Just a couple months ago, we got to experience (at least visually) the wonder that is the NYC Marathon. One day, we hope to participate! But while we weren’t out there to cover or run the famed race, we have been afforded the opportunity to run in the same shoes as the 2022 NYC Marathon Winner – Sharon Lokedi -the UA Flow Velociti Elite!
As you may remember, this was a pretty historic event as this was her first marathon race AND did it UA’s first “super shoe” – a field that is usually dominated by those wearing a Swoosh. So cool! Obviously we are excited to get our feet in some and see if we can break any of our own records (spoiler alert: we felt super fast and comfortable in these, but sadly won’t be competing with Kipchoge next year quite yet…).
Coming up this Spring, Under Armour is releasing this shoe to the masses. We have been putting a few miles in over the past few weeks and here are our initial thoughts.
The Flow Veloicti Elite has been a shoe that has seemingly made a lot of women run really quick recently. 5k’s and 10k’s have been annihilated, and obviously the aforementioned marathon win is a huge win. This shoe is intended to compete with the likes of the big boys in increasing speed. I will note, up front, that I am not a “fast” runner. It’s all relative I realize, but this probably isn’t specifically intended for those like me who hang out around a high 7min / low 8 min mile pace. That’s not to say it didn’t work great for me (it did), but it would be intriguing how it takes a true speedster to the next level.
Per usual, UA shoes constantly have me drooling at the way they look. This one is no different, a half white / half black shading variant that is both flashy and classic at the same time. The cross hatching on the upper give it a little bit of flair, but mostly it’s just a shoe that looks fresh. I will say, with this currently being the only colorway (though there could be additional ones when it is formally released), white is not always the best option for runners in the Pacific Northwest. My testing runs over the last few weeks have been specifically planned out to occur on days where it was not wet outside. I’m just trying to keep it white as long as possible for the time being!
Fit & Construction:
The upper is made from their Warp 2.0 nylon and mesh construction, which is constructed so that it easily (and weirdly) provides a see-through quality. This allows for obvious breathability and also a reduced weight as a result. While my feet are generally forgiving in most types of shoes, I have found, from time to time, that extremely light and airy uppers make for a more challenging securing of the foot. I was pleasantly surprised that I have not yet had this issue with the UA Flow Velociti Elite. Coupled with a nice TPU sockliner and comfortable heel, the fit has been pretty optimal.
The UA Flow Velociti Elite is a performance race shoe, and it definitely has the features of one. There is a pretty aggressive push forward that can take some getting used to if you are a staunch heel striker, or aren’t used to that level of propulsion. We definitely recommend taking it out on a few tempo runs, or even just wearing out and about, before diving right into this as an option on race day.
My guess is that if you are familiar with these “super shoes“ do you know what you’re in for. As someone who generally runs in more stability shoes, the bounce and plushness of the midsole was evident. Some of the reviews out there (by people with a pedigree in super fast running times and elite level performance) have mentioned that it does not feel as cushioned as some other shoes out there. My more novice opinion is that there is more than enough foot support and comfort for the majority of runners looking to gain extra speed on race day.
The midsole is a combo of a full-length carbon plate in between two different foams. Underneath is the UA Flow – foam that provides the cushion and protection from the ground. On top is a thicker Pebax foam that is pretty much all the rage in elite racing shoes nowadays due to its light weight and bouncy supports.
Obviously, this is a marathon winning shoe, so its clearly that it can tackle longer distances. I will say, that the Flow Velociti Elite seems like a really great option for those looking to decrease their 5k or 10k times. There’s just a desire to run fast and, at those distances, I think this shoe will keep your feet as excited as your adrenaline when toeing the line on race day.
Generally speaking, I don’t typically have a lot of significant comments on the outsoles of most running shoes. I find it is pretty rare for an outsole nowadays to be completely out of step with the rest of the shoe. I’m sure elite level runners and reviewers can nitpick an outsole difference as they look to shave seconds off their personal records. However, for the average runner in the Pacific Northwest – as long as we aren’t sliding around all over the place, the outsole is generally going to be functional.
The outside in the UA Flow Velociti Elite is no different. I have found that it provides enough grip though, like previously mentioned, I have been resistant to putting in a ton of runs in super wet temperatures. That being said, I think it is important to note that the outsole is constructed differently in the shoe than many others. Instead of rubber, it is made from foam – a suspected weight-cutting measure. I mention that, not because it’s a bad thing, but mostly it’s just unique to me.
I do wonder if the longevity of the outsole is going to be reduced as a result. It is still holding up after a half month or so of running, but I could hypothesize that this foam will wear quicker than its rubber counterparts. Time will tell. Though, if you are using this primarily as a race day option, you may not need it to hold up to the everyday miles.
As mentioned in the intro to this review, elite race shoes seem to be currently monopolized by 1 to 2 shoe companies. While there is generally not anything wrong with that, it is nice to see other companies rival those leaders. Super shoes are obviously constructed with the latest tech, but come with a price tag that may not fit in the budget for many runners. We receive our review pairs at no cost, but we realize that popping down $250-$300 for a race day shoe is not always in the cards.
We feel that more companies being able to showcase competitive super shoes may lead to these options eventually being more affordable for more runners. Yes, the shoe is still $250, but we’re hoping that the market can shift with the success of shoes like the UA Flow Velociti Elite. In the interim, we can’t can’t can’t wait to toe the line in these in 2023 with all the excited anticipation of the New York City marathon.