Under Armour is happy to play the ‘long game’ with the pinnacle shoe of their new UA Infinite Collection.
2022 New York City Marathon winner Sharon Lokedi, plus a group of global media and influencers, were invited to Barcelona last month to be introduced to Under Armour’s latest running innovation. This represented the culmination of intensive work, delivering key footwear models that support lengthy run days as well as everyday miles through UA Infinite Elite and UA Infinite Pro.
On February 2, UA Infinite Elite will launch in the Middle East. The super-responsive endurance-running shoe will be available, retailing at AED 749, SAR 899, KWD 64.9, OMR 77.9, QAR 749 and BHD 77.9.
A key component of UA Infinite Collection is the advanced UA HOVR+™ cushioning, delivering a lighter, softer and more responsive underfoot experience than any previous UA midsole edition. The flagship UA Infinite Elite leads the charge, with supreme comfort via HOVR+ technology being further boosted by an adaptive full-length UA Intelliknit upper and other innovations.
This approach gained the seal of approval from Lokedi. The 29-year-old became Under Armour’s first pro-run athlete to claim victory at a major marathon in the ‘Big Apple’ two years ago and is convinced Infinite Elite can help propel her to further successes.
She tells Sport360: “The first time I pulled them on, I said: ‘Wow, this feels completely different.’
“It’s light, the material fits different and I’ve been fortunate enough to be with Under Armour for a long time [since 2019], seeing the progression they’ve made. From the Hovr Infinite, to the Machina and now Infinite Elite.
“I think it’s been really good progress and I’m really excited about where we’re going with the Infinite Elite. When I’m on my runs, I don’t feel like I’ve got anything heavy, it’s just very light and responsive, it also gives you that energy return you need when you’re feeling tired.”
This journey to the UA Infinite Collection has played out for more than a year. Lokedi was an expert tester at home in Kenya – under the tutelage of UA Mission Run Dark Sky Distance coach Stephen Haas in Flagstaff, Arizona, aided by feedback from the brand’s professional running team throughout.
Jonathan Hutnyan, Senior Product Line Manager of Performance Run Footwear, has also been present every step of the way.
The intensive process of bringing a concept to market was anchored by key phrases.
“Instead of saying ‘it’s made for this type of person, this type of runner that runs this fast and this far’, we gave them key words of experience like ‘boundless’, ‘effortless’ and ‘limitless’,” Hutnyan says.
“Then it goes to a developer to make a physical shoe. We go through three rounds of prototypes, each tested with pro athletes, everyday runners and we also run a check at our biomechanical lab. This process takes up to 16 months.
“We take all that information and do it all over again. After the third time, if it’s right and ready, we press Go on production and make thousands and thousands of pairs readily available for our consumers.”
Such dedication and attention to detail has been worth the effort. The Infinite Elite provides ultra and plush comfort across every mile on the long run, while the hug-your-foot fit of UA Infinite Pro makes it perfect for shorter days or recovery runs.
Such versatility and performance from Under Armour has made Lokedi proud to be associated with.
She says: “The testing of the Infinite Elite started about one-and-a-half-years ago. ‘Just try it on, tell us everything you feel about it.’ they told me.
“I shared feedback about what needed to be improved. I have switched it to my everyday shoe.
“The only time I don’t wear it is when I’m doing workouts, then I wear my marathon shoe and my Velociti Elite shoe for track workouts and short distances.”
“I wear Infinite Elite for my everyday runs, morning runs and recovery runs. I love the foam a lot, it feels so plush – just the right amount.”