Under Armour vs Adidas: Which Is Better?

As an avid sneakerhead with a passion for performance footwear, I frequently get asked – “which is better, Under Armour or Adidas?” Both brands offer high-quality shoes packed with innovative technologies and sleek styling.

In this review, I’ll compare and contrast key features of Under Armour and Adidas shoes to help you decide which brand best fits your needs and preferences. Let’s dive in!

Comparison Table

CategoryUnder ArmourAdidas
Founded In19961949
Comfort & FitSnug, supportive fit. Runs small.Comfortable with some narrow sizes.
Color OptionsWide range of colors.Even wider range of colors.
DurabilityDurable outsoles but some issues reported.Excellent durability with quality materials.
PerformanceExcellent energy return and cushioning.Innovative cushioning technologies like Boost.
Design & StyleAthletic styling. Not always most stylish.Iconic designs. Very stylish options.
PopularityPopular but less so than major brands.One of the most popular sportswear brands.
Best Selling ModelUA Charged Assert 10adidas Ultraboost

Under Armour Overview

Founded in 1996 by Kevin Plank, a former college football player, Under Armour exploded onto the sportswear scene with moisture-wicking shirts that were a game changer for athletes. Since then, they’ve expanded into footwear to make their mark in the shoe world too.

Kevin Plank (Under Armour Founder)

Under Armour running shoes focus on lightweight, breathable construction. Synthetic uppers and airy mesh provide ventilation to keep feet cool and dry. The smooth inner lining prevents irritation so you can focus on your training.

Their shoes also implement performance technologies to give athletes an edge. Charged cushioning offers responsive landings while Micro G foam brings flexible stability. Models like the HOVR Machina optimize comfort and energy return.

While some shoes like the HOVR Sonic cater to runners, Under Armour also markets lifestyle designs for casual wear. Their expansive selection ranges from minimalist sneakers to basketball shoes to golf cleats. So no matter your sport, they aim to outfit your feet.

Adidas Overview

Adolf “Adi” Dassler founded Adidas in 1924 in Herzogenaurach, Germany, establishing one of the most recognized and iconic athletic brands worldwide.

Adidas designs performance-driven athletic shoes for running, training, and sports.

Breakthrough innovations like responsive Boost foam midsoles and adaptive Primeknit uppers power popular models like the best-selling UltraBoost.

Adidas maintains a commitment to developing technologies like Formotion and Torsion System that maximize human potential through rigorous athlete testing.

From vintage streetwear classics like the iconic Superstar to new trends like the NMD_R1, Adidas’ sporty style transcends demographics with universal appeal.

With timeless 3-Stripe branding and silhouettes optimized for movement, Adidas continues pushing boundaries while staying true to its roots in athletic performance.

Major Differences Between The Brands:

Comfort and Fit

Under Armour shoes cater to athletes, with snug midfoot support and cushioned heels. They run small, so sizing up is recommended. Adidas offers a comfortable broken-in feel right away. But some Adidas models like Ultraboost can feel overly snug at first.

Under Armour has fewer wide sizing options than Adidas currently. In terms of step-in comfort, Under Armour may need some break-in while Adidas offers instant comfort in most shoes.

Durability and Performance

Both brands engineer enduring shoes, but Adidas edges out Under Armour in durability reports from wearers. Under Armour uses quality materials but some models have issues with the outsoles wearing quickly.

Adidas Boost midsoles particularly impress with their longevity. In terms of performance, Under Armour excels at responsiveness and energy return with UA HOVR cushioning. Adidas Boost also provides excellent energy return for an empowered stride. Traction tends to be comparable between the two brands.

Price

On average, Adidas shoes tend to cost $10 to $30 more than comparable Under Armour shoes. While Adidas has more premium $200+ offerings, Under Armour tops out around $150 to $180 for most shoes.

However, Under Armour’s discount outlet shoes can dip lower in price than discounted Adidas models. Overall, expect to pay a slight premium for Adidas but take advantage of sales on both brands.

Design and Style

Under Armour shoes have an athletic look oriented toward performance and sport. Simple and straightforward aesthetics rather than trendy streetstyle. Adidas has roots in sport as well but offers a much wider range of lifestyle and fashion-forward looks.

The iconic Adidas Superstar and Stan Smith designs inspire modern Adidas styles. Under Armour has more limited everyday wear options compared to the breadth of casual Adidas shoes. For pure sport performance, Under Armour excels but Adidas wins for all-around style.

Popularity

Both brands enjoy strong popularity but Adidas claims a clear edge. According to Statista, Adidas accounted for over 50% of the U.S. athletic footwear market share in 2022. Under Armour trailed far behind at just 5.4% market share. However, Under Armour popularity is rising quickly among younger crowds. But Adidas’ longevity, brand recognition, and ubiquity give them the advantage in popularity metrics.

Target Market

Under Armour directly targets competitive athletes looking for performance-boosting features. While Adidas also caters to athletes, their shoes also appeal broadly to casual wearers and lifestyle crowds. Under Armour’s focus centers on sports tech while Adidas also succeeds in streetstyle fashion.

Under Armour has also struggled to grow female consumer share compared to Adidas’ unisex appeal. Both brands cover the athletic demographic well but Adidas extends far beyond sports into wider cultural reach.

