The Under Armour Micro G® Torch 2 – Black Lotus Performance Reviews
With NBA training camps opening up in the next few weeks it is only fitting to see all the sneaker companies gear up with releases in the next coming months. Under Armour Basketball has slowly grown each year, adding more players to their roster while continuing to push forward with new designs. One of the top performers of last season came with the Micro G® Torch – a light weight and aggressive performer. So far, the brand has not gone the sequel route, aside from 2 Brandon Jennings signature models. A change comes this year with the release of the Micro G® Torch 2, the subject of this Performance Review.
Following up the high performing original, the Micro G® Torch 2 looks to be a solid team option for the 2013-2014 season. The features include the following:
- Synthetic upper with laser-etched perforations for light weight performance
- Cushioning provided by low profile Micro G® foam
- Contoured mid foot TPU shank plate
- Rubber outsole with multi-directional diamond shaped traction pattern
- Dual wing lacing system for better support and fit
Aesthetics and Styling
Simple, stealth, and minimal was the Mirco G® Torch. The looks and design of the shoe did not indicated what a punch the shoe packed on the court. If you compare the original Torch with the Torch 2 from an aesthetic point of view there are few similarities. This is perhaps the most refreshing feature of the follow up, as countless times designers make small tweaks in their performance models each year. With the change in looks comes an overhaul in technological features. This shoe is equipped with a dual wing lacing system covering the upper and a fixed tongue/sleeve for the best fit possible. Of course cushioning remains the same with a low profile Micro G® set up for the best in court feel and comfort. Style wise, the shoe can either look bold or tame depending to the color scheme. The wing design adds an element where multiple colors can be used, which makes it great for those who like a little flash on the hardwood. Our choice is flash with this Purple/Pink color scheme.
From a side profile, the Micro G® Torch 2 has a bulky & high look. The collar towers over the shoe and the tongue is just thick. Perforated side wings are the style element creating wavy lines. We start with a very familiar contoured outsole. The two pods and a diamond shaped traction pattern goes back to the Micro G® Juke from two seasons ago. A large Under Armour logo is molded into the forefoot, while the mid foot bridge is smooth. The mid foot is surrounded by a large contoured stability plate with a fine dot texture running throughout. This low profile rubber sole expands from the toe cap, with a flaring lateral outrigger, and finishing up the heel. All of this is supported by the Micro G® midsole. There are no outgoing curves or features that make the midsole distinguishable besides the dimple pattern and the “MICRO G” branding on the lateral forefoot.
A smooth synthetic upper is made up of multiple parts, all with perforations. Beginning up front, the toe box has clear separation from the wings from the throat line to the forefoot sides. The front has a stitched toe cap that has perforations on the lateral and a small Under Armour logo on the medial. More perforations litter the body of the toe box from the throat line down. Each side has the stiff dual side wings making up the first half of the lacing system. The under wing sits close to the tongue/sleeve,while the more protective wing is stitched from the forefoot to the collar. This top wing is noticeably thicker with an added stitched layer. Perforation holes are punctured throughout this wing.
Tight plastic material wraps around the heel counter. The large Under Armour logo is prominently displayed in the center surrounded by the stitched side wings. From the top of the Achilles area the collar swoops up and curves to form the high cut of the shoe. A smooth synthetic material outlines the top of the collar in black as the stiff wings lie just below. This tongue has an almost detached set up with the ability to flare outward for fitting. Padding is very plush throughout the sides of the collar and the smooth synthetic material continues from the outside of the collar changing to pink on the inside.
First passing through a lace hoop at the throat line, the standard oval laces run wide. The first four eyelets are part of the dual wing design, with the final three punctured straight up through the rough synthetic on the colalr. Detached from the wings is the tongue, which is fixed and forms a slight inner sleeve. It has a lace hoop in the center with a generously padded square section towards the top for comfort. The top is outlined with the smooth synthetic like the toe box and has a painted Under Armour logo in the center. To round out the Torch 2 is a firm but plush contoured insole. This low profile insole is the perfect compliment to the Micro G® midsole and is finished off with an Under Armour logo at the heel.
Comfort and Fit
Superb balance between comfort and fit have been trademark of Under Armour Basketball shoes. A wide opening makes it easy to slip through the high cut of the Torch 2. The side wings bring the upper close around the middle of the foot, where most of the lace pressure is felt. Fit is a half size long as the toe box has plenty of room. From the mid foot to the forefoot, the shoe opens up as the toe box is reached. There is extra room length wise, and those with wide feet will be fully accommodated with the fit of the shoe. The shape of the toe is a good cross between rounded and flat. Moving to ankle protection and support, the detached collar and tongue provide a high wrap. Because the top of the collar does not have the synthetic leather wing covering, it brings more comfort than rigidness. From top to bottom, padding is plush around the ankles. The low cut of the Achilles and the detached design gives this a good blend of agility and support. Below, the counter holds the heels in place with very little movement. Rounding out the fit of the Torch 2 is the low profile Micro G® cushioning. The Micro G® is contoured, dense, and very comfortable. This is the best example of responsive cushioning that is soft. The foot sits contoured and the wing overlayer does a great job of providing all the arch support needed. Comfortable all around, the Micro G® Torch 2 has the signature Under Armour feel.
