Thursday, June 16, 2016

Under Armour Gemini 2 Record Equipped Review



If you play sports, go to a gym, or see people being active, then you have probably seen Under Armour gear.  It is an American sports clothing and accessories company.  They have also branched out into casual apparel as well.  Under Armour was founded in 1996 by Kevin Plank, who at the time was a 23-year-old former special teams captain on the University of Maryland’s football team.  Plank started his business in the basement of his Grandmothers Washington D.C home.  In the beginning, he traveled up and down the Eastern United States with a bunch of apparel in the trunk of his car.  He got his first team sale (of $17,000) at the end of 1996. (1)

So if this is an American company, why did he chose to use the English spelling of Armour?  Simply because Armour was still available for the toll-free telephone number.  In 2006, Under Armour started selling footwear.  After 20 years in business, they have grown to become one of the largest sports clothing companies in the world and expect to have revenues in 2016 just short of $5 Billion. (1)

I have been trying for a while to test out Under Armour products and it finally happened.  They sent me their new Gemini 2 Record Equipped.  There are many facets to this shoe so I will break it down by looking at the shoe itself and then the technology that they built into the shoe. 

The Gemini 2 Record Equipped has a plush Charged Cushioning that absorbs some of the impact and provides a responsive ride.  I would classify this as a medium cushioned shoe.  The upper material uses Under Armour’s SpeedForm upper material and it not only provides a great fit, but it has perforations that do a decent job of keeping your feet cool and dry.  The upper molds to your foot to provide an almost glove-like fit without compressing your toes too much, which is an issue I have had with some other shoes.

Under Armour uses ultrasonic welded seams to eliminate irritation and they have a moisture-wicking sockliner that is built right into the midsole.  The insole is underneath a layer of fabric and there are no gaps between the insole and the shoe, which is something I have never seen in a running shoe.  I have to say that I really liked it.  There is a soft, supportive ArchForm insert that is built into the shoe under the arch and heel to make the shoe more comfortable.

The outsold is made of blown rubber with carbon rubber in the heel, which is light-weight and extremely durable.  I have put about 30 miles on these shoes and the outsoles look brand new.  It also had plenty of grip for running in wet conditions.  There are anatomically placed flex groves that allow a smooth transition from heel or midstrike to toe-off.  It allows your foot to flex and really allows for a stable ride.

The Gemini 2 Record Equipped has an 8mm heel drop and weighs in at 10.4 ounces, although it felt lighter than that to me.  I was extremely impressed with the way that the Gemini 2 fit and felt on my runs.  I really like shoes that allow my feet to flex as opposed to non-flexible shoes.  I think that the upper and outsole material are extremely durable and the manufacturing of the shoe will allow for a long lifespan (which Under Armour says should be 400 miles).

So now on to part 2 of the review.  While the shoe itself is great, the Gemini 2 Record Equipped has more to offer.  The Record Equipped part of the name references the fact that the shoe is more technologically advanced than your average shoe.  There is a sensor under the insole that tracks, analyzes, and stores your workout data.  While I have read about this technology, I hadn’t tested it, until now. 

The Gemini 2 Record Equipped records time, cadence, duration of your workout, splits, and connects to MapMyRun (which is owned by Under Armour) to capture GPS information and deliver reliable and accurate data.   I tested the stats against my Garmin Forerunner 620 and the stats matched up fairly well, as far as accuracy.  There were a few discrepancies, but that was mainly due to when I started and paused the MapMyRun app.  While it isn’t quite as accurate as an expensive GPS watch, the MapMyRun app does a very good job.  The battery in the shoe is optimized to last longer than the shoes will, so you will never have to changing a battery or the battery going dead in the middle of a run. 


With your purchase, you also get a 1 year upgrade to MapMyRun MVP, which includes live tracking, mobile coaching, cadence analysis, power analysis, training plans, and much more.  This would normally cost $29.99 per year or $5.99 if you pay on a monthly basis.  I was really impressed with all of the features that MapMyRun MVP (click the link to see all of the included features) has. 

Another really cool feature is that you can run without your phone.  The sensor in your shoe automatically captures data and stores up to 5 workouts.  That way you can leave your phone at home.  You will have limited data since you won’t be using GPS from your phone, but you will get the workout duration and cadence. 

I also like that since you are using the MapMyRun app where you can track your gear, it will automatically tell you when it is time to replace your shoes, based on a lifespan of 400 miles.  Garmin Connect also allows you to track gear and I absolutely love this feature.  The Gemini 2 Record Equipped automatically adds it to your run when it is connected to MapMyRun so you don’t have to do it manually. 

So what are my overall thoughts on the Gemini 2 Record Equipped?  Using it for running without taking the “record” feature into account, I would give it 4 out of 5 stars.  It is a great shoe that is extremely comfortable and easy to run in.  The price is $149.99 on the Under Armour website but I have seen it as low as $129.99.  I think either price is good for what you get out of the shoe.

Now the “record” feature.  I really like the feature and the fact that Under Armour is syncing it to MapMyRun.  This is great for people who don’t have a Garmin or other GPS running watch.  Knowing your cadence is really important, especially if you are interested in improving your running.  The fact that you get the 1-year upgrade to MapMyRun MVP makes it even better.  If you have a Garmin 220 or higher (or equivalent) watch, the Gemini 2 Record Equipped really is just duplicating information that your watch is gathering.  I probably wouldn’t use the “record” feature because my Garmin Forerunner 620 is a little more accurate and provides more detailed information. 

Taking everything into consideration, this is an awesome shoe and well worth the money.  If you aren’t interested in the “record” feature, you can get the SpeedForm Gemini 2 for $129.99 from the Under Armour website, which is a great deal.

Pros:
Very comfortable
Almost glove-like fit
Well ventilated SpeedForm upper material
Blown Rubber outsole should last for a long time
Records duration, cadence, splits, and more
Syncs directly with MapMyRun
1-Year of MapMyRun MVP included
You can get data about your run without your phone
Great price $149.99 (or less)

Cons:
The “record” feature might not be useful to everyone

Under Armour’s Social Media Links:

I am extremely impressed with the Gemini 2 Record Equipped.  It is a great shoe with tons of features.  It offers a great fit, and a very stable ride while the SpeedForm upper allows your feet to remain cool and dry.  The $149.99 price tag is more than reasonable and I would definitely recommend this shoe to newer runners, especially if they don’t have a GPS running watch.  You can purchase yours at the Under Armour Website or at a local retailer near you (click here for locations).  I was wasn’t sure what to expect out of Under Armour shoes, but they have proven to me that they can produce a top quality running shoe.  I am sure you would agree if you give them a chance.  Try a pair of Under Armour shoes and let me know what you think.

Note:  I received this product in exchange for a review.  The review is my personal opinion of the product and I was not required to give a particular opinion of it.  I am not a doctor, so please use all of the products that I review at your own risk.

References:
(1) https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Under_Armour#Present_day_-_major_expansion_in_other_sports

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