Under Armour HOVR Machina 3 review TL;DR: If you need a daily trainer for high-mileage, slow-paced training, the HOVR Machina 3 is an excellent choice.
I almost started this review by saying that "Under Armour is killing it with its running shoes", but then I realised that this statement is only partially true. It's true that Under Armour has produced some of the best running shoes in recent times, including the Under Armour Flow Velociti Wind 2, but the brand still isn't considered a serious competitor of brands such as ASICS, Adidas or Nike.
It's not like Under Armour is not trying its best to make a name for itself in the running shoe market. The original Under Armour Flow Velociti Wind made some waves last year thanks to its innovative midsole, and UA is also said to be working on a new high-stack racing shoe which I can't wait to try.
But let's talk about the new HOVR Machina 3 instead of speculating about future UA releases, especially because the HOVR Machina 3 is an exciting high-mileage running shoe on its own term. It features an updated midsole, a comfortable upper and the same Bluetooth connectivity that turns other UA shoes running watches you can run in.
Under Armour HOVR Machina 3 review: Price and availability
The Under Armour HOVR Machina 3 was announced Jan 2022 and is available to buy now directly from Under Armour US (opens in new tab), Under Armour UK (opens in new tab) and Under Armour AU (opens in new tab) for a recommended retail price of $160/£140/AU$220. Make sure you check our Under Armour discount codes page to see if you can lower the cost.
Strangely, the available colourways for the HOVR Machina 3 differ from country to country. In Australia, there are three colours for women and two for men, while in the UK it's four for women and three for men. However, in the US, it's six for each sex. Go figure.
Thanks to the launch of the HOVR Machina 3, its predecessor, the UA HOVR Machina 2 (opens in new tab) (retailer link), can now be bought for less – not a bad option for people who don't mind chunky everyday trainers. A similarly cheaper option is the UA Infinite 3 (opens in new tab) (retailer link), a "pro" trainer for a more lightweight running experience.
Under Armour HOVR Machina 3 review: What's new?
Much like how the ASICS METASPEED EDGE+ is an entirely different running shoe from its predecessor, the Under Armour HOVR Machina 3 can't be more different from the HOVR Machina 2.
While the HOVR Machina 2 relied on the sprint spike-inspired Pebax speed plate and carbon rubber pods under the heel for propulsion, the HOVR Machina 3 features a dual-density foam that's firmer and more responsive at the forefront HOVR and softer under the heel.
The new version doesn't mention the UA RUSH lining and instead of a 3D spacer mesh upper, it has an engineered warp spacer upper. The HOVR Machina 3 also has an aerodynamic heel design, which, combined with the external TPU heel wrap, is said to provide more support and better lockdown.
The Under Armour HOVR Machina 3 has an 8mm drop and weighs 358 grams (men's UK size 10).
Under Armour HOVR Machina 3 review: Fit
I was slightly concerned about the dual-density foam. I always find this approach only partially successful because while the different areas indeed provide the desired effect, where the two different densities overlap, the sensation is usually less than ideal. Especially after longer runs, this border between hard and soft foam can be uncomfortable.
The good news is, the UA HOVR Machina 2 hasn't got this issue, probably because of the soft foam gradually transitioning into the hard foam. This allows for a smoother gait cycle, enabling runners to make the most of the different densities; well done, UA engineers!
The upper of the HOVR Machina 3 also feels less stuffy than the HOVR Machina 2. Not sure if the space warp upper has anything to do with the Flow Velociti Wind's WARP upper – they sure don't look the same – but the new upper also has a "strategically-mapped" design without any overlays or seams to reduce irritation.
Under Armour HOVR Machina 3 review: Running performance
I must confess, the maximum distance I ran in the Under Armour HOVR Machina 3 was around 10k; probably the shortest distance UA would recommend the shoes for. It's a high-mileage running trainer, so ideally, you want to wear them for longer sessions (obviously).
I already mentioned the situation with the dual-density foam – it's excellent – and, thankfully, the HOVR Machina 3 is also comfortable to wear, not a bad feature for shoes that you're supposed to wear for hours.
I'm not saying the Under Armour HOVR Machina 3 is the best high-miler shoe – I'd probably still choose the ASICS Gel-Nimbus 24 or the On Cloudmonster – but it's much better than its predecessor and not a bad alternative, especially considering the long foam lifecycle. 500 miles is nothing to be frowned upon! It's at least 25% better than your standard industry foam.
Under Armour HOVR Machina 3 review: Verdict
The Under Armour HOVR Machina 3 is a brilliant high-mileage daily trainer with a long-lasting dual-density foam, comfortable upper and Bluetooth connectivity that turns these running shoes into a running tracker thanks to the Map My Run app.
UA made some significant improvements/tweaks to the shoes that now feel lighter and more agile than the HOVR Machina 2 – they feel less stuffy and more energetic. Better still, the foam is supposed to have a 500-mile lifecycle, much better than your industry average foam.
The UA HOVR Machina 3 is not cheap, which is why it can't be recommended even higher. For that price, you can get daily trainers that either look more handsome – the Adidas Solarglide 5 springs to mind – and/or provide better energy returns than the HOVR Machina 3.
But that long foam lifecycle is indeed tempting...
Under Armour HOVR Machina 3 review: Also consider
For those looking for something softer, the Nike ZoomX Invincible Run Flyknit is a great option. The ZoomX foam is super-soft yet provides excellent energy return. With the updated Flyknit upper, padded collar and puffy tongue, comfort levels are through the roof.
The Adidas 4DFWD is one of those cooler shoes I mentioned above. Its 3D-printed midsole not only looks cool but provides the same experience the HOVR Machina 3 does. The bowtie-shaped 4D cells do a great job in moving you forward, while the Primeknit+ upper makes running a comfortable experience.