Today I’m reviewing the Horizon BPF, the newest trail shoe from Under Armour. The BPF is a sub 12oz shoe with a 7mm drop that has a much more comfortable fit than its cage looking upper would suggest. ‘BPF’ stands for Bullet Proof Feather, which seems like a very fitting name after putting this shoe to the test over the past few months. I’ve taken the BPF on trails all over California, and will share my experience in this review.
Fit and Weight
The UA Horizon BPF comes in at 11.56oz per shoe for a size 12. This shoe fits true to size, and my normal size 12 fits very well. Despite the tech and feature heavy look of the UA Horizon BPF, the fit and feel of the shoe is very traditional. Akin to a Brooks Cascadia.
The heel of UA Horizon BPF cups the back of my foot well and doesn’t create any hotspots or rubbing. The heel collar is very heavily padded though, and I experienced a little slipping at toe-off on my first 15-20 miles with the shoe. Once the padding started to pack down a bit, the slipping went away. The heel has a fairly rigid counter that keeps my foot locked in place while side hilling or while taking on off kilter trails.
The midfoot has a snug and comfortable fit without any slop or pressure points. My slightly wide foot fits well and doesn’t push out over the last of the shoe by much. There is decent amount of arch support in the midfoot provided by the stock insoles.
The toebox has a relaxed fit and an anatomical shape. This was one of the more surprising impressions for me, as I thought the toebox was going to be snug when I first pulled these shoes out of the box. The forefoot volume is on the lower side due to the upper cage, but it hasn’t felt constricting or uncomfortable in my use.
The first thing people are likely to notice about the UA Horizon BPF is the PU (polyurethane) support cage that wraps the foot from heel to toe. The only area on the BPF without this PU cage support is the tongue and heel collar. When I first picked up the BPF, I was worried that this cage would run be constricting and uncomfortable. My experience with the BPF has been the exact opposite, as I have found this shoe to be very comfortable for all day wear. I noticed a tiny bit of folding in the toebox early, but after breaking them in, things have been great.
The uppers do run a bit hot though, and start to get steamy in temperatures above 90 F. The upper on the BPF doesn’t really allow for a ton of airflow, which is also a bit of a problem when wet. The PU cage is molded onto a thin open mesh fabric underneath, and the parts of the mesh that sit under the PU cage dry slowly.
The BPF uses a well padded a very breathable burrito wrap tongue that connects to the shoe under the insole. I haven’t noticed any pressure points or issues with the lacing or tongue, I really like the simple design UA has gone with here.
The midsole of the UA Horizon BPF is built on a 7mm drop platform with 25mm in the heel and 18mm in the forefoot. Under Armor uses two densities of EVA on the BPF, with a firm and stable base in the heel, and a softer bit of EVA under the toes. You can see the delineation between the two foam areas in the photo below. Under Armour also uses their Charged foam pucks on the BPF, which is a technology carryover from the UA Horizon RTT. These two foam pucks are meant to provide additional cushion in the heel and forefoot, but in use, don’t feel different than just a solid EVA midsole.
In use, the midsole on the BPF ‘just works’. It doesn’t have any max cushion plush or gimmicks, just a traditional feel and ride that’s comfortable on short and long days. The firmer EVA in the heel provides a stable base for technical trails or days with a heavier pack. The softer EVA in the toe area gives the shoe a nice comfort upfront and more flexibility at toeoff than if it had a firm ride throughout.
The BPF does not come with a rock plate or stone guard, and this was noticeable on rockier trails, especially with the softer EVA in the forefoot. There is enough EVA underfoot on the Horizon BPF to protect the feet from most roots and rocks, but when things get and jagged, a little more protection would be nice.
The UA Horizon uses a Michelin rubber compound for the outsole with versatile M-shaped lugs that have proven to be very versatile. The lugs are widely spaced, which allows them to shed mud with ease. The lugs also have a nice middle-ground tread depth that allows for use on softer trails without feeling obtrusive on hardpack. The mostly full coverage outsole provides some additional underfoot protection on the BPF in lieu of a rock plate, and the outsole has square shaped cutouts to keep weight down and allow for better foot flex. In use, the BPF has worked really on every trail I’ve tried them on.
At $130.00, the UA Horizon BPF is a solid purchase for those wanting a versatile trail shoe that can do it all. Despite its tech and feature heavy look, the BPF can best be described as traditional. The outsole does its job well, the midsole is stable, well cushioned, and supportive, and the upper provides nice protection with a great fit. My only complaints with the BPF is the lack of breathability in the upper and the need for a little more underfoot protection in the forefoot.