In recent years, the running world has seen a seismic shift in footwear technology, most acutely impacting the elite level.
Long-standing world records are continually getting shattered, athletes are getting faster and qualifying standards keep getting lowered.
Advancements in materials innovation have paved the way for a new landscape of ‘super shoes’, where runners are opting for higher stack, more cushioned, and more propulsive racing shoes.
At Under Armour, the mission is to make athletes better by giving them the performance solutions they didn’t know they needed and now can’t imagine living without.
To deliver the best performance solutions possible, UA started by listening to their athletes and making their problems, their problems to solve.
Research showed the underfoot experience makes a fundamental difference in athlete performance, meaning UA needed to start from the ground up to help athletes get across the finish line as quickly and efficiently as possible.
In order to give every stride more purpose, efficiency, momentum, and acceleration, UA set out to break tape with the development of a new marathon shoe and track spike: the UA Flow Velociti Elite and the Shakedown Elite.
Featuring UA’s award-winning, UA Flow technology, these new run footwear offerings are redefining fast for pro athletes chasing the finish line this racing season.
ATHLETE-DRIVEN FROM IDEATION TO ACTUALISATION
Putting their athletes first, the UA design and innovation team honed in on the North America pro run teams: Dark Sky Distance, Baltimore 800m and Baltimore Distance, now known collectively as UA Mission Run, for insights, testing, and validation.
The professional runners were an integral part in the wear-testing process since the beginning, utilising the shoes in their key training sessions and races, providing live insights as the team created and iterated the working prototypes.
The resounding feedback was that the shoe was a significantly impactful tool in the athletes’ training; allowing them to put in more quality work, with less strain on the body.
It was not one function or athlete that led the process, but instead, the collective efforts across multiple functions within UA that collaborated and contributed at every step.
“As we created and iterated, we were able to test working prototypes ‘in the wild’ during competitive races in order to validate and get more athlete insights. The resounding feedback was that we created something special and unique, and nailed the intent of delivering a propulsive race-day solution across marathon distance.”– Douglas Smiley, Product Director for Compete Run Footwear at Under Armour
The UA team explored both how to optimise existing UA innovations and to create new ones to reach the optimal solution.
UA Mission Run has seen recent notable achievements by UA athletes wearing Flow Velociti Elite, such as Weini Kelati, winning and breaking the course record of US 5k Championships; Sharon Lokedi, winning the Hawaii Half Marathon and running an incredible 10k personal best at the Great Manchester Run, and Kasey Knevelbaard, BAA Mile runner-up.
These milestone moments have demonstrated the impact these footwear innovations have on athlete performance and that UA has nailed the intent of delivering a propulsive race-day solution from 1500m all the way up to the marathon.
The wear-testing process preceded these recent victories. Last fall, while the UA Flow Velociti Elite was still in its prototype stage, elite runner Jordan Tropf ran three marathons (Baltimore, Chicago and Boston) in three consecutive days in this shoe.
All told, he ran 78.6 miles, averaging 2:30:30 per race. This feat and his testimony about the shoe show how it pushed the limits of performance even as a prototype and his feedback to the design team was invaluable in fine-tuning the production model that you’ll see on the UA Mission Run athletes’ feet this summer.
THE DESIGN – FLOW VELOCITI ELITE
The Flow Velociti Elite is a marathon-specific shoe and was created to move you forward with speed and efficiency.
Designed as a contender to the top shoe competitors in the market, the Flow Velociti Elite is great for runners who need a balance of flexibility and cushioning in their racing shoes.
Every stride taken with the is amplified by a full-length carbon fiber plate sandwiched in a soft midsole foam that compresses and springs back for added lift and energy return; together delivering explosive lift-offs.
A dynamic WARP 2.0 upper is integrated for enhanced breathability and lightweight containment, and a supercritical Flow foam creates a more lightweight and seamless ride. The Flow Velociti Elite also features a TPE sockliner for enhanced resilience and bounce on every footstrike.
The Shakedown Elite is a track spike engineered with enough range to cover 1500m to 10ks on the track with confidence The UA Shakedown Elite is designed to add more bounce and energy return for your best performance on the track.
Like the Flow Velociti Elite, the Shakedown Elite features a full-length PEBAX plate that provides rigidity and a solid platform for energised liftoffs.
Complemented with a midsole foam geometry that is increased in the forefoot, for an added lift that gets you up on your toes quicker for more momentum and faster turnover.
The Shakedown Elite also features UA’s proprietary WARP upper for enhanced dialed-in fit and lightweight containment.
The UA Flow Velociti Elite and Shakedown Elite launch locally (North America only) in June 2022 ahead of USATF Championships and World Championships with limited availability on UA.com followed by a full-scale global launch in spring of 2023.
Check out UA Mission Run House at US Championships June 21st-26th in Eugene, OR, to learn more about the UA Mission Run team, UA’s performance run footwear styles, and athlete features.
PRODUCT DNA – FLOW VELOCITI ELITE:
- OFFSET: 10MM
- WEIGHT: 7.5OZ
- Unisex & Neutral
- MSRP: $250
PRODUCT DNA – SHAKEDOWN ELITE:
- 6-PIN FOREFOOT
- WEIGHT: 4.5OZ
- Unisex & Neutral
- MSRP: $150