Performance Comparisons

For Nurses

For nurses who are on their feet all day, both Under Armour and Adidas offer shoes that can enhance comfort and reduce fatigue. However, Adidas tends to have more options specifically tailored for healthcare workers. The Ultraboost and Ultraboost S&L from Adidas provide excellent cushioning and support for long shifts.

The lightweight EQT Support RF from Adidas is also ideal for nurses. From Under Armour, the HOVR Sonic and HOVR Phantom Running shoes work well but may lack the all-day comfort that Adidas offers nurses. Ultimately, Adidas seems optimized for the needs of nursing professionals.

For Walking

For walking shoes, Under Armour and Adidas both supply quality options to consider. The Under Armour HOVR Machina and HOVR Guardian Running shoes provide responsive comfort during long walks. For Adidas, the Ultraboost 21, Ultraboost 20, and Supernova Running shoes make great walking companions.

They offer soft landings and energized takeoffs mile after mile. Overall, the Ultraboost line from Adidas gets the edge for all-day walking comfort, breathability, and longevity. But Under Armour is still a strong contender for walking needs.

For Running

As leading athletic brands, both excel at running shoes. For Under Armour, the HOVR Sonic line offers excellent energy return and a smooth, stable ride for runners. The UA Flow Velociti Wind caters to runners seeking lightweight speed.

Adidas running staples like the Ultraboost 22, Ultraboost DNA, and Solarboost provide stellar cushioning and responsiveness. For trail running, the Adidas Terrex line takes the lead with grippy traction and protection. Serious runners would be happy with either brand, but Adidas seems to cater better to varying running needs.

For Flat Feet

Adidas offers far more variety and specialty options than Under Armour. Key Adidas shoes like the Ultraboost PB and Ultraboost ST provide arch support and pronation control specifically engineered for flat feet.

Under Armour has fewer stability shoes, though models like the HOVR Guardian offer some support. With its wider range of width sizing and flat foot-focused technology, Adidas is the clear winner for accommodating flat feet.

For Back Pain

If you suffer from back pain, proper footwear can make a big difference. For Under Armour, the Charged Assert 8 running shoe offers supportive cushioning while the UA HOVR Guardian provides stability for back issues.

Adidas has some excellent options too like the Ultraboost 22 with its plush Boost midsole. The Solar Glide ST and Supernova Running shoes from Adidas also help align the body properly to reduce back pain.

For this purpose, Adidas seems to edge out Under Armour with technology made to counter back discomfort specifically. However, for safe cushioning, either brand works.

For Standing All Day

On your feet all day? Both brands offer cushy options but Adidas pulls ahead here. Under Armour shoes like the Midtown Raid Performance Trainer have responsive foam but may lack all-day support.

Meanwhile, standing in Ultraboost, Solarboost or Ultraboost S&L from Adidas feels like standing on a cloud thanks to Supremely soft cushioning. Adidas shoes also tend to offer higher arch support which prevents foot strain during long periods of standing. While Under Armour can work, Adidas is the top choice for cushion and comfort when standing for prolonged periods.

For High Arches

If you have high arches, finding shoes to accommodate your needs is key. For Under Armour, the Charged Assert 8 provides a good amount of arch support. The Under Armour Spine Disrupt caters to high arches well.

However, Adidas offers even better options like the Ultraboost PB and Ultraboost 22 with specialized arch-hugging designs. The Marathon Tech and Supernova Running shoes from Adidas also supply excellent arch support all around. Adidas has clearly mastered the high arch niche, giving them the advantage.

For Hiking

Venturing outdoors on the trail requires sturdy, grippy shoes which both brands provide. The Under Armour Infil Hike Mid GTX and UA Horizon RTT offer waterproof protection and traction for hiking.

Adidas Outdoor Terrex shoes like the Free Hiker Cold.RDY and Terrex Two Boa also supply traction and protection. However, the extended size range of Adidas gives them the win for fitting more foot shapes and sizes comfortably for hiking. But Under Armour still makes solid, durable hiking shoes for outdoorsmen.

For Plantar Fasciitis

The debilitating heel pain of plantar fasciitis requires proper arch and heel support. Under Armour running shoes like the UA HOVR Phantom and UA HOVR Guardian offer cushioning but lack specialized support.

Adidas takes the gold for plantar fasciitis relief with options like the Ultraboost ST and Ultraboost PB designed specifically for this condition. The Adidas Marathon Tech with its external heel counter also shines for foot pain issues. Under Armour can work but Adidas has plantar fasciitis beat when it comes to pain relief.

Final Verdict

In the battle of Under Armour versus Adidas shoes, Adidas emerges as the winner in most categories. They surpass Under Armour in comfort, durability, style, popularity and specialty needs like nurses, flat feet and plantar fasciitis. However, Under Armour put up a strong fight with their performance-driven technology made for athletes.

Under Armour shoes are ideal if you prioritize sport-specific features, responsive cushioning and straightforward athletic style. But if you desire maximized comfort, all-day wearability or foot pain relief, Adidas has the advantage. Adidas also offers far more lifestyle and fashion-focused options for casual wear.

While Under Armour makes quality athletic shoes, Adidas ultimately wins this battle with their blend of sport performance and fashionable versatility. But choosing between these two industry leaders ultimately depends on finding the right fit and features for your individual needs.

Both brands make excellent footwear, so you can’t go wrong if you pick the model tailored for your activities. Let your priorities and preferences guide you to the best sneaker match.

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