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In the world of athletic sneakers, we’re never surprised to see marketing claims about the wonderful benefits of a given pair of shoes. From the best weightlifting shoes to improve your lifting to running shoes designed to improve your speed, shoes tend to have a specific purpose. With KURU, we now have shoes specifically designed to reduce foot pain. 

KURU’s tagline is “Heel Better,” and the company claims that 81% of people will experience heel pain, so it makes hiking shoes, running shoes, and everyday shoes specifically designed to reduce foot pain. These are wonderful claims, if true, so we tested them to see how they felt with regular wear. 

In this KURU ATOM Shoes review, I’ll be breaking down everything you need to know about this shoe based on our tester’s experience, and let you know if these shoes are the real deal when it comes to reducing foot pain. 

We Know Shoes Like the Backs of Our Hands

Here at GGR, our team of testers includes certified personal trainers, CrossFit Level 1 coaches, gym owners, and even an Olympian. We’re all fitness enthusiasts who love getting our hands (and feet) on the latest training gear, and we’ve tested over 75 pairs of shoes. 

As always, our tester carefully scored these shoes based on our equipment testing methodology that we use for every shoe review, which scores specific aspects of the shoe on a scale of 1 to 5, including:

  • Appearance and design
  • Stability and performance
  • Durability
  • Versatility

KURU ATOM Shoes

KURU ATOM Shoes

GGR Score: 3.55 starstarstarstarstar

Product Highlights

  • Supportive heel cushion
  • Versatile design
  • Available in both men's and women's colorways
  • 8mm heel to toe drop

Pros & Cons

Pros

  • Supportive heel cushion
  • Versatile design
  • Designed to minimize foot pain

Cons

  • 8mm heel lift may be uncomfortable for those used to minimalist shoes
  • Expensive
  • Not enough cushion for runners

Bottom Line

The KURU ATOM is designed to provided cushion and support to minimize foot pain and provide support for daily activities. It's versatile enough to wear in and out of the gym, though the shoes aren't cushioned enough for runners.

A Quick Look at the KURU ATOM Shoes

While many shoe manufacturers focus on improving performance in a given activity, KURU shoes are meant for all-day pain relief. The company uses its patented KURUSOLE in most of its shoes, which provides extra padding around the heel of your foot to cushion each step, as well as insoles that provide arch support. 

Most of KURU’s shoes, including the ATOM, QUANTUM, CHICANE, and FLUX share similar designs, even though they may have different purposes. The ATOM is KURU’s best-selling shoe, and the company describes it as an everyday athletic fit sneaker designed for all-day comfort.

KURU also designed this shoe to be versatile enough to wear in both the gym and throughout the day, with an aesthetic design that can be worn nearly anywhere. Now, let’s take a closer look and see what our tester thought of these pain-relieving shoes. 

RELATED: Best Shoes for Plantar Fascitis

Before You Buy

  • KURU ATOM shoes are designed for pain relief, with extra heel support and cushioning throughout the shoe. They’re a hybrid shoe that can be worn in the gym or throughout the day, rather than a pure training shoe.
  • At $160, these shoes are certainly on the more expensive side, costing more than many of the most popular training shoes. 
  • The ATOM shoes have an 8mm heel-to-toe drop, which may feel unusual for those used to minimalist shoes. 

Are the Kuru ATOM Shoes Worth It?

KURU ATOM shoes cost $160, which is more than many of the best running shoes, lifting shoes, and general daily-use shoes. That doesn’t mean they aren’t worth the money but you’ll want to make sure that these shoes will meet your needs before spending so much money. 

Great for:

  • Anyone with chronic heel pain who wants extra cushioning
  • Those who are looking for shoes they can wear all day long
  • People who like a lot of support around their foot

Not recommended for:

  • People who prefer zero-drop, minimalist shoes
  • Anyone shopping on a budget
  • Athletes looking for a sport-specific shoe

Kuru ATOM Shoes Specs

Price$160
Heel to Toe Drop8mm
Size RangeMen’s 6.5-14, Women’s 5-12
UpperBreathable mesh
MidsoleKURUCLOUD Cushioning
OutsoleRubber

Wearing the Kuru ATOM Shoes

Our expert tester, a CrossFit Level 1 coach and experienced shoe tester wore the KURU ATOM shoes for three weeks, regularly wearing them throughout the day. He used them in both indoor and outdoor settings for bodyweight workouts, bodybuilding workouts, and Zone 2 walks with his family. 

He wore them in our testing warehouse, his home gym, and throughout his house, and took them through over six full workouts to get the full experience. 

Our tester puts his KURU ATOM Shoes through the paces.

