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.
Made out of solid rubber, the outsole has a lot going on. It’s not just a simple rubbery design that you see in pretty much any other running shoe. No this is a solid rubber outsole that covers high impact zones for greater durability with less weight. And if you take a closer look at the outsole, you’ll notice the tiny black pods. Well, they’re made out of blown rubber and can be found on the forefront of the outsole and on the back.
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.
Deep flex grooves on the side of the midsole across the anatomical flex zone allow the foot to move efficiently, and they’re in the close proximity to the pods in the forefront of the running shoes. The pods mentioned earlier allowed the sneakers to have more bounce and boost, while the flex grooves (it'a funny name isn’t it?) allowed the foot to move efficiently while running. But over here, the true star is the Under Armour HOVR cushioning system. Soft Under Armour HOVR foam is combined with wit highly dynamic energy webs in order to create an incredible zero gravity feel and a lot of energy returns. Why is the zero-G feel and energy return implemented in these sneakers?
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.
Be prepared, there’s a lot more going on in the upper. That’s right. The upper of the HOVR Guardian is probably one of the best that’s ever been made in the UA’s history, and frankly a lot more care and attention to details have been put in the making of the upper. But at the same time, the upper has been made with great amount high tech features like the rest of the shoe structure. The entire upper of the sneaker is constructed out of engineered mesh that’s extremely lightweight and breathable at the same time and it allows strategic support where you need it the most. You’ll notice that the mesh is bigger on certain places (like the toe area) and a lot smaller on other areas (like the sides and the opening), and that’s the exact meaning of„where you need it the most“. The foot sweats a lot more on the toe areas, so the mesh is much pronounced there. Your feet definitely don’t sweat near the ankles, so the mesh is much smaller and less pronounced there.
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.
In terms of comfort, the Under Armour HOVR Guardian is truly best of the best. It fits like a glove and then it helps you to achieve the best results. How? By allowing you to feel like an astronaut on a moon-walk, thanks to the specific cushioning
system. The soft UA foam and the dynamic energy web create a lightweight feeling, and the sneakers also give you back the energy that you lost while running. The energy return topped with the fantastic UA foam is the best possible combo for the comfort that you crave in a sneaker.
The blown rubber pods at the forefront of the sneaker really make all the difference. The outsole is wonderful all by itself, but those little pods will for sure give you the support that you need in a running shoe. And you thought that the support of the sneaker is solely based on little rubbery pods? No, of course not. The upper is reinforced with a pronation decelerator chassis which acts as a compass for your feet. If successfully guides the foot in alignment and allows it not to stray after a prolonged time in motion.
The charged foam in HOVR Guardian brings out the stability in an almost effortless manner but that’s just one part of the stability equation. The other part comes from the visible external heel counter. That plastic heel
that sits right above the heel is also responsible for delivering the stability in the sneakers as well and it guides the foot into the most efficient foot strike. How? By limiting the excess heel motion in the sneaker.
What would a running shoe be, without a mesh? Seriously. The mesh that’s concentrated all around the upper delivers the airflow in a more controlled way, which allows for the foot to remain moist and odor-free during the entire time that it’s in motion. The mesh at the front of the upper has slightly larger perforations, while the mush on the side and at the back of the upper has smaller size
With a price tag
that ranges from 120 up to 150 dollars, the HOVR Guardian running sneaker is expensive, but oh so worth buying. It’s an expensive investment, but if you’re a competitive runner, it’s an investment that will bring you a great return.
The entire sneaker is designed to give you a better fit. The fit of the HOVR Guardian is not limited solely to one part, but the fit is a joint effort. The 3D molded sock liner is in the first line of defense and so is the plush comfort collar at the top of the upper. The chassis gently and comfortably guide the foot into alignment and the Cushioning system brings out the best in terms of comfort. So, all of the things are responsible for the fit, and the HOVR Guardian will give you the maximum of it.
The brilliant UA HOVR Guardian’s anatomic
design is even more remarkable than its gender-specific fit, but frankly, as this review demonstrates, that’s not the only part of the sneaker that can be described as remarkable. The shoe’s style is constructed specifically to meet each gender’s anatomical needs, and let’s not forget patterns built to accommodate each gender’s dimorphic needs. It’s beautiful, comfortable and supportive at the same time. It’s high tech and stylish to satisfy even the pickiest of runners, and you’ll be going back for more to the UA’s official site.
The Under Armour HOVR Guardian is a running sneaker that not only has a gender-specific fit, it also has supportive chassis that decelerates the rate of pronation in order to promote the most comfortable and efficient running of your life. The sneakers won’t feel bulky or heavy, but very lightweight and highly breathable since they’re made with highly durable mesh in the upper and blown rubber pods in the outsole. But that’s not it. The soft Under Armour foam gives out the zero gravity feeling, while the dynamic energy web ensures comfortable landing and springy takeoffs each and every time.
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.