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Road Running Shoes • April 26, 2024

TYR Valkyrie Speedworks Review: Speed Does, in Fact, Work

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What You Need To Know


8.1 oz. (X g) for a US M9

Stack Height / Drop

39.5 mm in heel, 33.5 mm in forefoot (6 mm drop)

Best For

Tempo training… and probably racing, too

Key Features

Breathable mesh upper, Nylon plate, LaunchPX midsole (Pebax)

On The Run
Nice pop from the Pebax-plate combo So. Many. Air. Holes. Maybe a little unstable
Price / Availability

Available now for $170

Introduction to the TYR Valkyrie Speedworks

CHAD: Okay, so who among us had heard of TYR before this year? I’ll be honest, I hadn’t. I’m not big into swimming or the triathlon scene, which is where TYR has been making its name since the mid-80s. However, now that I have heard of them, I can’t help but see their logo everywhere when I look around, including on some elite powerlifting and Crossfit athletes such as Annie Thorisdottir and Olympic swimmers like the amazing Katie Ledecky.

That said, I’m not here to review TYR swimsuits or their lifting shoes (which, actually, I wouldn’t mind). The shoe we’re here to discuss is the Valkyrie Speedworks, a super trainer companion to the Valkyrie Elite Carbon, TYR’s race day offering that was reviewed by the Believe in the Run team at the end of 2023. The Valkyrie Speedworks debuts with a nylon plate sandwiched in between two big ole slabs of Pebax midsole foam, totaling 39.5 mm in the heel and 33.5 mm in the forefoot, sitting underneath a light mesh upper that TYR calls Alphaweave.

MICHAEL: It seems the name of the roadie game these days is the market for super trainers — shoes that can pick up the pace for uptempo workouts yet also chill with the best of them on the easy days. Well, friends, TYR is back again with another great-looking shoe to continue filling out its lineup of really impressive debut models in the performance running space. Our recent reviews of the RD-1X and Valkyrie Elite Carbon found these shoes to be no-joke, legit contenders, and Thomas even got in on the fun recently with a video review of the Valkyrie Carbon (Seriously, the RD-1X was my main go-to trainer for a recent 50k build). So, it’s time to see if TYR’s take on the ever-interesting, ever-exciting super trainer category lives up to the pedigree of TYR’s recent success.

KALEB: Earlier this year, Michael and I got unexpectedly flooded with three or four shoe models from TYR. They ranged from pretty “meh” (SR-1 Tempo) to reasonably solid (RD-1X) to really fun (Valkyrie Elite Carbon). Overall, TYR has made a solid first impression with their footwear and has shown that they’re not just throwing out lifestyle shoes marketed at runners for a quick buck; they’re putting in quality time to make quality products.

Just when I thought the stream of TYR shoes had ended, a package showed up at my doorstep. Like a retired operative being called back into the field, I opened that familiar black shoebox and beheld the TYR Valkyrie Speedworks, the uptempo little brother to the Valkyrie Elite Carbon.

The Valkyrie Speedworks (Speed works? I sure hope it does) sports a nearly identical midsole to its race day counterpart, with nearly 40 mm of bouncy Pebax superfoam in the heel and a 6 mm drop. The differences in this model come from a new Alphaweave mesh upper and a nylon plate rather than the Elite’s stiffer carbon option.

On paper, it looks like TYR kept everything we loved about the Valkyrie Elite and changed the few things we weren’t a fan of. Does that hold true on the roads? We’ll see.

What we like about the TYR Valkyrie Speedworks

CHAD: Let’s get this out of the way first; this is a nice-looking shoe. The colorway I received is nearly all white with blue accents. It is simple, clean, and understated; some people might call it plain or boring looking; however, I think it looks quite nice. This is coming from someone who traditionally gravitates towards garish or bold color choices in shoes, so consider that a win for TYR.

For a shoe to be a winner in my book as a tempo/speedwork shoe, I look for the following six things: super foam, a stabilizing agent like a plate, rod, or shank; a breathable upper, lightweight, solid outsole traction; and reasonable stability. The Valkyrie Speedworks checks every single one of these boxes and then some.

The 100% Pebax midsole called LaunchPX is bouncy and responsive, helping to propel you through your stride. The nylon plate stabilizes the soft foam and provides a noticeable pop when picking up the pace. The mesh upper is comfortable and breathable, fitting well on the foot and providing solid ventilation. Coming in at just over 8 oz. for a US M9, this shoe also falls into that lightweight range for me, where it’s not “race day light,” but definitely lighter than your daily trainers. My first run in the Valkyrie Speedworks was on a very rainy day, and I had no issues whatsoever with traction, even as I ran on lines of the road. And finally, the stability was surprisingly good, given the stack height and the softness of the foam.

