York Athletics is a young brand out of Boston with deep family sportswear roots and an “Everyday Fighter” slogan. It’s a catchy line. And you know we love testing new shoe brands here at WearTesters. The industry needs more small, independent brands. Today we try the York Athletics Henry Runner, the brand’s flagship, do everything, shoe. Let’s see how it performs on the streets and in the gym.
The York Athletics Henry Runner is a gym/running/casual shoe in the same category as the On CloudX. Kind of a do everything well while looking good type of shoe. York recommends the shoe for shorter runs and all-purpose training. And yeah, that’s about right. The cushion is a thin layer of EVA with an Ortholite insole. That level of cushion can’t handle much more than a couple miles at a time.
Personally, I didn’t love running in the Henry. But the flat, wide base was great for the gym. And they look great. It’s a shoe you can wear to the gym and then out on the town right afterwards (shower first please).
A bonus for gym goers is the traction. It’s a really nice rubber, and though it’s a little hard, it grips well. It’s probably not a great rainy day shoe due to the hardness of the rubber but it’ll last a while. You can tell the company is based in Boston because the outsole is built for lots of city walking.
The Henry is also fairly lightweight and the upper, again like On, is made with typical running shoe materials but made to feel super premium. The large dual-layered open cell mesh upper is very breathable and looks better than a shoe packing so much mesh should. The padded oval laces, higher end synthetic suede tongue and eyelets, and leather pull tab all add a little something to the mix. And they seem so premium even though the toe cap and stitch line mid-foot are covered in fuse. Great job by York to make these feel so premium for $120.
There’s not a lot to complain about here. York is honest about what the shoe can and can’t do. Yes, the cushion isn’t built for runs longer than a mile or two but that’s typical of new shoe brands. Cushion technology is super expensive and it usually takes a while for a young brand to level up its cushioning game. If you think of the Henry Runner as gym/casual shoe, you’ll have the proper expectations.
Although, I need to point out that you shouldn’t use the fit finder on the York website. It’s almost impossible to get it to work right. It kept recommending random shoe sizes that weren’t even in the range of possibility. I went true to size with what I normally wear in Nike, New Balance, and Puma. My typical size felt perfect.
Other York Athletics Shoes
The Henry Runner does comes in a sweatshirt version. That’s a recipe for a foul smelling shoe so I didn’t have them send it to me for testing. But if you like that kind of material, it’s very rare to find it on a shoe.
The York Athletics Frank Trainer features an engineered mesh upper and a leather stability cage. It’s got the same midsole/outsole as the Henry Runner but a more slipper like fit. Think of it as a beefed up version of the Henry Runner. It’s $145 and justifies the increased price over the Henry Runner by upleveling the materials and including more premium leather. This is a shoe that’s great for office wear if you can go casual or business casual at work. Then, on the way home, it handles the afternoon workout so there’s no need to pack an extra pair.
The York Athletics Gail Recovery Trainer is the a slip on casual shoe. The fit is really nice and it looks good. Definitely worth consideration if you’re in the market for a casual slip on shoe that’s got a unique look.
I’m a fan of what York Athletics is doing. The York Athletics Henry Runner a niche shoe but doesn’t overpromise and underdeliver like so many other shoes. York is aware of what’s possible at this point in the young brand’s lifecycle and delivers an experience that’s well worth the money.
Other young shoe brands should look at what York is doing. There’s so much real estate in the shoe industry that it’s best to tackle a small segment you can do well. And once you’ve established your reputation…then you can expand and conquer more segments.