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Under Armour is a brand that is more known for its apparel than its footwear. The Baltimore based company has been making running shoes since 2006 but since then, they've failed to set the world alight with something truly exciting in the performance running shoe category.
They hope to change things with the Flow Velociti Wind. Under Armour has given the Velociti Wind a major marketing push on all their social media channels and it's working because every running shoe geek is talking about it.
The Velociti Wind is a new shoe which features Under Armour’s brand new midsole foam, Flow. The difference between Flow and older Under Armour foams is that Flow is lighter and abrasion resistant enough to be used without any outsole rubber.
Other brands that have been using ground contact midsole tech in their trainers have found a lot of success over the years: New Balance has the Beacon, Saucony has the Kinvara and Hoka has the Carbon X and all of them are very popular running shoes.
The benefit of having minimal or no outsole rubber is that the weight is reduced significantly and ground feel is greatly increased. The downside is that durability is a big concern.
Under Armour says that the Velociti Wind is designed for speed over longer distances. In its price category it competes with the Puma Deviate Nitro, the Nike Zoom Fly 3 and Under Armour’s own Machina but unlike those shoes, the Velociti Wind doesn't have a plate in its midsole and is also much lighter.
241g (men’s US9)
The execution of the Velociti Wind’s WARP upper is near flawless. The fit is true to size, extremely comfortable and highly breathable.
It's made from a super-engineered mesh which resembles papier-mâché from far. It feels rough to the touch and has a net-like structure which is not far off from Atomknit on the Alphafly.
This open, net-like structure allows air to pass easily through it and it makes the Velociti Wind perfect for the Singapore climate. The shoe works best with thin socks because the upper is fitted and there isn't much extra room.
The tongue is flat, lightly padded and fully sleeved so the tongue stays in place with no tongue slide whatsoever. It also has perforations punched into it to make the shoe cooler.
The laces are flat, stretchy and stay tied during runs. Under Armour includes a spare set of laces in the box which is a rare occurrence with running shoes these days and a very nice touch from UA.
There is a hard internal heel counter to add structure and support. The heel collar is generously padded and doesn't come up high so it won't irritate your ankles like some other Under Armour shoes do. Overall heel lockdown is excellent and very comfortable.
The fit is a little on the narrow side so it might not be suitable for wide-footed runners. It only comes in a standard width for now.
The arch can be felt against the medial side of the foot but it isn't as intrusive as the arch of the Nike Infinity Run and as soon as you start running, the arch sensation disappears.
There are also six reflective horizontal strips on the heel for night visibility from the rear.
There isn't any sink-in feel but the 4mm thick molded sockliner adds some extra step-in comfort.
The upper, metallic black part of the midsole looks like a separate layer but it's just paint. The midsole is one piece of single-density, Flow foam.
The sides of the black part are raised at the midfoot and rear so the rails keep your foot centred during ride transitions.
The Velociti Wind comes with Under Armour's sensor baked into its midsole inside the midfoot of the right shoe. This sensor stores data such as your cadence, distance run, pace and stride length which can be accessed via the MapMyRun app.
You don't even need to take your phone with you on runs; the sensor stores all the data. Most runners already use a GPS watch to view their running metrics but it's still a nice feature to have which is unique to the high-end UA shoes.
The rear part of the midsole is split into two which is 2021’s hottest running shoe trend. We've already seen this on the Kinvara 12, Hoka Mach 4 and Carbon X 2 but on the Velociti Wind it's more subtle. This design is purely cosmetic and doesn't affect the ride of the shoe.
The absence of any outsole rubber makes your foot sit lower to the ground. When running in the shoe, you get a high level of ground feel which makes runs feel more engaging.
The outsole pattern has grooves cut into it to save some weight, increase flexibility and improve traction.
Durability is always a big concern when it comes to ground contact outsoles but the Velociti Wind's outsole durability is nothing to worry about.
After 80 kilometres, there is only noticeable wear on the high wear areas: on the outer lateral heel and under the ball of the foot but the Flow foam is even more abrasion resistant than some outsole rubbers from other brands.
Compared to other ground contact midsoles, Flow foam is more durable than the Hoka Rincon and New Balance Beacon and on par with the Nike Epic React.
Traction is good on dry surfaces but slightly slippery on smooth, wet surfaces like tile and cobblestone. The Velociti Wind is not a shoe that you want to run in while it's raining or the ground is soaked because of the lack of protruding lugs.
The light weight of only 241g makes the Velociti Wind a very versatile shoe. It can be used as a daily trainer as well as for faster workouts like tempo or interval runs.
There isn't much plush, sink-in cushioning so the shoe shines when running fast, below 5.30 per kilometre.
The Velociti Wind is a very “snappy” feeling shoe because when its forefoot flexes, it quickly snaps back to its original position. It's very easy to pick up the pace and keep it there.
Long distances over 30 kilometres are doable in the Velociti Wind but only for runners who are used to firmer riding shoes because of the lack of cushioning depth.
The ride is incredibly smooth because of the full ground contact outsole and the one piece Flow midsole.
Stability in the Velociti Wind is also excellent because of the firm nature of the midsole. There isn't any lean bias and the side rails of the shoe make its ride very supportive.
The Flow Velociti Wind is one of the most innovative shoes that Under Armour has developed in the past 5 years and UA shoes can no longer only be thought of as heavy cross training shoes.
Under Armour finally has a lightweight tempo trainer that can compete with the likes of the Adidas SL20.2, the Brooks Hyperion Tempo, the Skechers Razor 3+ and the New Balance Beacon V3.
There's a lot of things to like about the Velociti Wind. It has an excellent upper, a smooth, stable ride and has great ground feel.
Yes, the Velociti Wind is expensive for a lightweight, tempo trainer that has no outsole rubber but you're getting a smart shoe with a sensor built into it which no other brand has.
With plans to launch even more running shoes built on UA’s new Flow midsole foam, it's an exciting time for Under Armour. Flow might not have the high energy return or the bouncy properties of Saucony’s Pwrrun PB, New Balance’s FuelCell or Nike’s ZoomX but it’s way better than any other midsole foam Under Armour currently has and it’s a big step in the right direction.
Reviewed by Brandon Law.