Review: Under armour charged ultimate 2.0 training shoes
A cross trainer that ticks the boxes
A strict fitness regime is an important fixture in the daily routine of those who want to stay healthy. So, fitness bands and fitness footwear are two of the most exciting wearable categories at present, with brands outdoing each other to launch the best in their categories. American brand Under Armour’s latest, Charged Ultimate 2.0, footwear is, it turns out, quite impressive.
The general perception is that running shoes define the fitness footwear category. But the Charged Ultimate 2.0, designed with training and workouts in mind, is best categorized as a cross-trainer. These shoes are slightly different from running shoes in terms of design and lightness, but the basics of comfort and grip do not change.
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To begin with, the design stands out. It has a rather robust build, with no pretensions to being an ultra-lightweight shoe. Slightly heavier and thicker than running shoes, the streamlined upper materials are incredibly smooth and comfortable against the skin, if you don’t wear socks. The only visual shortcoming is that some of the sewing around the lace-holders is a bit uneven in places and looks a tad industrial. Second, the “burrito” tongue design can be a bit limiting for some users, who may prefer the flexibility of adjusting it for a snug fit.
Where the Charged Ultimate 2.0 does score is in the good lock-in feel it offers. The thermoplastic polyurethane (TPU) layer around the forefoot and heel area adds to stability during vigorous movement. You will not notice any extra support material, but the assuredness of the foot’s position does lend considerable confidence while you exercise.
The sock-liner is made of what Under Armour calls “4D Foam”, which takes the shape of the foot’s contours—a bit of on-the-fly customization for different users, similar to the way a memory foam works for your bed’s mattress.
Footwear companies invest a lot of money in finding the perfect balance between comfort, stiffness and grip. Under Armour has done this too, using Charged Cushion technology. Basically, the two-step process involves absorbing the impact as your foot lands on the ground, and then providing a bounce back that is very reassuring because you know exactly what your foot is doing—however, this is a subjective preference, different for every individual.
Charged Ultimate 2.0 uses a rubber outsole with a rather elaborate tread mesh. Additionally, there are extended grooves for the forefoot area for extra grip—for times when you may, for instance, land on the foot while jumping. We found that this grips as well as perhaps the very best running shoes, on a variety of surfaces. Some notoriously slippery surfaces, when damp, tend to pose an unseen hazard for runners, but the Charged Ultimate 2.0 will navigate them without the slightest worry.
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If you are someone who frets a bit about colour choices, the Charged Ultimate 2.0 has tried to cover as many bases as possible. There are two variations of the black and white colour combination, a mix of blue and fiery red (this is our personal favourite), and royal blue as well as stealth grey, among others.
The question is, should you buy a pair? It depends entirely on what you do to keep fit. These are cross-trainer shoes that are ideal for a gym workout, fitness exercises, weight training and generally any routine that involves side-to-side movement on typically hard surfaces. This is not to say that you can’t run while wearing these shoes, but their purpose is different. And for that, the Under Armour Charged Ultimate 2.0 ticks most of the boxes—a robust build, comfort, stability and grip.