Under Armour Cam Highlight Trainer - Superman

The Under Armour Cam Highlight Trainer

Introduction

Under Armour Basketball has had an interesting 2012-2013 campaign.  Performance and quality has continued with their small line up, but is seems as though the line is in store for changes.  Not having a player signature shoe this season did not seem to hurt the line, but it also did not help their overall visibility in the mainstream.  One of the few signature shoes in the Under Armour catalog as a whole came in the form of a trainer for Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton.  This trainer took the design from the Highlight Cleat released last summer and was worn on the NBA court by Brandon Jennings.  Made for training, but very good for basketball comes the subject of this Performance Review – the Under Armour Micro G® Cam Highlight Trainer.

The first Cam Newton Under Armour signature shoe, the Highlight Trainer is capable of handling the hardwood.  The features include the following:

  • Nubuck upper with plastic panels for light weight performance
  • Cushioning provided by full-length Micro G® foam
  • CompFit® ankle sleeve with padded MPZ® tongue for comfort and support
  • Composite mid foot TPU shank plate for stability
  • Rubber outsole with Under Armour Light Speed Grip

Aesthetics and Styling

Last year Under Armour released the Highlight Cleat giving a glimpse of what was to come for Cam Newton.  The cleat featured a very high boot cut, looking do provide support all around in a light weight package.  That design has translated into the Cam Trainer which is pretty much a non-cleat version of the Highlight Cleat.  An upper built with multiple materials from nubuck to plastic panels, and to a smooth synthetic makes this a very luxurious trainer.  The high quality build is typical for Under Armour, as is the Micro G® cushioning set up.  Elements that help the shoe translate on to the basketball court include the CompFit® ankle sleeve and TPU stability plate.  For style, the bold looks hold color very well as is illustrated by the choice for this Performance Review – the blue, yellow, and red representing Superman.

Under Armour Cam Highlight Trainer - Superman

Taken from the Highlight Cleat, the Cam Trainer is equipped with Micro G® cushioning and a Compfit® Sleeve

Rising high is the waffle/quilted patterned CompFit® sleeve.  The shoe has a very sleek, refined, and luxurious look, albeit it does look a bit busy.  From the shape to the materials to the lines, the shoe is bold and ready to perform.  The unique design of the shoe is no more prevalent with the rubber outsole.  Made with the Under Armour Light Speed Grip technology, the rubber is molded as a foot print.  A crossing traction pattern marks each portion of the red rubber.  A medial groove adds flexibility, while insets around the toes and at the mid foot are placed for a more natural feel.  The Cam Newton “CN” logo is molded in on the lateral portion of the sole.  At the mid foot, the shiny, clear TPU stability plate reveals a checkerboard pattern.  The plate is sculpted to support the shape of the foot.  At the heel, the rubber outlines the sides with another oval shaped inset in the middle.  Deep slits are cut on each side.  For comfort and support, the Micro G® midsole has a minimal look.  Too keep the natural feel, the midsole is not thick and runs in a wavy pattern around the shoe.  Style is added with dimples and a smooth layer on top, while branding comes in the form of a “CN” logo on the toe cap and “MICRO G” on the lateral heel.

Nubuck and plastic side panels make up the minimal upper.  The nubuck material is soft and is marked with perforation holes throughout.  It does extend up to form the first three lace holders, which have yellow stitching.  To contrast the soft nubuck, plastic side panels add protection and support.  Each side panel is stitched on to the base layer and has punctures for lacing options.  An Under Armour logo appropriately marks the lateral side.

At the rear, a line of stitching runs down the CompFit® sleeve.  The sleeve has a quilted pattern and is made of a silky synthetic.  There is a large Under Armour logo on the medial side integrated seamlessly.  On the inside of the sleeve, padding is nonexistent.  The lining is a textured synthetic keeping with the soft feel.  Support for the heel comes in the form of the extension of the plastic side panels overlaid with sharp TPU plates.  These plates have a yellow outline and a checkerboard design.  A red “CN” logo is pasted on the lateral plate.

Semi-oval laces run through a system of lace hoops and eyelets.  Starting at the throat line, there are three lace hoops.  Next are the eyelets punctured through the plastic side panels, and finally, two hidden hoops on the inside of the CompFit® sleeve.  The laces have aglets with the “CN” logo for the signature touch.  Stitched on at the forefoot, the tongue is made up of both nubuck and the silky synthetic.  The nubuck portion matches the toe box and has a yellow “CN” logo in the middle.  Moving up, the tongue has a waffle design with an embossed-like “UA” logo on top.  Rounding out the Cam Trainer is a Micro G® insole.  The plush insole is glued on in place and contoured to the shape of the foot.  The “UA” and “CAM” logos are printed on the heel.

