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UA HOVR Havoc 3 Performance Review

We all know about Under Armour’s Curry line. But the HOVR Havoc line brought excellent performance since it started three years ago. Does the UA HOVR Havoc 3 keep the line rolling along? Only one way to find out…

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UA HOVR Havoc 3 Traction

Traction

Topographical is my first thought. The pattern looks like one of those maps we all saw as kids. You know, the maps that had the different levels of land mapped (though we didn’t really know why). It kind of makes sense.

I don’t know why Under Armour switched patterns. The HOVR Havoc and HOVR Havoc 2 both used herringbone (or a variation of it) and traction was great. The UA HOVR Havoc 3 switched it up and the traction isn’t as solid as the first two models. It’s not terrible and works really well on clean courts. But it’s also a Hoover on court, sucking up all the dust you pass. The grooves vary in width, but the tightness of some of the spacing keeps dust locked in and slick bottoms the Havoc 3.

Outdoors? I wouldn’t. The pattern is thin and the rubber is soft. I could see these wearing off during the 9th point of the third game to 15 on a rough outdoor court. In short, not good for anyone who wants to play ball during a pandemic.

UA HOVR Havoc 3 Cushion

Cushion

HOVR, but it’s not HOVR. Again, the difference between basketball HOVR and running HOVR is a problem, at least for me. I have absolutely loved HOVR cushioning since the original Phantom and Sonic. But the basketball version is a stiff, distant relative that seems more focused on response and court feel. There is little to no give or compression for impact protection in the midsole. It’s great if you’re looking for the ultimate starting block for change of direction and take off. It’s not great if you need some cushioning for your knees and back. The Havoc 3 is not soft. If you played in the Havoc and Havoc 2 you will know what to expect.

I will say, however, that transition is FANTASTIC. The Havoc feels smooth and effortless while playing and changing direction. Going from defense to full-speed offense is super fast. You will definitely feel the speed in the Havoc, just don’t jump very high to avoid heavy impacts.

UA HOVR Havoc 3 Materials

Materials

Full on fuse from 2010. Seriously, this is the same material we saw on the Nike’s Hyperfuse from 10 years ago. Is that bad? No, not really. I really liked that shoe on foot. The heel is rubberized and heat molded, the midfoot is textile-backed mesh, and that same mesh runs through the forefoot where it’s covered by more fuse. The materials overall are thin and feel good on foot. They actually work while playing, keeping your foot contained while being durable.

The inside of the shoe is a 3/4 length bootie connected to the tongue. The heel has some thick padding to fill in any gaps. That leads me to my least favorite part of the shoe. For some reason, Under Armour decided to add a seam in the center of the heel padding running vertically. Every time I played in the UA HOVR Havoc 3 I got serious pain and (most of the time) a blister at the base of my Achilles tendon. I have never had that issue with an Under Armour shoe. I can’t believe they added that seam in that location. It’s asking for a hot spot.

UA HOVR Havoc 3 Fit

Fit

Like almost every Under Armour shoe I’ve played in for the last ten years, the fit is on point. True to size length-wise, true to size width-wise, and the lacing system cinches the shoe up nicely without having to over-tighten and cause lace pressure. If you are a narrow footer you might be able to go down half a size. The ankle collar is angled away from the foot to cut down on blisters and that part did work. The fuse doesn’t really stretch so containment is great from start to finish. I felt a slight heel slip at first but that went away once the fuse broke in a little. Overall, once again, Under Armour knows fit.

UA HOVR Havoc 3 Support

Support

A W-I-D-E base in the forefoot is the best support feature of the UA HOVR Havoc 3. It provides solid landings and solid planting for takeoff. The cushioning and midsole feel solid which makes the shoe feel super-stable when taking off for jumpers or rebounds. The last thing you need is a mushy midsole, which leads to the edges falling and the foot rolling over. For all the grief I gave the HOVR for being stiff and hard (I know, cue Michael Scott), it does a great job of giving the player a base to elevate from without worrying about landing.

The fit is the other main attribute of support that really dials in the Havoc 3. The lacing system is simple but does a great job of tightening the shoe so there’s very little dead space for shifting while playing. It’s not a super-supportive boot/shoe but it’s got just enough to make me feel confident on take offs and landings.

Overall

For all of my complaints about the HOVR cushioning in the basketball line, it’s led to some solid, fast-feeling shoes over the last two years. The UA Curry 7 is still a favorite in my rotation. The UA HOVR Havoc 3 fits right into that mold. It’s got nice traction on clean courts, a solid base, great fit, smooth transition, and court feel.

If you’re looking for a shoe built for shifty, ball handling, get into the lane and get creative type players, the Havoc 3 should fill all of your needs. If you need high impact protection or durable traction for outdoors hooping, you may want to keep looking (or get the UA Embiid 1 – yep, that review is coming soon).

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Thanks to Under Armour for sending pairs to test. Under Armour didn’t get any editorial control of the review. This review is based on our weartesters’ experiences using the shoes for HIIT, Metcon, weightlifting workouts, running, casual wear, and more.

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