New Launches

Under Armour TriBase Reign: Ideal cross-training shoes

The Under Armour TriBase Reign is the American company’s first shoe designed specifically for cross training and functional fitness athletes. It was released on December 26, 2018. I received a pair for review on January 22, 2019, and since then I put it through several tests. Here is my analysis a little over a month later:

Design & Build

The shoe is fairly light. It is made from a ripstop material and light mesh.

According to UA, the shoe has been “built for intense workouts with a tough ripstop material”. Ripstop is a type of woven reinforced construction that gives durability and prevents abrasion. It is firm, yet light.

The shoe has no defined stitches. Everything is cleanly and seamlessly constructed. So, the possibility of splitting or tearing is minimal.

A rib-like construction near the front base helps the toes to flex. The bottom, however, is stiff. It takes a while to break in.

The mid-foot and heel are made from a more rigid mesh. A reinforced layer extends towards the top. This stops the shoe from digging into the Achilles tendon. But the build is low (2mm), which may cause difficulties for users with small feet or sensitive heels.

There are small holes on the toe part and mid-foot sides which allow the foot to breathe.

The mid-foot has six eyelets which are different from other cross training shoes. The lace enters and exits the two eyelets at the top and bottom. Its loops around the middle eyelets. It is done this way to give stability.

I faced two problems: My right foot hurt when the laces were tightened and it was difficult to pull the shoe tight near the forefoot.

The heel has a reinforced plastic material for additional support. An internal heel cup provides another layer of support.

The midsole has the Micro G Foam throughout. This stops the foot from jarring when it hits the floor and provides a lot more bounce.

The outsole extends a bit higher over the midsole. This is a design feature to support rope climbs.

There is a similar foam layer under the base of the toes. The extended rubber outsole covers the top of the toes and prevents lipping from toe-dragging.

The shoe’s textured rubber base allows good grip on rubber floors and stone and cement pavements. Which means it is ideal for indoor and outdoor workouts. I also wore it for casual purposes. No one noticed that it was a training shoe.

Performance

I had some difficulty breaking in. The shoe was initially tight and I felt a bit uncomfortable. But this feeling soon disappeared. I found it stable and strong. It gives good grip and adequate ventilation.

The Micro G Foam midsole and TriBase outsole stand firm under heavy weight. The shoe can be cleaned easily and the dark colour suits my style. I had no problem jogging, climbing or working out in the gym wearing it.

Concerns and comments

The low cut makes me fear the heel could slip out over time. It is also likely to dig into the Achilles tendon of those with small feet. Lace tightening is a bit of a problem.

The plus points are the construction is strong and the outsole won’t come apart easily.

The shoe costs $179 in Singapore. This is on the high side but matches the price of similar shoes available here.

UA has come out with something original. It did not follow the recent trend of slip-ons or knit materials.

The TriBase Reign is certainly the lowest training shoes that aren’t barefoot style. It gives athletes the feel that they are well grounded.

Rating: 4.5/5

Made for your feeet to move as they’re made to move

Inside Recent Interview with Yvonne Tey,  Marketing Director, UA Sports (S.E.A) Pte Ltd

Why did Under Armour produce its first shoe designed specifically for cross training and fitness athletes now?

We know that the right footwear is essential to an athlete’s performance, especially for athletes who participate in functional fitness, high-intensity training and weightlifting. While regular sports shoes work well for a diverse range of workouts, we thought it was time to look into creating a shoe specially for this group of people, to withstand the tests that they put their bodies through.

The UA TriBase™ Reign is designed for athletes seeking minimal training footwear. The shoe is lower to the ground, giving athletes the ability to seamlessly transfer power from the ground into their intended movement. Plus, with a 2mm heel to toe drop – one of the most progressive options on the market – your feet are able to move as they’re made to move.

What is special about its construction? What are the special materials used?

