Under Armour tries to top its best running shoe to date, the Gemini 2, with a revamped upper and materials. How does the Gemini 3 stack up? Well, you know what’s next…
Under Armour has really grasped the concept of traction in running shoes, something most don’t think about until they need it. Yeah, in normal conditions, all runners are fine — who needs good grip when all you do is up and down, front to back? But Under Armour decided we should get grip in all directions, and the Gemini 3 works.
The softer rubber on the lateral side (the orange forefoot section) provides serious pull if you have to corner, while the harder black area under the ball of the foot will take more punishment when the impact is a little more harsh. The flex grooves, which we saw in the Threadborne Slingflex, allow the forefoot to constantly be in contact with the ground with as much area as possible, which means the shoe is gripping better.
Durability? These only have around 70 miles or so on them but so far they’re holding up great.
Still riding Charged Cushioning with a heel Micro G insert, the Gemini 3 rides a little stiffer than the Gemini 2 from last year but it’s still responsive and absorbent. The biggest change is in the heel: where the 2 was soft and almost unstable (very UltraBoost-like), the heel of the Gemini 3 is stiffer and doesn’t compress on landings if you’re a heel striker. The cored out heel under the midsole keeps the clunkiness that is normally associated with stiff cushioning away, so that helps.
One great thing about full-length cushioning: transition is usually smooth, and the Gemini 3 is no different. Again, the segmented forefoot helps with flexibility so toe-off is easy and effortless. The Gemini 3 rides lower than the 2, but again, it’s more stable and controlled.
Threadborne makes an appearance in UA Running again, but this time not as extensively as in the Slingflex. That isn’t a bad thing — the Slingflex is built for comfort and honestly is more of a “fashion” runner for short distances and workouts. The Gemini 3 is the trainer, set up for long distances and multiple activities, and for that reason a stiffer upper with more durable construction comes in perfectly.
The side panels are where the woven Threadborne is found and it’s thick and supportive. The toebox is some serious open mesh that allows for great flexibility. The insole and heel is SpeedForm, UA’s proprietary one-piece heel cup that hugs the heel and foot with no slip or movement. The tongue is thin and is actually not a one-piece or attached — it’s a normal tongue that doesn’t bunch when the shoe is pulled tight. I am not a fan of the top of the tongue though; it has a border that curls and will not lay flat, no matter how much work is put into it.
A little short in length, the 10.5 fit like a 10. Not extremely small, as the materials let the shoe give and stretch around the toebox, but if you go true to size, there is very little room for expansion through your runs. (Personally, I like about a thumbs width in length because after a couple of miles my feet swell). Heel fit is perfect — no movement at all when laced moderately tight.
One thing shoe companies have started doing in the last couple of years that is wonderful is moving the laces back behind the toe joints. There are only four lace loops on the Gemini 3 and none are past the midfoot, meaning no tongue bunching over the toebox and massive flexibility with no hotspots. The Gemini 3 is normal width, so normal and slightly wide footers shouldn’t have a problem with the lacing system being short. Narrow footers, you may have some movement in the forefoot, but as long as you aren’t making 45° cuts through the streets consistently, you should be good.
The Gemini 3 is not a shoe for runners needing maximum support for pronation or plantar fasciitis issues. The midfoot is supported just enough to keep you moving forward but not super-stiff — hence the awesome transition. The midsole does rise above the sole of the foot, providing a little bit of a foot bucket for control, but there is no bridge on the medial side for extra push. However, if you are a neutral runner with no extra needs, the upper and the solid, large heel counter should be enough. The base is fairly wide, like most runners, so forefoot strikers have no issue with instability upon landing.
The rest of the support and stability is provided by the short lacing system. Don’t be fooled, the lace holes are basically straps pulling the midfoot panels up and over the foot, which then ties into the midsole, keeping the shoe from feeling detached. When your foot is one piece with your shoe, runs become easier and quicker.
If you were a fan of the Gemini 2 but wanted a little stiffer ride, the Gemini 3 is for you. The heel Charged takes a cue from the basketball line (but not completely) and stiffens up for stability while the mid and forefoot retain the soft spring from the last two models. Fit is on point, with very little movement overall. Moreover, the Gemini 3 uses a comfortable upper that you can wear without socks with no issues (some runners do that, don’t judge).
Priced at $130, with some colorways already marked down to $103 (including the one reviewed), the Gemini 3 is a great shoe for middle distance runners looking for an every day trainer. Say what you will about Under Armour but performance is, and probably always will be number one, like it or not.