Under Armour Curry 4 Performance Review | Duke4005

What? A signature shoe designed to the exact specifications of the player it was designed for? Welcome to the Under Armour Curry 4.


You can find the UA Curry 4 available at Eastbay.com starting October 27.

No herringbone, no problem — especially on clean courts. The pivot point was a staple of “old-school” traction and in theory allowed players to change direction and cut easier. That theory came back in the Curry 4, as quick switches and changes were easy and smooth.

The herringbone on the first three models was a biting, court-grabbing pattern, which is great for torqued-out changes, but a player like Curry makes slower, more efficient changes, and the circular pattern plays into that style. There wasn’t much squeak, but there wasn’t much slip either, which is perfect for guards, small forwards, and ninjas. Wiping was absolutely necessary on semi-dusty and completely nasty courts, as the translucent rubber grabbed every piece of trash on the floor. After a quick rub down you are good to go.

Outdoor? Tough call. the rubber isn’t extremely soft, and the pattern is semi-deep, so a few months of outdoor should be good, based on two or three times a week for a couple of hours, but don’t hold that over my head — I only shot around for a couple of hours and the pattern lost nothing.

Believe it or not, some companies make signature shoes for the signature athlete. One of these shoes is the Curry 4. After talking with an Under Armour designer two years ago, right before the Curry 2 released, it was revealed that Steph wants nothing between his feet and the outsole — he wanted to ride as low as possible for reaction and court feel.

Makes sense, with his handles and, let’s say, lack of vertical game, that he would want to be able to jab-step, crossover, and move as quickly as possible. Charged was that technology for him. Now, we get a new foam, with no name yet, that is stiff, responsive, and quick. There is almost no compression in the midsole, which means your next step has absolutely no lag time — your foot hits the floor and is immediately into the next move. The Curry 4 just feels…fast.

But, and it is a big one, the stiff, responsive foam means there is almost no impact protection. Like, none. If you don’t jump with proper mechanics — lifting off your toes, landing on your toes, letting your knees and legs bend into each to absorb some of the impact — you will feel some impact up your legs and back. If you aren’t a high flyer, dunking and rebounding, you should be okay. If you are, just remember to either jump right or be light.

Myself, I know how to jump, but I ain’t light, and the Curry 4 was playable for three to four full court games before I had to change. One night, I played four games of full-court at 24 and went to another gym three hours later for three games in a different shoe. I played one game in that shoe and went back to the Curry 4. Don’t let lack of compression or fluffy foam curb your ideas because the Curry 4 gets the job done.

Probably the biggest change to the Curry 4 from the previous model are the materials. The 3 used Threadborne along the upper with a foam/mesh and fuse. The Curry 4 uses knit along the middle of the foot and the ankle sleeve with a microfiber synthetic that mimics leather in looks and (almost) feel along the medial and lateral parts (the white parts).

The knit is stretchy and form-fitting in all the right places while the synthetic panels are stiffer for support. The panels are still thin enough to not be completely restrictive, despite the height, and the shoe molded to my feet after very little break-in time (I had none, the shoe was ready out of the box, but others have had a game or two break in time).

The two materials are not fused or sewn together, they are heat-weld taped. This takes any busted stitches out of play. Overall, the new materials cut down on weight by a drastic amount while still providing fit and support.

This is the best fitting Curry yet, and that is saying something after the incredible fit of the Curry 2. Once the shoe is on, which is easy to do with the stretchy knit collar, the heel and midfoot are immediately locked in. Before anyone argues with me about the collar, use the pull tab, stretch the opening, and stand up. Put the shoe on the floor, push your foot in, and you are good. As Bob says, or said, “Easy Peezy” (Stranger Things 2 spoiler alert).

The knit midfoot stretches just to a point, allowing for movement and motion with no hang-ups, but pulls the panels together to lock in the midfoot. The laces in that area secure the fit and can really be utilized to pull the panels up and around, helping the thinner upper to form to the foot. The heel is l-o-c-k-e-d, even without a large heel counter — really, no heel counter. Again, the laces and knit come into play. The knit, once on, forms to the ankle and heel and the laces pull the panels and upper around and down into the shoe, locking the foot inside the midsole panels.

