If you quickly want to know what my pick is for the best Under Armour basketball shoes, then I’d recommend the Under Armour HOVR Havoc 2 as the best one.
Under Armour was once a fast rising young sports apparel brand that was recognized for its focus on improving athletic performance. The company has been in a challenging position lately in trying to gain back its popularity. Are their basketball shoes still worth considering if you are on the hunt for a good deal?
In this article, I will be reviewing five of the best Under Armour basketball shoes:
- Under Armour HOVR Havoc 2
- Under Armour HOVR Havoc 3
- Under Armour Lockdown 4
- Under Armour Jet 2019
- Under Armour Charged Controller
How Did Under Armour Start? (Brand History)
Under Armour was founded by Kevin Plank in 1996 when he came up with the “Shorty” T-shirt. This was his solution to the challenges that he faced as a football player for the University of Maryland. The Shorty was a cropped t-shirt worn underneath a football player’s uniform. It was meant to keep players comfortable by keeping sweat at bay. It was a close fitting garment that would not interfere with the player’s movements.
His first customers were former teammates from Maryland who went on to play in the National Football League (NFL). With the good feedback he received for his product, he started getting contracts to supply garments to universities, NFL teams, the National Hockey League (NHL), and was also outfitting the cast of football drama ‘Any Given Sunday’.
The company went public in 2005 and raised 157 million in their IPO. Driven by the great reception from investors after going public, Under Armour started venturing into athletic footwear in 2006 with football cleats followed by running shoes in 2008.
Entry Into the Basketball Shoes Scene
Under Armour started producing basketball shoes in 2010 with the launch of the Micro G line. These basketball shoes were light and comfortable and had great cushioning. The shoes were first made available to the high schools that were sponsored by Under Armour for trials and feedback before being made available to the public.
The first group of basketball players that endorsed the Under Armour shoes were Brandon Jennings, Kemba Walker and Derrick Williams.
Their biggest break into the basketball scene came when they signed Stephen Curry as brand endorser in 2013 on a contract that lasts until 2024. Steph Curry has since launched his own shoe line under the Under Armour brand, similar to Michael Jordan’s collection with Nike.
Under Armour’s Rise and Recent Challenges
Apart from Stephen Curry, Under Armour built a roster of high profile endorsers: Tom Brady (NFL), Bryce Harper (major league baseball), Jordan Spieth (golf), and Misty Copeland (ballet).
2015 was a landmark year for the company for a number of reasons. They overtook Adidas as the second largest sports apparel in the United States by sales. Although it was still a far second from Nike, the quick rise of the brand to the second position posted a very rosy outlook for them.
Under Armour became the darling of Wall Street and enjoyed the peak stock price of $51 from an initial public offering (IPO) price of $3.
The acquisition of fitness app companies MapMyRun, Endomondo, and MyFitnessPal in that same year made them owner of the largest digital fitness and wellness community.
Unfortunately, the brand started facing a few challenges in recent years beginning in 2017, not long after it’s phenomenal rise to the second place in the sports apparel market. Some of the challenges included:
- Initial differences in political views between the brand’s top ambassador, Stephen Curry, and then CEO Kevin Plank in 2017. This was promptly resolved and Steph Curry remains an endorser for the brand.
- Leftover merchandise worth $1.3 billion in 2018.
- Not capitalizing on the athleisure trend.
The brand had also started to lose its appeal with the younger crowd that it used to be popular with. Patrik Frisk joined Under Armour as president and COO in 2017 after leaving as CEO of Aldo. He was brought in by Plank to realign the company’s focus. He replaced Kevin Plank as CEO in January 2020.
Why should you consider Under Armour basketball shoes?
If you are looking for value and not too fussed about the brand and it’s struggles then you should definitely look at Under Armour basketball shoes.
Under Armour uses tried and tested materials for their shoes. Their midsoles are made of a variety of foam like ethylene vinyl acetate (EVA), Micro G foam which is what they used in their first basketball shoes and HOVR foam which is their most advanced and recent creation. All of these materials provide superior cushioning, great responsiveness, and are lightweight. In fact, similar materials can be found in higher priced basketball shoes.
Rubber with deeply etched patterns are used for the outsoles to ensure durability and proper traction. Breathable materials such as mesh or perforated leathers are used for the upper. This plus the lining around the shoes give your feet a comfortable experience.
Under Armour basketball shoes come at a very competitive price point when compared to Nike and Adidas. An even better deal if you get them on sale or on discount stores which has happened recently with their excess stock.
5 Best Under Armour Basketball Shoes
The Under Armour basketball shoes that I’ll feature in this selection will not include the Stephen Curry series. I will have a separate review on them coming very soon.
Let’s talk about the HOVR foam technology which is at the core of the Under Armour HOVR Havoc 2. HOVR is a foam created through a collaboration between Under Armour and Dow chemicals. This is Under Armour’s response to the Nike React and Adidas Boost. HOVR is extremely light and soft and gives excellent impact absorption.
An Energy Web compression mesh wraps around the HOVR midsole to help keep its shape and provide excellent responsiveness and bounce. The Energy Web mesh captures the energy from your foot’s movements and returns it back to you.
