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UA HOVR Machina 3 Performance Review

UA HOVR Machina 3

The UA HOVR Machina 3 is, in many ways, similar to the original UA HOVR Machina. The second iteration didn’t even change enough for us to review it since it was basically the original with minor tweaks that didn’t affect performance. However, the small tweaks and changes on the UA HOVR Machina 3 do affect performance and comfort. Are they improvements?

UA HOVR Machina 3

Release Date: May 2022

Price: $150

Weight: M 10.6oz, W 9.3oz

Drop: 8mm

Sizing: True to Size

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  • Rundown: The UA HOVR Machina 3 is a comfortable, supportive running shoe meant for athletes that occasionally hit the track or do short 2-4 mile runs.

Pros

  • Dual Density HOVR
  • Tongue
  • Stability

Cons

  • Blown Rubber Outsole
  • Breathability
UA HOVR Machina 3 Tongue

Pros

Dual Density HOVR

When the Under Armour press release revealed the UA HOVR Machina 3 was getting dual density HOVR, specifically a firmer responsive forefoot paired with a softer heel, I was intrigued. This is the first shoe I can think of with a bifurcated HOVR setup.

The heel portion of the HOVR is the typical HOVR with the traditional netting around the outside. It feels exactly like you’d expect and similar to previous running shoes with HOVR. The big difference is in the forefoot. The forefoot feels quite a bit firmer and snappier. While this isn’t good for the HOVR Machina 3’s long-distance running prospects, it’s better for track work and shorter, quicker runs.

It appears Under Armour tuned the cushioning of the shoe to target athletes training for basketball, football, baseball, etc. So while the HOVR Machina 3 is a running shoe, it’s not meant for those that view running as their main sport. It’s targeted at athletes using running as cross-training for something else. And if that’s truly the purpose (as I believe it is), Under Armour chose the correct cushioning setup.

Tongue

The entire upper is comfy but the well-integrated foam and mesh tongue is the best part. The perforated foam on the inside is super comfy and relieves lace pressure while the mesh around it allows for airflow. It’s not bulky but it’s just as comfortable as tongues with 5 times the padding (and weight).

Stability

The plastic TPU heel clip that extends around the heel on both sides is a great addition to the UA HOVR Machina 3. It wasn’t present on the first two iterations of the HOVR Machina line but it really ups the support in an inconspicuous way. It looks like part of the design but does a great job preventing side-to-side movement. It’s perfect for athletes doing cone drills, shuttle runs, and sprints as part of their offseason training regimen.

UA HOVR Machina 3 Outsole

Cons

Blown Rubber Outsole

The worse part of the original HOVR Machina returns in the UA HOVR Machina 3. The blown rubber is thicker and thus harder to wear through this time, but it still wears quicker than traditional rubber. Blown rubber just isn’t durable enough for a shoe used primarily on roads and concrete. Your best bet is to mix in a fair amount of rubber tracks, field turf, or manicured grass. That will keep the front 3/4 of the outsole from wearing away too quickly. It’ll also keep you from going back to the store for running shoes sooner than you’d like.

Breathability

The breathability of the UA HOVR Machina 3’s tongue is great. The rest of the upper, not so much. The second layer of mesh prevents the large air holes on the first layer from doing much good. This is better for the all-around support/stability of the shoe but not ideal on hot summer days. I wish Under Armour increased the airflow considering this shoe is aimed at conditioning for other sports, something that often happens during hot and humid summers.

UA HOVR Machina 3 on Trail

UA HOVR Machina 3 Summary

The UA HOVR Machina 3 is designed for athletes using running to get conditioned for other sports. This means it’s sort of miscategorized as a true running shoe and thus drives the middling score below. That said, other than the breathability issues, this shoe is stable enough, cushioned enough, and comfortable enough to be a great training companion, especially when that training involves a lot of running and running-based drills.

6/10
Total Score

Pros

  • Dual Density HOVR
  • Tongue
  • Stability

Cons

  • Blown Rubber Outsole
  • Breathability

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