Lengthwise, if you owned the Curry 2, get that size. I would not suggest going up or down. The shoe is made to fit and form like a second skin. Going up, unless you are an extreme wide-footer, will make the knit feel sloppy and defeat its elastic properties. If you go down, your toes will probably hit the end of the toebox and the synthetic has no give.

For a seriously lightweight and minimal shoe, support and stability aren’t a problem. Starting at the bottom, the base is wide and the midsole is solid. This is good for two reasons: it offers a large, stable landing area with no heel wobble, and it allows for easier planting for jumpers and pushing off for drives.

The forefoot is more of the same — wide with a large outrigger running from the end of the shoe back to the midfoot and solid foam underfoot. No give or wobble in the foam means your foot lands and remains level and solid, making your next move quicker and balanced.

The midfoot is supported by a speedplate in the midsole that runs from the midfoot to the heel. The plate is visible under the arch and on the lateral side of the midfoot; it provides a stiffness in high-torque areas for stability. This plate also wraps up the lateral sides, keeping the foot over the footbed during harsh cuts and quick moves. Starting block technology — the foot pushes off of a solid platform, in this case the midsole wrap, and the moves become faster and quicker.

An additional reason to not size up is stability. By sizing up, the fit becomes sloppy and support and stability are compromised. More injuries are caused by wrong sizing than the shoe itself, so trust your foot and trust the fit.

I wanted to dislike the Curry 4 when I felt the cushioning, despite the killer looks and what I knew would be great fit and traction, but I couldn’t.

Even though there is no perceived cushioning feel, the Curry 4 just never came off my feet. The feeling of fast, quick, responsive play was just too good to pass on. The last shoe that felt like this was the adidas Rose 1, and rightfully so, since the concepts are the same: low ride, minimal cushioning, and killer fit.

The Curry 4 is a great shoe for quick, ball-handling point guards who need speed with no lag. Wing players who slash and play light should be good, as long as you know how to land and jump. Bigs and power 4’s may want to look elsewhere, although the solid base and stability may be for you.

The way people wrote off UA and the Curry 3, the “downfall of the Curry line” some called it last year, was extremely premature. Under Armour has created a shoe for the most exciting point guard in the league, and it is a shoe that is exactly, from heel to toe, what Steph needs to perform at his highest level. The Under Armour Curry 4 makes more from less, and the league may be in trouble.

20 Comments

  1. Hey, between the Dame 4’s and the Curry 4’s, which do you prefer?

    I’m 6′ and 130lbs looking for a quick, low-to-the-ground shoe with a solid fit and support for my narrow foot. For reference, the Clutch Fit Drive 3’s fit my foot well with the immense amount of padding that allowed me to really crank the laces; whereas, the curry 2.5, curry 3, KD 9, KD 9 Elite, and Zoom Live 2017 all left room in the forefoot for my feet to slide around or hurt my feet from the lace pressure. Would you recommend either the Dame 4’s or Curry 4’s for my needs? If not, what shoe would you recommend?

    Appreciate the help!

  2. The general naturalistic and minimal look of the shoe drew comparisons to the Rose 1/1.5 (more the 1.5 because of the collar) and bam – you made the comparison in the conclusion too. Which do you prefer between the Roses and these?

    Haven’t commented on your reviews in a while (but I’ve still been reading them all the way from the CK days!) but great review duke, just sounds like a great playable shoe that does minimalistic and natural well (which is pretty rare imo). How’s the insole btw, maybe I’ll just throw a PU insole in these.

    1. insole is cheap and thin. I tried to replace but it’s a pain in the a$$ to get out and in.

      I don’t have any of the Rose1/1.5 anymore, so I can’t really compare, but by memory, the Rose 1.5 was better out of the three. Traction is about even, cushioning in the Rose 1.5 was better, fit goes to the curry 4, and support is even across the board.

