Best Topo Athletic Shoes Reviewed & Fully Compared

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Topo Athletic may not be a familiar name to the average or non-runner, but they’ve built up quite a name for themselves in the serious-athlete category. Their shoes are often touted as being the most comfortable and lightest in any given category, and it’s for a good reason. They use a breathable mesh upper for nearly all of their products that’s not only lightweight but is also soft and helps to prevent blisters.

Topo Athletic Ultrafly
  • Topo Athletic Ultrafly
  • 5 out of 5
    Our rating
  • 3-Piece EVA Midsole
  • Price: See Here
Topo Athletic ST-2
  • Topo Athletic ST-2
  • 4.5 out of 5
    Our rating
  • Stretch Mesh Upper
  • Price: See Here
Topo Athletic Fli-lyte
  • Topo Athletic Fli-lyte
  • 4.6 out of 5
    Our rating
  • Wider toe box
  • Price: See Here

This brand isn’t universally known yet, but after receiving a handful of awards in 2016 they’re making quite an impression on the running community.

10 Best Topo Athletic Shoes

 


1. Topo Athletic Ultrafly

Topo’s high-end running shoe, these sneakers are designed for runners seeking cushioning and support.
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Comfort / Stability
A 5mm heel-drop allows for most every runner that strikes mid to forefoot to be comfortable in this shoe and the EVA sole will provide a bit of feedback to help correct any gait misalignment. The additional cushioning and support also allows runners suffering from heel and arch injuries, such as plantar fascitis, to run relatively pain free while avoiding further - and future - injuries. This shoe also features Topo’s wide tox-box, which allows your feet to spread out naturally as you run, eliminated cramping and even again reducing the risk for injury.

Durability / Quality
They’re lightweight, durable, and a slightly molded heel to secure the foot. This shoe, and the others in the Topo Athletic line, were constructed to feel almost as if you're barefoot while running, and while that may make a dedicated runner question their durability you needn't fear. They'll hold up well through your long runs and be light-as-air during your track workouts.

Cost or value
Topo Athletic's top-of-the-line shoe also bears their top-of-the-line price tag, but is still considerably less expensive than average running sneakers in other brands. Again, Topo Athletic is trading on product quality as they build up their brand at this point, which means they are happy to produce a stellar product at a lower price point to convert hesitant shoppers into loyal customers.
Pros
  • Excellent cushioning and support
  • Lightweight, breathable material
  • EVA mid-sole provides “light guidance and feedback”
Cons
  • One of Topo’s most expensive shoes
  • The 5mm heel-drop may require adjustment for those used to a higher heel-drop


2. Topo Athletic ST-2

Across a range of footwear designed specifically for their fit and lightness, the ST-2 weighs in as their lightest, most versatile shoe. It was constructed to provide a “sock-like feel,” while providing the support and structure necessary to maintain proper form and biomechanics.
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Comfort / Stability
One of the core features of all Topo brand shoes is that the toe-box is wide enough to allow toes and feet to stretch as they make impact with the running surface, preventing uncomfortable cramping. The light, breathable mesh that these shoes are made of also make them flexible, and perfect for traveling as they lie down flat. An added bonus of the lightweight material is that it’s incredibly soft - as far as sneakers go - and doesn’t cause any uncomfortable chafing or blistering.

Durability / Quality
The Topo ST-2 was designed with weight and durability in mind. This shoe has been perfectly configured for speed workouts, tempo runs, and fitness training. (COULD USE MORE INFO HERE)

Cost or value
As an up and coming brand, Topo is trading on quality and design as opposed to name brand value, which means you’ll be getting a superior product without an astronomical price tag.
Pros
  • Incredibly lightweight
  • Breathable, soft material
  • Mesh structure allows for packing flat
  • Wide toe-box
  • Relatively inexpensive when compared to more widely known brands
Cons
  • Not the widest available toe-box of the Topo lineup
  • Limited availability in brick and mortar stores means you may not get to try on before purchase


3. Topo Athletic Fli-lyte

This road sneaker is geared for runners with a neutral gait looking for a durable, lightweight shoe.
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Comfort / Stability
The trademark wide toe-box of the Topo brand is in full-effect on this sneaker and the lightweight material means that they’ll break in quickly without the need for a mileage ramp-up period, and the breathability and flexible mesh allow for a more comfortable temperature during long, hot runs. The low heel-toe drop on these shoes may take a bit of getting used to, but if you’re a midfoot striker they’ll allow your natural gait to shine and help prevent injuries.

Durability / Quality
The Topo Athletic Fli-lyte will impress you in a number of ways, one of them being with their durability for such a light shoe. For a shoe that feels like it's barely there, you'll be able to log some serious miles in these.

