UA HOVR Machina Review
- 8.7 oz (men) 10.4 oz (women)
- 8mm heel/toe drop
Under Armour’s new HOVR Machina are shoes that coach you and shoes that coax you. With its digital connection to MapMyRun and neutral, high-rebound, engineered cushioning, these shoes do both as a smart distance trainer.
Form Coaching, “Un-caged” HOVR foam the full length and width of the midsole, Pebax propulsion plate.
This is the shoe for you if…
You are training for a road half or full marathon, seeking a responsive and well-cushioned ride and want cues to monitor and improve your form.
The Machina’s HOVR energy-returning midsole is both forgiving and carrot-like, coaxing you through the gait cycle with encouraging engineering to get you quickly onto your forefoot for toe-off. The two-pronged carbon-filled Pebax propulsion plate, a technology UA borrowed from its track spikes, provides for quick transitions and roll-through.
While previous HOVR models had an EVA-foam frame surrounding their high-rebound energy-return foam, UA tuned the Machina’s midsole geometry to require less of a “cage” holding in the HOVR. Now a small, roughly H-shaped frame lies only on the bottom of the sole, saving weight and enhancing the bouncy cush with a full-width layer of HOVR open on the sides. This configuration allows for 20% more HOVR cushioning and energy return than the Infinite—a difference you can feel with your first step.
HOVR’s secret sauce is a waxy synthetic foam from Dow Chemical, called Olefin, that when infused in the midsole is both resilient and durable. The solid carbon rubber outsole and rearfoot pods may be a bit of overkill, but certainly adds to the shoe’s durability, as does the engineered mesh upper and stabilizing heel counter. On their initial runs, testers found the upper fit to be true to size, snug and plush, a nice pairing with the cushy ride of the HOVR midsole. That ride is both cushy and snappy, providing a comfortable, every-day feel that doesn’t get in the way of a quick turn-over whenever desired.
The smart technology that uses an imbedded chip to connect with UA’s MapMyRun not only tracks your speed and distance, but monitors your stride length and cadence, even providing real-time, personalized tips. These tips are based on patterns and correlations gleaned from Under Armour’s extensive MapMyRun database, showing relationships between cadence, pace and physical characteristics such as age, weight, height and gender.
The run tech also provides foot strike angle and ground contact time, offered in a post-run analysis, which is especially useful showing how your form changes, such as when it breaks down due to fatigue on longer runs. These features are available through UA’s MapMyRun, part of the world’s largest digital health and fitness community of 270 million users.
The Machina’s data and coaching features are unique, as is the specific tuning of its ride. Other shoes with a similar high-rebound ride include: adidas Ultraboost 20; Altra Torin 4 Plush, Asics GEL-Nimbus Lite, Brooks Levitate 3; Mizuno Wave Horizon 3, Saucony Freedom 3, Skechers GOrun Ride 8 Hyper.
Shoe of the week reviews are based on initial impressions of our staff and wear-testers after a few runs in the shoes. We publish more extensive reviews based on comparative evaluations by multiple testers each season.