I was recently invited along to the launch of Under Armour‘s new running shoe, the SpeedForm Apollo, which goes on sale this coming Friday (28th February), and is their updated follow-up to last year’s SpeedForm RC. The UK fitness advertising landscape is a homogenous onslaught, but this Under Armour offering is newness at its best, and as an obedient consumer, I just LOVE a bit of newness!
For the event, Ian Dickinson (Under Armour Head of European Footwear) flew over from their Netherlands base of operations, and I had a chance to pick his brain on the brand’s history, its ethos, to learn how it’s approaching the ultra-competitive footwear market, and to discover some of the drivers behind the technological innovations underpinning this Apollo shoe.
First off, I have to declare that I like these shoes. A lot. What strikes me first, as an objective viewer (I have no biased interest to declare), is the fluidity of its sleek lines; there’s a gentle suggestion of the natural ‘foot’ anatomy, right from the contoured upper which hints at ‘toes’, to the smoothly sculpted heel basket which has been scooped-out to fit snugly, right down to the full-on ‘footprint under-sole’.
Besides the obvious fact that it comes in a cute girly pink and a gorgeous aqua blue for men (I’d prefer this option personally), it feels like a really strong running shoe under foot. It includes technical features you can actually feel as a wearer, such as being super lightweight, having a ‘medial stability bar’ to offer a bit of extra midfoot support and prevent it rolling around when you land, and yields a deeply cushioned, well-supported ‘ride’. One of my favourite features is that it’s completely one-piece, whilst being ultimately breathable (featuring an impossibly airy blend of meshed fabrics which form a pseudo-skin layer), and not having any seams or stitches which gives it a second-skin feel and reduces the ever-debilitating ‘blister rub’. Also, unlike many other big brand shoes, it’s manufactured entirely in a clothing factory – out of the same fabrics as lingerie, which brings a whole new sense to the word ‘racy’ 😉 !!
I’ve been giving them a good going round the running track in Regent’s Park, and I really do like them; the seamless sensation is a massive plus, as I don’t get distracted or annoyed having to stop and adjust. I kind of forget the shoe is there at all, which I can only imagine is the highest form of praise you could offer to a ‘running shoe’ designer 🙂 Some more pictures below… Faya x (more…)