I wasn’t around on October 14, 1972—the day U.S. Air Force Captain Check Yeager pushed his experimental rocket-powered plane so fast, a “sonic boom” was heard as the plane broke the sound barrier.
Why bring up this historic moment in aviation history? Because Under Armour added the word Sonic to a new shoe design belonging to the company’s HOVR collection, and who doesn’t want to move at supersonic speed, whether running laps or competing?
I have no degree in astrophysics, but I fully appreciate the idea behind shoes that break barriers because I’m always setting personal bests and succeed often enough to make me feel I’m making progress, so I get why pilots feel high when they take to the skies. In my case, that’s the trails.
Testing the Boundaries of My World
I jokingly told a friend that I was going to climb into my cockpit (shorts) and take the pair of grey UA HOVR Sonic running shoes I was assigned to test on a couple of road tests. The first thing I realised was that there would be no communication with mission control because these shoes are not equipped with UA’s Record Sensor™ so they won’t interface with my phone. Bummer.
My disappointment was only momentary as I took my first tentative steps and became aware of the fact that the UA HOVR™ technology that went into the Sonic actually does offer a runner the ‘zero gravity feel’ described in this shoe’s introductory literature.
I tried a couple of different surfaces to measure the impact I experienced. Surprisingly, with each change, I felt the energy return that appears to have taken the place of the impact I once felt when I wore my old shoes—especially on unforgiving terrain.
I Don’t Stop to Cool My Jets
Having committed to apply due diligence to my review runs, I kept going now that I had become comfortable with the knowledge that my skeletal structure wasn’t going to take the beating it did when I covered the same territory as I did in my old shoes.
Call me Rocket Man: I’m still going. And here are some of the conclusions I reached after logging a healthy number of kilometers in search of the Sonic’s virtues and imperfections:
- The compression mesh is made of micro threads that dry fast after I clean them up.
- The tongue construction is unusual; it’s attached to the foot bed via “wings” that contribute to the shoe's snug feel.
- I like the removable sock liner for the same reason: it gives my feet a “custom” fit on myriad surfaces.
- Because the sock liner is made of an anti-microbial material, my chance of getting foot infections decreases.
- Everything is ventilated thanks to the intricate weave that’s especially cool around the mid-foot panel.
- Damp and sand-covered downhill road running was problematic; uneven pavement made my foot roll a bit.
- Forget Sonics if you under or over pronate.
- The external heel counter does not extend all the way up the heel.
- Do you prefer a lower stack height? You may have to compromise if you like other features on these shoes.
Under Armour HOVR Sonic Conclusion
For the price, the HOVR Sonic is a great deal considering the fact that this brand name is so steadfast and reliable. Keep walking past this shoe if you intend to use it for cold-weather running! It’s ideal for Asia where ice and snow won’t interrupt your conditioning runs—unless you try to wear them in the rain, at which point, all bets are off because these affordable running shoes don’t perform as well on slick surfaces.
Snug, breathable and extremely well ventilated, the Sonic’s 8mm heel-to-toe differential may not be your cup of tea, but this is likely—in my opinion—one of the best lightweight, neutral training shoes on today’s market. I don’t wear orthotics, but if I did, I could remove the insole, which I do when I clean them, anyway.
Under Armour introduced the Sonic at the same time as the Phantom and if you’re flush, I recommend buying both! Yes, they both belong to the HOVR library, but the engineering isn’t the same.
How often do you buy two pairs of running shoes at the same time? Does it depend upon your bank balance, or do you pride yourself on knowing a great deal when you see one and understand that getting two pairs pays dividends down the road?
The Men's UA HOVR Sonic Running Shoes is available at Under Amour online store for S$179.