UA Flow Velociti Wind 2 review: Smarter, faster running shoes


When you Google “best running shoes” you won’t find Under Armor at the top of many lists. It’s usually reserved for Brooks, Hoka, Saucony, Nike, New Balance and a few other specialty brands. But there’s one thing Under Armor has that those other well-established brands don’t – a range of connected running shoes. The latest is the $160 Under Armor Flow Velociti Wind 2, and as you might guess from the name, it’s meant to help you run faster.

The Velociti Wind 2 uses Under Armour’s all-in-one “Flow” foam. It acts as both a midsole and an outsole, reducing the overall weight of the shoe by 2-3 ounces. Flow foam is also meant to be “naturally sticky” for better traction without adding bulk. It also has a “Warp” upper that “conforms to the runner’s foot throughout their stride” using a blend of tricot, nylon and mesh. All of that is a fancy way of saying this is a fast, lightweight shoe that can handle varied terrain.

As for how it differs from the original Velociti Wind, I couldn’t tell at a glance. That’s because it’s essentially the same shoe, with some minor tweaks to the logo locations on the upper. Not the worst thing if you like the original shoe – just a little disappointing.

I have already tested three Under Armor connected sneakers (this is my fourth), and they all share the same basic features. There’s a sensor in the midsole of the right shoe that collects data about your running form. The sensor then connects to your phone via Bluetooth to provide feedback and audio coaching in the MapMyRun app. It’s quite simple. The interesting thing is that unlike other smart devices, the Velociti Wind 2 does not need to be charged. Never. (However, you need to update the firmware once you pair the shoes with your phone.)

The main reason you would get these over more traditional running shoes is for the smart coaching features. The shoes track metrics like cadence (how many steps you take in a minute), stride length, ground contact time, and foot strike angle. Together, these metrics can give you an overview of your running form. After each workout, you can access graphs in the MapMyRun app that contextualize the meaning of your individual numbers. I’ve run hundreds of miles in Under Armor smart shoes over the years, so I now know I’ve run well when my cadence is between 170 and 180 steps per minute, with a stride length of about 62 to 65 inches. I also know that my foot strike angle is usually between 7 and 9 degrees, but that doesn’t tell me much other than I tend to land on the midfoot.

Close-up of the bottom of the UA Flow Velociti Wind 2 shoe

“Flow” foam acts as both midsole and outsole to reduce shoe weight

Under Armor isn’t the first company to make this type of product. The first smart running shoe I tested was the Altra Torin IQ several years ago. They were… not great. Comfortable, sure, but smart coaching was buggy due to crappy connectivity. You don’t have that problem with Under Armor shoes. Setup is almost instantaneous and I’ve never had a problem with a shoe not connecting to the app. It’s good enough that you can get real-time audio cues where the MapMyRun app tells you if your cadence is too high or too low for your target pace. It’s slow at times, but they’ve been helpful reminders for me whenever my form starts to slip.

But my favorite – and most underrated – feature is that these shoes will let you know when it’s time to replace them. Apps like Strava and Runkeeper let you track your gear’s mileage, but it’s limited to activities logged in that app. The Velociti Wind 2 should last you around 300-400 miles, which is your average running shoe. Because these shoes are smart, they track your mileage whether or not you’ve logged a run, even if you don’t sync right away. Is it weird to get an email from your shoes telling you they’re about to die? Absolutely yes. But I also like not having to worry about accidentally wearing my running shoes on a casual walk.

Person tying a shoe next to a phone with the MapMyRun app displayed

The UA Flow Velociti Wind 2 pairs with the MapMyRun app.

Smart features are nice, but Under Armor also promises faster performance with this generation. I like to crack a marketing gimmick, but I have to give credit where the credit is due: I hit my fastest mile distance since I started half marathon training wearing these shoes.

In addition, the Velociti Wind 2 are really light. That’s what I noticed the most when I first put them on. In several passages, I had the impression of flying in my neighborhood. During a race, I managed to save 30 seconds on my average pace. This totally shocked me because I didn’t feel like I had put in much effort. I mostly run on sidewalks and concrete roads, so I can’t comment on how the Velociti Wind 2 handles trails, and I also like to avoid snow and ice. That said, on my runs they were more grippy than my regular Hoka Rincon 3.

But while Under Armor has delivered on many of its promises, choosing a running shoe involves more than just how fast you can run in them. Everyone’s running goals, feet and preferences are different. If you run a lot of dirt and gravel roads, you’ll probably want a trail shoe for better traction. If your feet roll inward, you may want stability or motion control shoes for better arch support. Maybe you run long distances and want a little more cushioning. They are lightweight neutral shoes which means there is no extra cushioning or support. Unfortunately the Velociti Wind 2 just aren’t the right shoes for me right now.

For the next few weeks, my goal is to build up my stamina so I can run my first half marathon continuously. without to hurt yourself. My usual route involves rough terrain which is hard on my ankles. I am also coming out of a year of injuries. In short, I want a comfortable shoe that allows me to walk longer distances without re-injuring myself. Speed ​​is not at the top of my priority list.

In fact, while I was a faster runner in the Velociti Wind 2, I had to shorten a few strokes. I wasn’t used to the lighter weight and ended up wearing out faster than I should have. It also has less cushioning than my Hokas, which meant I felt every patch of uneven ground go up on my knees. At 2.5 miles into a 5 mile run, I felt a pinch in my shin – my worst fear since shin splints sidelined me for two months last year. After three miles my toes started going numb. Out of an abundance of caution, I decided to stop for the day.

The MapMyRun app displaying shoe shape data on a phone

The shoes track cadence, stride, ground contact time and foot strike angle.

It freaked me out, but I decided to try again with insoles. After doing this I had a much better experience. I managed to complete my runs and even establish a new PR. But still, I noticed the beginnings of shin and knee pain at about 4 miles. Knowing that, there was no way I would risk running my weekly long run in these. For me, these shoes would be fine for shorter runs or speed work, but I definitely wouldn’t use them for a run longer than 10 km (6.2 miles).

Again, this is very specific to me, my goals, and my feet. If you like lighter, faster shoes, the Velociti Wind 2 can tick a lot of boxes, but you won’t know until you run in them.

Finally, $160 is a lot for a pair of running shoes. You can easily pick up a great non-smart pair for $120 or less. And that’s at retail – running shoes are cheaper to buy online and often on sale. You’re paying a lot for smart features here, and that makes me think.

Shot of person walking in UA Flow Velociti Wind 2

I would stick to shorter runs or speed work in these shoes.

The people who would benefit the most from walking coaching are beginners, but $160 is a lot to invest if they’re not even sure they like running. Also, while I liked Under Armor’s walk coaching at first, I’ve since moved on from it. My stats are so constant that I don’t learn much anymore. Also, since the sensor is only in the correct shoe, I don’t get a full picture of my running form. A few years ago, I had my running form analyzed at CES by Asics, and it revealed that I’m a bit of an asymmetrical runner. These shoes will not help me solve this problem. I had more in-depth experience with the Nurvv Run insoles, which monitor both feet and can even tell you if you’re over- or under-pronating. (That said, the Nurvv Run also had its fair share of limitations and was stupidly expensive at $300.)

Ultimately, if you’ve been running for a while, you probably already know what works for you. If you’re new, I can’t stress enough that you should go and get yourself installed at a running specialty shop first. But if you don’t mind the price and want some extra feedback, Under Armor connected shoes will give you the best experience at the most affordable price.

Source link


Comments are closed.