Prose: Jake Sittler (@jtsittler)
The original Anatomix Spawn was one of the surprise shoes of this past season and happened to be one of my favorites along with the Crazyquick 1. The fantastic support and lockdown were two of the best aspects of that shoe, along with trusty Micro G underneath for a well-rounded cushioning setup.
The sequel to that shoe is, obviously, the Anatomix Spawn 2. It doesn’t look strikingly different, keeping roughly the same midsole/outsole tooling and same silhouette. Like its predecessor, the Spawn 2 has a lot of positive aspects that make it a good option, but I can’t say it’s an improvement over the original because of two key areas: fit and flexibility.
The Spawn models are some of the few shoes you don’t have to lace all the way to the top eyelet in order to get the security you need. In fact, I’d recommend not lacing them all the wa up in order to give your ankle just a little more mobility. Lockdown is simply fantastic from heel to midfoot to toe.
Despite that, I still have some issues with the upper. Whereas the Spawn 1 featured fused layers of mesh and synthetic overlays, the Spawn 2 uses a layered synthetic upper (the material I think is called Flexgear) that feels sort of rubbery. You can see the layers contrasted against thinner panels, and some spots have padded, raised portions that give the upper some texture and detail. And while the flexibility of Flexgear is good, it leaves too much volume in certain areas when laced up. Rather than contouring to your foot when it moves and flexes, it bulges out and creates unnecessary room. You can see it most noticeably in the toebox, which I felt had too much volume, but you’ll also notice odd flexing when you’re walking around with it laced up.
Is this a dealbreaker? Not really, but it doesn’t achieve the 1:1 fit of the best shoes out there.
I didn’t love the heel-toe transition in the first model, and not much is different with the Spawn 2. It’s not bad and I loved the TPU support piece used to give the midsole more structure anyway. The outsole is laid out almost exactly the same in the 2.
But where the Spawn 1 had several deeply recessed channels to aid flexibility, the Spawn 2 has a more traditional flex grooves and wasn’t quite as flexible at toe off. Is it going to be noticeable to anyone besides a nerd like me? Probably not, but I did find a slight difference there.
Like always, Micro G is one of the best cushioning platforms in the industry. The Spawn 2 checks all the boxes: low, cored-out court feel, responsiveness through the footstrike and fantastic stability. It also features that unique TPU support cage, which is wraps up around the lateral side wall for arguably the best midfoot support in the industry.
As long as the shoe isn’t too narrow for you, I’d recommend the Spawns to any bigger player or anyone with injuries looking for added support. The cushioning setup is unchanged from the Spawn 1, so if you liked it then the Spawn 2 won’t disappoint.
This was probably the worst area for the Spawn 1, as the shoe was pretty much only useable indoors on a good surface. The Spawn 2 didn’t change much besides the flex grooves I mentioned before, so I can still only recommend for indoor play. It’s not a danger or anything, just not as good as other shoes out there. A deeper herringbone pattern would be much appreciated.
I mentioned Flexgear before as a major material change and while I didn’t like it as much as the original in terms of fit, I do think it’s a more durable synthetic than the mesh combo used for the original. It is really skin-like and feels like it will withstand flexes and abrasions fairly well. No complaints with the finish or build quality either – Under Armour’s top models can be compared with any other brand out there.
The last two UA models I’ve done – the ClutchFit Drive and Spawn 2 – are fantastic performers and have the potential, at least from a performance standpoint, to compete with Jordan/Nike/adidas. While the two former names on that list absolutely dominate market share, Under Armour is making high quality basketball shoes.
The Spawn 2 overall is a very supportive shoe suitable for all positions. You get great cushioning across all three categories, pretty good overall fit and durability, and decent traction on the right surface. For my playing style, I’ll take the ClutchFits, but the Spawn 2 is one that definitely merits consideration when you go to cop your next pair.