Under Armour has introduced its latest shoe cushioning invention, calling it HOVR and launching it in two new running shoe styles, the Sonic and the Phantom.
The Baltimore brand says HOVR gives athletes cushioning, shock absorption and energy, and says it plans to incorporate the technology into other sports categories in coming seasons. The mid-sole is made of a foam compound Under Armour developed in partnership with Dow Chemical. The “energy web,” a mesh fabric, wraps the cushioning core.
“The development of UA HOVR was inspired by the insight that every step a runner takes has the impact of 2-4x their body weight, holding them down,” Dave Dombrow, chief design officer, said in the company’s announcement. “The UA HOVR underfoot returns that energy and makes every stride feel light and effortless.”
Under Armour, Nike, Adidas race to 'personalize' products with new technology. The sports brands are banking on a growing consumer appetite for shoes and apparel that look or feel as customized as a high-end haircut.
The Sonic and Phantom will be available with a high-fidelity sensor embedded in the shoe, allowing runners to connect digitally to the MapMyRun app to track stride length, cadence, pace, distance and shoe life. The digital versions come with an annual subscription to MapMyRun.
Designers looked to mesh digital capabilities with comfort and “performance advantages previously available only to the world’s most elite athletes,” saidTopher Gaylord, general manager of UA Run.
Sonic, designed for distance, will sell for $100, or $110 for digitally connected, while the Phantom, which emphasizes cushioning, will sell for $130, or $140 for connected. The footwear is being sold on Under Armour’s website, at Under Armour Brand House stores and at specialty stores.
The shoes also are starring in a new Under Armour-produced video showing runners sprinting and leaping through the streets.