Under Armour HOVR Havoc Performance Review

Could the Under Armour HOVR Havoc be the most well-rounded basketball model out of Baltimore? Let’s find out.


Under Armour HOVR Havoc performance review traction

“Sneakersheads” and hoopers alike have a million and one different reasons why they may dislike Under Armour. However, I tend to enjoy that the brand usually doesn’t stray away from what works in terms of traction.

We hear and read it all the time, “Why do companies tell stories on the bottom of a performance shoe when you can’t see whatever lame story they’re trying to tell” and it often times translates to hit or miss coverage on-court. Herringbone is the way to go and herringbone is what UA uses more often than not. Yes, the brand tried something new on the Curry 5 and it didn’t quite work. No worries, because it’s already back to basics and I love it.

Not once did I have to wipe the soles of the HOVR Havoc, no matter which court I was playing on, from the cleanest to the meanest. It even handled the 40-year-old floor that should’ve been refinished ages ago perfectly. The outsole here works beautifully.

The HOVR Havoc is just as awesome outdoors, if not slightly more awesome, than it was indoors. The shoe has become one of my go-to outdoor options because it have provided me with reliable coverage and it has just enough cushion to make my time outside in 100-degree heat enjoyable.

Under Armour HOVR Havoc performance review cushion

HOVR has made its way onto a basketball product, finally! Not that we really had to wait that long. But still, if you wore the HOVR Phantom or Sonic then you know what I’m talking about.

Just a heads up: if you’re just trying them on or you’ve only worn them for a short period of time then your initial impression probably won’t be accurate. Since the HOVR is encased within the EVA midsole there is some serious breaking in to do. If you have the patience to do that then you’re probably going to enjoy the well-balanced ride the HOVR Havoc provides.

Having HOVR located from the heel to the midfoot doesn’t sound like it would be all that comfortable for those that primarily play on their toes, but I was impressed. Again, once broken-in the ride was slightly bouncy — but not to the point where I felt unstable.

The forefoot is just plain old EVA so you’ll receive plenty of court feel in this area for explosiveness and responsiveness. Typically, the faster and more athletic the athlete the more natural court feel he/she wants (or if you happen to be a shooter and rely on stability).

Of course, everyone is different and some folks like a bit more bounce under the forefoot. For that I would have loved to have seen a thinner top layer of HOVR combined with the EVA underneath. It’s possible that the brand tried this during wear-testing and athletes preferred the setup that made its way onto the retail version, but we’ll never really know.

All I know is that I was surprised and happy with the current implementation of HOVR in basketball; I’m interested to see where UA takes HOVR in its future basketball products.

Under Armour HOVR Havoc performance review materials

The HOVR Havoc is comprised of mesh with a top coating that reminds me of silk screening…only stretchier. This top layer helps contain the foot without restricting the mesh from doing its thing.

There is a skin-fuse-type layer at the forefoot that protects the toe from abrasion. While the past handful of UA products I’ve worn, tested, and reviewed have all had something similar, it has continuously shown signs of wear within minutes of me playing. While this doesn’t bother me at all, I don’t ever plan on wearing my basketball shoes casually, it may irk some that try to keep their shoes looking as new as possible for as long as possible.

This time around, the fuse layer has been durable enough to not just protect the material it’s adhered to but also maintain its looks as well. I’ve been playing in the HOVR Havoc for weeks both indoors and outdoors and the shoe still looks pretty good.

Under Armour HOVR Havoc performance review fit

The HOVR Havoc fits true to size but it is slightly snug width-wise. If you like some wiggle room or you’re a wide footer then I suggest going up a 1/2 size.

Lockdown is great from heel to toe. The forefoot features a synthetic overlay on both the medial and lateral side which allows the mesh to stretch and form around your foot while you adjust the laces to your liking; this creates a great fit and proper containment.

At the rear we have a couple of nylon lace loops along with an additional set of “eyelets.” They’re just cutouts of the mesh supported with skin-like fuse that draw your ankle and heel into the heel counter.

These two lacing systems combined don’t form Captain Planet but they do create a one-to-one fit that I really love.

Under Armour HOVR Havoc performance review support

Everything you need from a shoe is used on the HOVR Havoc, and it isn’t overdone. There is a torsional shank that also acts as a TPU carrier for the visible midfoot section of the HOVR cushion.

Meanwhile, the fit is fantastic. Couple that with the wide flat base and exaggerated midsole/outsole to form a barrier-style outrigger and you have tons of support that helps promote natural movement and mobility.

Under Armour HOVR Havoc performance review overall

The UA HOVR Havoc has been the most well-rounded basketball model I’ve worn from Under Armour in a long time.

