The more things stay the same, the more they change. Wait, that isn’t right. The Under Armour Heat Seeker keeps some things from the past while completely re-doing others. What stayed, what didn’t, and how does it all come together? Let’s do this…
Speaking of staying the same, the Heat Seeker uses the exact same midsole and outsole as the Drive 4. Not a bad idea when it comes to the traction, as this is some of the best herringbone on the market. The blades are thick and widely spaced, which means plenty of surface area to grab and plenty of space to push dust out of the way.
The soles were squeaky and loud and stopped on a dime in any direction with no hesitation.There was no sliding on any of the three indoor courts I played on — whether dust was present or not. The flex grooves under the ball of the foot are still there and lead to an awesome transition feel, keeping the forefoot from becoming too stiff and rigid.
Durability? It’s weird — on the Drive 4, playing outdoors was no issue. The herringbone is good for multiple wears on smooth or rough surfaces and the grooves are deep for longevity. However, the Heat Seeker showed signs of fraying on the edges of the forefoot and heel from just indoor use after four days of playing. Nothing major, just some slight wearing, and the actual herringbone was still intact. It’s something to keep an eye on.
Again, some things stay the same. No, that isn’t HOVR — be patient — but an EVA foam carrier and forefoot with Micro G in the heel puck. Not a bad setup, but when HOVR is on the market in the running line, it makes it hard to accept the EVA forefoot found here.
On the plus side, the ride is low and the midsole responds to every move you throw at it. Impact absorption coming down from jumpers is good, but has a dead feeling — there’s no bounce-back at all. Again, for playing on your toes and quick movements, the foam never has a sinking feeling to slow you down.
The Micro G in the heel is what we all used to love — soft but responsive, stable, low-riding, and very protective. I have no idea why Micro G is only in the heel, but since we have it there, just enjoy it. The EVA is stable on landings, letting the Micro G bounce back to provide serious pain relief for your joints.
We have change and it is good. This is not Under Armour’s first trip into a knitted upper for basketball (we got the Charged Controller and the Curry 3 that used Threadborne in 2017). However, this is the first shoe that feels like a knitted upper.
The Heat Seeker features an engineered knit upper (no signs of the name Threadborne) with an extended ankle collar. The knit itself is stretchy where it needs to be — over the top of the foot in the lace area, around the ankle — and not stretchy at all on high-stress areas like the lateral forefoot. The containment is serious, which was a huge relief, as some knits don’t hold shape under extreme force. The Heat Seeker is easily one of the most comfortable shoes Under Armour Basketball has ever put out.
Inside that knit upper is a 3/4 length inner sleeve that helps provide the containment. Here is the trick: the laces go through the knitted upper and lace through the sleeve, which has lace straps internally, sewn into the midsole. The sleeve is neoprene, so it will stretch for easy entry, but this also means it wraps your foot and holds you tight.
There is a little bit of fuse over the big toe, but this is nothing that affects feel or flex – it just keeps the knit from wearing on toe drags and gives a little protection if you get stepped on. Plus it adds a nice color hit to break up that forefoot.
Being a knitted upper, fit should be spot on, and it is. There is almost no dead space anywhere in the upper, except for a little extra length in the toebox (I like about a thumb’s width between my toe and the end of the shoe, and these were right on it). If you like to have no space at all at the end of the shoe, you could go a half size down, but true to size worked great. The last feels narrower than the Drive 4, more like the Curry 4, so wide footers my need to try these on first.
While the lacing runs through the sleeve and the knit does form-fit, the laces actually don’t add much until the ankle collar. They are hard to tighten, but you really shouldn’t need to do so. The heel is locked in using extra padding, almost like a dog bone, around the area that forms over your foot and takes up most of the empty space. Meanwhile, the lacing system in the ankle runs high enough that any heel slip is stopped when laced tight (again, the one area where the laces can be pulled tight).
There are three reasons the Heat Seeker, a shoe with a knitted upper, feels very supportive: a wide, solid base; a solid midfoot shank; and a fairly solid heel counter.
The midsole sticks out on all sides from the upper, meaning you are coming down stable and solid. Narrow base = tipping. Wide base = stable. From a birds-eye view of the forefoot, you can see the midsole sticking out. When coming around picks or cuts, that solid base will let you plant with no issues and rise up for a shot or push off into your steps with no delay. Better stability means less lag time, which makes you quicker.
The Heat Seeker features the same midfoot shank as the Drive 4 and while it isn’t huge, it is solid and placed perfectly. It stops before the forefoot so there is no added stiffness in that area but under the midfoot you are held up and safe.
The heel counter, at first appearance, seems flimsy and soft. It is, at least on the sides of the heel. The rear is solid, however, and works with the top laces to hold your foot into the rear of the shoe, keeping your foot upright and stable but still allowing the flexibility of the knit to shine.
The Under Armour Heat Seeker is close — thisclose — to being great. It needs HOVR, and we all know it. Under Armour will probably continue to hear “we need HOVR” until it appears on a ball shoe. The one thing missing was great cushioning, but even so, the Heat Seeker is still extremely good.
Great traction, fit was spot on, and support, for a knitted mid-top, was serious. If you are a high-flying, quick guard or play that 3-and-D game, the Heat Seeker will work wonders. Actually, anyone up to extreme big men/post players should be good, and even then, with the solid midsole and support, the shoe may still work.
In case you missed it, Dennis Smith Jr. just did arguably the greatest 360 dunk in history in the Heat Seeker. Knowing what DSJ could bring, Under Armour knew it had to bring the, well, heat. Mission accomplished.