Under Armour's SpeedForm Apollo Vent is the enhanced version of last year's well-received SpeedForm Apollo minimalist running shoes for runners with a neutral stride.
It uses an ArmourVent mesh upper, which is a breathable, stretchable and fast-drying fabric.
The sole of the shoe is made of Under Armour's proprietary Micro G foam, which provides high rebound and low compression.
It has an 8mm heel-top drop or offset, which is the height difference between the heel and forefoot. This offset is usually found only in conventional running shoes, rarely in minimalist shoes like this one.
Rubber inserts in running gait contact regions, such as the heel, forefoot and midfoot, on the sole provide traction with the minimal use of rubber, to rein in the weight.
A thermoplastic polyurethane curve insert in the midfoot area boosts support and stability.
The shoes also have Under Armour's 4D Foam sockliner built in, to wick away moisture. The sockliner conforms to your foot for better comfort and reduced slippage.
Most minimalist running shoes often lack any sort of heel counter. The Apollo Vent has a thin heel counter with silicone grip for a locked-in fit.
As a neutral runner myself, I was really excited to try out these shoes. The review pair came in black and yellow, with a bright yellow sole and predominantly black upper. I think they are good-looking enough to wear to the mall or gym.
When I first put them on, they felt comfortable immediately; the upper wrapping glove-like around my foot. It felt like wearing a pair of socks with cushioned soles. Moreover, the shoes felt really light, almost as light as slippers.
Even on my first runs in the shoes, they already felt run in. And I was running without socks. With socks on, the fit was too tight.
Wearing socks hinders the shoes' breathability. Minus socks, my feet stayed dry and cool even on runs exceeding 5km.
The shoes provided good rebound and solid cushioning, whether I was doing midfoot or heel strikes. The energy rebound is especially liberating, compared with other minimalist shoes I have tried.
Ankle support was so good that my injury-prone ankles did not protest during runs or walks.
On the downside, the grip is a bit lacking as there are rubber inserts only in certain areas of the sole. So, you have to be careful when wearing the shoes on wet ground.
If you are a neutral runner looking for a pair of minimalist running shoes with good energy rebound and breathability, the Under Armour SpeedForm Apollo Vent might suit you down to the ground.
Material: ArmourVent mesh upper with folded 4D Foam Sockliner
Weight: 180g (US size 9, men's)
Value for money 4/5
This article was first published on Apr 15, 2015.
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