Cost or value
These sneakers are the middle-of-the-line price point for Topo road shoes, but they’re still considerably less expensive than what you might find with more well-known brands.
Pros
  • A comfortable, durable shoe
  • Roomy toe-box allows your toes to spread and splay
  • Cutting-edge production technology reduces seams
Cons
  • Low heel-to-toe drop may take some getting used to
  • You may need to order a half-size or full-size up in order to find the perfect fit

4. Topo Athletic Magnifly

4. Topo Athletic Magnifly
If you’re looking for a running sneaker with a bit of extra cushioning, then the Topo Magnifly is for you. This shoe provides for a more natural gait function, while providing enough cushion and stability to support those who may require a little bit extra.
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Comfort / Stability
The Magnifly are made of the same lightweight material that Topo has become known for, which allows for a comfortable run not only in terms of the feel of the material but also in terms of temperature. Additionally the signature roomy toe-box that Topo is known for allows for your toes and ball of your foot to spread out with each foot strike, preventing uncomfortable cramping.

Durability / Quality
As the Magnifly have a bit of a thicker sole than other Topo Athletic running sneakers, they may be able to withstand higher mileage and rougher roads than their thinner counterparts. That said their intentionally light and breathable material may show signs of fatigue a bit sooner when compared with brands that use heavier and thicker materials in their uppers.

Cost or value
While these sneakers may cost a bit more than other sneakers by this brand, they are still far and away less expensive than other top-of-the-line brands.
Pros
  • Additional cushioning allows for a more natural gait
  • Lightweight material means that running feels more natural
  • Breathability of fabric keeps feet cool during long runs
  • Roomy toe-box is perfect for runners with wide feet
Cons
  • It is recommended to go at least a half-size up in these shoes, but for some you may need to go a full size or size-and-a-half as they can be a bit tight in the heel
  • The additional cushioning may take some getting used to as it will adjust your gait a bit

5. Topo Athletic Hydroventure

5. Topo Athletic Hydroventure
This trail running shoe provides durability and breathability while also being the only fully waterproof trail running shoe available on the market today.
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Comfort / Stability
For trail runners who love a bit of a challenge and find themselves dashing over rocky terrain, the Topo Hydroventure is exactly what you’ve been looking for. A flexible rock plate in the midsole protects against rocks and roots, while the wide toe-box allows your feet to expand and provide additional stability. The fully gusseted tongue ensures that your shoes stay firmly on your feet as you make your way across uneven surfaces, and the snug (but not uncomfortable!) heel provides added ankle support.

Durability / Quality
Considering that they’re fully waterproof, these shoes are also incredibly light and feature Topo’s trademark lightweight design. Their physical structure may be a bit wider than other brands (to account for the toe-box), but they don’t feel bulky once they’re on your feet. They are trail running shoes, and for that reason made of strong material that will take a beating. Although they are not the most durable, they do hold up well!

Cost or value
For all their added technology, these shoes are the most expensive of Topo’s trail running series, but they’re worth every penny.
Pros
  • The only fully waterproof trail running shoe available
  • Fully gusseted tongue
  • Wide toe-box
  • Flexible rock plate
Cons
  • More expensive than other Topo offerings

6. Topo Athletic MT-2

6. Topo Athletic MT-2
When looking for the perfect pair of trail running sneakers, look no further. The Topo MT-2 are designed to provide you with stability and cushioning, as well as comfort and style. The heel is comfortable yet form-fitting, providing additional support to your ankle and locking your foot in through your arch.
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Comfort / Stability
Boasting Topo’s trademark wide toe-box and breathable material, these sneakers make trail running a delight. The material on these shoes is a bit stiffer than with other Topo shoes, but it provides for additional stability on unpredictable terrain. You don’t need to worry about slipping and sliding, as the sole of the shoe is equipped with multi-directional lug traction as well as forefoot flex grooves. The mud release feature will allow you to hit the trails in any weather, while the fully gusseted toe will ensure that your shoe stays firmly in place through sticky or slippery spots.

Durability / Quality
These trail running shoes were made for the rough and tumble. Expect to be able to put a fair amount of miles into them across rough terrain before any serious signs of wear come through.

