(c) Runner’s Tribe

Under Armour are a company on the rise – quite literally, its stock price is rocketing, and their running shoes too – are on the up.

The UA HOVR Machina 2 is a high-tech running shoe. With a propulsion plate made from Pebax, it also ‘coaches you in real-time’ via a Bluetooth chip that  connects to UA MapMyRun™.

A neutral high mileage trainer, the Machina is a durable, safe shoe for crunching out those long runs.

We whacked 110K into our pair, below is the rundown.

Specs

  • Km’s run during testing process: 110km
  • Testers: Two road/track runners.
  • Surface: Road and light trails.
  • Purpose:  Neutral high mileage daily trainer. Suitable for long runs and easy runs.
  • Pronation: Neutral.
  • Stack Height: 31mm heel. 23mm forefoot. Note this includes the height of the removable footbed/sockliner/insert.
  • Heel-to-toe-drop/pitch: 8mm
  • Weight: Quite heavy, but durable (see the below table for brand comparisons)
  • Men: 9 US:  290g.
  • Men: 11 US: 318 grams.
  • Midsole: UA call it ‘HOVR cushioning’. According to the company it involves ‘a full-length, soft HOVR surrounded by a mesh ‘Energy Web ‘ that creates a zero-gravity feel and energy return.’  Wow – zero-gravity feel!!! 😉
  • Outsole: Full length independent rubber outsole has been stuck onto the bottom of the midsole.  Results in awesome grip, and great durability.
  • Upper: Mesh upper with overlays over the heel counter for added strength. No ventilation holes.
  • Flexibility: Moderately flexible, quite easy to bend.
Under Armour HOVR Machina 2. Quite a flexible shoe, despite it’s pebax based midsole propulsion plate

 

  • Toe Box:  Standard UA toe box. Very traditionally shaped with a narrow toe box. Not ideal for those who enjoy toe splay.
  • Durability: Excellent.
  • Density of midsole: The HOVR midsole is quite soft. But it is counteracted by the propulsion plate that is found wedged in the centre of the midsole.
  • Heel cushioning: Soft.
  • Forefoot cushioning: Soft.
  • Heel counter: Hard/rigid, doesn’t collapse easily.
  • Fits: Runs true to size.
  • Marketing Hype: Low.
  • Does it live up to the hype: Sure.
  • Price: $220 AUD at:

Against Some Rivals

 

Shoe (all size US 9 Men Weight (grams) Drop(MM) Stack Heights (heel/forefoot cushioning)
Under Armour HOVR Machina 2 290 grams 8mm 31mm heel/23mm forefoot
Hoka Rincon 210grams 5mm 32mm/27mm
Hoka Clifton 7 255grams 5mm 32mm/27mm
Hoka Mach 4 227grams 5mm 29mm/24mm
Hoka Carbon X 2 241 grams 5mm 39mm/34mm
Saucony Kinvara 212 grams 4mm 28mm/24mm
Nike Vomero 281grams 10mm 27mm/17mm
Nike Pegasus 266grams 10mm 28mm/18mm
Adidas Solar Boost 301grams 10mm 28mm/18mm
Asics Nimbus 315grams 10mm 31mm/21mm
Mizuno Wave Rider 289 grams 12mm 32mm/20mm
Brooks Glycerin 309 grams 10mm 32mm/22mm
Brooks Ghost 286grams 12mm 29mm/17mm
Nike Infinity React 281grams 8mm 34mm/26mm

NB: To be fair, comparing the Machina 2 to say a HOKA Rincon isn’t fair.  The Rincon is a lightweight fun and fast shoe, with average durability. While the Machina 2 is a durable workhorse of a high mileage trainer. It should really be compared mainly to shoes like Brooks Glycerin, or Brooks Adrenaline.

 

Cool Things 

  • Durability: The Machina 2 is a workhorse. With a thick layer of outsole rubber, durable HOVR midsole foam, and a high class upper, the Machina 2 is designed to last close to 1000km.
A thick full length outsole rubber, adds greatly to the shoe’s durability and grip.
  • Smart Shoe: It is an area of the running shoe market that has maybe been a little slow to develop; smart running shoes. UA are leading the way, and are taking huge steps forward with their Bluetooth connectivity and UA MapmyRun app. The app also offers ‘form coaching’ that provides live feedback and custom advice to runners on how to improve their run.   Maybe lots of runners don’t care, but plenty do, and for those that do, UA is currently the only real option.
  • Pebax Propulsion Plate: Reminiscent of Mizuno’s midsole Pebax Wave Plate, UA have placed a Pebax plate in-between the midsole and outsole, in the middle third of the shoe. The plate has numerous functions: it adds support and structure to the shoe, and also helps to increase the responsiveness of the ride, making it a snappier shoe. Important to note, the plate is made using Pebax, not carbon fibre, thus it is softer and more flexible.

 

Neutral Ponderings

  • Narrow Toe Box: Squeezing into UA shoes reminds me of most Nike trainers. A remarkably similar midsole mould and last shape have been deployed by both brands. UA seem to love their narrow toe boxes. For those who enjoy their toes splaying to some degree, UA isn’t the brand for you.
A traditional toe box shape, designed for those who like narrow fits.

To buy?

Under Armour are huge in North America, and their Australian footprint is rapidly growing. If they continue to produce workhorse shoes like the UA HOVR Machina 2, then expect their market share to continue its uptrend.

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