Georgia Winkcup tries on Under Armour’s new Flow Velociti Elite
Editor’s note: This feature is brought to you by Under Armour and their high-performance UA Flow Velociti Elite shoe. Olympian Georgia Winkcup gives us her review, saying it “naturally makes it so you can go faster, and faster for longer”.
Australian Olympian Georgia Winkcup understands the meaning of grit. She’s had an action-packed few months leading up to a silver medal in the 3000m steeplechase at the National Championships last month.
That’s a silver medal earned after a fall in the final straight. And after being ill, which had meant a disappointing result at the Brisbane Track Classic just six days before.
Winkcup recalls telling her coach, former national 1500m finalist Ben Liddy, before the big Nationals race, “Look, I'm still feeling terrible. Tactically, I'm just going to sit in and try to hold on for as long as I can and, when the girls go I'm going to try to go with them – but I'm not making any promises here.”
“Being a carbon-plated shoe they're so, so responsive. There's much less ankle rotation so, with each step, you feel that propulsion off your toes – because with the carbon plate running the whole length of the shoe you have that stiffness to push you forward and propel you.”
“And then the race went out and it was quite a bunched race in that the first four girls were all really close to one another. So myself and the other three were all together until probably like 500, even 600 meters to go … with about 300 metres to go I was feeling pretty confident and the others were slowing down in front. So I decided to just kick and I was like, ‘This is so exciting.’ I went from thinking I wasn’t anywhere near them to thinking I might win. I was like, ‘I can't believe I'm at the front.’ I've never actually been national champion; I won nationals but that was schools nationals in 2014, and I have never otherwise been a national champion.”
“So I got super excited and was coming down the front straight and, in the steeplechase, obviously, by the end of the race you're feeling pretty tired … So, in the last lap when I was trying to run incredibly quickly down the front straight towards the finish line, I wasn't used to coming in at that pace and I just started to – I lost my stride and tippy-toed a bit and then completely hit the last hurdle and landed on my face and my shoulder.
“Yeah, it was pretty sad because I had gone from being like, ‘Oh my God, I shouldn't be winning but I am – this is so exciting!’ to ‘I'm now on the floor and I'm not winning any more.’ But yeah, I was lucky enough to have enough time up my sleeve to get up and stagger a bit and run towards the finish line. So I still got second, and that's super exciting.”
More evidence of Winkcup’s grit: the 25-year-old balances being an elite athlete with a challenging career as a commercial lawyer in the Sydney offices of top firm Corrs Chambers Westgarth. She says the company has been incredible in backing her commitments as an athlete.
“Obviously, the law can be quite a demanding job. And sometimes there are times that you can't make it to training and you have late nights and you can't do things that would otherwise be really great, like resting and recovering between sessions.
“But my work is incredible. My firm are really supportive of me taking time when necessary to go and race; they're really supportive of allowing me to leave at a normal time, to try to get to training and things like that.”
For some of that training, Georgia recently had the chance to try out Under Armour’s new Flow Velociti Elite shoe. Weighing just over 200 grams, with an 8mm heel-to-toe offset, it’s an ultralight, carbon-plated race-day performer designed for cushioning and maximum energy return. Georgia was already a fan of earlier Velociti Flow models but says the Elite’s carbon plate makes a world of difference.
“I was already quite familiar with the leanness of the shoe, and I think that a lot of carbon-fibre shoes are quite thick and chunky, whereas these ones are so lean and have a lower profile, which I thought was really good.
“Being a carbon-plated shoe they're so, so responsive. There's much less ankle rotation so, with each step, you feel that propulsion off your toes – because with the carbon plate running the whole length of the shoe you have that stiffness to push you forward and propel you. I was doing some threshold reps in them, which is like a longer race pace, and I really felt like I could go much faster wearing these.”
“You really feel the propulsion as you're running. Of course, the shoes themselves aren't springs – and I think lots of people confuse carbon fibre with being ‘Oh, they're super springy’ – but the intention of the shoe is to be stiff so that as you're rolling through your stride, it naturally rolls you through because it's a single solid plate – you get that propulsion of your foot. So there's less energy that you put into ankle and calf movements to push you forward. All of that just naturally makes it so that you can go faster, and faster for longer.”
Another thing Georgia loved about the Flow Velociti Elite was the way it fitted to her foot.
“I also really like how they are so tight on your foot. In the past, lots of shoes have had quite thick upper materials whereas this has just a single mesh upper that's really thin and feels really durable. It makes it so that you can really tuck your foot in and hug it in, which makes you feel like you can just run so much faster. It's really solid and stable on your foot.”
Under Armour says their mission is to deliver athletes the best performance solutions possible, and that to do that they begin by listening to athletes and asking them what problems they need solved.
It sounds like, for one elite Australian athlete at least, that design process is producing results.