Slipping on Under Armour's latest pair of running shoes was a bit of a surprise. It wears like a pair of socks and feels different from other running shoes.
The SpeedForm Gemini has the same foot-wrapping fabric used in Under Armour's Apollo shoes. The flexible elastic material, slightly thicker here than in the Apollo, wraps around your feet like a sock, holds your feet to provide a steady grip but still lets you flex your toes and move your feet about.
Due to the thin mesh, the link to the sole is more pronounced and, during movement, the sole of the shoe feels as if it is stuck to the sole of your foot. This makes each step feel more natural and comfortable.
Under Armour claims that the adaptive nature of the cushioning allows it to provide softer cushioning while travelling at slower speeds, and allows for a firmer sensation when greater forces are applied during faster speeds.
The mesh is made of the same material that is also used for lingerie. When taking walks, the shoes are extremely comfortable. It feels as if you are wearing lightweight slippers with thick soles.
When running, the shoes keep your feet in place as you pound along. The sturdy foam of the sole cushions every step and absorbs much of the impact.
Heel strikers will appreciate the thickish heel which curves inwards towards the sole, instead of a wedge that sticks out. That gives each landing a better follow-through before you lift your foot again.
Forefoot strikers will appreciate the soft, protective cushioning under the toe box area.
Given the flexible nature of the mesh, a thin piece of plastic wraps around the heel to help the shoe keep its shape, and also to keep your foot in the correct position. None of this is obvious until you take your first step.
I found the toe box a little constricting, even when wearing a thin pair of socks, so I would recommend going up half a size to accommodate your feet.
With a lightweight and breathable construction, the SpeedForm Gemini shoes are designed to be different from conventional running shoes. They perform as well, if not better, than shoes from some of the leading brands. They are worth a try if you are in the market for something new.
Material: Adaptive cushioning of four polymers, 6mm footbed which moulds to the wearer's feet, blown rubber outsole and carbon rubber heel.
Value for money: 4/5
This article was first published on Mar 18, 2015.
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