Hey what’s up runners? Coach Kyle here and I am so excited for this review!
Today we have a shoe review coming at you, but to be fair this is more than just a normal shoe but it’s potentially unlike anything you have ever seen before. The shoe is unique, the brand is unique, and the business model is unique so let’s dive in!
I’ll talk about the company first really quick.
Part of the reason I’m drawn to this shoe is that the story behind the company reminds me a lot of when I worked for Skora Running.
Somebody had an inspiration to make a shoe that they wanted because they couldn’t find it themselves in the available market. They took their dream and inspiration, found some people who knew what they were doing to help them along the way, and made a damn good running shoe!
The story behind Atreyu is that Michael and his brother Gabriel down in Austin Texas basically started from scratch to make their dream shoe.
If you follow them on Facebook and Instagram, which you should, you’ll really be able to tell they care about what they are doing and are having fun. From the founder, Michael, doing a Facebook live where you can really see his excitement to the employees having fun at the office – it seems like a great group of people and that is a big part of how I decide where to spend my money. You generally get zero unscripted behind the scenes from most companies, but with this group you really get a peak (and this is their intention) into the design+development of the shoes as well as the steps to get them to your feet.
The business model.
Switching gears, as if this company isn’t unique enough their business model is probably unlike one you’ve ever seen before with running shoes. It’s actually similar to something we talked about with Skora and that is offering a subscription for footwear!
Due to the insanely low cost of operations Atreyu has since they have their own warehouse and they send out the shoes themselves so they don’t have to pay a huge warehouse to do it, I don’t think they really have a marketing budget at all, they’re not selling shoes through Amazon or running stores and losing revenue through that, and the design and manufacturing process of the shoes is so streamlined and minimal that they can offer you a one-time purchase of the footwear for $95.
But wait, there’s more!
They’re also offering a subscription service where you can sign up for a one, two, or three-month subscription interval for a measly $55! Seriously, people, I don’t think there’s any shoe on the market that you can buy for that price that is half as good as this. What you get with the subscription service is The shoe and the colorway you want to be delivered to your doorstep with a prepaid return shipping label for your previous pair. These shoes are not designed to last 1,000 mi, that’s intentional, they’re meant to be sent back to Atreyu in Austin Texas where they will be donated to members in their community who are at need for footwear. If you wanted to you could just get a new pair every 3 months as I will probably do and wear the hell out of them until they’re no good and toss them in the garbage, but if you’re not like me and you don’t like to run until your shoes fall apart send them back to somebody who needs them and get yourself a fresh pair of kicks.
This month on their Facebook and Instagram they announced this $55 pricing of their subscription service as well as the exciting news of a second model coming out in early 2021, but that is out of the purview of today so we’ll chat about that later because we want to chat about what’s available right now.
I don’t think I’ve ever been asked about my footwear so much at group runs or races as I have been than about these Atreyu running shoes.
They’re not your normal looking shoe and people notice that, they ask what I’m wearing, and I honestly get so excited about it I’m quick to take them off and let them check them out.
The first thing they always say is “holy cow these are light!” And that is no understatement with these coming in at a featherlight 5.5 oz, weighing half of what a pair of Brooks Adrenaline weigh.
The shoes themselves are neutral without any stability or motion control. The platform isn’t quite zero drop but about middle of the road with 6mm of drop. I’ve habitually ran in zero drop footwear and 6mm is only just where I start to really notice it. The midfoot is on the thinner end at 15mm of thickness and the heel is at 21.
Under your feet in these shoes you have a simple piece of EVA foam, this is part of how Atreyu keeps their shoes light and inexpensive. Most shoes that you’ve worn have a midsole of soft material and an outsole of harder rubber. Sometimes the outsole can be a single slab of this harder more durable rubber or sometimes it can be smaller pieces of it separated by the more flexible and less durable midsole.
Mixing their EVA with a hardening agent, Atreyu kept it simple with a balanced approach. It’s not heavy and stiff and ultra-durable like a hard piece of rubber but it’s not like you’re running on a marshmallow either, they’ve got the balance nailed down pretty well.
They are not great at trail running. The shoe will be fine for your easy non-technical trails but for anything rocky you are going to be slipping all around both on the rocks and inside the shoe with this pair.
My wife actually asked me this morning as of writing this how I’m liking them and I told her they’re my new favorites! I have a rule that I only wear them every other run since if I didn’t I’d wear them all the time and I still have a number of good shoes that I like to run through.
Let’s move on to the upper!
Another way they keep the price and the weight of the shoe down is again, simplicity. When you look at a shoe like the Saucony Kinvara, which is a very common running shoe, there are overlays glued and molded upon overlays, upon overlays, upon overlays. There’s so much happening on these uppers! This makes the shoe heavier and more intensive to design and put together, it takes more materials and it causes more waste.
The upper on this Atreyu shoe is a single piece with stitching, a tongue, and I believe the designs are just dyed into it. Even around the eyelets you simply have more stitching to secure the laces in place instead of like the Kinvara has a piece of what I assume is plastic around the eyelets.
The shoes incredibly light, I think it looks badass, and it fits very comfortably. It’s not ultrawide but it’s by no means narrow. when I first got the shoe I had the laces pretty snug but I found that I really prefer having the laces quite loose. The upper is ultra-soft and breathable with a very pliable heel counter which I think is a smart move. When you’re running on it it’s so light and flexible and the sole is so stable that it feels like you’re just running almost barefoot on a gym mat. It’s like the shoe is already there waiting for you to step down into it.
Something new to me, the upper has some sort of micro-felt material that I’ve never experienced on a running shoe before, but I think I like it. It might make the shoe 5% more difficult to get on because there is a little bit of a grip but that could be a little bonus way to add some stability to the shoe and hold the foot in place within the toe box without having to add more structure to the upper.
And for the record, I’m a size 10 in most of my running shoes and a size 10 in these.
But anyway I’ve rambled enough!
I love these shoes and of writing this article and video I’ve put about 200 mi on them. I think my 4% are a bit faster but if I didn’t have those I would totally rock these from an upcoming marathon and when my VaporFly run out I certainly plan on purchasing their new plated shoe next year.
Speaking of purchasing, I bought these myself and you can get your own pair as well at atreyurunning.com. Depending on when you watch this video or read the article the shoes may or may not be available for purchase or subscription yet. If the website still under password protection I suggest dropping your email into the newsletter to get notified when the shoes get launched.
That’s all I got for today, I was really excited to share this new product and company with you. If you check them out and get a pair please let me know what you think, I hope you love them as much as I do.
As always, you keep running and I’ll keep coaching.