluate the area they live in to determine what kind of ground they could possibly be running on. Those who live in rural areas or the countryside are better suited for Under Armour trail running shoes because of the grip and traction they provide, as well as the durability they possess. Under Armour shoes for the trail offer protection and coverage without sacrificing comfort and breathability, which make them a perfect gear for undertaking rugged trail elements. Some examples of these shoes would be the Fat Tire and the Toccoa, both of which are Under Armour trail shoes that are highly rated by reviewers.
- As a beginner, it is worth noting that a shoe’s comfort level is one of the non-negotiable factors when selecting a running shoe. When running for the first time, the body, especially the feet, experiences changes that would prompt adjustments. To make these changes as continuous as possible, a running shoe that is comfortable is key, because worrying about the feet is the last thing you would want to do while on the run. Under Armour running shoes have a positive reputation among experts and enthusiasts alike about the comfort, protection, and support they provide, especially for beginners. Such favorable reviews were given to the Drift 2, the Micro G Assert 6, and the SpeedForm Fortis 2.
- Before even starting your first run, as you purchase your gear, you must first be aware of the type of pronation your feet categorizes into because this will affect your overall running experience. Under Armour neutral running shoes are beneficial for beginners because they are relatively lighter, with a plush cushioning, which help improve stride and overall running performance. The midsole construction of these shoes also promote a responsive ride and allow for adequate ground contact that enable beginners to gauge their running efficiency. A couple of highly-rated Under Armour neutral running shoes include the HOVR Sonic and the Micro G Speed Swift 2. Meanwhile, the stability shoes of Under Armour are also beginner-friendly because of their features that produce a responsive and flexible ride. The Under Armour SpeedForm Europa is an example of this.
- Above all else, the fit of a running shoe should be ensured before starting any endeavor. As an essential aspect, your running shoe must be an exact fit in order to produce an optimal running experience. This is where your foot volume comes into play. If you have either a low, average, or high foot volume, you should be purchasing a running shoe that is crafted with the appropriate width profile. There are Under Armour running shoes in the market that are available in varying widths, thus catering to an expanded market. A few examples of these shoes include the Under Armour Fuse FST, the Under Armour Charged Rebel, and the Under Armour Freedom Assert 6.
What other products does Under Armour offer?
Aside from running shoes, Under Armour also produces and markets other sports-related items. A big part of their manufactured products comprises sportswear or clothing articles that are explicitly used for physical activities. These items include shirts, jackets, tank tops, pants, shorts, and underwear. Each clothing article is categorized under the sport or event it is meant to be worn in: basketball, training, golf, or hiking.
Under Armour also develops and sells non-clothing items, such as accessories, which are also useful in sports. They have bags, hats, socks, sunglasses, and belts. There are also non-clothing items that are not considered part of a wardrobe – water bottles, phone cases, headphones, and sports equipment such as balls, golf bags, and the like.
A score from 1 to 100 that summarizes opinions from users and experts. The average Corescore is 78. More...