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Under Armour HOVR Machina 3: First Look

A great fit for triathletes because it bridges the gap between a highly-cushioned long run shoe and one suitable for race days

Photo by: Matt Stetson

For many triathletes, a lightweight trainer serves as the perfect race and training shoe – since they spend so much time running on tired legs, the extra support and cushioning over a minimalist racing flat is very much appreciated. Under Armour has just released an update to its first plated shoe, the Machina, now in its third iteration, with some notable updates that are likely to make this shoe a good option for triathletes looking for an all-around running shoe.

The Machina was introduced in 2020 as a hybrid performance trainer–something to bridge the gap between a highly-cushioned long run shoe and a race-day shoe, for the runner who prefers one shoe to do it all. This is still that shoe, and it’s getting better with each update.

Category: neutral cushioning
Men’s: 301 g (10.6. oz.)
Women’s: 269 g (9.5 oz.)
Stack height: 28 mm
Drop: 8 mm

Photo: Matt Stetson

The Machina 3 delivers a well-cushioned ride in a lightweight package, and boasts a composite midsole plate that contributes to performance when you need it. The basic geometry of the shoe is unchanged; it still has an 8 mm offest/drop and 28 mm of HOVR foam at the heel–enough to cushion most of your runs without weighing you down, making it ideal for recovery runs, long tempo runs and races up to the half-marathon.

The most obvious changes are to the upper and the midsole. This new shoe looks quite different, with a more traditional-looking, open-weave mesh upper, which should greatly enhance breathability on the run. The back of the heel collar flares upward (a trend we’re seeing among various brands), but the generous padding and external heel counter are still there to keep you in a neutral position while running.

Photo: Matt Stetson

In keeping with the trend toward dual-density midsoles, the Machina now has a softer version of HOVR in the heel to make for softer landings, and a slightly firmer HOVR foam in the forefoot for more dynamic toe-offs. The pebax composite midsole propulsion plate has also been modified, though the shoe retains much of the stiffness it’s known for, and will appeal most to those who like a fairly firm ride.

There are some changes to the laces (and lacing system) that appear to be mostly esthetic (except for the flatter laces, which may be easier to tie). The shoe retains a substantial layer of rubber in the outsole, which contributes both to durability and to firmness. Despite this, the shoe is still reasonably light.

Photo: Matt Stetson

Like other HOVR shoes, the Machina 3 has a chip embedded in the midsole that connects to the MapMyRun app, which delivers personalized form coaching cues in real time throughout your run–and we could all benefit from some tips on how to improve our stride.