Under Armour keeps making in-roads on the running side and the shoes look really solid with the new HOVR Phantom 2 being no exception. The Marketing is on point, they have built a connected running ecosystem from shoe to app, and material choices continue to be strong; We continue to have some issues though so let’s jump into it.
Quick Details, Specs, and Availability
- Connects directly to the UA MapMyRun app via Bluetooth for running metrics.
- Material choices and overall weight still make for a better trainer than a runner.
- Weighs in at 11.5oz/327g for a US Men’s 9, 9.24oz/262g for a US Women’s 7.
- Features 23mm of cushion and has a 9mm heel/toe drop.
- Retails at $150.00 USD and comes in 2 colors for Men and Women.
Let’s not mince words here, Under Armour is not the first name that jumps into your head when it comes to running and primarily this is due to their more training and even basketball focused history. They do have some faster shoes, but even these are still almost 10oz so our expectations were not high going in for the Phantom 2. However, they look pretty solid and they are doing a great job with the pitch around them so we went in with an open mind. Also, our hopes for the connected platform remain high as before the connection aspect seemed irrelevant.
Out of the box, they look great but don’t scream running. We immediately thought this a great shoe for a cross-fitter more than a straight running shoe. The bootie fit is snug and holds you well, but it does sit a little high. That upper is very thick so definitely feels warm out of the gate. The midsole has plenty of cushion in the heel and definitely firms up through the front of the foot.
In run, they are definitely heavy and it is noticeable feeling more like a hefty trail shoe than a road shoe. The heel strike is comfortable enough and then that firm forefoot definitely helps with forward motion. The heel counter holds you well and the laces do not let up so the shoe stays very snug throughout. It is an okay road shoe, nothing amazing, but it is decent.
On the down side, the upper on here is problematic for us. First, it comes too far up the ankle which leads to some skin abrasion requiring longer socks to mitigate. Next, they added perforations to the knit on the forefoot, but it still runs incredibly warm. There is just not enough airflow here. Lastly, the MapMyRun integration still just isn’t super compelling for us. We would remove it from the shoe.
Where the shoes shine is where we expected, in the gym or as a cross-functional shoe. They are very very capable when lifting or when doing some plyometrics, ropework, etc, and then can go for a short distance run. Here they work really well.
The upper is a bootie design and uses their SpeedForm 2.0 sock liner. The exterior is a very thick knit which feels good to the touch, but can definitely increase warmth a bit. As you get to the mid-foot area, the material changes to a thicker and tighter material which increases side to side stability. Further back, you get to a thick dedicated external heel counter. This comes in the form of that large black plastic wedge just below the pull tab. The lacing system uses these small loops in lieu of eyelets and they stay very snug during run. One note, it does come up on your ankle quite a bit.
The midsole starts with the UA HOVR technology which is their custom EVA setup. You can see this exposed on the front-half of the shoe, but then that wraps around another layer which continues to the heel. This is that same HOVR, but wrapped in a compression mesh. The heel does feel softer, presumably for heel striker support, but then firms up to the front for that toe-off. Also layered in here is their connected technology which is essentially a low powered Bluetooth platform.
The outsole on here is all rubber and it is a few millimeters thick. The also made it textured which increases traction and will extend the useful life, but definitely adds to the weight.
Style & Aesthetics
The Phantom 2 comes in both black and white variants and they are solid looking. That being said, they do look more like a trainer or even a low basketball shoe than like other runners out there. The upper materials have a nice patterning to them and the orange/red offers that nice pop of color.
The HOVR Phantom 2 is a solid looking shoe and we get plenty of comments about the aesthetic. However, the material choices make this shoe better designed for the training room more than the roads. The heavier upper, firmer midsole, and thick outsole all work better in the weight room and we really need to see these things lose some weight. Additionally, while the MapMyRun integration is a cool feature, we would drop it because it is just adding unnecessary weight. We would opt for something more like their Velociti 3 if you want a lighter road shoe.