Under Armour is launching two new fitness wearables at this year's CES 2018 event in Las Vegas in the form of running shoes to be sold as Hovr Phantom and Hovr Sonic. To clarify, this isn't the company's first foray into just these kinds of shoes – let alone its first smart wearable that fits comfortably into the clothing category. However, while the company hasn't directly said what differentiates the new iterations from those it has unveiled in the past and those differences aren't immediately clear. Moreover, the company had previously been reported to be exiting the hardware category, so even if the new sneakers don't really build on their predecessors, which first launched at last year's annual CES event, their announcement is moderately surprising. Priced at just $140 and $110, respectively. They can also be bought without smart technologies for $10 off the cost, for those that just like the way they fit the foot or the way they look.
The tech that makes these shoes smart is found on the inside, embedded directly into the soles, and is pretty standard fare for fitness tracking wearables. Powered by a battery that is intended to – and claimed to – last as long as the shelf life of the rest of the shoe, both pairs of runners feature an accelerometer and gyroscope which connect to a smartphone via Bluetooth and an app. That's backed up by an unspecified amount of storage. Taken together, these allow a wearer to go for a run, with or without their handset while the system records data ranging from distance run, speed, cadence, and stride length. Pairing up with a smartphone and syncing that data from Under Armour's dedicated app, MapMyRun, gives runners a starting point for improving their running based on the metrics collected.
Meanwhile, the difference between the Phantom and Sonic is purely aesthetic. Both bear a bold Under Armour brand logo embossed directly into the outer material and feature the now traditional hollowed-out look to the outsole. The Sonic, which was shown in white at CES, looks pretty standard for a running shoe and is geared more for distance running. However, the Phantom was shown in a bright red coloration and features an interesting mix of perforated leather and an almost glove-like knitting around the top – specifically where a wearer would insert his or her foot.