With no soccer action over the past few months, road running has become a key piece of my stay fit routine. I’m sure a lot of you are encountering a very similar situation. So, I decided to reach out to some companies to see if we could get some running shoes to test. First to respond were Under Armour, who offered up a pair of their tech advanced UA HOVR Machina, a running shoe that is designed to create a zero gravity feel on foot.
Over the past 3 weeks, I’ve clocked close to 50 miles, usually going for runs that are 5 miles max. So, I’m not running for distance. But that is a lot more running than I’d normally do when soccer is in session. My needs are for a well balanced running shoe that provides flexibility & cushioning while keeping me confident in my stride.
Here are my thoughts on the UA HOVR Machina from a soccer players’ perspective.
- UA HOVR™ technology provides ‘zero gravity feel’ to maintain energy return that helps eliminate impact.
- Compression mesh Energy Web contains & molds UA HOVR™ foam to give back the energy you put in.
- Engineered mesh upper is extremely lightweight & breathable for ultimate speed.
- External heel counter for added stability & a locked-in feel.
- Sprint spike-inspired Pebax® speed plate for increased return & more powerful push-offs.
- Solid rubber outsole covers high impact zones for greater durability with less weight.
- Carbon rubber pods under the heel deliver greater traction & durability at high-impact strike zones.
- Reflective detailing to improve safety in darker conditions.
Performance for a Soccer Player
I’m very much looking at this review from a soccer players viewpoint. For the most part, we don’t have a huge need for distance running as we are getting our fitness in during soccer practice. “Going on a run” is more directly related to maintenance and keeping a solid fitness base. And once the shutdown is over, most of us will go back to needing a shoe that is ideal for warm-up and cool-down runs.
One of key talking points with the HOVR Machina is the “High-Energy Feel” that they provide. Responsive, plush UA HOVR Foam + Energy Web in the sole helps give back the energy you put into every step.
This is the one area where I definitely noticed a huge performance upgrade compared to other running shoes I’ve worn. You get an added level of spring as you foot pushes off the street and into your next stride. Think of the motion your foot goes through as you run; you step down, then release off the surface as your foot exits the propulsion motion. But rather than just release off the surface, these feel like they explode off the surface. That provides additional comfort and more confidence that you can continue running.
How do they Fit?
In terms of fit, they run absolutely true to size. I normally wear a size 9US for soccer, and sometimes need to switch up to a 9.5US when if comes to running shoes. The UA HOVR Machina fit absolutely perfectly in the size 9US. When you slip your foot into them for the first time, you can feel the cushion that surrounds your foot. They are the type of running shoe you can take right out of the box and into a run, something that I really appreciated. There is a high level of pliability about how they feel, with every aspect contoured very well around your foot. During wear, I didn’t encounter any blisters, and there wasn’t any time when I need to take them off due to cramping or discomfort.
When you read reviews online, there are a lot of avid runners that claim they have help to shorten stride and increase cadence. I’m not an avid runner, I run like a soccer player, so I can’t speak to any of these claims. I’m sure for long distance running they fulfill a need, but again I’m writing this as someone that runs to maintain a base level of fitness.
Price wise, they drop in at $150, which is incredibly solid when you compare them to the price of soccer cleats. It makes me feel like we get ripped off a little. But they are likely to still be a big investment for most of you. Personally, I always end up buying running shoes that drop in around the $100 mark, so these would be a slightly pricier purchase than I am familiar with. Would I spend that money? Having worn them, and knowing what to expect performance wise, I’d definitely add them to my shortlist. If they hold up durability wise as well as I expect them to, they they will prove value for money.
Find the HOVR Machina in several colorways available at underarmour.com.
Final note, I also had the opportunity to test out some UA Run Cushion socks while testing these runners. Not going to lie, these could have been the true winner of this review. My word, they are incredible! I haven’t ever factored running specific socks as a necessary component in running comfort. In fact, I’ve always worn the standard 3-pack of adidas or Nike ankle sports socks. But these are on another level. They contour your foot in ever single way, providing ultimate comfort, especially around the arch. In my opinion, they are well worth checking out!