I Hate Running but Under Armour’s Hovr Changed That
I hate running. Of course, the reason I hate running probably has to do with the fact that I suck at it. So when Under Armour invited me out to New York in late January to test out their new footwear technology, the Hovr cushioning system, I’ll admit I was a little nervous.
A little background information: Under Armour is a fairly young brand—it was founded in the mid-’90s. (1996, to be exact.) Since then, UA has proven to be one of the the biggest forces in performance gear, providing athletes the world over (its current roster of athlete ambassadors include Golden State Warrior Stephen Curry, downhill skier Lindsey Vonn and even famed ballerina Misty Copeland) with its moisture-wicking, skin-cooling and body-compressing apparel. Ask anyone and the first thing that comes to mind upon thinking of Under Armour is probably performance gear. But what about running shoes?
Enter: the Hovr. I met with Justin Howe, UA’s creative director of footwear, at the company’s office in Manhattan’s Meatpacking District. Here I was given a first-look at the brand’s two new sneaker models, the Hovr Sonic (suited for running longer distances) and the Hovr Phantom (a highly-cushioned model that you can totally run in, but could easily pass for a “lifestyle” shoe).
According to Howe, the Hovr system took two years to perfect; UA tapped Dow Chemical, a company the Baltimore-based performance giant has been working with for the past decade, to create the sole. Rendered in foam, the Hovr system aims to provide the wearer’s foot with ample cushioning as well as optimal shock absorption. Howe also explains that the Hovr technology contains a mesh fabric wrapped around the cushioning dubbed the ‘Energy Web,’ which provides energy return to the wearer to perform better and reduce fatigue. WHAT?!?
After hearing this I had to see what the Hovr was all about. Donning a pair of white Sonics with gold detailing I set off to Mile High Run Club, a treadmill fitness studio in Noho. Equal parts intrigued and nervous I met with instructor Corrine Fitzgerald, who assured me I’d be fine and that I could go at my own pace. (Phew.) I was signed up for Mile High’s “Dirty Thirty,” a high-intensity interval, 3-mile run. Did I say I SUCK AT RUNNING?
Off I went, and the first thing I noticed was how light and flexible the Sonics felt on my feet, thanks to the shoe’s foam sole and flat-knit upper. They were also incredibly comfortable and didn’t need any breaking-in whatsoever, which was a major plus. However, the best part of it all was that my laces didn’t come undone throughout the session—Is there anything worse than laces that slip out of their knots mid-workout?!
As for the run itself: Well… for starters, I made it through the whole 30 minutes, which in and of itself blew my mind. I was pleasantly surprised that I wasn’t panting and gasping for air 10 minutes in. Sure, I could chalk it up to the energy in the room and Corrine’s motivation, but I couldn’t help but wonder if the Hovr’s energy return feature had played part in that. Seriously, though: I could’ve ran longer than 30 minutes, and that alone blew my mind.
Overall, the Hovr Sonics were a great experience. I’m glad I didn’t wipe out, or even worse, throw up the green juice I had downed prior to hitting up Mile High. And going forward, if ever I do decided to hop on a treadmill out of my own volition, I’ll be reaching for my Hovr Sonics.