The Horizon RTT is a new trail shoe from Under Armour that’s built to provide cushion, comfort, and protection for long days on the trail. The Horizon RTT comes in at 14.1 oz in a size 12.5 and has a 7mm drop. I’ve been putting the Horizon RTT through their paces this spring and will detail my experiences in this review.
This is my first ever review of an Under Armour shoe. As the number two sportswear manufacturer in the United States, Under Armour has had a relatively small presence in the fast growing market segment of trail running and light hiking. In the last year, that has really started to change. A look at Under Armour’s trail shoe offerings shows just how far they’ve come.
The two flagship shoes of the Under Armour trail shoe lineup are the Horizon KTV and Horizon RTT. I’ll be reviewing the RTT for this review, as it provides more protection than the KTV, a more aggressive outsole, and a burlier upper, all making it a little better suited for hiking.
Fit and Feel:
The Under Armour Horizon RTT fits true to size in my standard 12.5, and feels very light on the foot at just over 14 oz. The Horizon RTT might be the best fitting shoe I’ve worn this year. The perfect fit starts in the toebox, where Under Armour has gone with a foot shaped last. The toebox is wide, but the volume is on the low side. I love this for a precise, but friction free fit.
The Horizon RTT fits securely in the midfoot with no sloppiness or unwanted movement. The heel of the of the Horizon RTT has a thickly padded collar, much like the Saucony Peregrine 7. When I first tried these on, I could feel my heel slide on the padding during toe off. After a few miles of wear, the padding packed down, and fit securely without any slip.
For the upper of the Horizon RTT, Under Armour has used a combination of textile mesh with a polyurethane overlay. When I first pulled the Horizon RTT out of the box, I was very impressed with the build quality of the upper. These shoes have proven to be as durable and rugged as they look. When testing shoes, I make a point of it to scuff boulders, kick rocks, and abuse each shoe in an attempt to simulate long term durability in a shorter review period of time. The Horizon RTT is built for abuse.
The downside to having such a rugged polyurethane coated upper is that the Horizon RTT struggles when wet. The polyurethane portion of the shoe covers the textile mesh on all but the heel collar. As you can see in the photos, the upper has holes poked in the polyurethane to allow the shoes to breathe. On a recent hike with a lot of stream crossings, I charged through a couple of creeks to see how the Horizon RTT would fare. The drainage was not great. The dry time was pretty slow, even on a warm day. This is a trade-off shoe manufacturers have to make when implementing a design plan. Creating a robust and bombproof upper usually means a sacrifice in breathability and drainability. Living in Southern California, I don’t have to worry about my shoes getting wet unless I’m being careless. For me, this tradeoff is a non-factor. We do have very hot weather though, and this upper can feel a bit warm on days over 85 degrees.
I mentioned in the Fit section of this review how much I love the last and shape of the Horizon RTT’s upper. The upper not only fits well, it’s also very comfortable from heel to toe. The upper is nearly seamless on the inside due to a liner attached to the tongue. The liner is just like Salomon’s Endo-Fit, only much thinner. I’ve taken the Horizon RTT on hikes long and short, rocky and soft, wet and dry…my feet have felt great after each outing.
The only thing I would recommend Under Armour changing for the second version of this upper is the amount of polyurethane used. By adding more or larger cutouts with more exposed textile mesh, the Horizon RTT would drain better, breathe easier, and still retain the toughness and stability provided in this version.
As much as I’ve fallen in love with the fit of the upper on the Horizon RTT, the 7mm drop midsole might actually be my favorite part of this shoe. Under Armour has struck a fluid balance between cushion, stability, and responsiveness. The full length EVA midsole has what Under Armour calls a Charged Cushioning puck in the heel for added comfort. Under foot, the midsole feels slightly firm with enough forgiveness for longer days. Although the stack height is very similar to a shoe like the Nike Wildhorse 4, the Horizon RTT feels much firmer under foot than the Phylon midsole of the Wildhorse. I prefer the firm feel of the Horizon RTT, but for those that like a soft and plush ride, it might feel a bit harsh.
For rock protection, the Horizon RTT has an ESS plate protecting the forefoot. This is the same rock guard technology that was used in the now discontinued Pearl Izumi E: Motion trail shoes. From what I understand, ESS is a very dense and compressed EVA, allowing for forefoot protection without overly inhibiting the movement of the foot. I loved the ESS plate in my Pearl Izumi Trail M2s, and am loving the protection provided by the Horizon RTTs just as much. I’ve hiked over rocks, pebbles, and gravel without feeling anything punch through.
The Horizon RTT has an interesting outsole with horizontally placed bar lugs for traction. The lugs are placed at slight angles to assist in push off at the toe and braking in the rear. The lug design has proven to be very effective on a wide range of trail surfaces.
I haven’t been able to find any information on the rubber compounds used on the outsole of the Horizon RTT, but from my experience, the front black portion is stickier than the back orange portion. Dual compound outsoles are very common in trail shoes, and aim to provide the best of both worlds, with durability and stickiness where you need it. On dry surfaces the outsole has provided great traction from heel to toe. On wet surfaces, I have to use the toe portion of the outsole to make sure I get traction. When rock hopping over streams, wet and mossy rocks felt a bit slick on the orange portion of the outsole.
This is one other area of the Horizon RTT that I think could use a slight upgrade. The durability has been great, and I think the outsole pattern works well, but an upgrade to the compound could be useful in certain situations. On the more expensive Horizon KTV, Under Armour uses a Michelin tire manufactured outsole. That technology would be a nice addition for the next version of the Horizon RTT.
The Under Armour Horizon RTT is turning out to be one of my favorite shoes this year. The fit and comfort have made this a shoe I reach for on my shoe rack time and again. The Horizon RTT will definitely be at the top of my shoe rotation this summer and is one of the shoes I plan on following up on with a long term review.
For the next version of the Horizon RTT, I hope that Under Armour adds a little more breathability to the upper. I think a decrease in the amount of polyurethane covering the textile mesh will increase breathability and drainability without sacrificing durability. The second change, and this one is not as important, is that the outsole gets a little stickier in the back half of the shoe.
Horizon RTT Likes:
- Great value at $110
- Comfortable foot shaped fit
- Versatile midsole
- Burly protection in a light package
Horizon RTT Dislikes:
- Does not drain water well and dries slowly