Under Armour Horizon BPF 1 Performance Review
Review by Thomas Neuberger
I was fortunate enough to receive a pair of Horizon BPF 1 the day before The Under Armour Mountain Challenge at Copper Mountain. Understandably, I was nervous to take on the mountain for a 25k in a pair of trail shoes I had never worn before.
The Under Armour Horizon BPF 1 looked different than any other running shoe because of the unusual PU (Poly Urethane) mesh that covers 80% of the shoe. Just looking at it, I thought it was going to be heavy, unbreathable, and stiff. It isn’t. The Horizon BPF 1 weighs 9.4 ounces, 266 grams for a size 9, has a light breathable mesh under the PU wrap, and the upper is supple. There is a substantial toe-cap for protection and a tongue that has been optimized to breathe with venting holes in the mesh. The upper fit well, runs true to size, and gave me zero discomfort. I give kudos to the Under Armour team for including an Ortholite insole for extra comfort.
The 7mm drop midsole utilizes two Charged (Under Armour’s proprietary midsole material) pucks, one in the forefoot and one in the heel for extra cushioning. In-between the Charged cushioning is a lightweight EVA to keep the “Feather” in the BPF (Bullet-Proof Feather.) UA continued to cut weight where they could when they moved to the Michelin rubber outsole. Small squares are cut out of the rubber between the lugs. The Michelin rubber provides superior traction on all the terrain Copper Mountain could dish out, both on uphill and downhill charges. To say I was impressed with these shoes is an understatement.
I had a tiny amount of heel lift when I first tried on the shoe, even though the shoe has an amply padded collar. I tried the heel lock lacing trick, but the way the holes are configured the laces ended up digging into the front of my ankle. I went with the standard lacing. Once my foot settled down into the shoe, I did not notice the lift on the run at all. Still, I would take a look at the placement of the lace holes if I were on the UA design team.
I have mixed feelings on rock plates. They can make a trail shoe inflexible and add weight. Often they aren’t even needed. A couple of sharp rocks reminded me that there isn’t a rock plate in the shoe. Overall the full coverage of Michelin rubber took care of 95% of the rocks.
The Under Armour Horizon BPF 1 Conclusion
I had a great time at the Under Armour Mountain Series. The views were spectacular; the course was terrific, the vibe of the runners on the course was energetic and positive. So I may have a little event glow influencing how I feel about the Horizon BPF 1, but I loved the shoe. It checks my boxes: lightweight, well cushioned without being sluggish, and good looking. I felt confident the entire 25k with loose rocks, packed dirt, single track, fire roads, steep climbs, and steep descents. Best of all, my feet felt great post-race, and I didn’t fall once. This shoe is a Badass!
Thr Under Armour Horizon BPF 1 will be available early August, 2018 for $130.