The obvious comparison that one could make with the Valkyrie Speedworks is the Saucony Endorphin Speed 4, which is currently sitting atop my rankings for best Tempo/Speedwork shoe of 2024 and in the running for Shoe of the Year. The Valkyrie Speedworks fixes one issue that I had with the Speed 4, which was my toes getting crunched in the toebox. TYR has an anatomical toebox on the Valkyrie Speedworks, which gives plenty of room. However, I found the Speed 4 to be slightly more stable, given that it’s got a slightly lower stack height, and the foam is a bit firmer.

MICHAEL: Just like its big brother, the Valkyrie Carbon, there’s a lot to love about the Valkyrie Speedworks, so let’s take it from the top, shall we?

Starting off at the upper, TYR tops an exceptional beaded Pebax midsole (Which, by the way, folks, happens to be name brand) with a super thin engineered mesh upper with minimal logos and overlays, giving the shoe a lightweight, race-day feel right off the bat. I found that the lack of structure in no way hindered the fit of the shoe, as my midfoot and heel were secured more than adequately throughout my training miles. As Chad said above, the forefoot of the speed works is surprisingly accommodating — nothing like the cavernous toe boxes on shoes like the Altra Vanish Carbon 2, but noticeable (and appreciated) nonetheless.

Ultimately, I actually found the upper of the Speedworks to be more enjoyable than the Vanish Carbon, as the material was more forgiving and form-fitting. In the review for the Vanish Carbon, I also mentioned that the slightly longer length of the shoe and the relative placement of the rocker made for a somewhat inefficient feeling of toe-off. Such is not the case for the Speedworks — maybe it’s just a slight sizing difference, but the critical point of the rocker was situated just a little further back on my foot in the Speedworks when compared to the carbon, so this shoe honestly felt even more smooth and energized at myriad paces.

I’ve mentioned it before, but this midsole is fantastic. I won’t go into too many details here, but just know that the foam, tooling, height, tread pattern, and basically everything else is an identical copy of the Valkyrie Elite Carbon. The only difference here is TYR’s use of a nylon plate instead of a carbon one. Creating two shoes (namely race day and uptempo trainer models) from the same midsole mold has become a sort of classic move for shoe manufacturers — and a smart and economical one at that — first taking form in the OG Saucony Endorphin series.

And just like the Saucony Endorphin speed, the nylon in the TYR Speedworks works wonders here, providing a slight yet noteworthy stiffness through the toe-off phase of the stride with the same magic from the 40 mm of beaded Pebax awesomeness in the midsole foam. Similar to my notes on the upper of the shoe from earlier, I think I may have found the nylon plate to be faster and more enjoyable than I did for the carbon version. The little bit of added flexibility was welcome for those tired daily miles or workouts when I’m not so race-day focused.

KALEB: Chad is right; the looks of this shoe are top-class. I received the white-on-white on-white colorway, and boy, does it look fresh. With the exception of the RD-1X, TYR can drop bangers when it comes to aesthetics.

The midsole is just about exactly the same as the Valkyrie Elite Carbon, and the nylon plate, while slightly less aggressive, doesn’t lack in the propulsion department. I briefly put the Elite Carbon on one foot and the Speedworks (I sure hope it does) on the other foot, and while the Elite is a hint more aggressive during toe-off, I could have run a workout in mismatched shoes without noticing any big differences in ride character.

The main difference of this shoe that set it apart from (and perhaps above) it’s race day companion is the upper and fit. When making the Valkyrie Elite Carbon, TYR opted for a unique upper-formulation technique informally referred to as “doing an awful job.” For my foot, at least, that upper didn’t work at ALL, and I ended up having to find creative ways to re-lace the shoe to get any semblance of lockdown without cutting off so much circulation in my feet that I became an impromptu amputee. The Speedworks’ Alphaweave upper hugged my foot in all the right places while giving me my personal space everywhere else. In short, I never had to worry about lockdown or comfort when it came to lacing up the Speedworks for a workout.

The Speedworks (hehehe I sure hope it does) also seemed to run a little shorter than the Elite, which was a good thing. Because the pivot point of this plate is up near the very end of the toe-off stage, having that fulcrum positioned exactly where it should be under my foot’s fat pads made for a very smooth ride. The Pebax and plate are a bouncy combination, to be sure, but the geometry of this shoe is really what gives it that uptempo roll through the gait cycle.

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What we don’t like about the TYR Valkyrie Speedworks

CHAD: I agree with Michael (as you’ll see in a second). You really sit down in this shoe in the heel, so the shoe comes up pretty high onto the back of the Achilles. I had to make sure I was wearing quarter-length socks when I ran in this shoe because my no-show and ankle socks didn’t go high enough, and I wanted to avoid rubbing. Also, it’s slightly less stable than the Endorphin Speed 4, evidenced by a slight bit of road gashing on the medial side of the midsole foam. But that’s literally all I have.

MICHAEL: Unfortunately, the Speedworks has a few pitfalls, the first of which has to be the wildly deep heel cup, which thus far has been an inconvenient feature of every TYR shoe I’ve tested. Friends with sensitive Achilles or a lack of socks that cover your ankles — beware. This heel cup comes up super high and will pull those socks down underneath your heel faster than great grandfather Shai-Hulud himself, albeit in a much less dramatic fashion.

