Under Armour HOVR Sonic Performance Review
Thomas: Right off the bat, the Under Armour HOVR Sonic looks enticing. Good looks don’t always help with performance, but they don’t hurt. The front two-thirds of the HOVR Sonic’s upper is a flat knit that is exceptionally breathable. The last third of the upper uses the UA bra like material with a TPU heel counter. All these components work well, but where the fit gets its character is from the broad flat tongue that is attached to the sides to saddles your arch. This works well to give your foot a secure fit. In the past Under Armour’s running shoes haven’t had removable sock liners. It was a problem for retailers that sell orthotics and runners that like a custom footbed. The HOVR Sonic has a removable sock liner; this should make all those people happy.
The most exciting feature of the shoe is the midsole. UA calls the construction “Rim and Core.” The “Core” is made up of DOW’s Olefin. Olefin takes more pressure to condense and expands with more energy after it rebounds from being compressed. So basically, as the force from your stride comes down, Olefin stays stable and then rebounds with more energy than traditional EVA foam. Another advantage to using Olefin is that the material isn’t that affected by temperatures. You should get the same quality of energy return in multiple temps. To give the midsole more comfort the “Rim” is comprised of UA’s Charged foam. The combo gives the shoe a soft feel without being sloppy. The comfort level is high, so high that I have been wearing these casually after I got my miles in for the review. For those of you that care about drop, the Sonic has an 8mm drop.
Moving down to the outsole, I was worried when I saw the amount of rubber and the unusual pattern. To my surprise, the feel was not slappy or bumpy. Instead, it felt grippy and smooth. The rubber does an excellent job on multiple surfaces.
Meaghan: Spoiler alert: the UA HOVR Sonic is officially my favorite shoe from the brand. It’s a daily neutral trainer that performs well out on the road, and happens to look great in the process. The upper is designed with an open knit that breathes exceptionally well. And it’s super comfortable. The flat lacing system locks the foot in place without causing any constraint on the top of the foot. There is not a ton of padding on the tongue or around the collar, but you don’t need it.
Enough about the upper, the midsole is the real story of this shoe. UA’s HOVR foam is a lightweight alternative to your typical EVA foam. Sciencey-stuff aside, this shoe feels great underfoot. From mile 1 to mile 15, my feet felt fresh. Beneath the foam is a ladder of rubber. It’s grippy, which is nice for Baltimore’s already-horrible winter weather and random ice patches.
Thomas: Weight; 11.45 oz for a size 10.5. That isn’t over the top, but it could be lighter. I would remove some of the rubber on the outsole to drop an ounce or two. The only significant wear I saw on the shoe was abrasions on the outsole rubber. However, it isn’t enough to alter the shoe’s performance. I would also like to see a different pattern on the outsole.
Meaghan: The real problem with this shoe is that it’s too good looking. I want to wear these out casually more than I want to get them dirty and grind out miles in them.
The Under Armour HOVR Sonic Conclusion
Thomas: UA has put together a reliable daily trainer with the HOVR Sonic. This is a good shoe for daily training runs. The midsole is plush enough for long mileage, and the HOVR Core delivers the right amount stability and pop for any distance. I will be interested to see how this shoe evolves for Under Armour. With some minor tweaks and some weight loss, the HOVR Sonic could be a standout trainer. In the meantime, I recommend trying out the Sonic for a daily mileage shoe. The HOVR Sonic fits true to size, pick up your regular running shoe size.
Meaghan: UA has come a long way with their shoes and I think we are going to see some awesome trainers in the next couple of years. The HOVR Sonic is a prime example. It’s a comfortable shoe that fits well and feels great underfoot mile after mile. While I wouldn’t sport this shoe for speedwork or a race, I would definitely recommend this for those every day, easy miles and long runs.