The Under Armour Flow Velociti Wind is the latest shoe to join UA's quickly growing collection of connected running shoes that promise to track your runs and actually seek to improve how you run too.
It joins its trio of new Hovr running shoes that not only promise to deliver that kind of stats you get from a running watch, but also offer better accuracy as it does that tracking from your feet. It also delves deeper into running form metrics when it's paired up with the Under Armour-owned MapMyRun app, offering analysis during and post run to help you make improvements.
Away from the smarts, the Velociti Wind also promises some new design innovations that aim to make this its fastest and most comfortable smart running shoe it's produced yet.
At $160, it sits in at the same price as UA's Machina 2 connected running shoe, and comparable with the price you'd expect to pay for a top end running shoe without the smarts.
We've been putting the Velociti Wind to the test to find out if the smarts deliver the goods and is proof that a connected running shoe is something worth owning.
Under Armour Flow Velociti Wind: Design, fit and features
It's fair to say that you're not going to be able to make the most of the onboard smarts if the shoe it's packed into isn't comfortable to run in.
UA's previous connected shoes have never had an issue as far making that hardware built into them noticeable on the move, but it's definitely been a mix bag in terms of fit and comfort and wanting to put big or short running miles in them.
Wareable verdict: Under Armour Hovr Infinite review
With the Velociti Wind, it's definitely a change for the better. At 241g for the men's shoe and 227g for the women version, it's a lighter shoe than Under Armour's Hovr Machina connected shoe and it feels lighter on the feet too.
There's UA's new Warp upper to better hold the foot in place when it needs it most and offer comfort when you ease back into your running action. It's also packing a new midsole foam UA is calling Flow, though doesn't go into great specifics what Flow foam is actually made from.
What it does mean is that the rubber outsole has been reduced and you get a light shoe that is designed to still offer a grippy feel underfoot.
Our runs in the Wind have been overall enjoyable. It's a neutral-style shoe, so those who prefer a little more in the way of support might not love the feel of running in it.
If you like the idea of a low profile running shoe that has a satisfying level of cushioning without much bounce, it's going to appeal.
The big element we are concerned about here, however, is the connected support. This is handled by a sensor that's built into the midsole on the right shoe only. It's similar approach to a footpod sensor where you'll only need to wear it on one of your shoes.
That sensor is able to deliver a raft of stats and that includes duration, distance, average pace, splits, stride length and cadence. When you pair up the shoes with the MapMyRun app, you'll also get elevation stats and your route mapped along with the added insights that let you delve a little more into your running form.
From a battery perspective, like previous shoes, it's designed to outlast the life of the shoe. So it's not something you need to get a charging cable out for, which certainly adds to the appeal.
Crucially though, you don't feel those smarts or see them and that's what makes the integration of those connected features more appealing than setups like Nurvv or even popping on a Stryd footpod sensors onto the laces of your existing shoes. From a fit point of view though and being something that feels nice to run in, this is Under Armour's nicest running shoe let alone connected running shoe for some time.
Under Armour Flow Velociti Wind: Setup, run tracking and coaching
So let's get into what these shoes are capable of doing. On the one hand, you have a shoe that promises to track the stats you'd probably turn to your running watch, smartwatch or running app on your phone for.
The untethered option means you can put them on, go running and leave your phone behind. When you get back, you can pair them over Bluetooth to sync the run to MapMyRun phone app you'll need to download. Within MapMyRun, you also have access to training plans and have the ability to connect apps like Withings, Suunto, Samsung Health, Garmin Connect and MyFitnessPal if you want to share your data to other third party apps.
Though it's still arguably missing some missing some very desirable support we'd still like to see. Integration for Strava is missing, as is support for running watches and smartwatches for real-time data.
Before we get into running experience, we should talk about getting things set up, which in general is very straightforward. The shoes pair to MapMyRun over Bluetooth and you'll need to put aside less than five minutes to get up and running.
When you run untethered, you don't need to worry about the app until after the run is done. Go for your run, come back, open the app and wait for the shoe and app to connect. It generally did that without issue. On taking the tethered approach, it did occasionally take a couple of attempts to pair, but once you get moving in the shoes or sit the right shoe on its side before putting them on, that usually did the trick for us.
Untethered run tracking compared: Under Armour via MapMyRun (left) and Garmin Enduro (right)
We ran untethered first up against the Garmin Enduro watch and stats like distance tracking and average pace was generally in line with what was generated from our watch.
The Enduro has been a pretty reliable performer for us with run tracking, so these shoes that cost significantly less, certainly seemed to hold on the accuracy front in general.
When you're ready for a hit of coaching, you'll need to grab your phone and ideally pair up a pair of Bluetooth headphones (to your phone) to benefit from those real-time coaching insights. There's a visual experience if you can easily look at your phone, but we imagine most will be relying on audio coaching.
Advanced running metrics
Those real-time insights into running form are based around stride length and cadence. Stride length is related to cadence, which is the number of steps you take each minute.
There's no ideal running cadence for all runners, but there are desirable ranges that can help you run faster, more efficiently and even reduce the chances of injury. Target ranges are based on cadence and information like age, height, weight, gender and of course, pace.
Post-run coaching insights
When running form is analysed after a run, you'll also find details on ground contact time and foot strike angle.
During runs with coaching enabled, the focus is keeping you abreast of your cadence telling you if it's good or not so good and crucially, offering advice to get cadence where it thinks it needs to be.
Along with updates on cadence, it will add coaching and form updates. The guided app instructed us to imagine splashing through puddles and tips on posture, which is something we really liked on the (now defunct) Lumo Run.
We had immediate concerns that those real-time insight updates would come through too regularly, but that really wasn't the case here. It will often tell you that it'll check in later on your run to make it feel less of a nagging in your ear.
When you're done and you've synced the shoes to the app, you'll get a breakdown of form summary, which for anyone not really familiar with these metrics might feel overwhelming.
You do receive a personalised coach tip that gives you a better idea of what that data means honing in on stride length and cadence insights, letting you know if you're hitting your ideal range and tips to work on improving things.
Under Armour Flow Velociti Wind: Did it work?
As a pretty competent runner, I knew that my cadence sat at around the 170-175 mark, with it being commonly understood that something around the 180 mark is considered to be a more desirable cadence number to strive for.
On focused, structured running sessions it felt useful, and I could get a better sense of what Under Armour is trying to achieve. Like any form of coaching, you need to be patient and not expect instant results. The key here is to put the coach to use when you're ready to think more about that running form.
However, if I went out for some easy miles, it can be a bit demoralising to hear you're falling below the target range when it's something you're not really targeting. In those instances, it's best to just run untethered.
If all this talk about cadence seems complicated, Under Armour and MapMyRun make it easy to understand. Ranges are clearly presented as are target ranges. There's also a useful cadence calculator to show how adjusting pace impacts on target cadence range.
There are other metrics that UA provides here, but the approach of honing in on one or two form-based targets is the best way to make improvements. You can delve into aspects like foot strike angle, which can vary depending on how your foot strikes the ground and ground contact time.
For us, UA has struck a good balance in terms of the metrics it provides and attaching actionable and understandable insights over a stats overload. That's there if you want it, but you'll need to hunt it out if you want to delve deeper to get it.
- Light, comfortable and speedy shoe
- Accurate core running data
- Well delivered coaching insights
- Doesn't need charging
- Neutral shoe fit won't be for everyone
- No Strava support
- No sports/smart watch integration
- MapMyRun UI a bit busy