While many of the Speedwork’s similarities to the Valkyrie Carbon result in great things for its performance, there are a few characteristics of the Carbon that don’t necessarily translate so well into the daily trainer realm. Specifically, the heel footprint is quite narrow — and coupling that with a 40 mm stack of plush Pebax (did I mention that’s name-brand Pebax, by the way?) makes for a slightly squirrelly ride at slower paces.

Here again, I’ll reference the Saucony Endorphin line. Saucony chose to create two unique midsoles for the race-day-focused Endorphin Pro and the daily training/uptempo-focused Endorphin Speed, notably widening out the last of the latter to create a shoe that was more stable and friendly for daily mileage and reserving the Endorphin Pro for race day. Ultimately, I think the change has helped free up designers and created better shoes in both categories for Saucony while maintaining the soul of the original award-winning models that had the same midsoles, just with different plates. Perhaps TYR will do the same for the next version of the Speedworks.

KALEB: Unlike the other two, I didn’t experience any “deep upper” issues or heel rubbing in the Speedworks (I SURE HOPE IT— okay, I’ll stop). I did, however, notice some tendency for instability. As a lighter runner, I didn’t compress the Pebax midsole a whole lot and didn’t experience any wobble in the foam, and since I’m more of a mid-to-forefoot striker, I didn’t notice the heel instability that Michael did.

However, the general shape of the shoe holds your foot closer to the medial side (inside) of the shoe. It’s not something I noticed much during the run, but after some workouts in the Speedworks, I would notice tenderness in my peroneal tendons (the stringy ones on the outside of your leg above the ankle) since they were forced to do more work to keep my foot from rolling inward over the edge of the shoe. I think the plate contributed to this, and in general, plated shoes are going to change the body’s movement patterns in little ways like this, so it’s not a point of great concern, in my opinion. Just be aware that “faster” gear often comes at a price, as opposed to simply strengthening your body to be able to move more efficiently.

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Final thoughts on the TYR Valkyrie Speedworks

CHAD: Full disclosure here. If you asked me right now to pick a tempo day shoe that I had to use for the rest of the year, I honestly would need to take time to think about whether I would choose the much-heralded Endorphin Speed 4 or the TYR Valkyrie Speedworks. That is a testament to what a great job TYR did in creating this shoe because, in my mind, it’s going toe-to-toe (pun intended) with a Shoe of the Year candidate. In fact, it outshines the Speed 4 in comfort of the fit and weight, despite having more foam underfoot. The fact that they are the same price at $170 makes it an even tougher decision. That’s it, it’s too hard… I simply will not choose.

MICHAEL: I can confidently say that TYR has produced pretty much everything I could look for in a super trainer for 2024 (albeit having not tested that many other super trainers). Much like the aforementioned Endorphin Speed, this shoe serves as the perfect companion (or potential replacement?) for the Valkyrie Carbon, a shoe that already exceeded our expectations last year. For a relatively reasonable price of $170, this is a shoe that can seriously do it all and looks good, too. What’s not to enjoy?

KALEB: TYR has shown itself to be a dark-horse shoe company this year, and the Valkyrie Speedworks is their best shoe yet. I would happily choose this shoe over the Valkyrie Carbon Elite simply for the long-haul comfort and improved fit. No matter where they go from here, TYR is looking at a solid training lineup in 2024 for any runners looking to try something new without risking it on some random startup brand. And TYR, thanks for not naming your shoe like a barcode this time.

You can pick up the TYR Valkyrie Speedworks for $170 using the buttons below.

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Chad Zimmermann
Clydesdale Reviewer
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An attorney by day, Chad lives in Central Pennsylvania with his wife and three kids. Never much for running growing up, Chad began running as a way to improve his physical health. He went from his first 5k in 2015 to running the Paris Marathon in 2016.  Given his larger physical build, Chad is the resident Clydesdale runner, providing shoe and gear insights for those with a bigger build and taller stature.

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Kaleb Kabakjian
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Kaleb is one of the younger, “both of my knees still work” reviewers on the BITR team. As a high school cross country, track and field, and road racing athlete in Pennsylvania, Kaleb loves hearing about the latest endurance-athletics studies and seeing how everything out there can fit into a well-rounded training program. If you don’t see him drinking a weird health concoction or doing some strange warmup technique, he’s probably already started the race.

All-time favorite shoes: Saucony Ride 14, Nike ZoomX Dragonfly

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Michael Loutzenheiser
Southern Trail Reviewer

An engineer living with his wife and cat in Birmingham, Ala., Michael loves chill morning runs in the neighborhood, but especially enjoys soaking up long miles of technical southeast singletrack. Occasionally, he’ll get a racing itch and actually string together some “organized” training for a trail race or FKT. In his free time, Michael enjoys books, backpacking, and hanging out with friends.

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