Great cushioning and good court feel are immediately felt in a static position on the court. The shoe just feels very comfortable with the foot locked in place. It seems like there are no major pressure points which is perfect for getting right into play without a break in period. Heel to toe running is flexible and tight. The foot bends easy right down the middle of the upper. The inner bootie and high throat line flex easy, while the outer wings bring the hold. Cushioning is felt from the toes down to the heel, and the two pod outsole set up works with the low court profile of the shoe in giving the player good control. For performance, the Torch 2 is shows versatility for guards and forwards. The first aspect evaluated is the responsive and comfortable Micro G® base. Right off the bat, the player will want to take advantage of the foundation. The weight of the shoe is balanced so that the foundation is a bit more lighter than the plush upper. This makes it great for the active player. Moving around laterally, forward, or backward, the foundation has a good sense of pushing the player to move. The shoe does play more swift than aggressive which is perfect for the one on one player. For the upper, the inner bootie/cage set up feels great. The fit is not uncomfortable and the hold around the foot makes it great on the court or in a casual sense. This is one shoe where is does feel specifically made for basketball but can be worn off the court. That said, the upper performs well in all aspects of performance. Flexibility is great down the center. Arch support is excellent for abrupt movements to simple jogging. And to top it all off, the comfort from the inner sleeve and collar padding can keep the player on the court all day. With a low profile Mirco G® set up, jumping is cushioned. The forefoot pod has the slight curvature making jumpers on the run comfortable. Since the Micro G is on the dense side, it does not have the springy feeling, but is great for those players who like to have the feel of the court for more control. Landings are handled with excellent comfort, which is no surprise. Flexibility and comfort stand out for Micro G® Torch 2 which shows versatility for the active player.
For the Torch 2, stability revolves around fit and comfort. Ankle support and protection is very good. The detached collar and generous padding provide both comfort and support. And because the design wraps the ankles high, there is good protection for those players who are hard on their ankles. All aspects considered, the Torch 2 does not leave the ankles hanging. Once the player laces the shoe up, the layers of stability are evident. First off, the inner bootie provides comfortable hold for the foot. It keeps the tongue from shifting around during intense play, allowing it to support the ankles. On the side, the wings solidify the fit and stability. The design of the shoe is made so that the mid foot is locked in place, with the forefoot opening up. This set up is perfect for player who like to be quick and nimble. The player can play fast off a first step, and when changing directions, the wings can be felt keeping the foot steady. Movement is limited, and even for those awkward steps and bumps, the player will rarely need to adjust the foot back in place. Further helping the wings keep the foot steady is the sculpted TPU plate. It fits seamlessly with the shape of the shoe to keep the foot from bending out of place without a harsh feel. In summary, stability in this sense is all about the amazing fit of the upper.
The outsole set up is taken from previous Under Armour performers which yields very good traction. Rarely do you see a basketball performance shoe these days with a minimal traction pattern. On a clean surface, the diamond shaped pattern provides good grip, which can be sticky. Abrupt stops from high speeds or cuts are not hindered at all. And even with the smooth mid foot section, the player is still able to find traction. One of the aspects that makes the traction pattern work well is the forefoot/heel set up. It forces the player to play off the two sections, instead of allowing completely control where areas without traction may cause the player to slip. The only downfall of the minimal traction is debris. It does tend to pick up dust rather quickly. This adversely affect traction, so the player will have pay close attention during a game session. Finally, ventilation performance is satisfactory. The shoe would not be considered suffocating or free & open. Heat may be trapped in by the inner sleeve, but the shoe does a good job of keep moisture under control because of the lining material.
For all of our Under Armour Reviews high quality performance, construction, and materials stand out. In only a few short years they have established a very strong wing to go alongside their very successful accessories & apparel line up. The Torch 2 may not have the performance impact as the original, but it is comfortable, flexible, and a great light weight performer. It may not be the best and eye-popping performer on the market this season, but one aspect is for certain – the player will find very few weakness in overall performance. This is a great shoe to get introduced to Under Armour Basketball if you have missed out in the past couple of seasons. Released this month, the Micro G® Torch 2 is available now at the Official Under Armour Online Store.
This shoe is comparable to:
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