If you are a neutral runner - one whose feet do not roll outwards or inwards excessively during running - who is looking for a pair of affordable all-rounder trainers, the Under Armour Charged Bandit 5 is a good place to start.
It comes with two layers of Under Armour's proprietary Charged Cushioning midsole material, offering better shock absorption than its predecessors, which have one layer.
Its mesh upper has a construction said to improve ventilation, while its rubber outsole has anatomically-placed flex grooves for flexibility during foot lift-off.
It has an 8mm heel drop (the height difference between the heel and forefoot), a profile which should give neutral runners good lift-off.
I find the shoes really comfortable and highly breathable. I particularly love the cushioned heel counter, which did not give me abrasions when I ran without socks and kept my injury-prone ankles well-supported. After wearing them in over several 5km jogs, they became even more comfortable.
Its cushioning is great for my ailing knees, while its rebound capability helped my gait whether I am running on track or road. Despite its thick midsole, it feels quite lightweight, making it also great for high-intensity interval training with frequent change of directions. All in, this is one versatile pair of running shoes.
While the midsole - which is firmer in the heel and softer in the mid-foot compared to its predecessors - is not ideal for me as I'm more a heel-striker, it is not a huge problem.
The most attractive feature of the Charged Bandit 5 is its price. At $139, it is great value for those looking for shoes for both outdoor runs and indoor gym workouts.
- Not ideal for heel strikers
MATERIAL: Under Armour's dual-layer Charged Cushioning midsole with rubber outsole
HEEL DROP: 8mm
WEIGHT: 230g (Men's US9)
VALUE FOR MONEY: 5/5