Comfort and Fit

The foot passes easily through the quilted CompFit® sleeve and waffle patterned tongue to the nubuck section where the shoe grips tight around the forefoot for a true to size fit.  Lace pressure is felt where the plastic panels grip the foot, but the upper & sleeve are soft, thin, and flexible.  Up front, the toe box is comfortable.  It is more on the flat side, so the toes do push right up through the nubuck material.  At the rear, the CompFit® sleeve provides a good combination of support and comfort.  Since it is thin, the sleeve has good flexibility.  The ankles are full covered and even though there is little padding, the tight fit feels very protective.  Below, heel lock down is very good.  The back end is without a stiff counter, but the TPU plates on the sides do offer good hold.  Moving to cushioning, the Micro G® base has a low profile feel.  Cushioning is soft and comfortable, but not unresponsive.  The foot sits with ample arch support because of the patent leather panels.  All in all, the Cam Trainer is very comfortable and low to the ground with flexible ankle support.

Under Armour Cam Highlight Trainer - Superman

Although it was not specifically made for basketball, this trainer does well on the hardwood

Performance

With the CompFit® sleeve griping tight, the Cam Trainer feels ready to go.  Court feel is is excellent.  A barefoot feel is felt and it feels as though the foot is touching the hardwood.  Because it is a trainer, there is no break in time need and the player can hit the floor running.  That said, running is very natural, without any restrictions.  The CompFit® sleeve and upper are very light and flexible, so the shoe just moves with the foot.  Also, the minimal outsole does not impede the foot from flexing.  This shoe was made for fluid running.  Weight wise, the shoe is very light.  Even with the high sleeve holding tight, the player can fly across the court.  Performance is all about movement and taking advantage of the natural court feel.  Needless to say, responsiveness is impressive.  Moving forward and laterally is very fluid.  The light weight of the shoe comes into play as the player can move very quick, while the soft upper keeps the shoe nimble.  Crafty guards will feel comfortable changing directions on the fly.  Raising up for a finish, the Micro G® brings both comfort and responsiveness.  The cushioning is on the soft side, but it is not thick that it lessens the response time for the player.  For landings, the Micro G® foundation is comfortable, but very hard strikes may have some discomfort due to the fact that the foundation is on the thin side.  A quick & fast performer, the Cam Trainer is at home on the hardwood with excellent court feel.

Stability performance is two fold.  First, the nubuck upper with plastic panels does a good job of holding the foot.  But, for more harsh movements, it can be a problem.  Deep bends, abrupt cuts, and hard landings may present some issues as the foot pushes the upper to the limits.  Players who are very hard on their shoes will not find this favorable.  Where the shoe excels in stability is with the CompFit® sleeve and TPU stability plate.  The CompFit® sleeve provides excellent security and protection for the ankles & heels.  Both comfortable and tight, the sleeve completely covers the ankles high, but does not restrict movement.  Below, the TPU stability plate keeps the shoe from collapsing.  The upper and sleeve are thin and flex well so the only aspect keeping the shoe true is the TPU plate.  This gives some versatility to performance, allowing for power players to push the shoe a bit harder.  All in all, while there are some issues with stability, the overall feel and performance of the shoe is not affected.

Traction performance is very good.  Out of the box, the rubber outsole has a sticky feel.  Quick stops are handled well, with very good comfort.  The outsole pattern is not cut deep so traction is based on court feel and using the shape of the outsole to keep the player in position.  Since the shoe is based on a bare-foot feel, the outsole does pick up debris as the course of a game goes by.  Traction performance is affected, so the player will be very aware of when the rubber will need to be wiped down.  Other than this small issue, traction performance for a shoe does not get any better on the court.  Sticky with a natural feel, the Cam Trainer fares well when traction is evaluated.  Moving on, ventilation is satisfactory.  Around the ankles, the CompFit® sleeve does grip tight which may limit air flow and cause heat to build up.  What does help is the sleeve and upper are very thin and the lining of the sleeve can control moisture.

Conclusion

Not specifically made for basketball, the Cam Highlight Trainer has no problems on the hardwood.  In fact, if the shoe was not classified as a trainer, it could easily be mistaken for a basketball performer.  The shoe has many aspects that apply directly to basketball from the light weight CompFit® sleeve (which provides very good ankle support & heel lock down) to the Light Speed Grip outsole (excellent court feel and traction).  Overall, the shoe is an excellent performer on the basketball court and is versatile for all players and playing styles.  Performance does come close to the Micro G® Juke, which is one of the best Under Armour basketball shoes ever made, and simply put, this trainer is top notch.  Released earlier this year, the Cam Highlight Trainer is available in multiple color schemes at the Official Under Armour Online Store.

This shoe is comparable to:

Under Armour Micro G® Torch
Under Armour Micro G® Juke