Under Armour, originally a sportswear company founded in 1996 by University of Maryland football player Kevin Plank, didn’t make its move into running shoes until 2009. Five years later, the brand began to gain traction with runners following the release of the SpeedForm line of shoes. Put simply, this lineup proved that Under Armour could produce a well-crafted running shoe to rival the success of its athletic apparel.
Best Under Armour Running Shoes
- Most Versatile: Hovr Sonic 5
- Most Cushioned: Hovr Phantom 2
- Best for Speedwork: Flow Velociti Wind 2
- Best for Stability: Hovr Guardian 3
- Best Daily Trainer: Hovr Machina 3
- Best for Wet Trails: Charged Bandit Trail 2
- Best for Women: Flow Synchronicity
- Best for Marathon Training: Hovr Infinite 4
The Expert: I became a runner in middle school and have covered running and outdoor gear for years, both on-staff at Runner’s World and as a freelance journalist. Running shoes is the category of gear I’ve written about the most, and I have firsthand experience with models from a range of brands. To write articles like this, I talk with brand reps about the company’s latest shoes and tech, consult RW tester feedback, and draw on my own experience with the running shoe industry. With direction from RW editors, I combine all that info to choose what shoes make it onto this page.
Under Armour’s Upper Hand
The SpeedForm technology capitalized on UA’s apparel expertise and brought innovations from clothing manufacturing into running shoes. For example, the upper of the SpeedForm Apollo was actually constructed in a bra factory—an odd move at first glance, but the company’s experience with textiles helped UA develop a fabric with a nearly seamless finish that provided a snug fit and great durability. Although much of the running shoe conversation today centers around midsole foams and cushioning, other parts of a shoe also have a significant effect on performance. This makes Under Armour’s ability to craft comfy and breathable uppers a key skillset.
From Your Foot to Your Phone
In addition, Under Armour has worked to meet increasing demands for performance and connectivity. Although Nike has been a dominant force in fitness tracking since the 2006 launch of Nike+, Under Armour has embraced software more than most other shoemakers and has become a leader in connected kicks. UA purchased fitness tracker company MapMyFitness in 2013 and proceeded to create an empire of mobile apps, like MapMyRun. For runners, the company’s move into software has led to shoes that seamlessly integrate with tracker apps, which means easier access to stats and more feedback on your performance.
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Not Just Running, Hovr-ing
In 2018, Under Armour launched a proprietary cushioning platform called Hovr, which has now replaced the company’s older EVA-based Charged foam in many of its models. To make Hovr, UA worked with Dow Chemical to create a new foam formula using olefin wax. The result is a more durable foam that hits the sweet spot between a cushioned ride, light weight, and a firm feeling at toe-off. (This unique formulation stands out from other brands’ new foams, which often incorporate thermoplastic blends instead.) Hovr foam comes hand-in-hand with Energy Web, a mesh fabric that surrounds the foam core to help it maintain its shape and preserve energy return. In early 2021, UA unveiled Flow foam, the company’s lightest cushioning material yet. It’s durable enough to serve as both midsole and outsole, so there’s no need for additional heavy rubber on shoes like the Velociti Wind. In 2022, UA debuted a special version of Flow cushioning that’s even lighter, softer, and more responsive than “regular” Flow. It’s used in the Flow Velociti Elite racing shoe.
How We Evaluated
The models below are the best Under Armour running shoes available now. To recommend them, I consulted the brand’s design team, reviewed feedback from RW’s team of 225 wear-testers, and used my own knowledge and experience in both running and the running shoes market. Inside the RW Shoe Lab, editors check and re-check the energy return of Energy Web netting, measure the softness of Hovr foam, and assess the accuracy of UA’s built-in midsole tracking; analysis of that data also informs these recommendations. I’ve included shoes for a wide variety of preferences—from speed trainers to stability options—and have linked to full reviews when available.
Weight: 9.9 oz (M), 8.9 oz (W)
Drop: 8 mm
Since its debut, the Sonic has won praise for its winning combination of soft cushioning and lively energy return, and the latest iteration stays true to that formula. A compressive Energy Web mesh tightly wraps the Hovr foam midsole and limits its expansion, so more energy returns to you with each step. (It’s the same construction that’s been used since the shoe’s second version for a cushy yet responsive ride with “bounce factor that pops right off the tarmac,” according to one tester.) The fifth iteration comes with a breathable mesh upper to keep your feet cool; Under Armour also redesigned it for a more secure fit. An external heel counter adds stability, an EVA sockliner delivers a comfy feel, and a combo of blown and carbon rubber on the outsole creates dependable grip and durability.
