Under Armour (UA) has evolved over the past few years and is trying to position itself as a tech company. It has invested millions of dollars into mobile health apps and refers to itself as a “digital health and fitness community”, targeting a younger audience than Nike.

Its Hovr Machina running shoes pack in the technology to help runners improve their form through the inclusion of an embedded Bluetooth chip. It is aimed at marathon runners to cushion the feet, provide more energy with every step, is lightweight and offers data-driven coaching.

I’ve been testing a pair for over two weeks on my walks, runs and jogs both on the road and on a treadmill, and one of the first things I noticed were the levels of comfort.

Previously, I wore Nike shoes for fitness activities but trying on the Hovr Machina was eye-opening. They felt different on my feet than the “barefoot” feel that drew me to Nike. I’m no marathon runner but prefer comfort for fitness and when walking during travel (pre-Covid days).

The shoes pair with UA’s MapMyRun app — a simple exercise that must be done before putting them on. The app provides stats like distance, average pace, cadence, stride length, foot strike angle, ground contact time and elevation.

It also provides calories burnt and heart rate data, though data about the former differed from the two fitness trackers I wore during testing. However, calories burnt will never be 100% accurate, proven by three varying data sets from Under Armour, Fitbit and the Apple Watch.

Over the weeks of testing, I could see my running improve over the same distance. Still, the Hovr Machina shoes appeal to a niche audience — serious marathon runners.

The real-time form coaching offers personalised guidance, to better manage risk of injury and ultimately improve performance.

The carbon propulsion plated shoes are responsive, well-cushioned and make you want to wear them even when you’re not running. The Hovr Machina’s R2,999 price tag is an investment into marathon training. Available on underarmour.co.za.

Cool factor 4/5
Usability 5/5
Value for money 4/5

Published here: https://www.businesslive.co.za/fm/fm-fox/gimme/2020-08-06-tech-review-new-under-armour-running-shoes-a-comfortable-winner/