Overall, he was impressed with the quality and support, although as someone who primarily uses minimalist, zero-drop shoes, he found that the support was almost too much for his preference, though anyone who prefers plenty of support will probably love these. 

Let’s see how he scored the shoes for the most important categories. 

Appearance and Design

Appearance and design matter, since nobody wants to wear ugly shoes, and for this category our tester gave the KURU ATOMs a 3.5-out-of-5 rating. 

He chose the storm gray and black colorway, saying that most of the men’s colorways were fairly neutral. The women’s colorways seem to have more bright colors and a bit more pop, so whatever your preference may be, you’re sure to find a pair that catches your eye. 

Side view of the KURU ATOM Shoes.

Overall, our tester said these shoes are a great everyday shoe in and out of the gym, and could be worn with jeans, sweatpants, or shorts. However, he did note that he felt the midsole outer looked strange against the mesh upper, which is why he brought the score down to a 3.5.

As for the design of the shoes, the KURU insoles are meant to replace traditional inserts or orthotics, providing built-in arch support for those with flat feet. The heel cushion features a unique shape that’s designed to securely hug your heel and hold it in place, and the sole has a shock-absorbing cushion. 

Construction and Durability

With construction and durability, our tester awarded these shoes a strong 4.5-out-of-5 rating after three weeks of regular wear. 

While three weeks isn’t really enough time to say how long these will last, the early indication is strong, and our tester didn’t notice any sort of wear and tear at all, even with both indoor and outdoor use.

Our tester lifting dumbells while wearing KURU ATOM Shoes.

RELATED: How Long Do Running Shoes Last?

The mesh seems durable, and fortunately, all KURU shoes are protected by a six-month warranty, so your shoes are guaranteed to last for at least half a year. 

Stability and Performance

Now, with a shoe that claims to reduce heel pain, we need to take a close look at the actual performance of the shoes, which received a final score of 4 out of 5. 

Overall, the shoes are quite firm, and our tester compared the soles to his Reebok Nano X3s and mentioned that there is very little movement of the shoe in the toebox. This is an intentional part of the design, as KURU wants to make supportive shoes to protect your feet, but know that some may find this uncomfortable. 

RELATED: Best Running Shoes for High Arches

The cloud cushioning provided tighter heel support than any other shoes he’s ever worn, which makes sense, as the brand specifically mentions heel pain in its marketing. 

Our tester squatting with the KURU ATOM Shoes.

He added that the shoes are a bit too firm for his liking, and while KURU is trying to protect your foot, they may have gone a little overboard. He admitted that he may be biased as he prefers minimalist shoes, but as a certified CrossFit Level 1 coach, he felt that this much support would cause your foot to grow weak over time, rather than strengthening the foot. 

Versatility

For versatility, the KURU ATOMs score a 4 out of 5. 

While they’re good for most activities, including daily wear, walking, and strength training, they’re not the best for any sort of distance running. They’ll hold up well enough for sprint workouts, but our tester felt these wouldn’t provide enough cushioning for runners.

We still award them a 4-star rating, since they’re good enough for most things and you can wear them throughout the day, but as runners wouldn’t want to use these, they don’t quite earn a full 5 stars.

Adjustments and Comfort

Now, when it comes to comfort, our tester had a few serious complaints. We’ll still give the shoes a 2-out-of-5 score, as many users seem to love the shoes, but it’s important to call out the fact that they won’t be universally comfortable for everyone. 

Our tester noted that the shoes feel overly aggressive with how much they try to shape to your foot, and as he’s used to zero-drop shoes, these shoes caused him to lean forward at all times, even while simply standing, and he ended up developing shin splints.

If you’re used to an elevated heel, you may be just fine, but if you’re switching to these from minimalist shoes, you’ll want to be careful. 

On the positive side, our tester said he ordered his size in the “wide” variety and the wide toe box fit his foot perfectly, while other shoes often feel a bit too tight.

Price and Value

For the price and value, the KURU ATOMs earn a 3-out-of-5 rating. At $160, these shoes certainly aren’t cheap and are only worth the cost if you truly love a heel lift and shoes with a lot of support.

Our tester said they might be worth it if you truly believe the heel cushion will solve your foot pain, but he didn’t think the quality was worth the high price. If you’re looking to upgrade to the waterproof edition, which we didn’t test, the price goes up to $180.