Weight: 11.5 oz (M), 9.2 oz (W)
Drop: 9 mm
The Hovr Phantom is the cushier, slightly heavier sibling to the Sonic, and it’s engineered for a plush experience. Like the Sonic, the Phantom’s midsole is made up of Hovr foam wrapped in an Energy Web mesh, so the soft cushion retains its shape and provides plenty of energy return as you run. UA made some tweaks up top for improved support and breathability by switching the upper’s material to a stretchy flat knit and adding a sturdier midfoot saddle. Paired with a contoured gender-specific sockliner, the Phantom now has a more sock-like fit that snuggly wraps the foot. On the bottom, a full rubber outsole still provides good grip and should hold up well through high mileage.
Weight: 8.4 oz (M), 7.9 oz (W)
Drop: 8 mm
Like the debut version, the second iteration of the Flow Velociti Wind is designed for speed, and it feels fast mainly because of what the design leaves out: a heavy protective rubber outsole. Instead, the shoe utilizes UA’s Flow cushioning compound, which is durable and grippy enough to serve as both a midsole and an outsole material. In addition, the Warp upper uses taped overlays to provide lightweight support and a close wrap around your foot, and an EVA sockliner creates a more comfortable step-in feel.
Weight: 10.5 oz (M), 8.8 oz (W)
Drop: 8 mm
The Guardian takes UA’s Hovr/Energy Web cushioning formula and adds in extra stability features for overpronators. Those features—a medial post in the midsole and an internal heel counter on the upper—are the same ones found on previous iterations, but the Guardian 3 boasts a lighter, more speed-oriented design. (The men’s version is about an ounce lighter than the Guardian 2.) An EVA sockliner conforms to your foot for a comfy fit, and carbon rubber placements on the heel boost the shoe’s durability and traction.
Weight: 10.6 oz (M), 9.5 oz (W)
Drop: 8 mm
Under Armour has entered the increasingly crowded field of fast yet cushioned midsoles with the Hovr Machina. The third iteration ups the ante with a redesigned midsole that features firmer, more responsive Hovr foam in the forefoot and softer Hovr in an Energy Web mesh at the heel. The combo provides good impact absorption and increased energy return at toe-off. A slimmed-down mesh upper is free of overlays or seams so there’s less potential for irritation, but it’s thick enough to provide a supportive fit around the ankle (I even wear mine to play pickleball). Rubber placements on the outsole ensure good durability in high-wear areas.
Weight: 11 oz (M), 9 oz (W)
Drop: 8 mm
This trail version of the Charged Bandit takes the versatile low-cost trainer and soups it up for the dirt. The shoe comes with a mesh upper that’s beefed up with overlays for increased durability and protection from rocks and trail debris. A sockliner on the inside conforms to your foot for a comfy fit, and the lugged outsole creates good grip off the pavement. If you often run in wet weather, you’ll appreciate the water-repellent upper, which comes standard on the men’s design. For the same protection, women should look for the Storm version.
Weight: 8.3 oz
Drop: 7 mm
It’s no secret that women’s feet are shaped differently than men’s, but running shoe designs don’t always account for those differences. The Flow Synchronicity addresses that issue: UA designed it using a new women’s last developed through 3D scans of female feet. As you’d expect, the highlight of this shoe is a Goldilocks fit. The soft knit upper includes a midfoot overlay to closely wrap the foot, and the sole and sockliner cup the heel and provide arch support. Like the Flow Velociti Wind, the midsole utilizes Flow cushioning, so there’s no need for a separate outsole. Ladies, this might be the lightweight, responsive trainer you’ve been searching for.
Weight: 10.4 oz (M), 9.3 oz (W)
Drop: 8 mm
Grounded on a generous slice of Hovr foam, the Infinite is Under Armour’s flagship distance shoe that offers maximum comfort on long runs. The latest version comes with even more cushioning: It utilizes Energy Web-wrapped Hovr foam topped with a layer of Charged foam and a molded sockliner for a plush, energetic feel underfoot. The outsole is made with both carbon and blown rubber for durability and decreased weight, and an engineered mesh upper serves up a snug fit with good airflow. Overall, it’s a competent, comfy trainer for any runner planning to log lots of miles during their next marathon training cycle.
Editors’ Note: Expect more availability of this shoe, including its women’s version, on October 5, 2022.
Weight: 7.5 oz
Drop: 10 mm
Cushioned, carbon-fiber plate–equipped racing shoes are all the rage right now, and now Under Armour has jumped on the bandwagon with its own take on the genre. The Flow Velociti Elite includes a full-length carbon fiber plate sandwiched between a layer of springy Pebax foam and a layer of specially tuned Flow cushioning that’s even lighter, softer, and more responsive. Together, these materials create reliable long-distance cushioning and peppy responsiveness. A TPE sockliner adds a soft step-in feel, and the Warp 2.0 upper is designed for maximum breathability, a lockdown fit, and low weight. If you want the latest tech on your feet for your next marathon, this is the shoe to choose.
Editors’ Note: Under Armour launched this shoe with a limited release in June 2022. More inventory is expected in spring 2023.
Michael is a freelance writer with years of experience covering gear and the outdoors for Runner's World and other publications; when he's not writing, he's usually biking, hiking, and running in the mountains around Los Angeles, where he lives.