The Under Armour Micro G® Charge Volt Low – Black Lotus Performance Reviews
Last week, we looked at the follow up to the Under Armour Micro G® Charge BB in the Charge Volt. The design of the shoe leans more on the concept side, as there are very few basketball shoes on the market that have a distinguishable look as the Charge series does. It is only natural that UA releases a more subdued design for those who need less of the flash on the court. Last season, the Charge BB was was revised with the Charge BB Low. Although it had a very limited release, the performance of the shoe was top notch – one of the best performers of the year. The company has taken no time in coming up with a low cut version of the Volt to coincide with the boot cut release. For this Performance Review, we shed the high cut collar to get up and running in the Under Armour Micro G® Charge Volt Low.
Shaving off the top, the Charge Volt Low aims to bring speed and quickness over the high cut Charge Volt. The features include the following:
- Two-piece synthetic upper for tight fit and light weight performance
- Cushioning provided by Micro G® midsole and sockliner
- Cored out rubber outsole with herringbone traction sections at the forefoot
- HeatGear® technology for breathability and moisture wicking
- Stability provided by large mid foot TPU shank plate
Aesthetics and Styling
Unlike the Charge BB Low which was actually just a mid cut compared to the Charge BB, the Volt Low is truly a low cut performer. The collar is completely cut off and the shoe resembles more of a trainer/runner than something made for the hardwood. Aesthetically, the style & personality that the boot design of the Volt is lost, leaving the wavy lines all over the upper and shapely midsole to make up for it. Build wise, the shoe is definitely more compact and tight. All the performance elements remain unchanged, so the shoe really only caters to those looking for the Volt performance in a true low cut design. With a handful of color schemes released, the choice for this Performance Review is a combination of dark and light blues.
From a side profile, the Volt Low looks fit for running. The shoe has a very compact, yet stable because of the raised design on the side wings. Most of the style comes from the wavy lines, especially with the midsole. As always, we start with the foundation of the shoe. No surprises here as it is taken directly from the Charge BB/Charge BB Low/Charge Volt from the forefoot/heel outsole, to the TPU shank plate, up to the wavy Micro G® midsole.
The two-piece upper design may look simple, but does have some intricacies. The base layer is made of a soft synthetic material which forms a bootie with the tongue. Smooth, shiny reinforcement layers come around the toe cap (which has a small UA print on the medial side) and up towards the two lace hoops on the sides of the stitched tongue. The next part of the upper is the padded side wing. It is stitched onto the base layer and has the wavy, protruding design for style. UA logos are integrated smoothly on each quarter panel as this layer swoops around the low cut heel. The wings have four eyelets punctured through the material to grip the standard oval laces. Moving to the back, a hang tab is stitched on the smooth base layer to help the player get into the shoe. Padding is soft as the low cut collar has dips and valleys to rest right below both the Achilles & ankles. For comfort, the inside lining is a soft and silky smooth synthetic material. Rounding out the Volt Low is the signature Micro G® insole. It is contoured and plush for the best support available.
Comfort and Fit
Waiting for the foot is a very comfortable, close fitting inner sleeve. Once the foot passes through the somewhat narrow opening, fit is a close but roomy (with respect to the toes) true to size. The room from the fit comes as the forefoot is reached. Pressure comes from the side panels, but it is more tight than form fitting before opening up to the forefoot area. There is very good room width wise for those with wide feet. Also, the mesh material is comfortable as the toes can wiggle up against it. Of most importance for a basketball shoe is the ankle support. And since the shoe is a true low cut, the support in fit is one aspect that must be satisfactory. Without a collar, support comes from heel lock down which is what the inner sleeve and tight fit bring. The side panels come to a point where the final two eyelets are present. This holds the front of the foot in place, while the inner sleeve and heel counter do a good job of holding the heels without too much movement. For cushioning, the Micro G® foundation is low profile and comfortable. The shoe has a natural feel with the cushioning system feeling perfect for basketball movements. Arch support, again, comes from the tightness of the side panels, which is good enough for those who are flat footed. Tight, light weight, and comfortable, the Charge Volt Low looks to bring speed and agility on the court.
