In the past, I’ve reviewed a few Under Armour shoes and generally they just leave me underwhelmed. In all fairness, I’m looking for a shoe for functional fitness and none of the shoes that I’ve tried out were made for that purpose. They weren’t bad shoes, they just didn’t fit my needs in training. I actually thought the Project Rock 1 shoes were good, but not something I’d wear for a serious WOD. The Charged Legend’s were probably the most suitable shoe for functional fitness, mimicking the Metcon drop-in midsole design, but they just ended up being a little too narrow and soft to be a real contender.
Just when I thought UA wouldn’t actually put any effort in the functional fitness spectrum, they contacted me to check out a shoe they’d been designing to the specifications of some of the top competitive fitness athletes: the TriBase Reign.
With all the changes happening in the functional fitness spectrum, was the launch of the TriBase Reign’s a little too late or perfectly timed?
Just looking at the TriBase Reign, it would be pretty easy to tell which brand they hail from. The design language is similar to other shoes in the past UA has come out with. The shoe is part Curry, part Project Rock, part Ultimate Speed, all Under Armour. While I don’t think the design speaks to everyone, I’m generally on board with the appearance of most UA shoes, so I can’t complain. I applaud UA’s part on not trying to follow all the recent trends of slip-on’s or knit materials and just being original. When it’s all said and done, the TriBase Reign’s don’t look like a shoe from any other brand.
The upper material is combination of a heat and abrasion resistant rip-stop fabric at the toe/lateral side and mesh at the medial/heel of the shoe. The parts of the upper look to be thermally welded together but are integrated well to give the shoe a clean look where you don’t see the seams. Throughout the shoe there are holes for ventilation, which I think work well enough because I haven’t had any issues with my feet becoming uncomfortable.
The lower part of the shoe is probably the most polarizing part of the TB Reign’s design due to the chunky rubber outsole. Some have called them “Dad shoes”, but I don’t really see it. The outsole rises up on the lateral/medial parts of the shoe to protect against and grip the rope, but also aids in keeping your feet secure laterally for cutting and lifting. At the heel there’s a non-obtrusive looking TPU heel counter that cups your foot in place.
Underneath the shoe is the TriBase part of the shoe’s name and signified with a giant triangle in the middle of the tough rubber outsole. There are flex grooves at the forefoot that aid in upwards and downwards motion. Whether it’s triple extension of Olympic lifts or dropping down for a burpee, the TB Reign’s feel natural on feet. The side areas of the outsole have sharp edges and aid in torsional flexing for when you need to screw yourself into the ground. It’s full length rubber acts as a carrier for the midsole…
Micro-G compound itself is a compression molded foam is thinner, lighter yet more responsive than typical midsole foams. While it doesn’t feel soft by any means, I think Micro-G is comfortable enough for daily wear but responsive for serious training or competition. The midsole protrudes a out a bit at the heel of the shoe to give you more contact area with the ground. Unfortunately for those of you that use custom orthotics, the insole is sewn in and not removable. Offset is 2mm from heel to toe, making these some of the lowest training shoes that aren’t barefoot style.
Weight of the shoes per my US size 10’s clocked in at 11.58oz compared to the listed 10.3oz per UA’s website. Not the lightest but they fall in line with pretty much all of the other training shoes it competes with.
Most training shoes aer on the wide side but like other UA shoes, the TB Reign’s fit a bit on the narrow side, more similarly to the Metcon 4. The actual platform feels suitably wide for training but the shoe fits my normal sized feet fairly snug at the midfoot and heel of the shoe. The toebox isn’t particularly narrow but that won’t mean too much if the shoe doesn’t fit anywhere else. Length is a tiny bit on the long side but I would definitely not size down. The fit is right in line with other UA training shoes and fits bigger than UA running shoes. There isn’t a ton of arch support compared to other Under Armour shoes, but I still wouldn’t recommend these shoes for anyone with flat feet.
The ankle cut of the shoe is a lot lower and not as cushioned as most other training shoes, but I find comfortable. If you’re prone to rolling your ankles, I’d worry, but otherwise I prefer the lower cut. The lacing system isn’t fancy and can be a little bit of a hassle to pull through, but does a pretty good job locking down the middle part of the shoe. There is tiny bit of heel slip no matter how I lace the shoe but it’s minimal compared to other shoes so I don’t really mind it all that much.
- Charged Ultimate – 10
- Charged Legend – 10
- Nano – 10
- Metcon – 10
- HOVR Sonic/Phantom – 10.5
- Project Rock 1 – 9.5
- Rock Delta – 9.5
Surprisingly, despite the tough feeling rubber outsole, the flexibility of the TB Reign’s is actually pretty good. The forefoot is very flexible in both the upper and the outsole of the shoe. On top, there are lines for flexibility and that keep the upper from bunching up weirdly. Underneath, there’s a break in the rubber outsole that allows the shoe to flex prominently in that area. The TriBase is not only stable, but also feels natural for running or plyometric movements. Overall, the shoe feels more flexible than the Nike Metcon 4’s but definitely not as much as the Reebok Nano 8’s.
