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Atreyu Voyager Review

After a long wait the Atreyu brand brings their shoes to the market! With an interesting low cost minimalist approach to creating shoes Atreyu is attempting to shake up the running industry. This is the first ever subscription running shoe service (to my knowledge) where recurring purchases are $55, solo purchase $95. At only 6 ounces the shoe is very fun and feels light under feet when running. It goes back to the basics in a time when every other company is going more complex.


Specifications (per Atreyu Running)
Weight: 6 oz
Stack Height: 21.5mm/15.5mm
Drop: 6mm
Classification: Trainer/Racer: neutral road running shoe



HIGHLIGHTS

Besides the fact they are finally out these are some of the things I love about the shoe: The Atreyu Voyager is incredibly lightweight with a simple design that is fluid when the pace picks up. The shoe does not try to overdo anything and is cushioned pretty well for the weight. A minimalist shoe that can race and double as a trainer for some creates an affordable option for those who love road specific shoes.


FIT

Per Atreyu's website the upper is a one piece form fitting upper. The shoe does fit true to size for me. Length is normal to perhaps slightly short. Overall the toe box is of normal width (slightly wide if racer, slightly snug for trainer). The shoe gets decent lockdown if you lace the shoes down tight. There is no heel counter and holds the heel just fine without irritation. However the heel and midfoot regions of the shoe are more on the spacious side. I noticed the ride was very different when having it laced tightly versus how I normally would have a training shoe laced. When tight the lockdown is great and there is far less translation or "clunkiness' from the shoe when running. The tongue seems to be light suede that holds down the dorsum of the foot well. The upper is very breathable and you should not have any problems with breathability. Overall a good fit, but the midfoot could be secured a little better.


RIDE

I think this section depends on what you are using the shoe for. As someone who does have fluctuations in foot strike and pacing when training this shoe works great in some ways and not as well in others. For me the lightweight with moderate cushioned landing makes this a great workout, 5k, 10k type of racing shoe. I know some train in it and it may work for those who like lower profile shoes. When at quicker places and utilizing the midfoot/forefoot strike pattern the shoe is pretty smooth. The slight toe spring and semi rigid EVA make for a quick and slightly snappy toe off. However when running at slower paces I am more rearfoot/midfoot. The shoe is not nearly as smooth at the easier paces for me. The bevel is straight back and superior in the heel and doesn't round until the very end of the shoe. For heel strikers the shoe might come off as a little "floppy" when transitioning into the midfoot and forefoot. So I am torn? I love the shoe at quick, light, snappy paces where I can really get my cadence under me. I could see myself reaching for it on a road 5k potentially. I have a hard time training in it at easier paces though. Also since there is no outsole, the shoe relies on the traction from the road. This shoe definitely will have difficulty in some of the varying conditions with ride, slipping, and traction at highest speeds. Overall though the ride is good. From midfoot forward the shoe is very smooth and fluid, it is the heel mechanics that can be altered slightly with a bevel that starts earlier and moved slightly more laterally rather than a pure central bevel. The 6mm drop does feel true as the shoe is more on the forgiving side of a road aggressive shoe that only weighs 6 ounces.


STABILITY

The stability of the Atreyu Voyager depends on how you lace it. If really laced down tight it is pretty stable. The shoe has some side walls along medial and lateral side of the shoe that help guide the foot, as well as a slightly firm midsole. When on road it is ok, but when in slippery or different terrain conditions the lack of outsole make for a shoe that has give and not much traction. When not laced tight the shoe has some translation in the heel and midfoot for me which make the ride less enjoyable. Overall I am happy with the stability though. Just stay on roads.


SPEED

One of the most interesting sections of today. This shoe is advertised as a trainer that can double for a racer. For me... it is a racer that can double as a trainer (though I wouldn't necessarily choose to do daily mileage in it). The shoe is very fast and light and reminds me of the classic weightless racing flats that don't seem to exist anymore. The shoe doesn't have the greatest traction which does take some speed off at top speeds. Overall it is pretty dang quick though and I had no problems running 5k pace in the shoe. I personally didn't have the most enjoyable experience at daily paces, though those who like lower profile shoes as trainers may enjoy it as a normal slow mileage shoe as well. At either pace though one thing I liked was the weightless feel of the shoe when lifting my legs.


DURABILITY

When you purchase a pair of Atreyu you are purchasing for simplicity almost at its finest, NOT durability. It isn't that durable. After wear testing there is clear wear in the forefoot and posterior lateral heel that looks like it will only get worse somewhat steadily. However, for only 55 on subscription it is plenty durable since you have 2 pairs for the price of 1 normal daily training shoe. The ride of the shoe has maintained decently throughout my time running in them. I could see this shoe having below normal durability for a training shoe though and more comparable to a racing shoe. Disclaimer: mileage for this shoe was treated as a racing flat since for me, it functions more in that lane.

