Under Armour looks to continue their steady success of the Steph Curry signature line by introducing us to a brand-new material, Threadborne, and refining their Charged foam cushioning. Will this be enough to help the Curry 3 stand out in a year where there have been so many great on-court performers? Find out with the official WearTesters.com performance review of the Under Armour Curry 3.
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Traction: Under Armour has always been fantastic when it comes to traction on its basketball models, especially with Steph’s signature line, but it just took things to a whole other level with the Curry 3. It’s not just that the traction pattern is full-length herringbone, it’s also that the rubber compound Under Armour uses on the Curry 3 is extremely tacky; it makes for an amazing experience indoors no matter what condition the floor you’re playing on is in. I’ve heard mixed reviews on the Curry 3’s outdoor coverage but it worked just fine for me and the traction should last a decent amount of time thanks to the relatively firm rubber compound.
If you’re a player who uses jab steps, v-cuts, step backs, hop-steps and euro-steps while playing you’re going to absolutely love the Curry 3’s remarkably responsive traction — and may find yourself doing Zach Randolph jab steps for no reason just so you can get that instant gratification from the squeaking sound of the outsole hitting the hardwood.
Cushion: Under Armour has been extremely reluctant to give us MicroG in the Steph Curry signature line even though fans of the foam cushion setup have been lobbying for it since the Curry 1. Nothing has really changed with the Curry 3 as we get yet another Charged foam cushion setup. However, this time around the responsive foam cushioning is a little more forgiving. Energy return has been almost nonexistent in previous Curry signature models but the Curry 3 provides a little bounce-back that feels nice during explosive take-offs and hard landings — but it’s still nowhere near what MicroG has to offer.
It’s definitely a step in the right direction for Charged foam in the future because players who were looking for something a little more forgiving in past Curry signature models will definitely feel the slight difference in bounce the Curry 3 gives. With that being said, court feel is Charged foam’s calling card and it’s still an extremely responsive setup that favors low to the ground guards like Chef Curry himself. So if you’re a player that uses quick changes in direction to get past your defender, the Curry 3’s cushioning will be ideal; however, if you have weak knees and impact protection is priority number one, you might want to look somewhere else.
Fit: After trying on the Curry 3 in my true size (10.5) in-store, I decided to go a half-size down and I’m 100% confident that was the right decision. The Curry 3 fits me great in all areas, even though the Threadborne material doesn’t wrap around my foot as well as I would like it to, but this is just a nitpick and does not mean the fit in the Curry 3 is bad by any means. There are four individual eyelets that are integrated into the lacing system and they provide great lockdown, granted you get the right size, and ensure that your foot doesn’t slip within the shoe itself on those hard cuts and stops.
My one problem with the fit is that it doesn’t really conform around your foot. Threadborne is just not going to give you that personalized fit and feel other top woven materials such as Primeknit do. And while I still prefer Threadborne over fuse, I would much rather have the entire upper of the Curry 3 be made out of Anafoam, which is located on the medial midfoot and heel, because it molds around your foot better and gives you a personalized one-to-one fit. Overall, the fit is pretty solid and does everything it needs to do to keep you locked in. I did have to go half a size down and the overall experience felt like my foot was sitting in the shoe as opposed to the shoe feeling like an extension of my foot.
Materials: Under Armour made a big deal about its new Threadborne material on the days preceding the Curry 3’s launch and my overall thoughts on the woven material after playing in it for over 50 hours are: it isn’t that big of a deal. Threadborne is very similar to Paracord (which is what those bracelets your local “thrill seeker” wears are made out of), and is advertised to provide ultra-lightweight support. The problem is that there just isn’t a whole lot of Threadborne to begin with, as only a portion of the lateral side and the toebox area are made up of Under Armour’s new material. The rest of the upper is made out of fuse overlays and fan-favorite Anafoam on the medial midfoot.
It isn’t that Threadborne is bad by any means, there just isn’t a whole lot of it for the user to really notice — and it gets overshadowed by the excellent Anafoam material that conforms to your unique foot shape and provides an extremely comfortable experience, especially in the heel area. Don’t get me wrong, I would take Threadborne over fuse any day of the week, but I definitely wouldn’t recommend it over Primeknit and even some versions of Flyknit, like what’s found on the Nike Kobe 11 Elite.
Support: As mentioned in the materials section, Under Armour advertised the Curry 3 to provide ultra-lightweight support and I can confidently say it succeeded in that regard. Not only does the traction do a tremendous job at keeping you on your feet but the two carbon fiber pinions and external heel cup keep your foot on the right path so you can get the most out of that responsive Charged cushioning. The lacing system also does a great job at keeping your foot locked in place to avoid any slipping within the shoe itself (just make sure to get the correct size).
If you use an ankle brace the heel/collar area should accommodate a wide variety of braces, but the support system in the Curry 3 was solid enough that I never felt the need to add any more support. There is also carbon fiber shank in the midfoot for torsional support, just to make sure your foot doesn’t contort in the wrong way, and the rounded outsole in the heel provides a smooth heel-to-toe transition for a seamless experience. If you’re a quick guard who needs a shoe that has a lot of support features but still has a lightweight feel, the Curry 3 will be exactly what you’re looking for.
Overall: We are now three models deep in the Curry signature line and I think it’s safe to say that Under Armour’s number one priority is pleasing the signature athlete. We’re just going to have to come to terms with the fact that Steph loves Charged foam and no matter how many times we ask UA to put MicroG in a Steph Curry signature model, it just isn’t going to happen (if you want MicroG in a basketball shoe, try the ClutchFit Drive 3). Steph obviously values traction and light-weight support and the Curry 3 gives you exactly that. Not only is the traction used here one of the most consistent setups of all time, but the abundant amount of support doesn’t come at the cost of a bulky or heavy shoe. The materials are fine but didn’t blow me away like Primeknit and Flyknit have been doing in recent years but as long as you get the fit that works best for you, and you can live with the highly responsive cushion setup up with average impact protection, the Curry 3 is going to work just fine.
Basically, if you play like Steph, the Curry 3 is perfect. But if you play a more explosive or physical game, you could end up enjoying the Curry 3 but there are better options out there for that particular play style. To me, the Curry 3 falls just short of being a top tier on-court performer and that is partly because 2016 has been an anomaly with its absurd amount of game-changing performers. In any other year the Curry 3 would probably be a Top 3 model but in a year where some of the greatest basketball performance models of all-time have arrived, the Curry 3 is on the outside looking in.