The upper is comfortable without any kind of harsh crease areas but is pretty minimal and isn’t cushioned like the sandwich mesh found on Nike’s shoe or the Flexweave on Reebok’s. There’s a bit of space left on top of my toes in comparison to the other two top training shoes, but I wouldn’t necessarily consider that a bad thing because it doesn’t feel like your toes are ever cramped.
Running in the TB Reign’s was comfortable enough for anything you’ll find in a normal WOD. They wouldn’t be my number one choice for a distance run but they’re flexible enough and don’t feel clunky like most training shoes do while running. The flatter profile feels more comfortable on my feet for runs compared to higher drops and keeps me from wanting to stomp my heel down. Micro-G foam is great in the sense that it absorbs shock well without being unstable or uncomfortable.
Plyometrics feel great in the TB Reign’s – I almost never rebound my box jumps anymore but the responsiveness and bounce of the Micro-G foam are confidence inspiring enough to not worry about a mis-step. Even after about a hundred wall balls and box jumps, my feet remained comfortable without any kind of burn at the middle of my foot.
If you wanted to compare the sheer underfoot cushioning of the TriBase Reign compared to the much softer (yet stable) Nano 8, you’ll probably be disappointed. Still, even after living in the shoes for a week, I’ve yet to feel like they’re uncomfortable in any sense of the word. Personally, I don’t need a ton of cushioning in my shoes to survive, but your mileage may vary.
Under Armour designed the TriBase Reign to be a more minimal option to training shoes without durability issues that usually plague minimalistic shoes. I wouldn’t say they’re a substitute for barefoot shoes, but they’re the best option if you wanted something flatter and closer to the ground without sacrificing on stability.
Personally, I prefer shoes that have a flatter drop like the TB Reign’s 2mm. It does take some getting used to after coming from the typical 4mm/6mm training shoe options, but when acclimated, feels better on my feet for lifting. For most lifts besides deadlifts, this is going to be subjective depending on mobility.
Responsiveness and stability from the combination of the Micro-G midsole and rubber outsole is very good; probably among the best in the training shoe field. Power delivery and ground feel is excellent because of the shaved down midsole cushioning. Response feels sharp as a tack for any kind of movement that requires explosiveness. For more grounded movements (good ol’ heavy squats), the rubber outsole keeps you locked into the ground. Sharp edges on the sides of the outsole make for some of the best lateral stability found on a training shoe.
The TB Reign’s are easily just as stable as the Metcon 4 and more so than the Nano 8. Of course you’re just splitting hairs at this level of competent trainers, but if came to a heavy lifting day, I’d pick the Reign’s over the other two.
What can be either a blessing or a curse is just how flexible the toe area can be. I found some landings on Olympic lifts to be a little forward at times, more notably with anything overhead. The toe’s upward angle might be a little too aggressive, but with a little bit of getting used to, it’s not so bad and I’d sacrifice that for the flexibility of the shoe.
At $120, the Under Armour TriBase fall right in line with the other top training shoes out there, which are all really good. Why would you want to spend money on UA’s freshman debut versus the more tried and true options?
For me, the TriBase Reign’s are a breath of fresh air. They’re something new, that aren’t trying to follow anyone’s game plan and work just as well as anything else does. Personally, I love the minimal, yet not minimal feel of the shoe. They’re comfortable without being overly cushioned or dull feeling. Stability is excellent overall despite needing a little bit of time to get used to the flexible toe; which in turn is great for running. I could use a little more room in the midfoot of the shoe and the lacing system could be a little better. While not perfect, I find the TB Reign’s to be a balanced option that I’d be happy to substitute for my Nano’s or Metcon’s.
To be honest, I was just about done trying Under Armour shoes, but the TriBase Reign’s renewed my vigor in the brand. They easily fall into my top 5 training shoes at the moment. Like any shoe, they’re not going to be for everyone, but I think a lot of people are going to feel the same way about them. They’re a do everything kind of shoe that you won’t feel like your sacrificing anything with. Under Armour fans will be ecstatic that they finally have a training shoe they can wear inside the box without sacrificing any kind of performance.
If I had one major gripe about the shoes, it would have to be the name. TriBase Reign doesn’t exactly roll off the tongue and I think could be shortened. Call them the Under Armour Reign w/ or featuring TriBase.
Asides from that, there isn’t much I can complain about with the shoes. They’re a highly proficient training shoe no matter what you’re looking to get done in the training spectrum. Welcome to the club, Under Armour.