The Under Armour Spawn 2 is technically the 3rd version of the Anatomix Spawn line. You might remember either the original or the 2019 version. Today, we have a performance review of the 2020 edition of the Under Armour Spawn 2.
Sorry to spoil, but traction is easily the best aspect of the Spawn in its 2020 iteration.
This year the pattern itself is even closer in resemblance to the Nike Kobe 9 foot map pattern — and traction is great, but seems to fall short of the Kobe 9 — possibly even short of last year’s reboot. Even so, it’s surely no slouch.
Stopping power is great on all types of surfaces, excluding those with heavy condensation. It has less of a tacky compound than other shoes with great traction typically have but somehow still works despite it’s dead silence. While this is irrelevant performance wise, I could see it having a placebo effect on those that feel more secure with loud screeching shoes.
The rubber is still soft, but not quite as soft as last year’s model. Still, outdoor use is not recommended as even playing strictly indoors I’ve noticed fraying in some of the thicker tread areas – which is strange. If you keep them indoors and don’t mind quiet traction, these are good money.
Candidly speaking, I’m not the guy to look to for comparison between old-school and current gen Micro-G. What I can say, is that this doesn’t feel like the best the brand has offered, based on trusted reviews of our more experienced WearTesters in the past.
Court feel is prominent and lag time minimized. Impact protection isn’t top-tier, but there’s not much to complain about in my experience. The springy feeling some may be accustomed to in other cushion setups is hardly present, but for those that don’t need or care for that feedback, it should be satisfactory.
Despite my personal preferences for the midsole, I respect it’s use in the Spawn 2 – keeping things lightweight, smooth and overall responsive as a shoe.
Just as we left off, lightweight/minimalism is the theme of the materials. UA also touts the upper as being supportive, but I’ll save some of those thoughts for now.
The textile upper flexes very well and moves well with the foot in the areas that it hugs well, such as the skin-like midfoot sections. This time, instead of fuse, that area is more of a neoprene material that seems to mimic the veins of a foot (I get it, but still weird). To offset that potential loss of support in materials, a lateral TPU cage has been added but it’s not at all invasive.
BUT, one problem returns to the Spawn line with materials.
Our team struggled with dead space above the toes in last year’s Anatomix Spawn Low – I regret to say I had the same issue in this year’s model. To add to that, the absence of stronger holding materials means the shoe will stretch to the point where it just doesn’t hug the forefoot well and doesn’t move as well as it should with the shoe. In a small way, it works against everything done to make the shoe minimal.
I’d love to have seen how a half-size down would have differed, but UA basketball has little to no presence locally, so I wasn’t able to conveniently try on a pair.
The good part is there is some hope for wide footers to remain true to size, but foot shape will also be a factor, so it isn’t a guarantee. A half size up could be necessary in some cases, which hopefully will not create an issue with length. Narrow footers, I would recommend a half size down.
Midfoot and back, there are good support features. The midfoot TPU cage is placed well and does it’s job, and it feels as though there is at least a small torsional support bar placed somewhere within the midsole. I also enjoy how the rubber outsole uniquely wraps up the heel as additional reinforcement.
My two critiques for support would be 1) the absence of stronger, form-fitting materials up front and 2) even though the upper has space for wide footers, the actual base of the shoe tapers heavily towards the toe, creating a slightly tippy feeling over an already rounded platform.
While the Spawn 2 may not be my preferred hoop shoe, that doesn’t make it a bad one. The brand has marketed it as a guard-style sneaker, and I can 100% understand why. Those that appreciate a purely responsive shoe should appreciate the Spawn 2, especially if the sizing works out. Even for some big men out there (those that work the perimeter), this shoe can be a solid option.
It’s not my favorite shoe, but it may work well for you if the fit works with your foot.