We Review the Newest Shoe From Upstart Brand, Atreyu
Atreyu calls a thing by its name with the introduction of its new “Daily Trainer.” We put in miles and report back on the Austin-based brand’s latest.
Atreyu’s new shoe is exactly what it sounds like: An all-purpose training shoe with a 6mm drop, a full-length rubber outsole, and a utility-simple upper that still weighs under 10 ounces. Similar to its Base model, the basic shoe is underpriced but also has a slightly short lifespan.
More support and cushioning than Atreyu’s Base model
Longer life than the Base model
Level outsole for predictable footstrike
Good balance between cushioning and ground feel
Slightly loose-feeling platform
No true structural support in the midsole
Slightly low wear life compared to many competitors
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A new brand is a rare thing in the world of running shoes, but Austin-based upstart Atreyu has quickly carved a niche for itself in only a few short (pandemic-pocked) years. With a focus on stripped-down utility, Atreyu’s first model, the Base, was a low-stack, super-lightweight, super-simple pair of lightweight trainers with a short lifespan and heaps of proprioception—for better or for worse. You’d need to replace them often, and you had almost no structure underneath you, but they did exactly what they said they would, and they did it well. They also cost a shocking $85.
Fast forward a few years, and Atreyu has since released The Artist, a race-day supershoe with a full-length carbon plate for $100 and a $110 pair of trail shoes, named, you guessed it, the Base Trail. All three of these shoes feel very very different and serve very different purposes—unlike some brands who sell six models with roughly the same use.
RELATED: Reviewed: Atreyu Base and Artist Running Shoes
The Daily Trainer arguably fills the final remaining gap in Atreyu’s lineup with a shoe that’s ideally suited for runs of any distance, any surface, and won’t disintegrate in less than two months of use—though Atreyu recommends replacing the Daily Trainer over 250 miles. (For reference, most big-box models typically last between 300-500 miles, depending greatly on runner size, form, and surface composition.) Boasting a straight, mid-tread outsole beneath a 30mm/24mm “Supercritical EVA compound” midsole, the Daily Trainer is unsurprisingly a workhorse platform with few bells and whistles at first glance.Section divider
Atreyu Daily Trainer Review: The Good
In a time when shoes have insane names mixing all types of letters and numbers in confusingly intricate combinations, there’s something to be said for saving some marketing bucks and calling something exactly what it is and what it does. In fact, the Daily Trainer’s name effectively obviates the need for a review of any kind. You know exactly what it is already, no reason to read on (but please, read on!). Whereas the Base was best suited for short, speedy days (or races), the Artist—what with it’s curiously smooth outsole—was a race-day-only affair, and the Base Trail was obviously a trail shoe (although we found it worked fine for all surfaces), the Daily Trainer is the shoe you’d buy if you could only buy one pair.
The “Supercritical EVA compound” midsole appropriately hits that midline, little-bear-porridge, balance between bounce, protection, and squish—not too springy, too soft, nor too harsh. It’s just right. This is one of those (sadly) rare shoes that serves as a selfless supporting actor, quickly blending into the flow of your run and not trying to steal the spotlight when you should only be focusing on the scenery or your workout. Long-course triathletes wouldn’t be out of line in thinking this a suitable choice for race day, as the level of cushioning is matched well with the light weight and breathable upper (and handy heel pull tab). Semi little-known fact: Atreyu founder Michael Krajicek is, himself, a triathlete.Section divider
Atreyu Daily Trainer Review: The OK
Unlike the massive expectations heaped upon a new pair of shoes like Tracksmith’s Eliot, the Daily Trainer doesn’t expect to cause a splash and accordingly doesn’t really. The colors are achingly subdued/nearly the same as the Base model, and there is a scarcity of bells and whistles that would inspire flowery reviewerspeak (my favorite, to date is: “[this shoe] feels like tying two bright pink wildcats to your feet”). So if the biggest complaint is that shoe reviewers can’t trip all over $20 similes, then that’s alright by me.
Still, nothing is perfect, and for runners who need structure—like for underpronation, for instance—this won’t be the best solution. Also, while the Daily Trainer has a much (much) better heel cup than the Base Model—which I found loose and not confidence inspiring around corners and on steep descents—it still tracks a little funky at times. Granted, this is usually only on aggressive trails, which is not what the Daily Trainer is necessarily built for, but it’s still worth noting, as it’s a complaint that you won’t find on many shoes.Section divider
Atreyu Daily Trainer Review: Conclusions
While I wasn’t blown away by the Daily Trainer in that “over-the-top” reviewer sense, that doesn’t mean this isn’t a quietly amazing pair of shoes. By rolling the ball squarely down the center of the lane (I’d imagine granny style, with two hands, between the legs), there aren’t many superlatives to barf all over the Daily Trainer, but that was probably never Atreyu’s plan. Case in point: For my last eight runs, I’ve reached for the Daily Trainer in all but one (which was an ill-fated track workout, from which no pair of shoes, wildcats or no, would have saved me).
Especially as someone who, like most triathletes right now, is simply putting in the base miles, I don’t really know how I’m going to feel, and I’m not necessarily doing any crazy runs. I don’t want to reach for something overly minimal, risking injury at this early-season stage, and I certainly don’t need a pair of marshmallow-soft kicks sapping the small amount of energy this new dad can recruit at the end of a long day. So while you might not find me sporting these shoes with a sharp pair of slacks or once speed sessions start to appear on my training calendar, if I was picking a pair to use this spring with my eyes closed, I’d hope to grab the Daily Trainers. And I’d know they’d perform well on any day.