Cost or value
This shoe is the mid-range trail running shoe that Topo manufactures, and is a tremendous bargain in price without giving up anything in quality.
Pros
  • Overall the shoe is very light for a trail running shoe
  • Additional support and cushioning adds comfort and helps prevent injuries
  • Wide toe-box allows for natural toe spreading
Cons
  • A little bit bulkier/wider than some other brands

7. Topo Athletic Halsa

7. Topo Athletic Halsa
The Topo Halsa sneakers are the perfect shoe for hitting the gym. Whether you’re planning to burn calories on the cardio machines or up your strength with some weight training, you’ll find that these shoes are not only comfortable, but they provide exceptional support where it’s needed most while still being light and flexible.
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Comfort / Stability
Topo’s signature wide toe-box allows for your toes to spread naturally upon foot strike or when pressure is applied - this means that while lifting weights or performing cross-training activities you will have more natural stability without toe cramping, as well as stability provided by Topo’s snug heel to midsole design. The mid-foot strap is designed to add extra security and stability, ensuring that your movements and placements are accurate and precise. By utilizing Topo’s mesh material design, these shoes are lightweight, breathable, and quite comfortable to wear. That said, they have a zero drop (0mm heel-drop) and many runners may find that they require a period of adjustment if they decide to run in them.

Durability / Quality
For most individuals who are wearing these sneakers indoors only and not logging tons of miles on the cardio machines, these shoes will hold up reasonably well. For those who are intending to run in them they will be comfortable and light, but they may wear quickly due to the thinner sole.

Cost or value
This shoe is reasonably priced and when compared to bigger name brands will be less expensive.
Pros
  • Lightweight and flexible
  • Wide toe-box provides good amount of room for toes
  • Provides added support with mid-foot strap
Cons
  • Not durable enough for road running in most situations
  • Zero drop may take some getting used to, particularly on treadmills

topo-athletic-lifestyle-featured-image-1

 

The Criteria Used When selecting The Best Topo Athletic Running Shoes:

What Sets The Topo Athletic Brand Apart From The Rest?

A relatively new company, Topo was created by the ex-CEO of Vibram “fivefingers” in 2012. The company’s focus is helping the body become faster and stronger through its natural biomechanics. Backed by an investment firm out of Silicon Valley, Topo utilizes the minimalist ideals and culture, while keeping some of the cushioning and support levels that most people have become used to.

The company is always experimenting with emerging technologies, and testing new materials to give them the edge over much bigger running shoe powerhouses that are more sluggish to change. Below you will find just some of the factors that we looked at when putting our buying guide together. Let’s take a look at more key differences of the Topo Athletic brand.

A Nice And Roomy Toe Box

One of the first things you will notice when slipping on a pair of Topo’s is the amount of room that you will find in the toe section. This is no accident. The company purposely gives all of their models the largest amount of room in their category for toes to move around. Their philosophy that healthy running and walking starts with your toes being able to spread and flex is reflected in their toe box construction. User feedback is quite high in this feature and a secure fit in the heel allows for the foot to feel very comfortable throughout the gait.

A Low Drop

Keep in mind that Topo Athletic is focused on providing a middle ground between barefoot running and traditional cushioned running. This is evident in their neutral platform, which is very similar to what you would find on a “Spartan” barefoot running shoe. However, they provide light cushioning that will be perfect for anyone that is making a transition to barefoot running. Testers really enjoyed the natural foot motion through their gait cycle. It’s this natural foot motion that will help tone and condition muscles that will ultimately correct any deviation in your run.

Light Weight Design

Through the use of emerging technologies and materials, Topo is able to keep weight down significantly while giving users cushioning and padding where they need it. In fact, runner feedback was high in regards to less skin irritation and blisters, even on the longest of runs. Using the experience of being runners, the company seems to fundamentally understand what is needed to push for goals and faster times. The light weight construction of their running shoes is a testimony to their passion for the run.

A “Boutique” Running Shoe That Is Budget Friendly

Whenever you deal with running shoes that are not typically found in running shops and department stores, there’s always an additional cost that brick-and-mortar retailers are known for. Working closely with Amazon, we are able to bring you a buying guide with the latest and greatest models from this emerging running shoe company at the absolute lowest prices. There is a model that is sure to fit any and every budget on our list. We want our readers to be able to experience specialty boutique running shoes at a price that makes sense for them.

Great Looks And Styles

Take a look at any of the Topo Athletic running shoes on our list and you will notice that they have a unique look that is different from anything else that is out there. Our list made sure to include models that give you flexibility and comfort, while looking good doing it. Countless studies show that when runners are happy with their shoes, they are more likely to run more often and for more distance than otherwise. So, while all the crucial components of a great shoe are accounted for, we didn’t forget about looks and styles. Don’t forget the different color ways that are available on Amazon once you click over to check out the shoes.

topo-athletic-lifestyle-featured-image-2

 

Other Important Things to Consider When Selecting Your Topo Athletic Running Shoes.

No matter which shoe you choose, you are sure to get Topo Athletic’s trademark mix of barefoot running and modern cushioning.  Before you make your decision, consider the additional factors that will help narrow down your choices.  Choosing the right running shoe is important and the following factors will ensure that the shoe you choose will be comfortable and functional, and most importantly, an overall great running experience.  Keep reading to find out what else you should consider before choosing the best Topo Athletic shoe for you!