      1. Also reader from niketalk and CK days. You convinced me on the Rose 1’s, the 1.5’s. Sadly his time is probably over. Those shoes were so awesome to play in. Less cushioning but that feet you wear type of outside and midsole were amazing. Thanks for the great reviews.

  3. The Dame line is tailored speficially to Dame. The Kyrie line is to Kyrie’s specifications (very similar to curry’s specifications with the almost 0 cushion thing) the KD line is fit for KD’s hockey stick-like feet resulting in a ton of reviewers saying that the shoe fits long, the Lebron line is usually bulky with insane cushion to lebron’s custom tastes and his 6-8 240+ build, and the majority of the time the Kobe line has been either Lunarlon only or a lunar and zoom heel combo, which is what Kobe has specifically said that he likes. Pretty much only the modern Jordan line isn’t tailored to a specific players preferences. I guess an argument could be made that the Paul George line falls under a cloudy generic category, but that list as far as sig lines is very short.

    So what are you talking about “A signature shoe designed to the exact specifications of the player it was designed for”? Most sig lines fall under that category. This Curry 4 is nothing special as far as that description goes.

  4. I mean as far as consumers and viewers/readers, here and on IG, complaining about “no cushion, why don’t they add something”, “Lebrons are too high off the ground and built for big guys”, “KD’s are too narrow, why can’t they make them for us?”

    The shoes you mentioned are all built for the players they are designed for, sure, but the people buying them, for the most part, don’t get that. They want shoes that look like the sigs but built for their foot, which makes no sense. That’s what Hyperdunks, Drive 4, and Crazy Explosive are for.

  5. Thanks for the review. Having to play center, I won’t have any use for these shoes but I like how your reviews are written.
    I think it’s striking that there is no UA big man shoe. Really a big gap in my opinion.
    -pac

  6. I disagree, in this day and age why not move forward with further custom features? Making a wide version of a shoe (for the KD) is something that has been done before with many shoe models and with the UA Icon feature why not give the consumer an option to use a softer foam? I think for the average person is buying the shoe because they like Curry or they like the look of it – and the average consumer probably does not want super stiff cushion.
    I give you credit though, you are one of the few reviewers to properly rank Charged cushion lower (6th man) – it is not versatile and I am not even sure I would rank it ahead of straight Phylon.

    1. This was actually a discussion we had this week. The CURRY is the only real seller in basketball for UA, so make a cushioned, and a quick setup, like Nike did the team huarache back in 2008, I think. Then it would fit more games and make the public happy while still staying true to the design.

      1. So funny, people who complain about the Curry not having enough cushion are the same people who have games that do not warrant higher cushioned shoes. I guarantee that most people who complain about the Curry line are at most, equal to, but more likely less athletic than Steph. I think consumers are confused as to what performance entails. Indy and Formula 1 cars perform and are made for speed but have no “cushion”. Same goes with shoes. Try on some shoes and see how they feel, don’t look at the name attached to it. Some of the best pairs of shoes that I have had, both on and off the court, were low key shoes that had no major hype behind them. #RockWhatYouLike

  7. Great review as always man. I probably won’t get it but that never stops me from reading the reviews. Thanks again.

  8. Hey Duke! how are your curry 4’s holding up?! the seams on my pair (between the knit and synthetic) is starting to come off ( i see glue marks stretching out), after a 3 hour hooping session. (this is actually my second pair).
    I see from your pictures that there is a bit of glue popping out on the medial side (like mine, but mines looks worse)

    My first pair had the same issue, and i returned them thinking its a defect with the gluing, but it seems like its a consistent mishap on under armour (using only heat welding) and no stitching whatsoever. (i use aso ankle braces if that matters).

  9. Hi Duke, great detailed review once again. Thanks. I loved that you mentioned that the fit of the 4s are the same as the 2s.
    For me personally, my 1s are size 10 and it’s perfect for me. It has a little bit of space in the toe area. But with the 2s I had to go with 10.5 to have that same experience as the 1s. I saw a picture comparing 1s and 2s and the 2s are shorter lengthwise.
    Do you agree? Is the length of the 4s really same as the 2s?
    Thanks again!

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