Once the player steps on the hardwood, the Volt Low feels more like a supportive running shoe than a full on basketball performer. This is a stark contrast to the very comprehensive feel of the high cut Volt. Nonetheless, the minimal Micro G® based foundation with the cored outsole brings very good natural court feel. Out of the box, the shoe needs virtually no break in time and heel to toe transitions have a cushioned, natural feel. It just feels very comfortable with the upper holding the foot tight. Weight wise, the shoe feels light and agile. There are no real problems with flexibility as the soft synthetic upper and inner sleeve bend easy without a flimsy feel. Performance for the Volt Low is fit for the speedy player looking to be agile on the court. Just as with the Charge BB/Volt, comfort and responsiveness is excellent. The low cut design adds more agility to the table. Players who like to play off a first step will find the shoe very nimble and quick. Since the edges of the foundation are rounded rather than sharp, movement feels more fluid than jerky. This allows the player to flow into cuts and changes of directions. Movement is not tight, but there are no hinderances at all. For example, when the player moves laterally on defense, the shoe helps to push the player with ease. There is comfort from the Micro G® cushioning, while the minimal outsole set up gives the player a better feel of the court. For jumps, the Micro G® cushioning is dense, yet comfortable. Coupled with the outsole, the player has very good control and feel when bursting up. Landings are handled with plenty of comfort, which is great for a low cut performer. Agile, light weight, and comfortable the Volt Low is a great option for the quick, nimble player.
In a low cut context, stability is very good. The major issue with every low cut basketball performer is with ankle support and protection. For the Low, protection is limited while support is very good. The inner bootie and top two eyelets do a great job of keeping the heel in place. It may not be able to handle heavy and hard play, but for aggressive, offensive based movements, the lock down is sufficient. Stability performance for the shoe is based around the high quality design and construction. First off, the inner sleeve provides excellent hold with comfort. There are very few moments of slippage during play, and the player will rarely have to adjust the fit of the shoe. Next, the side panels on the upper not only grip the ankles/heels in place but also serves as the main barrier of protection. It allows the player to push the shoe hard laterally. Abrupt lateral stops and slides have no real issues. The side panels, although not stiff, give a great feeling of support when the player is moving and changing directions suddenly. Adding to the stability is the mid foot plate. The plate is large, so it keeps the shoe true to form. Since the upper is a soft synthetic, this is very important – and it does a great job. All in all, stability performance is very good for those who are comfortable in a low cut shoe.
With the same design and construction as the Charge BB/Volt (high), traction performance is still based on natural movement with a better sense of the court. The efficient outsole with the cored out areas and forefoot herringbone sections does push more for fluid movement over jerky, stop & start play. But just like the Charge BB Low, the Volt Low plays a bit closer to the court than the high cut versions because of the balance of the shoe. Traction performance is a bit quicker and agile. The player can get a better feel of the court, getting in and out of movements a bit faster. In all, those looking for an agile low cut performer that has gliding traction performance can look at the Volt Low as an option. There are no big issues in the area of ventilation. The low cut design and mesh based upper are great for heat and moisture control. HeatGear® technology only adds to the performance.
For a shoe with a dramatically high cut as the Charge Volt, lopping off the collar should bring a significantly different overall feel. The Low does just that. While it does offer the great court feel and comfort from the minimal sole and Micro G® based foundation, the performance is no doubt quicker. It does cater to those quicker guards who need cat-like movements on the court as the lower cut is just more versatile when it comes to nimble movements. Those that may have backed away from the aesthetics of the Charge Volt have a good option in the Volt Low. Released last month, the Under Armour Micro G® Charge Volt Low is available in multiple color schemes at the Official Under Armour Online Store.
This shoe is comparable to:
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