Thursday, March 30, 2023

Atreyu Daily Trainer Review

Article by Michael Ellenberger

Atreyu Daily Trainer ($110)


Michael: Sam previewed Atreyu’s newest model - the aptly named “Daily Trainer” - in his YouTube video, and I’d recommend it as a precursor to this review (and not to assign too much homework, but our previous reviews of Atreyu’s Base Model would also be useful reading here). 

With that out of the way - the Atreyu Daily Trainer is something of an attempt from the boys in Austin to break into more “traditional” running shoes, while maintaining their DNA. There’s no doubt that the Base Model can be used as a daily trainer (lowercase), but its minimal platform and barely-there upper aren’t for everyone. 

For transparency, the Base Model is one of my favorite trainers ever, and one I keep coming back to when I need a lightweight (and Achilles friendly) option… but that’s no guarantee that I’ll like this one, since they are relatively different platforms, and, though $110 is still very much on the low-end of the market, the Daily Trainer will have to escape some of the “well, it’s only $85” logic that makes the Base Model so great. 



Supercritical EVA is forgiving springy and lively with the outsole backing it up: Sam/Michael

Runs lighter than its weight: Sam/Michael

Versatile, lugged outsole also delivers response and stability Sam/Michael

A mere $110 for a moderately high stack supercritical midsole all arounder: Sam/Michael


Upper hold is a bit shaky for lower volume narrower feet: Sam

Surprisingly heavy at 9.3 oz US9 - likely outsole coverage: Michael/Sam


Official Weight: men's 9.3oz  / 264 g (US 9)   Official:    

  Samples: men’s 8.96 oz  /  254g (US8.5)

Stack Height: men’s 30 mm heel / 24 mm forefoot ( drop spec)

Tester Profile

Michael is a patent attorney and graduate of Northwestern University Law School. Prior to law school, he competed collegiately at Washington University in St. Louis (10,000m PR of 30:21). Michael’s PRs include a 67:43 half-marathon (Chicago Half-Marathon) and 2:22:18 marathon from the 2022 Chicago Marathon. Michael continues to race on the roads, and is chasing a sub-2:20 marathon and potential OTQ in the future.

First Impressions, Fit and Upper

Michael:  While the Daily Trainer is recognizable as an Atreyu (for one thing, it shares some of the signature colorways with the Base Model and Artist), the upper is certainly a departure from either of the two previous road shoes they’ve made. I don’t want to run to “sock-like” for the description of any snug-fitting upper, but it’s pretty apt here. There are two layers of mesh, and I found them to wrap sufficiently around my standard-width foot. 

There’s a little more room than in the Base Model (which I found to wear pretty close to the foot, especially after several runs, and really become sock- or glove-like!), but it’s definitely not a super wide or voluminous upper. Sam found it a little on the loose side, but I’d say it’s squarely average, unless you are comparing it to that Base Model. For added reference, I’d size up a half-size if you run in-between (my usual 8.5 was a great fit).

Lacing, tongue, Achilles/heel hold, hot-spots - nothing problematic. It does have a more structured heel counter than you get on the Base Trainer (a negative, to me, but not a big one), but I didn’t uncover any issues over 50-60 miles, including a couple longer (15+) mile runs. It’s simple - perhaps less simple than the Base Model, but nonetheless effective.


Michael: Atreyu revamped its Base Model (v2) and then subsequently this Daily Trainer, with a Supercritical EVA foam, and I have to say… I really like it? It’s not flashy, and not overly propulsive (that goes to the geometry of the shoe as well, but it’s definitely not a whoa-this-shoe-is-fast type of feeling), but it’s undoubtedly bouncy, stable, and relatively dense. I’d compare it to something like Nike’s React foam, but with a little more give… for the real shoe nerds, it’s sort of like the old React, on a warm day. Some gentle bounce, some energy return, nothing that’s going to make you check the shoe to see if it’s got a hidden carbon plate or anything. Smooth and nice.


Michael: I imagine Atreyu took the criticism of the Base Model’s exposed-foam outsole (with hit-or-miss durability; I took two pair over 500 miles, but also know folks who retired theirs after less than half that). But recall $85 for the Base.. 

