Under Armour HOVR Guardian Review
Have you ever wondered about the origins of the running shoes? Or the running sneakers as they’re called today? Well, it’s hard to believe but they go way back, all the way to the 18th century. People weren’t exactly using them to run marathons, but they were quite in demand with the simple peasant folks who used them for plowing and work on the field.
They were rubber-soled shoes called plimsolls, but they were very uncomfortable. The plimsolls were pretty crude and uncomfortable and there was no way to differentiate which sneaker was for the left foot and which was for the right.
Things improved in the 19th century when U.S. Rubber Company produced the famous rubber sneakers with canvas tops, called Keds, but the true development of the sneakers came in the 20th century. For instance, the NBA star Chuck Taylor promoted the Converse All-Stars running shoes and since then they bear his name. They’re known as Chuck Taylor All-Stars and are one of the best selling running shoes in history.
But for now, let’s look at the Under Armour HOVR Guardian. This is a true pinnacle of modern technology and probably one of the best running shoes in existence.
UA HOVR technology
Medial post chassis
Full-length EVA sockliner
UA’s Record Sensor
The heel measures 26.5 mm in height, while the forefront measures 18.5 mm. They’re strategically placed on the forefront, and under the heel of the outsole in order to deliver greater traction and durability at high-impact strike zones. Think about it. Not only you’ll be secured and protected by the blown rubber pods, but the very few seconds of your running will also be filled with more bounce, boost from the get-go and much easier smooth take off. Oh, and the outsole to midsole offset is just 8 mm, which makes for one smooth running shoe.
Well, to a runner they mean everything. Very few people have actually been in a zero-G environment, but if you’ve seen footage of it, the first thing you’ll notice the lightweight feeling and the bounciness that the zero gravity gives to the person. Under Armour is trying to replicate that feeling of lightness and with the Guardian, running sneakers is trying to give you back the energy that you’ve spent while running. Both of them are important, but if your feet get tired fairly quickly you’ll enjoy the energy return a bit more. The Guardian running sneaker will be able to return some of the energy that you spent while running by allowing you to have the best comfort and cosines that you can have.
Oh, and you know what’s the best feature that these running sneakers have? They’re connected. Yup, that’s right. A pod is embedded in the midsole of the right shoe and that pod is connected via Bluetooth to MapMyRun. It allows runners to track their run data without a device, to receive virtual personalized coaching about the gait, stride length, pace, speed and so much more. All these metrics help to guide the runner to make their runs more efficient and to know where to improve in order to become better and faster.
Of course, there’s the fantastic 3D molded sock liner. It’s made out of highly durable open-cell PU foam and like the sneaker itself, its gender specific. What does it mean? Well, it basically means that it’s constructed specifically to meet each gender’s anatomical needs. Men and women have very different and anatomically shaped feet, and UA wants’ to allow more comfort by replicating the specifics of the anatomy and insert them in a quality a 3D molded sock liner. The medial post chassis in the upper helps to guide a proper foot-strike and to prevent over-pronation, but the rigid external heel counter that fits at the back of the upper is there for the much needed superior.
That particular support keeps the back of the foot locked in place, and helps you to have better control of your feet when they’re in the sneakers.
No, we’re not done yet. The high-tech and elaborate futures in the upper don’t end here, as there are plenty more things to be mentioned about these sneakers. If you do choose to run at night and in places that are dimly lit, don’t worry. The Guardian will guard your feet like no other sneaker. Reflective details are deliberately inserted to allow you increased visibility on low-light runs, and the lacing system that sits on the front of the upper doesn’t have the classic tying in a bow option. The laces are modeled to allow the foot to move easily in the sneaker and to feel secure without the need of fastening.
The upper is also equipped with 360 degrees of reflectivity, which allows you to work out and run in poorly lit areas, and the plush collars help a lot in the comfort department. Why? It cushions the ankle and protects the Achilles from irritation. But if there’s a flaw in the design of the sneakers is the addition of connectivity. The connection to MapMyRuns necessary and there are better ways to measure the distance, the speed and the performances on the person that’s running. It’s a high tech feature, but it’s highly unlikely that anyone will be using the Record sensor technology in these sneakers. It would have been much nicer if some other parts of the sneakers were improved (like the lacing system), but the digital connection of the sneakers to an app is not a high priority. It’s a great shoe nonetheless.