KURU ATOM Shoes vs Reebok Nano X4

Reebok Nano X4

Reebok Nano X4

GGR Score: 4.48 starstarstarstarstar

Product Highlights

  • Flexweave woven upper textile for breathability
  • Lift and Run chassis in the sole with Floatride Energy Foam cushioning
  • 7 mm heel drop
  • Available in multiple colorways for both men and women
  • Durable material that's built to last
  • Best for CrossFit workouts or any type of strength training
  • Not ideal for long runs

Pros & Cons

Pros

  • Stable, supportive heel and cushioned sole
  • Long-lasting and durable
  • Stylish enough to wear in and out of the gym
  • Versatile enough for nearly any kind of training in the gym

Cons

  • Sizing runs small, and many have to order half a size up
  • Not cushioned enough for long-distance running

Bottom Line

The Reebok Nano X4 is a new and improved version of the Nano X3, and a versatile training shoe that looks good in and out of the gym. It's great for strength training, explosive movements, and sprint workouts, but it's not designed for running long distances.

As always, we like to compare similar shoe models, so let’s compare these to the Reebok NANO X4, another popular multi-purpose shoe.

They’re both similar, in that they work well for strength training and daily walking, but distance runners will struggle. Both shoes are stylish enough to be worn both in and out of the gym. 

RELATED: Best Walking Shoes

Both have a heel-to-toe drop, though Reebok’s is 1mm shorter. Overall, the Reebok Nano X4s will be the better choice for many due to the lower cost, but the ATOMs are the best choice for anyone who wants the maximum amount of heel support and cushioning. 

KURU ATOMReebok Nano X4
Price$160$140
Heel to Toe Drop8mm7mm
Size RangeMen’s 6.5-14, Women’s 5-12Men’s 7-14, Women’s 5-11
UpperBreathable meshFlexweave woven textile upper
MidsoleKURUCLOUD CushioningLift and Run Chassis system
OutsoleRubberFull rubber outsole

Customer Experience 

KURU offers free returns within 45 days for U.S. customers, with the exception of those in Hawaii or Alaska, but only if your shoes are new and unworn. If you tried them out and decided you didn’t like them, you won’t be able to return them.

On the plus side, KURU has many options to reach customer service, including email, a contact form, a phone number, and live chat. 

Overall, KURU receives a 3-out-of-5 rating for the customer experience.

Ordering the KURU ATOM Shoes

Ordering the shoes from KURU is an easy experience, as the company offers free shipping and the ability to finance your order with Shop Pay. Our tester received his shoes in the promised time window, discreetly packaged.

KURU shoes are not available on Amazon, so the free shipping directly from the company is a nice feature.

Customer Reviews

The only reviews are on the KURU website, where the ATOMs have a 4.4 out of 5 rating with over 1,200 reviews at the time of writing.

Many users love the support and comfort, with a few negative reviews mentioning the shoes were uncomfortable, or didn’t help at all with foot and heel pain. 

Final Verdict of Our KURU ATOM Shoes Review

While the KURU ATOM shoes claim to solve foot pain with their patented cushioning system, our tester said they weren’t the most comfortable shoes he’s tried, though many customers do love KURU.

They’re durable and very supportive but may be a bit too supportive for some, like our tester who developed shin splints from wearing them. 

Overall, if money is no issue and you want to try something with plenty of heel support, cushioning, and a raised heel, these may be worth a shot. But if you prefer zero-drop shoes, or you’re shopping on a budget, we suggest trying something else. 

Full Rating

KURU ATOM Shoes

The KURU ATOM is designed to provided cushion and support to minimize foot pain and provide support for daily activities. It's versatile enough to wear in and out of the gym, though the shoes aren't cushioned enough for runners.

Product Brand: Kuru

Product Currency: $

Product Price: 160

Product In-Stock: InStock

Editor's Rating:
3.55

KURU ATOM Shoes Rating

Appearance and Design – 3.5
Construction and Durability – 4.5
Stability and Performance – 4
Versatility – 4
Adjustments and Comfort – 2
Price and Value – 3
Customer Service – 3
Customer Reviews – 4.4
Buy Now

KURU ATOM Shoes: FAQs

Is KURU good for plantar fasciitis?

KURU shoes are designed to cushion the heel and minimize all types of foot and heel pain, including plantar fasciitis. That said, your individual results may vary, and it’s always best to consult with a medical professional when seeking treatment for specific conditions. 

Are KURU shoes only available online?

KURU has one showroom in Salt Lake City, UT, but aside from that, most of their shoes are sold directly through the KURU website, so you won’t be able to try them on before purchasing.

How often do you replace KURU shoes?

KURU claims that most users can use the shoes for at least one year, though they mention that podiatrists recommend replacing your shoes every 350-500 miles. We found the shoes to be pretty durable, but longevity will depend on how they are used.

Are KURU shoes worth the money?

If you’re looking for a tight heel cushion and don’t mind a heel lift, they may be worth the cost, but those who prefer minimalist shoes without a raised heel may want to choose something else. 

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