They went the other way here , with a full-rubber outsole blend. It’s… fine? I kind of liked the Base Model’s audible squish on the road, for whatever reason, and I do think the rubber costs the shoe some flexibility and adds weight, but ultimately the added durability is a net positive, especially fo a heavier or harder-wearing runner.


Michael: If you really want to run hard (races, hard workouts), Atreyu’s Artist is a carbon-plated, full-stacked option. I also found the Base Model a lively and often enjoyable workout shoe, sort of reminiscent of the old racing flats (back when they were, you know, flat). The Daily Trainer’s ride comes down the slowest of the three, in my book, though that’s not really a bad thing - hell, it’s right there in the name, people. 

The Daily Trainer isn’t a spectacularly fun shoe, but the ride is springy and soft enough, and I think runners who tend to run (like me) in that medium pace range won’t have issues being “held back” by their footwear. But it’s not a shoe I’d take to the track - it does feel lighter than its posted weight, but it’s definitely not a “secret workout” shoe, as we sometimes find. Atreyu didn’t hide the ball - this is a shoe built for daily miles, and it checks that box well.

Michael: If the Atreyu Base Trainer was a first-at-bat home run for the new company, and the Artist a solid double, I’d give the Daily Trainer a well-hit, no-doubt single (it’s Opening Day as I’m writing this, what can I say?). This isn’t a shoe that’s going to necessarily wow runners, but for $110, it’s damn reliable, and frankly is one of the best bets for new or high-school/college runners who need something that can handle the mileage without breaking the bank. 

Not only that, but runners already in the “Atreyu ecosystem” will find a place for this Daily Trainer, too. For me, I’d do faster runs in the Base Model (I love the lightweight, no-frills profile), workouts and races in the Artist, and easy/recovery days in the Daily Trainer. 

The Base Trainer was a great shoe for the price, and a terrific option if you wanted something light, minimal, and no-frills. The Daily Trainer doesn’t have all those caveats - it’s just a really good, straightforward trainer, and one I’ll keep coming back to.

Michael’s Score: 9.1/10


4 Comparisons

Index to all RTR reviews: HERE

Atreyu Base Model (RTR Review)

My review is littered with comparisons, but I’ll summarize - the Base Model is a more unique, minimal, and (in my book) fun option, but it’s not for everyone. It doesn’t have a true outsole (it’s exposed foam) or heel counter (just fabric), and there isn’t a lot of cushion, if that’s a concern. The Daily Trainer is more traditional in almost all categories, and for only $25 more, it probably makes sense for those who aren’t sure what they want to seek out the Daily Trainer.

Nike Pegasus 39 (RTR Review)

I have the Pegasus 40 in, but haven’t worn it enough, so I’m going to draw a comparison to last year’s 39 - and say that the Daily Trainer is just a little more fun, but with some corresponding flaws. I do think the Nike has better lockdown, and a little faster feel (were I running mile repeats, I’d pick the Nike over the Atreyu). But for long runs, there’s something about Atreyu’s supercritical EVA blend that just keeps my legs feeling good, and I prefer it over the Pegasus for most “regular” runs!

Saucony Kinvara 14 (RTR Review

The Saucony is a little sleeker and faster-feeling, but the foam on the Atreyu does have my legs feeling better (that is, the Saucony just feels flatter and less bouncy) for most runs. Again, for speedy stuff, I’d probably pick the lighter and more nimble Saucony, but the Atreyu just handles everyday miles a little better.

Brooks Revel 6 (RTR Review

Battle of the budgets! The Daily Trainer is $110 (!) and the Revel is $100 (!!). I, for one, am glad that not every shoe has moved into super-shoe pricing. Between the two, I’m a broken record - the Revel just feels faster and has a more fun, zippy geometry to it… but the Atreyu is again a little more cushioned and forgiving. Both would make excellent options for new or high school runners.

The Atreyu Daily Trainer is available from Atreyu and our partner


Sam's Atreyu Daily Trainer Initial Video Review (9:03)

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Samples were provided at no charge for review purposes. RoadTrail Run has affiliate partnerships and may earn commission on products purchased via shopping links in this article. These partnerships do not influence our editorial content. The opinions herein are entirely the authors'.

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1 comment:

duck life said...

This is a good running shoe, I've used it and I want to buy another one.