A pair of spikes can be a runner's best friend.
Under Armour released the Unisex UA HOVR Smokerider spike specifically for sprinters and for those who specialize in the 400m and 800m distances.
As a former elite sprinter, I've had my share of challenges when it came to breaking in spikes. For many, it's a painful and uncomfortable process, one that can take weeks and even months to notice a change and feel comfortable in.
My first initial thought when I laced up in the UA HOVR Smokerider for a workout was: "I won't have this problem ever again."
I slipped on the spike and it felt as though I've been wearing them for months. The UA HOVR Smokerider felt like it was customized to the shape of my feet. Within the spike, I can feel the soft UA molded sockliner which consists of HOVR foam and dynamic mesh for support.
Needless to say, it fit like a glove, and I rarely can say that about the spikes that I've worn in the past.
Besides the feel of the shoe, what's also important when it comes to a sprinter's spike? My biggest question is, "Will this spike be able to withstand the low heel recovery of a sprinter when they come out of the blocks?"
Throughout my collegiate and professional career, I learned the importance of low heel recovery and how it can help me be more efficient coming out of the starting blocks.
One of the best ways to be successful at having low heel recovery is to drag your toe along the track when coming out of the blocks. I'm not sure about you, but I have torn the front part of my spikes and had to then start the process over again of breaking in a new pair of spikes. This can be exhausting!
The UA HOVR Smokerider is durable and comfortable, which is perfect for training and competing, thanks to UA's embroidered technology. Along with the embroidery, UA's structural film near the top of the spike provides additional strength to maximize efficiency and power in propulsion.
Now sprinters can have their cake and eat it too. The stress of breaking in the spikes and worrying about ripping the front of their spike goes right out the window with the UA HOVR Smokerider.
Throughout my warm-up strides and sprint accelerations on the curve and straightaway, I felt super springy and powerful in every step that I took. The plate has six pins on the perimeter to help focus on the smooth transition to the toes. The extra spring and bounce came from the HOVR midsole. Who doesn't want to spring into their next step ahead of the competition? This is where you raise your hand...
These were a few of the best accelerations I felt in a while. I almost felt like I was floating gracefully at ease down the track, but I was able to be powerful at the same time.
As for any sprinter, it's essential to get a few block starts in regardless if they are at practice or about to compete. This is when I noticed a key element to the UA HOVR Smokerider.
My favorite part of the shoe would be the sharkskin traction on the heel plate of the spike. This is an element used to enhance traction off the blocks. Every sprinter knows the importance of using the blocks efficiently and this unique element takes it to the next level.
All of these components that UA incorporated into this spike is going to check off a lot of boxes for sprinters and middle-distance runners to perform at their best.
Not only am I looking forward to doing more workouts in them, but I'm also eager to see them on the track for competitions. This sleek design will have runners looking their best on the line.
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