Long distance running has been undergoing a revolution for several years now.

In the highest echelons of the sport, athletes are regularly smashing long-held records thanks to two major developments: improved energy return in shoes and better training protocols. These advancements have been democratised to benefit casual runners too. Under Armour’s new Hovr Phantom 2 epitomises this with its advanced materials, construction, and tracking functionality.

Under Armour Hovr Phantom 2 red

MATERIAL ADVANCEMENTS

The Hovr Phantom 2 was designed to push the boundaries of comfort and control. For years, the industry standard for running shoe cushioning has been ethylene-vinyl acetate (EVA) foam. This material is light and flexible, but comes with tradeoffs. For a more responsive ride, it must be made stiffer, which limits its shock absorption. A softer and more comfortable ride, on the other hand, comes at the expense of energy return.

To circumvent this limitation, Under Armour did something revolutionary. It developed a new cushioning material with Dow Chemical called Hovr, which absorbs impact while maintaining good responsiveness. Hovr, in turn, is wrapped in Under Armour’s proprietary Energy Web mesh to maintain its shape, thus directing the transition from foot strike to toe-off. The result is a balance between comfort and responsiveness.

Under Armour Hovr Phantom 2 white

To complement this two-layer solution to the midsole’s construction, Under Armour has given the Hovr Phantom 2 a socklike upper for a closer and more comfortable fit, while also equipping it with an external heel counter for stability. Thus, you can expect a cushioned yet efficient ride in these shoes, whatever your mileage, cadence, and preferred foot strike.

YOUR SHOE’S YOUR NEW COACH

The shoes aren’t the full story here though. The Hovr Phantom 2 comes embedded with a chip that allows its wearer to connect to the UA MapMyRun app, which tracks and analyses every step taken. Stride length, cadence, distance, and foot strike angle are just some metrics that are monitored to build a comprehensive picture of each run in real time. With this, the app then provides personalised coaching via a synced device to help the wearer become faster, stronger, and more efficient. Of course, training plans, progress monitoring, and community-based activities are all par for the course for the UA MapMyRun app too.

Under Armour Hovr Phantom 2 black

The technologically advanced Hovr Phantom 2 offers quite an experience for its wearer, and will appeal to hardcore runners who want to squeeze the most out of every session. Casual runners, however, will also appreciate what it has to offer, especially in terms of comfort and efficiency.

Jamie Tan