With a clean, understated look and a comfort-focused design, Atoms have been one of the go-to everyday shoes for creatives and urban workers since they were first released in 2019. The Model 000 is the only shoe in Atoms’ store, a bold move with strong reasoning behind it. It’s a versatile piece of footwear well suited to many environments, and as such, it’s a great shoe for hospitality workers, digital nomads, kitchen staff, and all manner of people who work on their feet.
A lot of work has gone into making these shoes as comfortable as possible. Atoms co-founders Sidra Qasim and Waqas Ali are even the subjects of a Humans of New York story that charts their journey from Pakistan to America in the quest for the perfect everyday shoe. But what is it that makes these kicks so damn wearable, and is the hype really to be believed? Here on this list, you’ll find the answer to all the questions you might have about Atoms shoes so that you can decide whether these comfy, casual sneakers are the perfect everyday pick for you too.
Atoms shoes have a single standard ‘D’ width, so the only way to change their width is to size up or down. Reviewers with wide feet note that this isn’t really an issue, as the TPU upper of the Atoms 000 has a nice amount of stretch to it. The shoe is flexible enough to fit a wider foot and will generally conform to the shape of your foot over time. Plus, if a pair doesn’t suit you, you’ve got 30 days to return them, no questions asked – even if they’ve been worn.
As noted, Atoms have an adjustable, stretchy fit thanks to their polyester yarn upper. This versatile material can conform to the shape of any foot, so wearers with narrow feet also find the fit nice and snug. On top of this, the stretch laces included as standard add a bit of extra security when needed, and the best part is you only ever have to tie them once. These features also give the shoes a nice streamlined look, making them easy to pair with a whole range of different outfits.
Atoms shoes are easy to clean thanks to their breathable uppers and hard-wearing rubber outsoles. Surface dirt can be removed with a dry or damp cloth, and if you need to do a deeper clean, you can simply toss your Atoms in the washing machine. Just make sure you remove the insoles first and place the shoes, with their laces tied, in a pillowcase or linen bag. Wash on a cold cycle, preferably with towels or sheets to add some extra padding, and allow to air dry afterward, as tumble drying will damage the shoes.
Part of the reason why people find Atoms so comfortable is because they contain an ultra-soft midsole that cushions the wearer’s feet with every step. This soft foam gradually conforms to the foot’s unique shape over time, creating an arch that should fit perfectly against your own. As such, Atoms shoes are a great pick for those with high arches who need a little extra support.
While you can occasionally pick up Atoms shoes at retailers like Zappos and Uncrate, the most reliable place to purchase them is on Atoms’ own website. You’ll find a variety of colorways in stock there, along with any limited editions currently on sale, and the worldwide shipping options available are relatively cheap. If you’re after sold-out limited editions, then it’s worth checking out eBay, too, as classics like the tie-dye and Bitcoin models do occasionally crop up.
Atoms shoes are currently made in a factory in Busan, South Korea, by two different teams. One team focuses on creating the foam midsoles and stretch laces that make the shoes so comfortable, while the other team hand-stitches the polyester uppers into the pressed midsole. If you want to see the process in action, head over to Atoms’ website, where they have some photographs of local workers dyeing shoes in the factory.
One of Atoms’ key aims is to be both transparent and ethical with its manufacturing process. Their shoes are constructed with 100% vegan materials, and no harmful chemicals are used in their production. The dyeing process is performed without water, so there’s little toxic runoff, and a sub-5% defect rate means very few shoes are thrown away. Shoes that do have to be destroyed are recycled as much as possible, and even the shipping process is carbon offset.
While you can certainly run for the last train or jog to a meeting in your Atoms shoes, they are not built for serious running or long-distance exercise. Atoms shoes aren’t waterproof, and as their soles are built for comfort more so than durability, they don’t stand up too well to abrasion on rugged, rocky paths, with some reviewers reporting creasing over time. As such, it’s best to throw on some old running shoes if you’re going for a jog or a hike and save your Atoms for regular day-to-day wear.