The Machina 2 is the new and improved version of Under Armour’s original Machina, which was released last year. Depending on what a runner’s goals are, the Machina is designed to be a high-end trainer or entry-level racing shoe. It was the company’s first plated shoe, and it was generally well received, but carried one recurring complaint – that it was too stiff. Under Armour took this feedback and modified the Machina 2 to be a little softer (but not too soft), have an even better upper and maintain the brand’s dedication to connected fitness. Here’s a closer look.
Drop: 8 mm
Weight: 231 g for women’s size 7.5
Stack: 28 mm
Of all the shoe’s components, the upper is the aspect that’s undergone the biggest change. UA started as an apparel company, and you can really see those roots in the exceptional quality of their uppers and knowledge of materials. With the Machina 2, UA has added a Rush lining to its interior, Rush being Under Armour’s high-performance clothing line, which promotes blood flow and keeps your muscles feeling better for longer. This simple but effective upper fit my foot well (I’m narrow in the heel but wider towards the forefoot) and didn’t cause any hot spots, tingling or burning. Thumbs up for the Machina 2 upper.
The Machina 2 midsole has a HOVR midsole, but this version has been softened, compared to the first. There remains a PEBAX propulsion plate to complement the slightly softer midsole, and an 8 mm drop. As with any high-end trainer or racing shoe, it’s likely to feel firmer than an easy run trainer. The firmer the feel, usually, the more energy return. I found the Machina 2 to be firm without feeling uncomfortably stiff.
UA has also continued its dedication to connected fitness. Especially in a world where group training has been temporarily suspended, having a fitness community at your fingertips is invaluable. The Machina is fully connected (there’s a chip in the midsole collecting data as you move), meaning you can run without your phone or watch while retaining all of the same information. This is great for a day when you’re not looking to push the pace and need to run by feel, but also ideal for the runner looking for feedback on their stride or cadence. With this data, UA provides the runner with cues to improve their form through the MapMyRun app.
The Machina outsole uses blown rubber on the forefoot and carbon rubber in high-wear areas on the heel. The shoe held up well on wet winter runs. It’s not ideal for the snowiest days, but it can certainly handle a slick surface.
This shoe is a strong contender for a person who’s training solo and looking for feedback, or someone who likes a fairly firm ride. For me, the Machina was ideal for a long tempo (between 14 and 16K of running) but could certainly also be used for a road race. It’s a little lighter than the previous version, which is partly what makes it an option for race day. If you have lofty goals for your next race and every second counts, go for something a little more aggressive, like the Velociti, but if you’re less concerned with high performance and more interested in the experience, the Machina could be a great choice.