by Sandy Dover / @San_Dova

In the basketball world, athletes are subject to physical rigors that most other athletes cannot rival. For the elite basketball player of any level, his/her body is a literal temple and principal livelihood, and while the roughly 400 players in the NBA put their bodies and minds to the test daily and yearly, those outside of that realm also have become just as conscious about their fitness and health. The FIT is a series that will concentrate on the Fuel, Information and Training (F.I.T.) that it takes for both professional and amateur players to be at their very best in the world, as well as focusing on the literal Food, Intelligence and Technology that also comes into play in our physical fine-tuning—because after all, without having the vital sustenance, guidelines and tech advancements to feed our bodies, help us better absorb and process what’s necessary, and make the labor efficient and effective, we don’t have much to advance our collective health and performance. The FIT is here to bring to light what can make us all the best uniquely tuned creatures who we presently are and can continue or aspire to be.

Basketball as we all know it is a game of running, and basically, outside of the half-court nature of the game, it’s a game of sprints and jogs, literally. Basketball shoes as they are constructed are meant for protection of the body because of the game’s dynamic nature and drastic levels of force exerted and absorbed by the body…but the shoes are crucial in running; for that, the running part of basketball is why a running shoe for basketball players is relevant to the sport…

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Here’s what I said about the first version of the Under Armour Charge RC, which was the company’s first true mastery of its running footwear division:

Simply put, the Under Armour Charge RC is a top-level running shoe, and one worthy of the attention of today’s basketball player looking for a conditioning edge. Designed with the mechanics of wild animals and certain kinds of insects in mind, the Charge RC first distinguished itself with me with its unique fit. There’s no true tongue, as it what is acting as a pseudo-tongue is really just an extended piece of the forefoot. The lacing is attached to not only the pseudo-tongue/forefoot upper directly, but it incorporated into the quarter paneling of the Charge RC, enhancing the security of the entire shoe. The fit of the shoe is further distinguished by the 14-piece outsole, comprised of the six-part carbon rubber heel pods and the eight-part blown rubber forefoot pods, making the ride of the Charge RC incredibly unique underfoot and hard to compare with other sorts of running footwear, in a very good way. … It’s structurally very strong, largely because of the synthetic upper and high-tech sole materials, which are very dense, but simultaneously light in weight (I’m thinking of the 4D Foam strobel board that’s vented and visible in the bottom of the shoe, and the carbon composite spring plate that helps distribute forces placed upon the shoe and the foot housed within it for the entire length of the shoe). The toe spread of the Charge RC is good in foot stride and strike, and one thing that I adore in a cushioning set-up is a springy/snappy foam or like system; the Charge RC’s cushioning is very much springy (much to my delight), which encouraged my own midfoot/forefoot propulsion and foot strike—essentially, I was able to run the correct way without being deterred by the shoe’s build (as many shoes produced today are overbuilt).

Since that time, Under Armour has developed an amended version of the Charge RC, with the attached name of the Storm, which is a nod to its all-conditions build. Made to be an all-terrain running shoe for the road, the trail, and everything in between, I came away with the trusted impression that the Charge RC Storm is perhaps the best running shoe in the industry. For reasons that are both related and unrelated to the previous shoe, I can’t help but sing the praises of the Storm.

Quite literally, the Storm is arguably the best overall running shoe I’ve evaluated in my years of product testing, but it is also outright the best trail shoe I’ve ever evaluated, and there are specific reasons for my calling it the best of all trail footwear that I’ve personally experienced—one reason is that the Storm uses a mountain bike-like tread on its 14-piece outsole, which allows for the shoe to grip the ground no matter if it’s wet or dry or muddy or slick or unstable; the other distinguished attribute of the Storm is that it’s treated with Under Armour’s UA Storm technology, which is basically a water-resistant treatment that resist moisture absorption in the upper, and that kept feet dry during runs and training.

Everything else that is strong about the shoe can be found in its prior model, as well. The independent movement of the heel and forefoot of the Storm gave way to efficient running in my movement; my feet were engaged just as they were needed, when they were needed, and that same efficiency from the rear- and forefoot being engaged promoted a better overall gait in my running. It’s somewhat minimal in construction (which is a good thing), but still protective (it has the right materials in the right places). The comfort of the Storm is very good comfort, because of the 4D Foam sockliner stacked directly on top of the Micro G foam, both of which provided me with excellent foot protection. The Storm’s high-level traction and foot security only magnified its excellence, and I was locked into the Storm with confidence. Its other endearing quality is that the Storm is very strong and durable, but still soft, a delicate balance to achieve in any performance shoe.

Quite simply, if you are looking to train seriously for basketball (or for any sport, including running itself) and you want to make the most of your runs, the Under Armour Charge RC Storm is likely a justified purchase. Its versatility, strength and comfort make it the best all-around running shoe that you can find, without having to be juggle between multiple pairs of footwear to make the most of your terrain. The Storm is essentially a ‘go-to’ performance shoe of choice, as it is for me.

Sandy Dover is a published author, media consultant, and web & print magazine columnist in the world of publishing, while serving as an expert sports product evaluator and as an independent wellness & training consultant, advocate and journalist in the health & fitness industry (with the two worlds often colliding). You can find Sandy frequently here at SLAMonline, as well as at about.me, Facebook and Twitter.