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By Mike Joubert 20 December 2021

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FULL DISCLOSURE: These shoes were received from Under Armour South Africa and not returned. 

If you’re thinking about committing a bit more to the gym this holiday, or if you have made it your second home, Under Armour’s Apex 3 training shoes have a lot going for it. 

The third iteration in the Under Armour’s Apex range starts off with a refreshed look that retains the strap construction of the previous model but provides a refresh on the uppers and tongue. This time round, the mesh upper provides a more textured feel. I really like the thick padded tongue of the Apex 3, providing decent padding for the laces and improved fit, plus it looks cool thanks to the dimpled pattern.

Overall, a decent design is on offer here that can certainly be worn outside the gym, although if there’s a small critique it’s the added red patch around the first three lace holes – these somehow feel less refined and do not fit well with the rest of the design.

Slipping the Apex 3 on works well thanks to the pull tabs on both the tongue and heel of the shoe. The lacing system can be a pain to get started, due to the lacing holes on both the upper and the rubber strap that covers it.  This polyurethane rubber helps connect the lacing system not only to the uppers but also to the midsole and is an effective way to truly lock the foot in place. That said, the laces feel a bit too long, forcing you to lace through all the holes in order to not have not have a coil of laces left.

The Apex 3is well structured in both upper and midsole, and perhaps most impressively, really stable. As support, the shoe is nice and wide under foot, with what Under Armour calls their TriBase system present. The company notes this “maximises ground contact and promotes natural motion” – which translates to the shoe being great with lateral movements, offering a stable base for any exercise/lifting to come.

At 398 g per shoe (UK10), these are perhaps not the best if you’re really going to focus on cardio a lot. It does contain Under Armour’s HOVR midsole tech, found between the majority EVA compound, which will help with some energy return on the treadmill or if a quick burst of speed is needed. Is the Apex 3 the best choice for Crossfit? Although it should suffice, Under Armour’s TriBase Reign 3 comes across as more versatile for the different types of exercises required.

Unlike Under Armour’s road running range, no Bluetooth connectivity is offered and I’m unsure if there would have been a big benefit to gym goers if the Apex 3 included a sensor.

The Apex 3 definitely performs best indoors, with stability a key component to what’s on offer, plus being able to withstand the pressures put upon your feet while weight training. Are these meant to break records while deadlifting? No, but the Apex 3 is capable of dealing with a solid amount of weight, without being ‘bouncy’.

The UA HOVR Apex 3 training shoes with its solid construction and knack for stability come across as a solid choice for those wanting to commit to a training regime, or those already heavily invested in gym work/ lifting.  At R2900, much like all of Under Armour’s gear in SA, it’s more expensive than other options.

PROS
Good support, solid under foot, lacing structure connects to midsole, tongue nicely padded, best for gym work/lifting
CONS
Lacing can be tricky, not too great if doing cardio, perhaps not the best for Crossfit
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