Mind The Drop

Barefoot running is all about the neutral, zero or low drop. While most novice runners don’t think about it too much, modern running shoes have a difference in the heel to toe elevation (drop) that you kind of get used to after a while. This allows for the shoe to do a lot of the work for you, at a cost to building muscle and maximizing effectiveness. A lower drop means that your feet and legs will do a lot more of the work, so keep this in mind when making the transition. Take stock of your old running shoe’s drop and don’t go too fast when starting with the Topo’s. Let your feet and legs get used to their new duties, the end result will be toned and strong muscles.

Stick To A Selection For Your Activity

Think about the type of activity that you will be doing in your new shoes. We recommend a selection that is geared for specific activities, such as gym workout training, long distance running, and weight training to name just a few. While it’s a misconception that a “do it all” option is the best way to go, you want to make sure that you are not putting any excess wear or use on footwear that you are counting on for high performance and response levels. We made sure to indicate which models are ideal for gym workouts and which are best for long distance running. Seasoned runners always maintain a solid amount of footwear in rotation for different activities; it’s a good idea to match your activity to your footwear.

Keep Focus On Your Form

This is the key to take full advantage of Topo’s running shoe technology for you. There is light guidance and feedback that it provided by the footwear. So it’s important to pay attention to your form and how you’re following through with your steps and strides. Barefoot running is incredible for the development of small, intricate muscles and tendons found throughout the feet and legs. Since Topo goes out of their way to provide some light cushioning, this gives you more comfort as you get adjusted to the advantages of a lower drop and a neutral shoe.

Don’t Fear Change

The number one thing that seasoned runners do when they find a brand of footwear that they enjoy or break a personal record in is stay with that brand for the rest of their lives. Don’t make the same mistake. Be bold and try new running shoes, new brands, and new styles. Stay with your tried and trusted brand, but keep some options in rotation that are fresh and offer you a little more variety than what you’re used to. Topo is great because their footwear comes with great price tags that allow anyone to give them a try, and their design is really unlike anything that you’ve experienced before. So take a chance on an edgy pair of new running shoes, you never know the difference they can make to your regimen.

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FAQ

Still have questions?  We have answers! Take a look at the following frequently asked questions that runners had when purchasing a Topo Athletic shoe.

Q: How are Topo runners different from the rest?

A: We went through countless reviews and positive feedback to reach a general consensus of what separates them from other running shoes. Think of them as a bridge between your standard cushioned runner and barebones, barefoot running shoes. Testers noted that their light cushioning mixed with a low to no-drop on certain models are a welcomed transition for them. If you’re thinking about going barefoot, think about getting a pair of Topo’s to bring you into the world of neutral running.

Q: How can I maximize the effectiveness of my form while running?

A: Don’t put too much pressure on yourself. Keep in mind that your form will not change over night. With the aid of barefoot running shoes and careful attention to your form while running, your muscles will slowly build and adapt, in turn tweaking your form for the better. Just be sure to check the tread on your footwear and replace when needed.

Q: Sometimes barefoot running shoes give me some skin irritation, but I still want all the benefits of barefoot running, what can I do?

A: We suggest using Leukotape.  It can help prevent irritations from turning into something bigger – like blisters.  Leuko tapes is water proof and provides the protection you when experiencing skin irritations.  But remember – be proactive.  Apply Leukotape before the irritations starts in the areas you need it the most.

Q: Why don’t I see Topo Athletic running shoes in most department stores?

A: Remember that running shoe giants such as Nike and Adidas pay a lot of money and have strong pull for shelf space in department stores. This keeps new and innovative brands such as Topo out of the hands of (or off the feet of) everyday runners that don’t really care about corporate sponsorships and “synergy”, they just want running shoes that can work for them. Don’t be afraid to give a new brand a try.

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We are sure that you will find the Topo Athletic running shoe that works best for you! We know how important it is to find the best running shoe for you and we hope the information we provided in this guide will help you make the best decision based on your personal wants and needs.  Still have questions?  Feel free to reach out to us and let us know!  Happy shopping!

 

Here are some sources we used while conducting our research

Using trusted sources in order to provide you accurate, detailed information in this guide was on of our top priorities.  The following sources enabled us to compile the above top 10 list and provide factors and other considerations that will help you make the best decision when choosing the right shoe for you.

Sources

  1. ACSM, ACSM, Medical Journal,
  2. Natural Running Center, Natural Running Center, Natural Running Center,
  3. The Natural Running Network, The Natural Running Network, Running Blog,
  4. Amazon, Amazon, Product Reviews,
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