UA Charged Ultimate 2.0 Review Facts
Under Armour is an incredibly popular brand for all manner of athletic accessories. Some of their most popular products are their athletic apparel, including a wide range of thermal clothes, jackets, and socks. What some people may not know is that this company also designs footwear, including cleats and running shoes. With the UA Charged Ultimate 2.0, the trademark style and utility Under Armour is known for can be clearly seen, especially around the upper portion. Combined with a highly competent lower body construction, this is a pair of training shoes that are bound to impress.
Under Armour is committed to providing an incredible sense of style
with these shoes that they even made the bottoms of the soles, an area which people are least likely to see, look stylish and fashionable. In addition to flair, the outsoles of the Charged Ultimate 2.0 provide ample function, with a design that promotes traction and durability. The use of smaller patterns in a unique tread-like style help the underfoot to stick to the ground enough so that they maintain proper traction without hindering running speed. Subtle grooves placed on the forefoot area enhance flexibility and a solid rubber construction ensure this bottom portion of the shoe will last for quite a long time.
The UA Charged Ultimate 2.0 boasts a midsole with “Charged Cushioning,” a proprietary and trademarked technology from Under Armour that is said to offer significant cushioning and responsiveness. The design of this middle portion is in line with the rest of the shoe, presenting a bumpy segmented pattern in front with a solid and smooth portion of cushioning toward the rear. The way this midsole provides its beneficial features is through a two-step process; after absorbing the impact
from contact with the ground, it rebounds that absorbed energy into a spring-like response that drives the subsequent stride.
The upper portion of this running shoe maintains a solid color scheme throughout with the exception of some highlights along the lateral sides of the lace holes. This provides the Charged Ultimate 2.0 with a look that is distinctive while retaining some subtlety. The actual construction of the upper is designed for a supportive
compression-based fit. This is one of the more polarizing features of this shoe since many runners feel as though the level of compression is too uncomfortably tight. This has caused other runners to experience a greater level of difficulty simply putting on these shoes for a run, although this does get easier after some time spent breaking the shoes in.
At around 10 ½ ounces, this is a lighter model of running shoes when compared to others of its caliber. There are still lighter offerings on the market but the UA Charged Ultimate 2.0 displays a weight
that is impressive for the features offered through its design. This lighter weight further works to the shoe’s advantage by accentuating additional responsive design aspects, such as its midsole’s Charged Cushioning. The result of this shoe’s lightweight design is an article of footwear ideal for runners who emphasize speed.
One aspect in which this running shoe from Under Armour manages to provide decent breathability is through its thin upper. While the compression-style tightness may lead some people to believe that these shoes wouldn’t allow for much airflow, the use of special material similar to the kind that Under Armour uses for many of its apparel products allows for the foot to breathe
comfortably. Sweat accumulation isn’t an issue either, meaning that this shoe can be worn comfortably even while running in warm climates.
Despite looking like something you might see in a futuristic car catalog, these shoes from Under Armour offer similar comfort-related amenities as many ordinary running shoe brands. A great deal of these design features can be felt in the midsole; for starters, the Charged Cushioning boasts a high level of comfortable
cushion as one of its selling points. In addition to this, special care has been given to provide a comfortable and customizable level of arch support with a medial flat knit panel. One area where wearers may feel some discomfort, on the other hand, is near the upper area. Many customers have complained that they had a tough time simply putting their feet into this tight-fitting upper portion.
The aspect of these shoes with the most immediate draw is its uncanny sense of style. Under Armour has a lot of experience designing fashionable
and functional athletic products, and all of their design expertise comes through when looking at the Charged Ultimate 2.0. No matter which of the many color options a runner chooses to buy, these shoes are coordinated beautifully in a manner which can fit with seemingly any wardrobe. Even the textures used for the surfaces of this shoe are amazingly captivating, drawing people to run their hands along its many bumps and divots. You’d be hard-pressed to find a shoe that looks better than these.
Under Armour’s Charged Ultimate 2.0 were designed with certain activities in mind. Since they work very well with movements that aren’t always associated with running, they function beautifully as a general training shoe. Wearers are encouraged to use these shoes while weight training or performing plyometrics. Despite this specialization, these shoes can still be used for running; however, the overall durability of these shoes doesn’t lend itself well to particular running environments. Trails are obviously a no-go but these shoes will provide enough defense from the elements to handle most jogging environments without needing to be replaced.