In addition to providing a flat and stable base, the UA TriBase™ technology comprises three zones of flexibility to allow your foot to move naturally. The forefoot flex groove helps with upwards and downwards natural motion, while the sides of the TriBase™ aid in torsional flexing. Its low cut also allows for maximum natural ankle flexibility. However, should athletes require more support, they may go for higher-cut options.

It is also built for intense workouts with a tough ripstop material, durable mesh for lightweight support and all-around abrasion resistance. The medial and lateral rubber wrapping on the outsole not only add durability, but also enhance movements such as rope climbs.

With its performance-first design, the UA TriBase™ Reign allows you to transition quickly during any workout, whether it’s in a training environment or out on the competition floor.

There are no defined stitches on this shoe. How did you manage that?

The shoe’s pattern pieces are held together with Bemis tape that uses a sonic welding technology to bond the pattern pieces together and then enforces them with the bonded tape on top of the seams.  We also use the SpeedForm construction within this shoe which is a proprietary technology developed by Under Armour.

Why are the eyelets of this model different from other cross training shoes? It’s tough to pull the shoe really tight near the forefoot with the double eyelet lacing. Why does this happen?

The core of the Tribase Reign is stability and responsiveness – from intensive HIIT workouts to box jumps and back squats. It is thoroughly constructed and put together for this variety of workout needs, including its overall build and mid-foot and eyelet construction.

We engineered the eyelets of this shoe to really enhance lock-in of the foot, creating enhanced stability.  We found that the double eyelet construction would be the most durable style of lacing for extended use of the shoe, and would reinforce its tough ripstop material. We also created this lacing system to really keep your foot locked in and enhance the stability.  By creating less movement within the laces, your foot stays in place on top of the platform. The forefoot’s toebox is made slightly wider for toe splay, which comes in extra handy for lifting purposes.

How does the Micro G Foam work?

Micro G is a unique polymer combining traditional EVA with rubber to provide elasticity and prevent the bottoming out common to other foams. Not only does this foam provide cushioning and support, it also lasts long – it is responsive to every foot strike and absorbs impact well. As it is 30 per cent thinner than your average shoe cushioning, it reduces the overall weight of the shoe, and brings you closer to the ground.

Does the shoe work equally well on rubber gym floors and road pavement?

As we have performance at the forefront of its design, the UA TriBase™ Reign allows you to transition quickly during any workout regardless of surface, whether it’s in a training environment or out on the competition floor.

Can it be worn as a casual shoe outside the gym?

It can definitely be worn as a casual shoe outside – our shoes are meant to take you effortlessly from an intense sweat session at the gym to a fun night out with your friends.

At whom is this shoe targeted in Singapore?

Under Armour has a higher purpose at its core. We support and appeal to the underdogs who are hungry and bold in striving for excellence, competing against the best – and winning.

We are constantly innovating and designing products that allow for maximum performance and comfort, while being stylish and versatile for wear from gym to street. Regionally and within Singapore, we aim to invest in individuals with the willpower to push boundaries, from both male and female amateur athletes to professional sports stars.

With Under Armour’s evolution from pure performance sportswear to a more “performance meets lifestyle” approach, we took a step forward to reach out to the younger, gritty street crowd through our first-ever participation in Street Superior Festival, the premier sneaker and streetwear convention in Singapore, organized by Sole Superior. Festival goers had the chance to shoot hoops at our retro Curry 5 basketball arcade machine and snap some photos at the UA Forge 96 throne.

How durable is this shoe? For how long can an athlete use it?

This shoe is made specially as a training shoe – it is built to withstand gritty workouts and bulky weights, while moulding comfortably into the athlete’s natural foot movement. It is durable by nature, and wear and tear will depend on the frequency and intensity of use.

Why is the price so high?

The UA TriBase™ Reign is made with the best of UA’s materials and technology. We take pride in ensuring that every athlete receives the right footwear that can help elevate their performance as much as possible.

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