Since bursting on to the scene in 2016 as the 'golf brand for athletes', Under Armour has become one of the most popular options on the market when it comes to golf shoes.
Their latest range for 2022 again features input from JJ Rivet, one of the leading sports biomechanists in the world, and includes an update to their HOVR range.
The new HOVR Tour SL is designed for golfers looking for the lightweight ease of a spikeless shoe, but with all the performance benefits of a tour-level spiked shoe.
The full-knit upper on the new shoe uses Under Armour's Intelliknit technology to combine stretch yarns and lockdown yarns to provide more stability in the golf swing. This is said to lock you down in the areas where you need support and allow for more stretch where you need flexibility.
The Intelliknit has been treated with NeverWet technology and has a waterproof membrane, so that golfers can wear the shoe in even the worst weather conditions without fear of water getting in.
The design of the outsole is a combination of rotational, horizontal and vertical traction technologies which encourage golfers to better transfer power from the ground into the swing.
The Hovr Tour SL provides spike-like stability and grip thanks to a combination of a lightweight TPU, UA Rotational Resistance Traction and injected rubber spikes in the heel and forefoot.
On the outsole there are also strategical flex channels to further increase traction, stability and power by keeping the foot grounded through the swing for longer.
An external heel counter locks the heel further back into the shoe, creating a fit that promotes maximum stability and power.
Under Armour Hovr Tour SL Shoe Review
Under Armour have been one of the brands to lead the way when it comes to golf shoes blending more and more with everyday athletic trainers, and this latest addition to the HOVR range is no different.
The shoe immediately strikes you as an ultra-modern design which has plenty of hallmarks of a trainer, albeit it is also easy to see that its packed with technology too.
The black, red and grey colourway is a useful choice if you want to get a little more use out of these shoes as it means they'll be less likely to show up dirt and mud - although there is also a grey colourway too which gives them more of a summer feel.
To be honest I wasn't a huge fan of the look of the shoe. The contrast between the knit on top and then the thick plastic midsole looks a bit like Under Armour are trying to squeeze two separate shoes into one and I'm not completely sold on the design, even though the grey option was better in my opinion.
With a knitted upper and mesh sock liner, I was expecting these shoes to be comfortable and they certainly didn't disappoint.
As soon as you slide the shoe on (this may take a little bit of getting used to if you haven't used a shoe like this before) you can feel the knit wrapping around the top of your foot very snugly, it's a completely different feeling to having to use laces to tighten the fit.
The laces themselves come more into play on the side of the foot, and tightening them seems to secure the side of the foot rather than the top to give you that 'locked-in' feel.
Initially the sole felt a little firm underfoot, almost as if I was wearing spiked shoes, but over time this actually came to be more of a reassurance because it served as a reminder of the traction and stability of the shoe.
Under Armour have again worked with JJ Rivet, an expert in sports biomechanics, in the development of this shoe to provide a combination of traction and ground force reaction to help you get the most from your swing.
I have played two rounds of golf in these shoes - once on a warm, dry spring day and once on a cold, wet morning - and both times I can confirm the performance was fantastic.
After just a couple of holes I felt as if I had got used to the fit and feel of the shoe, because there is a little bit of a contrast in the slipper-like feel of the upper compared to the relative firmness of the sole.
In all honesty I'm really not sure that you'd know that this was a spikeless shoe had you not seen the sole before you put them on, such was the traction provided. I felt so secure when walking and swinging, regardless of the lie, with just the right level of feel for the turf allowing me to use the ground during the swing to my advantage.
One drawback I was that the Hovr Tour SL did tend to pick up quite a bit of debris, resulting in you having to give them a good blast with the air compressor at the end of each round, but I suppose it probably suggests that the traction is good.
Overall the stability was great. Knitted shoes like this can often feel like you don't get much support around the top of the foot and even into the ankle when walking and swinging, but the Hovr Tour SL provided all of the help you'd want from a shoe.
The second round I played was a good chance to test whether these shoes were truly waterproof and I'm happy to report that they passed with flying colours. There's also a one year waterproof warranty in case something does happen to go wrong.
Under Armour HOVR Tour SL Shoe Verdict
A price tag of £150 means that the Hovr Tour SL is pretty reasonably for a spikeless golf shoe, putting it in a similar ballpark to other leading models in this category like the FootJoy Pro|SL (£159.99) and Adidas ZG21 (£160).
It's packed with game-improvement technology for that price though, and the contemporary looks combined with the fact that it comes from a trusted brand such as Under Armour means that this shoe should do pretty well, most likely with younger golfers.
As I mentioned earlier the design of the shoe wasn't quite to my taste but I couldn't really fault the performance at all.
Knit shoes can sometimes be a bit stuffy, particularly when playing in the summer, but the Hovr Tour SL was breathable and comfortable even when testing in warmer conditions.
If you want a modern-looking, new pair of spikeless shoes for the summer, but don't want to compromise on performance, then these should definitely be on your shortlist.
Would I Wear Them?
Based on performance alone, absolutely. And while the Black/Red colourway wasn't my favourite, the Grey colourway would definitely be a good option if you're playing golf in the dry summer months.
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