There is a TPU shank between the midsole and insole for extra stability. An EVA sockliner for additional cushioning and support. The outsole is made of rubber with a herringbone pattern which will prevent slippage while you run across the hardwood court towards the basket.
The shoe upper and tongue is made of breathable lightweight textile and mesh materials with a synthetic overlay for durability. The webbed lacing system secures the shoe firmly and comfortably to your feet. Each shoe weighs around 10.7 ounces which makes it one of the lighter shoes in the mid top category.
- HOVR foam midsole provides great cushioning and support
- Outstanding traction from the rubber outsole with traditional herringbone pattern
- Comfortable to wear
- Not true to size. Typically runs small.
- The perforations on the upper may not appeal to everyone
This is the 2020 update to the popular Under Armour HOVR Havoc 2 shoe that I reviewed above which was released in 2019. Like the Havoc 2, it uses the HOVR foam technology contained in Energy Web mesh on the midsole. You can rest assured that you’ll get the same performance in terms of responsiveness and energy return. The shoe provides great support for running and jumping. Perfect for maximizing your moves on the court.
The outsole is also made of rubber with a slightly different and more complex pattern. The unique pattern provides exceptional grip on the floor. Textile and mesh materials plus a synthetic overlay forms the upper. An EVA sockliner adds further cushioning.
You may be wondering, what should be my considerations if I’m deciding between the Havoc 2 and Havoc 3? Apart from the different outsole pattern, it mainly boils down to the shoe aesthetic and design. This is a highly subjective area so the choice will depend on your personal preference. You may also get a chance to purchase one or the other at a better price so that will be another deciding factor.
The shoe weighs 11.7 ounces, slightly more than the HOVR Havoc 2 but still very light. It is a solid option for the price.
- HOVR foam and Energy Web mesh provide reliable and solid performance
- Outstanding traction with unique outsole pattern
- Comfortable to wear
- Not as breathable as the HOVR Havoc 2
The Under Armour Lockdown 4 is a mid top shoe made of reliable materials. It is a no-nonsense shoe that provides the essential support for effective performance during basketball games.
A dependable EVA midsole provides adequate impact absorption and responsiveness. A sockliner enhances the cushioning and comfort. The hard wearing rubber outsole with linear and circular patterns provide considerable grip on floor surfaces. The upper is made of synthetic leather and has a clean and simple design. There are perforations on the upper for breathability.
At 13.2 ounces, it is on the higher end in terms of weight compared to other Under Armour shoes but still relatively light. It is a good economical option which I recommend if you are just starting on the game or looking for an alternate shoe for playing in the blacktop.
- EVA midsole provides ample cushioning
- Well-padded around the foot for optimal comfort
- Durable synthetic leather upper
- Runs narrow. Order half a size up for a better fit if you have wide feet.
- Slightly heavier than the other shoes in this list
Another strong contender from Under Armour is the Jet 2019 basketball shoes. This is a fantastic lightweight shoe weighing a mere 10.7 ounces that does the job well at a very good price.
EVA is used for both the midsole and sockliner so you have ample cushioning for your feet when you land from those jumps. A thin piece of material between the insole and midsole called a shank is placed in the midfoot area. This provides additional support and structure to help prevent your foot from rolling over as you run around the court. A rubber outsole with a unique traction pattern provides maximum grip for lateral movements.
The upper is made of a combination textile and synthetic leather with perforations for breathability. The durability of the upper is enhanced with thermoplastic polyurethane (TPU) overlay. An internal heel counter, bootie construction and laces secure the shoe to your foot for a precise fit.
- Excellent cushioning
- Durable outsole with great grip
- Very lightweight
- Runs narrow. Take half size up for better fit.
The Under Armour Charged Controller basketball shoe is a low top shoe suitable for point guards and shooting guards. These shoes feature a full-length Micro G midsole. The Micro G foam is 30% thinner than standard foam which allows a lighter weight and better control of your foot movements. By allowing the foot to be lower to the ground, your ability to change direction is enhanced.
The Micro G foam is complemented with a Charged Cushioning crash pad under the heel. This combination produces a shoe that delivers on cushioning, impact absorption and a high-level of energy return and bounce.
Do not let the 13 ounces weight fool you. This shoe feels light and comfortable. It has a seamless one piece textile knit upper which is flexible and breathable. Webbing bands and an external heel counter adds stability and better fit. The shoe comes with an Ortholite sockliner which not only molds to the shape of your foot, it also prevents growth of odor-causing microbes for enhanced comfort.
A rubber outsole with the traditional herringbone pattern mixed with diamond shapes ensures a great grip.
- Superior cushioning thanks to the Micro G foam and Charged Cushioning crash pad
- Allows for exceptional movement control, great for speedy guards
- Comfortable to wear
- The shoes look like trainers which may not appeal to everyone
- Fits narrow. Go up half a size for a better fit.
The Awesome Choice
Value for money basketball shoes that get the job done are what you can expect from Under Armour. The shoes in this review were carefully selected to bring you both. You can’t go wrong with any of the options that were presented.
If I were to choose one shoe from the list then my recommendation is the Under Armour HOVR Havoc 2. This shoe is one of the more recent releases from the brand. It incorporates their latest technology and delivers outstanding cushioning and support in a very lightweight package. The exceptional traction, comfort and performance will give you everything you need to put out your best performance in any basketball court.