The Under Armour Charged Bandit 2 is the newest iteration of the original Under Armour Charged Bandit shoe. This trainer is light as a feather (okay, that's an exaggeration) but still, provides ample cushioning for whatever run is planned on the calendar. The Charged Bandit 2 falls into the neutral category. This means that it's good for those of you who are fairly biomechanically efficient.
This shoe would work well for runners who want enough cushioning to provide comfort and protection but still want to run fast. The Charged Bandit 2 is very different from the original model. Many runners commented that it seemed like a completely different shoe. While the first iteration of the Charged Bandit received quite a few negative reviews, this new update has runners swooning.
The shoe is intended to be used on the road running you won't find aggressive spikes underfoot. The lugs are fairly flat so aren't meant for technical trails.
Should you encounter rainy weather and get stuck in muddy conditions, you'll likely have a bit of trouble keeping steady. This shoe is definitely meant to stay on the roads. On the outsole, you'll notice deep grooves that enable the shoe to flex with your foot. These flex grooves also provide a natural running experience taht places them into the natural running shoes category.
Inside the midsole, there are two layers of cushioning. The first layer is Micro G foam. On top of that, there's full-length Charged cushioning. The Micro G foam is firmer and is located in heel of the shoe to provide support.
The intention is for the forefoot to be softer to provide increased energy-return and a more efficient toe-off. Some runners, though, noted that the cushioning felt the same throughout the shoe. The cushioning components are the same as in the previous version of the shoe but the Micro G foam has been eliminated from the forefoot region. Several reviewers commented on the improved toe-off feel of the Charged Bandit 2.
Another significant change made to the Bandit 2's upper is the omission of much of the cushion from the tongue and heel collar. The paired down upper allows for reduced weight and better fitting shoe. The lacing portion of the shoe is also different from the previous version, allowing for a more secure fit.
Runners really enjoyed the shoe's lightness. When running in the Charged Bandit 2, they felt able to go fast. The fact that the shoe is light does not make it devoid of support. The shoe's lightweight, paired with generous cushioning in the midsole makes it a top choice for everyday running or race day. The Charged Bandit 2 is certainly capable of handling higher mileage.
One negative aspect of the Bandit 2 is the shoe's poor ability to drain water. In rainy conditions, many runners felt waterlogged. Because the shoe is so breathable, it also lets in a lot of water on rainy-day runs. Many runners found it very uncomfortable to run in wetter weather.
The shoe looks fresh and modern enough to wear outside of training runs. The heathered look may take some getting used to. At first glance, the shoe almost looks as if it's already been run in! It's definitely a different look that's sure to please some runners.
Runners felt that the shoe contained enough cushioning to protect from impact forces but they also felt the shoe was light enough to go fast. The shoe is able to handle higher mileage without any problems. There was some concern, though, from quite a few runners that the shoe performs quite poorly in wet conditions. The breathable upper is almost 'too breathable' and lets in a lot of moisture when the rain starts to pour. There's little to protect a runner's feet from the elements in the Bandit 2.
Some runners did find the shoe was less responsive that they had hoped. They cited the rigid midsole as the main culprit for hurting the shoe's bouncy feel. These runners found the impact with the ground felt hard and unforgiving which made running with the Bandit 2 very tough. Still, quite a few runners were happy with the shoe's performance during long runs.
In addition, the heel of the shoe features a heavy dose of foam to add a bit more support for the wearer. The outsole acts to support the wearer because of the traction it provides. Some runners cited fit issues as their main complaint with the Bandit 2. They felt there was too much room inside the shoe and they experienced excessive slippage which caused the stability of the shoe to suffer. It's possible that sizing down may fix these kinds of issues with the Bandit 2.
The shoe does poorly when it's used on the trails. The outsole has flat lugs which just aren't good enough to deal with off-road conditions, especially in wet and muddy conditions.
The shoe performs well when it comes to running on pavement. It's also good for indoor treadmill runs, track work, or interval training outside. The rubber sole provides good traction when the sun is out and the ground is dry.
When rainy weather comes along, runners will need to be careful because the shoe has trouble when the ground is slick underfoot. The lugs underfoot provide enough grip to ensure stability in nice weather but they are too flat and slick to work well when the ground is wet.
A large chunk of reviewers commented negatively on the shoe's traction. They explained that they had no trouble when it came to fair weather running but when the ground was wet, the shoe's just couldn't grip as well. This is probably the biggest problem with the Charged Bandit 2. It's something that needs to be addressed for future versions of the shoe.
Even those that commented on the rigid midsole cushion had nothing negative to say about the shoe ability to move with the runner. The shoes' upper is just as flexible as its outsole. The t-shirt-like material is stretchy and fits snugly around the wearer's foot. It's able to accommodate foot swelling and helps to ensure comfort for the runner. Although the shoe is quite flexible, this doesn't mean it's unstable. Runners should still feel locked in and stable when running in the Charged Bandit 2.
Runners should feel stable in the Charged Bandit 2. The upper is another area that adds support. It locks the wearer's foot inside the shoe so they do not feel wobbly. The wearer's foot will feel snugly wrapped inside the shoe thanks to the upper's Ultrasonic panels. With the right sizing and fit, runners should not move inside the shoe. A small number of reviewers said that the shoe felt sloppy and lacked stability but they were in the minority.
- Unique heathered upper
- Ultrasonic welded seams
- High abrasion and blown rubber outsole
- Deep Flex Grooves
- Micro G footbed
- Dual layered midsole cushion
- Full length Charged cushion
- Rear foot Micro G foam
The shoe offers a comfortable ride in a lightweight package without bonking on protection underfoot. The shoe offers up great value and will last throughout the training. The few issues that bothered reviewers are not deal breakers.
The propensity for the shoe to take on water is a clear sign that the shoe is super breathable. Some runners mentioned the lack of energy return, but they were in the minority. Hopefully, the next Charged Bandit model will remain essentially the same with some upgrades to the shoe's ability to gain traction on wetter surfaces. The Under Armour Charged Bandit 2 will work well for the neutral runner who wants to avoid clunky trainers but still wants a fair bit of cushioning to enhance the overall comfort.