Under Armour has removed the “ClutchFit” from its latest Drive 4, but the shoe still gives you the drive. Will the updated materials, build, and aesthetics be enough to perform well on the court? Let’s find out.
YOU CAN FIND THE UA DRIVE 4 NOW AT EASTBAY.COM
Traction – The traction on the UA Drive 4 is bonkers. I mean, Killa Cam. The full-length herringbone stuck my feet to the ground with its threaded thick grooves that allow the shoe to be quite durable. Aggressive movements, regardless of the court (hardwood or blacktop), the rubber was thick enough to bite down when it needed to. Coming from the ClutchFit Drive 3, this updated outsole and rubber compound really is a step in the right direction.
Cushion – “Ain’t nothing but a G thang baby!” Micro-G, that is, and it’s located in the heel. But where’s the rest of the impact protection? For my game, I needed a little bit more protection. However, Micro G was responsive when trying to push back on movement from my forefoot, and my knees take more of the brunt with the straight EVA.
For those who have a heavier landing step, like myself, I would look elsewhere knowing my knees and legs will be dealing with significant impact in this shoe. I’m not sure why UA didn’t consider implementing Micro G full-length adding some Charged Cushioning but I hope the brand puts that into consideration in the next model because man…my knees don’t like that feeling.
Materials – The Drive 4 utilizes a lightweight and breathable textile mesh that felt kind of stiff on-foot initially. The materials don’t exactly conform to your foot so it makes the fit semi-sloppy.
My other gripe is the heel counter. There is little to no padding at the heel counter is located so if your heel pulls back into the area you may feel a sharp pinch. The issue doesn’t happen consistently, but it’s noticeably there.
The Drive 4 uses a textile upper, 3M details and piping, and a higher ankle collar, all of which provide the shoe with a decent finish.
Fit – Coming from the ClutchFit 3, the Drive 4 seemed to have taken a step back. With all the interior padding, overlays, and lace loops, the Drive 4 should have kept me locked in. The shoe fits decent, even for a wide-footer like myself, but I just didn’t feel as secure as I’d have liked — even when laced super tight.
The ankle collar, although stiff, provided enough comfort and assisted in alleviating lace pressure. There is some minor dead space due to the wide-footer friendly fit, but that doesn’t make the shoe bad at all. Actually, it is pretty decent, and as long as you lace this shoe like you’re locked down in Fort Knox you shouldn’t have much of a problem.
Support – Naturally, support comes from the containment and fit of the shoe. Despite the flimsiness you get from a super wide-footer friendly-shoe, the overlay and material usage helped provide decent containment on the foot itself.
For those that like a really close-to-court feel, the Micro G heel and carrier foam provide a very low ride. Besides for the stiff ankle collar and the lackluster padding around the heel counter, the shoe does a pretty decent job in terms of handling itself on-court.
Overall – The Drive 4 is a shoe that I really wanted to love, but it had me turning my head. The shoe performs decently for its price, but it had me looking back to its predecessor. If you combined the CFD3 low upper with the Drive 4 traction, the shoe would have taken a major turn. Implement a more forgiving full-length cushion and you’d have a killer shoe.
This shoe is for the everyday, every position player and it is a solid performer. If you require more cushion like myself, then yes, you may have to look elsewhere. However, if you want a shoe that gives you a low to the ground feel and great traction (whether you play indoors or outdoors), this shoe definitely fits the mold.
The Drive 4 is a mix of taking of couple steps forward and a couple steps backward. However, I love the fact that Under Armour is trying new things. With a couple of minors tweaks the shoe could have been what I expected it to be. Shoulda, coulda, woulda right? Hopefully, the Drive 5 will take things in a new direction.
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