REVIEW: Under Armour HOVR Phantom

Okay, I hated them. That was my initial impression. Under Armour’s latest offering, the HOVR Phantom, a new middle-distance running shoe, has an elastic sleeve around the ankle opening. The first time you put them on, you immediately go, this isn’t right. It’s tight and restrictive and feels wrong. Your socks bundle up and you just about need a shoehorn to get them on. Stupid idea, I said casting them into the deepest recess of my shoe locker.

Two weeks later, circumstances dictated that I had to wear them on a run. I cursed myself for leaving my other shoes at in the car, shoe-horned my HOVR (said: Hover) Phantoms on, tugged and yanked the shorty socks into place and set off for a light 5km run.

Two kays in, I looked down at them like with a WTF look. They were really comfortable. I mean REALLY comfortable. They had a lot of cushioning, a Godsend for my ageing well-worn knees. While not springy, per se, they were very light and easy on the knees. I bounced down the down the road like a sprinbok.

Under Armour claim that that this new cushioning in the HOVR Phantom is attributable to a new “Energy Web”, which is better at directing and, importantly, returning energy. This new “Energy Web” (sounds sci-fi, hey?) is a structure made of wax-based foam, which is better for energy return, softness, and adaptivity.

And be damned if that didn’t appear true. Running felt lighter and faster. I tried a fast kilometre and did a pretty good time. They next day was a longer 10km tempo run and again, they were were very comfortable. Under Armour’s spiel reckons it’s ” literally like wrapping your foot in a pillow—but one that’s so super-light that you forget it’s there.” That’s a bit over the top, but only a bit. They are really comfortable.

The next day was HIIT session, all indoor. So I thought I’d try them there. Once again, I wrangled my feet passed the elastic sleeve and went to the workout. The workout consisted of lots of exercises like speed skaters, ladder runs, burpees, etc; exercises that would require a lot of lateral ankle movement and, subsequently, support.

Here’s where I eat my words: They were amazing and I loved the ankle support. I wore them around the house for a day, unaware I had them on. A great shoe.

Available for good sporting outlets for around $220.


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