Under armour ua hovr sonic se vzmet 3024924101 | Under Armour Basketball FUTR X Elite Lands During All-Star Weekend | Discussion
Every aspect of my basketball life is triggered when looking at the All-Star Weekend drop arriving from Under Armour. Every aspect of the analyst and once sneaker designer and brand owner is conflicted when I look at the FUTR X Elite. Under Armour undoubtedly makes some of the most comfortable sneakers on the market. From their cushioning foams, FLOW and HOVR, the bouncy, plush rides are often overshadowed by design elements which feel structured around placing the largest UA logo on the sneaker.
On the FUTR X Elite Under Armour takes an approach similar to one of the best sneakers they’ve ever released, the HOVR FT. The logo is minimalistic which is smart, but the upper carries elements of previous hoops shoes focused on lightweight containment. In a post on New Balance’s latest hoops effort, the sneaker shifted from a more futuristic design to a classic basketball design. The price of the model is $130 vs the price for the FUTR X Elite at $150. Both sneaker models come in at a price higher than my target price for hoops shoes of $110-120 a sweet spot I broke down in my report on the JA 1 from Nike. The New Balance FF BB V2 might accomplish something most hoops shoes haven’t done in recent years, it could crossover.
Using reports from Housakicks founder Tayib Salami, who spent the last year playing in an array of Under Armour kicks, this is important because he’s a bigger hooper which means he puts a lot of stress on his kicks, Under Armour makes the best basketball sneaker on the market. The FUTR X Elite will be a solid performer and that’s all that should matter. However, the designer, coach and ex-hooper in me is being forced to compare the FUTR X to several sneakers and because of this comparison I’m concerned about a few design aspects.
The IntelliKnit upper offers breathability and one of a kind dynamic compression for 360-degree comfort.
I’ve seen 360-degree containment before. In 2017 Kobe Bryant touted the exact same tech. The 360 NXT featured a drop in midsole. The upper was Flyknit attached to the outsole but the Flywire and Flyknit combined to divulge the foot in place. Prior to Kobe’s death, that shoe was in the Nike Clearance Store for 39.99 marked down from 200.00. While the model is in resale now, for various reasons, it wasn’t the only model from Nike to feature a full Flyknit upper. The 2017 HydraFuserdunk also ended up being an outlet model that sold for 31.99 down from the 180 SRP.
This is not condemning the performance aspects of those shoes from Nike, but to bring up a very important aspect of design which worries me. Nike is the measuring stick for all hoops companies. They sell more of the performance models than any other brand. Nike has primarily moved away from 360-degree Flyknit in their hoops models. Oddly enough they’ve resorted to a combination of materials but many of the new designs feature foam in the upper. The foam I think derives from Under Armour’s Anafoam. In the video below I even say this about the GT Cut 1. Now here is the wild part of this discussion, the GT Cut has been Nike’s fastest selling model and this design resales for a ridiculous amount of money. The Sabrina 1 from Nike uses many of the same design cues and materials and it is also a hugely popular sneaker.
Which brings this discussion full circle. The FUTR X Elite bears a strong resemblance to the Curry 4 which was a solid hoops shoe, but there is a significant difference in why Under Armour created a FLOTRO version of the Curry 4 in 2022 updating that model. The shoe looked incredible as a performance model. The FUTR X misses the mark in the design. One reason the HydraFuserdunk and Kobe 360 missed and ended up in the clearance stores is because the Flyknit versions of these shoes (remember the KD 10 was all Flyknit as well and it ended up in the clearance) lack defining elements and look like huge blobs sitting on a display wall. The only place the color is blocking is broken up is in the speckles of false creation of toebox designs. If the FUTR X Elite was closer in style to the Curry 4 I think I’d be more excited. How do you feel about this early look at the new hoops model from UA?