First Impressions: Under Armour SPINE RPM

by June 29, 2012

by Sandy Dover / @San_Dova

Under Armour has seemingly very quickly made an impression in the athletic world, from the “Protect This House” commercials and their patented performance shirts to backing a once-unproven prodigy in Brandon Jennings and becoming a powerhouse in sports footwear. Not one to rest on its collective laurels, Under Armour has sought to improve its products and make landmark changes to upgrade its product for athletes everywhere, and is doing so today with its new technology and footwear model, known as SPINE.

Just as June started to lean into its latter stages of passing away, I was given the opportunity to witness the debut of Under Armour’s new shoe, the Under Armour SPINE RPM, the company’s new running shoe named after its signature technology. Made to compete against the likes of others in the lightweight/support arms race of footwear, the SPINE RPM had the human spine in mind, something that functions with support and stability and ease in nature. Having just had the shoe for over a week, my evaluation of the shoe hasn’t been immediate or has even officially started, but having worn the shoe several times casually before training and meticulously studying the shoe, early impressions have formed.

One such impression is that the SPINE RPM setting a new standard for the company to improve its own existing technology. The SPINE RPM is a conceptual technology, in the sense that it isn’t concretely something totally foreign to what is already existent in the Under Armour catalog of performance material. SPINE itself is really just a refinement of what I suspect is a form of the Micro G cushioning, a high-grade foam that the company has employed for use in the midsole and insole of many of its footwear; SPINE essentially is a dual-density cushioning and support system that makes use of the pseudo-Micro G as a softer unit that is encased within a harder kind of foam that acts as a combination midsole/outsole. From there, the denser foam sole has bold, sharp, angled voids removed that improve its light weight and flexibility, and because the two foam units are fused to one another, there is full-length support under the foot, sort of how the human spinal cord and nerves are protected and supported by the actual bone spinal portion of the skeleton.

It’s a promising idea and a way for Under Armour to evolve its existing materials and create more diversity within its own catalog—not to mention, also, that the SPINE RPM is sharp in its design. It reminds a bit of a shark with its mesh upper and diamond voids, and the splices in the combo sole recall something that resembles JAWS. In my light use of the shoe, I feel very confident about what it can be as a performance tool for workouts and training, specifically as a running shoe, but the sky is really the limit with what SPINE can be.

The full photo gallery of the Under Armour SPINE RPM can be found here.

Sandy Dover is a feature writer and published author, multi-platform consultant, and a SLAM web columnist & print contributor whose work has been prominently featured and published by US News, Robert Atwan’s “America Now”, Yahoo!, ESPN, and STACK. You can find Sandy frequently here at SLAMonline and contact him via his website at