14 miles


THOUGHTS AS A DPT 

Anytime a running shoe company emphasizes a certain strike pattern as preferred way of running I begin to get a little nervous, but intrigued. Atreyu has the "Strike Here" pattern indicating more of a forefoot and/or midfoot strike pattern. As discussed in one of our Doctors of Running Virtual Roundtables the research actually does not support that one strike pattern is better than the other, rather that one type may work more for specific runners. Research aside, the forefoot pattern seems to come most in play when people run fast at top speeds. The shoe has a decent toe spring built into the shoe which does help for that quick toe off. From the research though a very large majority of runners (93%) are indeed heel strikers (Kasmer et al. 2013). It has also been shown that people are not accurate when predicting their own foot striking pattern when self analyzing. With this in mind, even if the shoe is intended for a forefoot strike pattern, it would be wise to at least bevel the heel in a manner that also improves the initial contact of runners that do land in the rearfoot. Many people who do believe they land midfoot actually do land rearfoot. This is just a consideration for potential future development and one reason the shoe is really nice for me at faster paces but a little clunky and flat at slower paces (weight does make up for this a little though).


RECOMMENDATIONS 

I think my recommendations come mostly in the midfoot lockdown and in the posterior lateral bevel of the shoe. If the lockdown improves a little better the stability will improve and the ride will feel even more organic and closer to the ground. The same goes for the bevel being shifted slightly laterally and happening earlier before the very distal portion of the heel in the shoe. The shoe will get more fluid and less floppy with heel striking that way.

WHO THIS SHOE IS FOR (Conclusion)

Atreyu Voyager is a fun shoe to have and run in for a couple reasons. There aren't many shoes as light as it is in this day and age. The other is that Atreyu is a start up company with a team of people that also seem very down to earth and true to their vision for the company. For me, this is a 5k/10k racer or workout shoe. For those who like low profile shoes as trainers this could still work as a trainer. The shoe is just not enough structure for me personally. Nonetheless this is a shoe that is so fun to run fast in and delightful to help with having a quick cadence when running. For a 6 ounce shoe the shoe also has a decent amount of cushion and may be a more forgiving road racing shoe for short distances than some of the other options out there. For $95 it is definitely worth consideration, for $55 it is a STEAL.

GRADING

David
Fit                     9.25/10 (midfoot and heel lockdown could be improved a little, overall good)
Ride                  9.25/10 (great at forefoot and midfoot landings, clunky at heel landings)
Stability            9/10 (for heel strikers, floppiness difficult, no tracion or outsole)
Speed                9.75/10 (FAST, but the decreased traction and flexibility up front make difficult for top speeds.)
Durability         7/10 (not durable. Very average to slightly below average on durability)

Total Score: 89% David
Thanks for reading!

TESTER PROFILES:
Dr. Matthew Klein is a 140 lb male with notable PRs of 14:45 for 5k and 2:32:44 for the full marathon.  He typically runs 70-100 miles per week and trains at a variety of paces from 8min per mile recovery runs to 4:40 per mile 1k repeats.  He prefers firmer and responsive shoes with snug heels and medium to wide toe boxes.  He is particular to less cushioned shoes and close to the ground shoes, but can handle a little cushion when he gets beat up.

Dr. David Salas is a 135 lb male with notable PRs of 3:54 1500m, 14:56 5k, 31:06 10k, 1:08 for half marathon. He typically runs 40 to 50 miles per week and trains from about 7:30 recovery runs to fast shorter efforts at 4:30 pace. He normally prefers neutral shoes with a firmer ride, but is completely open to other types of shoes.  He is a footwear enthusiast at heart and will always appreciate a high quality shoe when it comes around. For updates on training or testing, IG handle: @docsofrundavid

Dr. Brown is a 155 lb male with notable PRs of 18:18 5K, 39:25 10K, 1:29:01 half marathon, and 3:54 marathon. He typically runs between 20-40 miles per week at a variety of paces from 7:30-8:30 min/mile for recovery runs to 6-6:45 min/mile for tempo runs. He typically prefers shoes that provide some cushioning underfoot but still maintain a more firm and responsive feel. Current goals for 2020 are to break the 1.5 hour half marathon and 3:30 marathon. IG handle: @nate.docsofrunning



Editor's Note: As always, the views presented on this website belong to myself or the selected few who contribute to these posts. This website should not and does not serve as a replacement for seeking medical care. If you are currently injured or concerned about an injury, please see your local running physical therapist. If you are in the Los Angeles area, I am currently taking clients for running evaluations.

Matthew Klein, PT DPT OCS FAAOMPT
Doctor of Physical Therapy
Board Certified Orthopedic Clinical Specialist
Fellow of the American Academy of Orthopedic Manual Physical Therapists

Nathan Brown PT DPT MS
Doctor of Physical Therapy 
Masters in Anatomy and Clinical Health Science
Movement Performance Institute Certified in Advanced Functional Biomechanics 

David Salas PT DPT CSCS
Doctor of Physical Therapy
Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist

Sources:
Kasmer, M. E., Liu, X.C., Roberts, K. G., & Valadao, J.M. (2013). Foot-strike pattern and performance in a marathon. International Journal of Sports Physiology and Performance, 8(3), 286-292.
***Disclaimer: These shoes were purchased for full price via Atreyu Running. This in no way affected the honesty of this review. We put at least 35-50 miles on trainers and 10-25 miles on racing flats prior to reviewing them. Currently we have 14 miles (David) on our pairs. Our views are based on my extensive history in the footwear industry and years testing and developing footwear. If you are a footwear rep looking for footwear reviews or consultations on development, we are currently looking to partner with companies to assist, discuss and promote footwear models. Partnership will not affect the honesty of our reviews.

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