How does donning material created by the US National Aeronautics and Space Administration (Nasa) on your feet feel like?
The Under Armour SpeedForm Slingshot has the answer. Its upper uses the Nasa-originated Dyneema - the world's strongest fibre - that is said to be light but yet strong. Dyneema also acts as a heat sink to transfer the heat away from your feet.
Its midsole uses Under Armour's proprietary Charged Cushioning on top of its Micro G foam for a dual layer of cushion and responsiveness. This dual-layer combo is first used in the popular Curry One basketball shoes.
A Pebax plate from heel to forefoot in the midsole provides that extra spring during toe-off, while anatomical flex zones on the outsole foster efficient foot strikes.
The heel-drop - the height difference between the heel and forefoot - is 7.5mm. This is usual for conventional running shoes and rare for minimalist shoes, like the Slingshot.
In other words, it is lightweight but yet provides enough cushion.
MATERIAL: Dyneema upper with dual-layer foam midsole and rubber outsole
WEIGHT: 212g (US 9, Men's)
VALUE FOR MONEY: 3/5
When I first put the Slingshot on, they felt comfortable immediately with the upper wrapping around my foot with glove-like snugness. It felt like I was wearing a pair of socks with cushioned soles.
It is probably the most comfortable pair of running shoes I have ever worn. Even on my first few short runs of around 3km with the shoes, they already felt run-in.
I would recommend running without socks in these shoes, as the fit can be too tight if you have socks on.
For a pair of minimalist shoes, it provided great rebound and cushioning. However, the rebound cannot be compared to high-energy return shoes like Adidas Ultra Boost or Puma Ignite.
Also, I could feel my injury-prone ankles complaining in runs longer than 6km. This is due to its rather thin external plastic heel counter.
•Verdict: At $259, the Under Armour SpeedForm Slingshot is quite expensive. But it is a good-looking and fabulous pair of running shoes that will serve you well, as long as you are not running long distance.