Under Armour’s first carbon-plated race day shoe and the last of the big brands to join the super-shoe party. The Under Armour Flow Velocity Elite has a soft step-in feel, a smooth, responsive ride and a lightweight, highly breathable upper.
As well as adding to the energy return, the carbon plate creates a stable platform, something often lacking in super-shoes.
Under Armour Flow Velociti Elite – First Impression
The shoe feels light and at just 210g is very similar in weight to the Adidas Adios Pro 2 at 212g and the Nike Vaporfly Next% at 200g.
The very thin mesh upper and absence of a separate outsole to the shoe contribute significantly to this low weight.
It’s a soft and welcoming fit and the shoe does disappear around the foot thanks to that lightweight and soft, underfoot feel.
It’s a much softer feel than many of the brand’s training models, even the Flow Velocity
which feels much firmer under the foot.
The ride is soft and responsive with the now familiar energy return that we expect from carbon-plated racing shoes.
Whilst the carbon plate isn’t noticeable at first, the stability that it provides is. The ‘wobble’ of some super shoes is absent and makes for a much more balanced feel.
The WARP 2.0 upper construction is very breathable thanks to the open mesh construction and the stitched-on bands create shape, structure and support around the foot.
The Pebax foam midsole has a look and feel of that is used by other brands such as that found in the Saucony Endorphin Speed 3 and Pro 3.
Under Armour Flow Velociti Elite – The Tech:
The upper of the Under Armour Flow Velocity Elite uses the second generation of the brand’s WARP design. Here, a minimal open mesh construction has horizontal and vertical tapes stitched on that act like a car seat belt to hold the foot securely in place.
A 4-layer sole/midsole system provides the cushioning and energy return.
- Lightweight, soft TPU sock liner for step-in comfort.
- Pebax foam upper section of the midsole provides a high level of energy return.
- Full-length carbon-plate.
- A supercritical version of the brand’s Flow midsole (nitrogen-infused) creates a softer, lighter, and more responsive feel. The outsole is also illuminated without the loss of traction or durability.
Under Armour Flow Velociti Elite – Road Test:
Being fortunate to be invited to the European launch of the Flow Velocity Elite, I had the opportunity to speak to Under Armour’s director of performance footwear, Doug Smiley while trying the shoes.
You can see Doug talking about the Under Armour Velocity Elite here.
My first run in the shoes was just a few hours after arriving in Portugal. The initial feeling was one of surprise at the weight of the shoes. At just 210g, they are noticeably light shoes and really do seem to disappear on the foot.
The soft, step-in comfort is great, and they feel much softer than any previous model from Under Armour. Part of the shoe’s midsole is made up of the brand’s Flow foam, but here it’s Nitrogen injected to create a supercritical version that’s softer, lighter and more responsive.
The steady shake-out run was at a slow and easy pace, not the type of run the shoe is designed for, yet it did feel soft and stable and absolutely fine, even at this slow pace. Many superheroes feel unstable when jogging, but not so with the Velocity Elite.
A couple of ‘strides’ during the run gave a glimpse of what to expect when at a more race-like speed, the responsiveness coming through a little.
My second run in the shoes included a track session of a small pyramid workout. 200-400-800-400-200m.
Again, some super shoes would never make it onto the track due to the higher stack and somewhat unstable feel, but there was no hesitation to attack the bends at full speed. The shoe’s stability was reassuringly secure and even at a sub-5-minute pace, the shoe felt confident through the turns.
My third run on the Algarve was a 10k road run that set out at around an 8-minute mile pace and gradually picked up to finish at a 6-minute pace.
On the smooth roads, it feels equally silky smooth, it soaks up the impact and as the pace picks up the effect of the carbon plate becomes a little more noticeable, providing as much feedback as is put into it.
The shoe isn’t quite as aggressive as others such as the Mizuno Wave Rebellion Pro, but that makes me feel that it would be better suitable for half marathon and marathon distances. Ultimately, that is exactly what it has been designed to do.
The ultimate test will be in a half marathon at race pace or perhaps a long tempo run, but I’m confident it will stand up well here and be an option for longer races in the future.
Under Armour Flow Velociti Elite – Conclusion
The shoe reminds me a little of the Saucony Endorphin Speed 3, it does use a similar Pebax foam and has similar dimensions. Ok, the Saucony has a nylon plate, whereas the Velocity is carbon, but the shoe does feel and perform similarly.
One possible issue here is the price. Although similar to other carbon racers, I think the shoe would have been better placed at a sub £200 point.
My point is that all the competitor ‘big players’ with carbon shoes at £200+ have very well-established training shoes that runners are already somewhat attached to.
Faced with the competition, there’s nothing immediately obvious that makes Under Armour stand out above them. It’s a great shoe but given that it’s a little later to the market other brands have had a jump on them.
Going forward, we now know Under Armour can produce a great high-performance model.
That said, it might be a case of taking a step back in order to jump forward in the future. Consolidate their line-up of daily training models to gain some market share and lead these runners into the carbon-plated options.