Crazy detail in new $200 shoe lets you ‘run faster’

A popular shoe brand has done something it’s never done before with its running shoes – and there’s a big reason for it.

I wish I loved running, but I don’t.

Well, I have a love-hate relationship with it. If I can get into a “flow state” it’s fine. But it takes a lot of concentration to get there, ie it’s a constant battle between trying to focus on enjoying my surroundings and trying to ignore that burning sensation that takes over my whole body.

I want to enjoy it because it’s actually fun to go for a run with friends and it’s a good way to get some cardio.

For me, it also comes down to the type of shoe I wear. If the shoes are uncomfortable, if they are too small or too bulky, it makes it even harder to enjoy the process because that’s all I focus on.

Plus, it’s hard to know which brand to go for, because they all claim to have the “best” shoe when it comes to running — and when you’re losing a few hundred bucks, you want to make sure it pays off. †

In saying that, Under Armor just released its new UA Flow shoes – UA Velociti Wind 2, and they sent me a pair to test out.

Let’s just say the shoe definitely made the process a lot easier. Has it converted me? Keep reading to find out.

For $200, you’d hope the product performs, especially with all the technology built into it.

In a nutshell, they’re unlike any other running shoe I’ve owned — and surprisingly, they actually do what they were designed to do — leave your feet feeling light.

Basically, there’s a reason they called it “wind”.

insane feature

What the UA team has done is eliminate the rubber outsole that running shoes usually have, which automatically makes the shoe lighter. It removes two to three grams of weight that the rubber would normally add to a traditional running shoe. Pretty cool.

This makes the shoe lighter and as Under Armor says “helps you run faster”.

There’s no magic button to make you run faster, of course, but the strategic design behind the shoe allows you to ramp up your pace and pace with much more ease.

“Running fast isn’t just about making the shoe light (although that does matter), it’s more about the holistic design and engineering,” said Douglas Smiley, Under Armor’s senior global product line manager for performance management.

“From a feel perspective, the UA Flow Velociti Wind 2 doesn’t have a rubber outsole, so there’s less between the runner feeling the ground.

“The ultra-flexible Flow midsole has a smooth, fluid feel and moves with the runner’s foot in motion, allowing for a quick turnaround when the runner wants to pick up the pace.”

Smiley said the shoe was something new and unique to UA’s running range, filling in a white space where the brand was missing as a “fast everyday sneaker”.

“It’s unique because it combines two new UA Run technologies – the Flow midsole unit and the WARP upper – into an unforgettable running experience,” he said.

Another great feature is that the shoes connect to the MapMyRun app, which offers personalized coaching.

Cool built-in technology

To be fair, all the shoes in the UA running shoe lineup now have a chip in the shoe that can be synced with the app. It gives you access to all your running stats so you can track your progress.

When I asked Mr. Smiley if the new shoe will help non-running enthusiasts (ie me) enjoy it more, he said, “Great question.”

“What I can say is that every runner will love the sense of speed the UA Flow Velociti Wind 2 was made for,” he said.

“We all want our next run to be the best and feel smooth, effortless and energized.”

I tried the shoe on a 5 km outdoor ride. At first I thought, “this doesn’t feel that different from my other trainers”.

But once I started to pick up the pace, I noticed a big difference.

I felt my foot and the shoe work as one, allowing me to think less and enjoy my surroundings more.

I mean, it didn’t take away that ugly burning sensation you get from running, but because I felt lighter, it made the process more enjoyable.

Before I knew it I was in 1km without constantly trying to talk myself out of the running. And for me that’s a win.

“The Wind 2 is really about the absence of sensation of not even hearing your foot touch the ground or noticing the upper. But to really hone in and be in the moment of your run,” said Mr Smiley.

“If you think about your shoes during a run, we haven’t done our job as product makers.

“But if we can eliminate all distractions and get you into a flow state for the entire run, then we’ve delivered something special.”

Finally I got there. But if you ask if it converted me, the answer is still no.

However, it has made the process easier, and I think that’s because of wearing the right footwear.

“It will feel like the shoe is working with you and not against you – and it will feel more like a natural extension of your body rather than something you’ve put on,” explains Mr. Smiley.

“No shoe does everything perfectly, so it’s really about creating the right cone of products that get you to your goals faster and more purposefully.”

The new shoe also has a pretty funky style.

Mr Smiley tells me it’s designed to look sleek and aerodynamic and so far “the feedback has been excellent”.

“I just got a note this weekend from a UA teammate in Baltimore (in the United States) who set a personal marathon record in the UA Flow Velociti Wind 2,” he said.

“It may seem small, but every time a runner has the confidence and confidence to run that distance in a new shoe like the UA Flow Velociti Wind 2, it’s confirmation that we’re on the right track.”

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