Wearables

Affordable rebound

Hovr Sonic neutral running shoes
Hovr Sonic neutral running shoes

With the success of Adidas running shoes that use the German sports equipment giant's Boost midsole for plenty of energy return, many of its competitors have come up with their own high-rebound midsole.

Under Armour (UA) recently unveiled its Hovr midsole technology, which features in its Hovr Sonic neutral running shoes.

The Hovr midsole is made of a proprietary foam compound called Olefin, created in collaboration with Dow Chemical. This foam compound is said to have incredible cushioning, along with good shock absorption for eachfoot strike.

Integral to the Hovr cushioning system is what UA has coined Energy Web - a mesh fabric that wraps around the cushion core to provide responsiveness and energy return.

The Sonic's high abrasion rubber outsole has a circular pattern near the heel area. It looks like a court shoe's outsole but in the reverse orientation, which means it might cater more to heel strikers instead of mid-foot strikers.

The knitted upper wraps all around the foot, with a stretch band around the mid-foot area to help hold the foot in place.

There is an external heel counter, but it is pretty short and does not quite cover the entire heel area.

  • SPECS

    PRICE: $179

    MATERIAL: Under Armour Hovr midsole with knit upper and rubber outsole

    HEEL DROP: 8mm

    WEIGHT: 289g (US 9 Men’s)

    RATING

    DESIGN: 3/5

    PERFORMANCE: 4/5

    VALUE FOR MONEY: 5/5

    OVERALL: 4/5

While the Sonic felt comfortable in my first 5km jog, I could feel the lack of support for my injury-prone ankles.

My concern about the Sonic favouring heel strikers is unfounded. Whether I was using heel strikes or mid-foot strikes, the transition was smooth and cushioned.

The Sonic is no doubt more responsive than other UA running shoes I have tried. But they still lack the explosive energy return of the Adidas Ultra Boost running shoes I have reviewed.

That said, at $179, the Hovr Sonic is cheaper than Adidas' Ultra Boost running shoes, which can cost more than $300.

•Verdict: If you are looking for an affordable and bouncy pair of running shoes for jogs, the Under Armour Hovr Sonic is one to try out.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on March 28, 2018, with the headline 'Affordable rebound'. Print Edition | Subscribe