The Under Armour HOVR Sonic will likely be one of the more popular and talked about road shoes this season. This shoe was designed with the distance runner in mind and the proprietary HOVR foam’s provides an energy return to help eliminate impact as you rack up miles. The Under Armour HOVR Sonic is a responsive, lightweight, connected shoe that hits a good price point and feels fun to run in. (Note: Ben’s input is provided as well)
- Weight: 8oz/225g
- Offset: 8mm
- Stack Height: 21mm to 13mm
- Category: neutral
- Fit: true to size (i.e., your normal running shoe size)
- Size tested: women’s 9
- Upper: fully knit upper with heel counter in the back
- Midsole: UA HOVR Foam, a lightweight alternative to EVA foam
- Features: HOVR technology with zero gravity feel and energy return, UA’s Record Sensor secured in watertight casing in the shoe’s midsole, removable sock liner, flat lacing,
- Price: $110
- Color Options: Grey, White, Blue
What’s Good: The New, Differentiating, or Simply Well Designed or Built Features
This is clearly THE feature of the HOVR line of shoes, which currently includes the Sonic and Phantom. The HOVR Foam was designed to be responsive, delivering a snappiness on toe off and a rebound that feels as though the shoe is helping you push yourself forward. The HOVR Foam was created with Dow Chemical (the chemical names is Olefin) and it is bouncy and soft, and supposedly unaffected by temperature so you won’t see changes in compression due to a change in seasons. It makes up the HOVR Core of the midsole. The Core is wrapped in an Energy Web to ensure that the foam doesn’t get overly compressed. What this translates to is a lightweight shoe that feels exceptionally responsive.
Ben: I love Sarah’s technical description of what’s going on with the midsole – shoe geeks unite! I really enjoy the midsole & ride. I feel it strikes a great balance of being plush yet responsive. It’s a heavier midsole (i.e., most of the weight of the shoe is focused in the midsole) but it’s oh so comfortable.
This upper is unique in that it is 90% knit with no overlays to add weight or stiffness. The knit is soft, comfortable, and breathable. The weave gets tighter in areas that need more support (toe box and mid foot) and is more open throughout the rest of the shoe. It’s so open that you can actually see your socks through the shoe. Due to the lack of overlays this shoe is forgiving for someone who has a wider foot. Unlike the rest of the shoe, the heel does have some rigidity to it and that helps to keep the heel in place. I found that I didn’t need to use heel lock lacing with this shoe.
Ben: I absolutely LOVE this upper. It’s probably the best knit upper I have seen on a running shoe. It is somehow lightweight, structured, and breathable. The de-coupled external heel counter really makes for a comfortable fit around the heel too. And did we mention the tongue? Wowza! Step-in the shoe, tie it, and you are locked in perfectly.
UA Record Sensor
The Under Armour HOVR Sonic is a connected or smart shoe. It has a sensor in watertight casing located in the shoes midsole. This sensor connects with MapMyRun (MMR) and provides on the go information such as cadence, stride length, pace, distance, and shoe life. I almost always run with my Garmin so I don’t need pace and distance info, but I found the added details of cadence and stride length to be a nice feature, as well as automatically tracking shoe mileage.
If you connect to the MMR app for your run you’ll get highly accurate mileage and pacing data. When compared to my Garmin 910xt I was never more than .1 mile off on MMR and that was after an 11 mile run. If you go sans phone you’ll get all of the data less a map of your route, however I did find the mileage to be much less reliable without my phone. On a 10-mile run I ended up with a full extra mile when I didn’t connect to MMR.
If you are a Strava fanatic or prefer to track your runs in a different app, you can easily download a GPX file out of MMR and upload the file into your preferred tracking app.
The shoe is $100 in the ‘regular’ version or $110 in the ‘connected’ version. That’s a great value for a fantastic road running shoe.
What Could be Improved: Tweaks or Improvements that Could be Made to Make the Shoes Better.
I ran in a variety of conditions including snow and ice covered roads, wet and dry roads, and a very short amount of dry trail, and I found the sole to be grippy through them all. The only critique I have is that the sole seems to be wearing down very quickly. After only 70 miles I’m seeing significant wear along the outer edges of the shoe. I’d be surprised if the Sonic was more than a 300 mile shoe.
Ben: I agree with Sarah. The full coverage rubber outsole is great but it’s a soft, blown rubber that will not likely not last past 300-350 miles for most I would bet. My only other minor complaint is that I’d love to see about an ounce knocked off the weight of the shoe (though that is probably very hard to do simply because these new modern midsoles are heavier across the board.)
When to use them: The Situations or Scenarios Where the Under Armour HOVR Sonic Excels
The Under Armour HOVR Sonic is a great daily training shoe and will excel for speedwork due to its highly responsive design and built in metrics. The longest run I did was 12 miles and I didn’t feel as though that was pushing the limit of the shoe.
Due to the very open construction of the knit upper I would not take this shoe on muddy or dusty trails, as I think you’ll quickly find your shoe full of mud or grit.
How They Compare to my Current Shoes
Topo Ultrafly: The Topo Ultrafly was my go-to daily road shoe prior to trying the HOVR Sonics. I love the Ultrafly for its lightness and wide toe box. The Sonic is not as wide as the Ultrafly, but due to its all knit construction it feels wider than it actually is. The difference in drop is noticeable between the two shoes, and I feel like I am propelled forward more in the Sonic.
Should you Purchase? My Overall Recommendation on Whether to Purchase These Shoes
I give the Under Armour HOVR Sonic an enthusiastic thumbs up and would recommend it to anyone who is putting in a regular training time on the roads. The shoes is well constructed, it is comfortable right out of the gate, and it feels fun to run in it. The connectedness to the MMR app is an added bonus. And at $100-110 it’s a great value.
[Ben reviews the Under Armour HOVR Sonic at the end of this interview with Ladia Albertson-Junkans. His comments are similar to Sarah’s and his notes here…he gives the shoe an enthusiastic thumbs up.]
Purchasing Information for UA HOVR Sonic
If you are interested in purchasing these shoes, check out your local, independently-owned running specialty store to check them out. Click here to go straight to Women’s HOVR Sonic on the Under Armour Website.