There has always been something missing in the brand’s recent hoop shoes — from cushion to desirable materials and durability. There’s usually been something that I could undoubtedly point to and say, “I’d have changed that.” With the HOVR Havoc, the only thing I’d like to have seen is a thin layer of HOVR in the toe, but the comfort is still there so it’s more of a “I wonder how it’d feel” versus a “the shoe needs this badly.”

At $105, the HOVR Havoc is a great deal and should offer you a bit of everything you could want — court feel, cushion, a one-to-one fit, support without feeling like you’re being restricted, traction, and durability. Did I mention the shoe has cushion? Good cushion too.

If you were considering the UA HOVR Havoc or this happens to be your upcoming season’s team shoe then I hope you enjoy the shoe as much as I have. Now, if this cushion is in the Curry 6…sign me up.

20 Comments

  1. $105? I too was hoping for full length hover but at this pricepoint with such a great performance I wouldn’t complain either

      1. Another great review Nightwing. How does the shoe compare to the Anta KT3 Low and which do you personally prefer (and why)?

        1. I was literally in the process of asking this same question lol. Great review and thanks for the info, Nightwing!!

          This colorway is fire, can’t wait for some news… I’m almost certainly copping these.

        2. I like the way the upper on the Havoc secures the foot a bit better than the full knit of the KT3 Low. Traction on each is comparable. Cushion is better in the heel on the Havoc, but better at the toe on the KT3 Low. Can’t go wrong with either pair.

      2. Thanks so much for answering this! This CW is pure freshness and I cant wait to buy it. The Dennis JR Drive 4 Low PE was so fire and never dropped for public consumption so I just let that shoe be. But this/Forge96/Rocky collab are my my rotation for the next 6 months for sure…

  2. No hovr in the forefoot? Pffft. You had one job, ua. At least could’ve put some micro g or something.

    Everything else seems solid, tho. It could be a good ross pickup in a few months.

  3. Is the impact protection good? How does it compare to bounce in terms of impact protection? I usually play outdoors

    1. Bounce feels a bit more rubbery in comparison to HOVR. HOVR feels slightly more plush, but not by much. Both have solid under foot feedback, just in different ways.

  4. The designer does seem to say that HOVR is located from heel to toe,..Maybe fastpass will deconstruct it for us to see.

    While it is EVA in the forefoot, impact protection was still good?

    I really liked your enthousiams regarding this shoe NW, I’ll cop very likely.

    1. No offense to the designer but he doesn’t seem to answer the question as to the reason why the cushion was not full length. Also couldn’t understand him as he sounded like he’s eating his words or chewing a gum.

    2. Everything felt great from a cushion standpoint. Much better than the previous Curry models.

      The designer said they are from heel to midfoot. Emphasized that the UA signed NBA athletes they had testing the shoe, like Dennis Smith Jr, didn’t like too much cushion in the toe but enjoyed it while it was in the heel. They tried to find a balance that would please most players and playing styles. I think they achieved that.

  5. Always like your reviews, thanks. Quick question: been looking at these or the PG2’s maybe. But I get lots of forefoot strain, toes and balls of my feel get smashed up. What would you recommend, not just of the two I mention, but generally?

    Cheers.

    1. Would the issue you experience be caused by wearing shoes with too much cushion? Or is it caused by wearing shoes without enough cushion?

      If you need more cushion in the forefoot then the PG2 would be a good option, but the Zoom unit protrudes a bit and could cause more strain if lack of cushion isn’t the real issue.

      If you need something that is neutral in the forefoot without much cushion then the UA Havoc would be a good place to start. Offers solid performance without breaking the bank.

      1. Thanks for the quick response. I had never thought of there being too much cushion. I used to wear CP3 7’s and found them ok. I’m now wearing Jordan XXXI’s but to be honest didn’t really look at the differences in set up or how they compare to what’s out now with the likes of the PG2’s etc. With the current Jordan’s I found my feet move in them a bit too much in hard sessions which leads to my feet getting beat up.

        Thoughts on whether the XXXI’s have too much cushion compared to the CP3’s and other options and what might be best to resolve the issue I describe?

        Much appreciated NW,

        Mick.

  6. Nightwing is the forefoot cushion enough for outdoor players? I’m a guard who pounds the ground a bit so I usually look for shoes with good impact protection. Thanks a lot!

  7. thanks a lot Nightwing, im currently compare low and high version. im from Canada. the low version doesn’t comes with any great colorway in Sportcheck… any suggestion? hows the high top version

    thanks in advance for the commons

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