Shoebituary I: Velociti 2
We Gather Here Today to Mourn the Loss of the Under Armour HOVR Velociti 2. The Shoes Lived a Long, Full Life of 700km.
To provide a little extra context for this review, here’s some basic info on me as a runner: Mid-thirties, ~183cm, ~75kg, neutral pronation with a slight tendency towards supination, fairly narrow feet with high-ish arches, mild heel-striker approaching mid-foot (on a good day), preference towards cushioning on the softer side of neutral, not a fan of heavy-duty uppers or heavily padded tongues. *I’m not saying this is relevant to my experience of this shoe, I’m just putting it out there in case you feel it is.
The Velociti 2 has an 8mm drop with a stack height of 23mm in the heel and 15mm in the forefoot. It weighs about 300g in my size (46) and set me back 398元 (~$60 US, at time of writing).
If you’re looking for a summary and don’t want to read on — or you think my writing sucks— then here’s my take on the shoe:
It’s a good-if-not-spectacular daily trainer that feels light on foot. I used it mostly for speed work and threshold runs, although if I were to buy it again I’d probably use it more for shorter and medium-distance running at easy to moderate paces. I’d recommend it to someone who’s looking for a stripped-back budget daily trainer that can handle a range of paces.
The Velociti 2 has a stripped-back, comfortable upper with just enough padding around the collar of the shoe to provide comfort and security while remaining light and unobtrusive. The upper feels lightweight, without being minimal, and is breathable and reasonably roomy.
The tongue follows the same lines as the rest of the upper; it’s light and breathable, while being thick enough to protect the top of the foot without any puffy, excess padding. The laces are fairly standard and work together with the rest of the shoe to provide a decent lockdown. While there is a fair bit of scrunching at the bottom of the laces, the tongue itself lies flat on top of the foot.
The outsole consists of a decent covering of predominantly blown rubber, with high abrasion rubber in the heel, which is neither particularly thick nor thin. While I used this shoe mainly on the treadmill, I did perform a few threshold runs along the river, over tarmac paths and wooden slat walkways. I didn’t experience any issues with grip at all on any of my runs.
Where this outsole does fall down is its durability. The blown rubber wore down significantly faster than other shoes I’ve run in, especially in the forefoot. I was down to the midsole in places by only 200km. In fairness, the wear then spread to other areas of the outsole and the midsole itself remained mostly intact right up to retirement.
It should be noted that the midsole contains two different compounds: a larger slab of HOVR encased in a thinner layer of something softer. The wear I experienced to the outsole exposed this outer layer of foam, but not the main HOVR core underneath.
As mentioned above, the midsole in the Velociti 2, like other shoes in the HOVR line, is comprised of two different foams. The primary foam here is HOVR, a notably firm compound contained within an “Energy Web” and then encased in a softer foam (possibly UA’s Charged). Energy Web looks for all the world like a midsole hair net and I’m very skeptical that it actually does anything.
In the other Under Armour shoes I’ve run in — the HOVR Infinite 2 and the HOVR Machina — this HOVR foam feels exceedingly firm and provides no noticeable give. In the Velociti 2, however, the ride feels far more forgiving. While it is definitely a firmer foam, over 700km of running in these shoes I never once felt like it was a firm ride.
That may be due to the lower stack height and extra layer of softer foam beneath the outsole. I’d say the overall sensation I had regarding the firmness of the shoe was that it was neutral (possibly edging just towards the firmer side of neutral).
In terms of energy return, I don’t feel like this shoe gave too much back. It didn’t have the bounce of some other, more exciting shoes, but at the same time it didn’t feel like it was sapping my energy either. It was an easy shoe to pick up the pace in so there must be something there, but mostly I found it just melted off the foot.
I feel like this shoe really comes together as a whole. There was no single aspect of this shoe that felt outstanding, but the sum of its parts was a really pleasant shoe which provided an effortless, natural ride. It was one of those shoes that just seemed to disappear whenever I put it on and it felt effortless at both faster and slower paces.
As I mentioned in the summary, I mainly used it for speed work and threshold runs, which I do mostly on the treadmill at work. I think it performs really well at these paces (for me those were roughly 12.5–16kmph, depending on the workout and my fitness levels across that period), because even though it isn’t particularly light for a daily trainer, it always felt as though it was.
Despite this, I still think it would work best as a daily trainer; a shoe that you can throw on for easy to moderate paces across a range of shorter and medium distances. It doesn’t offer enough cushioning for me to want to take it on a long run, but anything up to about 18–20km would be fine, especially if you were throwing in some marathon tempo blocks or a few faster repetitions.
At the price I picked it up for, it was really good value; I’d happily pay more than I did considering the build quality, the shoe’s versatility, and how much I enjoyed running in it. I also really liked the colorway I got, and thought the overall look of the shoe was pretty cool, which is far from important but always a nice bonus to have.