As previously mentioned, the thinner and lighter design aspects of these Under Armour shoes make them more suited for training in a gym or other indoor environments. For that reason, the Charged Ultimate 2.0 puts more of a focus on protection from stress-related injuries than it does on protection from the elements. While this doesn’t exclude it from being functional outdoors, runners shouldn’t expect the same level of protection that they would from a shoe dedicated to outdoor running. Instead, this shoe excels at preventing runners from experiencing skin irritation and strained foot muscles; these are good features to have and any runner who has suffered from plantar fasciitis will certainly agree.
Even though durability is one of the UA Charged Ultimate’s weaker points, responsiveness is one of its strongest. As a shoe designed to function well while training, Under Armour packed it with features designed to drastically improve its response time. The synthetic mesh upper with its extremely tight fit ensures that every movement of the foot is reflected by the shoe in turn. This is further reinforced by the sock liner made from 4D foam. The Charged Cushioning technology implemented in the midsole was engineered specifically to provide immediate feedback and energy efficiency. Finally, the grippy outsole is designed to only provide enough grip to ensure stable footing while releasing fast enough to avoid feeling too sticky.
In a surprising move that isn’t seen in virtually any other running shoe, this shoe has support baked into the tongue of its upper. Referred to by Under Armour as a “burrito-style design,” this wraparound tongue provides targeted support to the midfoot. The outsole of this shoe also provides support by helping to distribute the shock from impact. Aside from these, the majority of the Charged Ultimate 2.0’s support is derived from its light and tight design philosophy.
Since these are designed primarily to be training shoes, the number of surfaces the Charged Ultimate 2.0 was designed to run on is limited. The best environments for these shoes are highly controlled and manufactured, such as a gym, basketball court, or Olympic-style running track. That said, these Under Armour shoes
can also be used effectively on some less intense outdoor terrain such as a grassy field, a dirt path, or a clean sidewalk. However, road running and trail running would be a bad idea with these shoes.
For a running shoe with so much technology implemented into its design and with such an impeccable sense of style, runners may expect the need to pay a premium price to own a pair. Fortunately for runners on a budget, Under Armour released the Charged Ultimate 2.0 with a very reasonable price. Although it isn’t too far from the average cost of an ordinary running shoe, these still have a suggested retail price lower than the average. After being on the market for some time, however, the cost has gone down even more. When evaluating the utility and performance at its current cost, investing in a pair of these training shoes seems much more reasonable despite its flaws.
Since they were designed primarily for use on gym floors and other indoor environments, these Under Armour shoes have the best traction on these specific surfaces. Thanks to the design of the outsole, runners should expect the best performance in controlled environments. While running in some other areas, such as a field or running track, enough traction is present for these shoes to perform admirably. However, the full benefits offered by the Charged Ultimate won’t be immediately noticeable in these situations.
Perhaps the most immediate revelation runners will come across when wearing these shoes is that they are extremely flexible. Some may even find the amount of flexibility present in the design of the UA Charged Ultimate 2.0 to be overpowering, resulting in a more difficult time adjusting to these shoes. However, for specific environments where these shoes are best suited, this extra flexibility will serve as a benefit that allows runners to train at their peak ability.
Often, a shoe that focuses too much on providing high flexibility will suffer in terms of stability. The reverse of this is also true, with too much stability causing a pair of shoes to be uncomfortably rigid and inflexible. Unfortunately, these shoes from Under Armour tend toward the former category. Despite being flexible to the point of potentially causing discomfort, a few features help to rein these shoes in. One is its heavier weight which helps runners feel grounded during their run. The second is an extremely tight fit across the upper, making sure that the Charged Ultimate 2.0 will remain firmly attached at all times. These features may not be enough to save these shoes for some runners but they keep them from being a total mess.
The heel drop of these shoes is around 10 mm. This means that a greater amount of midsole cushioning was implemented in the rear portion of the foot than it was on the forefoot. The purpose of this is to ensure runners maintain a solid grip on the surface they run on with their toes while avoiding too much shock from impact with their heels. Even though this is the common elevation seen in most running shoes, this is just a tad higher than the average. The justification for this extra padding is most likely to offset any design aspects that may make these shoes less viable for running while still allowing the UA Charged Ultimate 2.0 to function well as training shoes.
Tight-fitting and synthetic mesh upper
External heel counter for increased support
“Burrito-style” tongue acts as a sock liner
Sleek and futuristic style with multiple color schemes
Charged Cushioning midsole provides high responsiveness
Without knowing precisely what these shoes from Under Armour were intended to be used for, some runners simply attracted to its style may be disappointed when they finally get to try them out. It’s true that their thinner outsole and tight upper may not work well when taking them on the open road. However, it’s a completely different story when using the Charged Ultimate 2.0 in the gym. For this reason, these shoes are best suited to the kind of runner who enjoys cross-training or who has access to an indoor running environment.