Outdoor Retailer Winter Market 2017: Topo Athletic Product Showcase
Topo Athletic had a nice line-up of style options from a couple of their highly praised shoe models at the 2017 Outdoor Retailer winter event. I was able to get up close and personal with these unique releases, their road specific Ultrafly and trail specific Terraventure.
The mentioned Models are currently available for purchase
My first impression: I have to say, I’ve never worn a shoe from Topo Athletic or held one to really appreciate what they are, but now that I had the chance to get the feel for them I will definitely be getting a pair, not even to write a review on, just to wear for my regular activities, although we do have people for that too. I can certainly appreciate innovation and thinking outside the box instead of doing the same thing that works for other companies. Something different is a breath of fresh air that we need, or at least I do. Coming from a guy who stuck to one specific brand for the majority of my early running days, that’s a lot to say and pretty significant to say the least. Considering new options may get you much further than being stuck in the mud. I guess i’m talking to myself when I say that.
With the clutter of information you’re forced to consume online, it’s hard to really know who’s ahead on that innovative step. There are many opinions thrown around, which can be a good thing, but lead to a headache which may have those looking for a new shoe going right back to their old ways. I always suggest testing anything out for yourself as everyone will have different preferences, but as a company that has been commended for their shoe design and performance, Topo certainly has something good on the table to say the least.
I won’t vouch for a shoe without trying it specifically, but I can give my thoughts on it, and from what I seen at their booth at the OR event, I think they are great.
With that being said, Topo Athletic does have a very good rating among users and feedback that can fill a room. So, I will suggest spending a small dollar and trying them out. Plus, you won’t see any extreme prices in their line-up. Yes, that’s a good thing!
What I learned:
Across all Topo Athletic shoes you will notice a common aspect, and it’s a pretty visual feature, but also plays well into the functionality of the shoe. The shoes are designed with a more pronounced, roomy toe box. Think about it, or just look at the natural design of your feet and you will see why this is a significant feature. Without getting specific, i’ll let you consider the benefits, but if you find toe irritation or lack of space on traditionally designed shoes a problem, especially on long runs, you will like this feature.
Another specific design feature that is a staple across all their shoes is a tighter fitting waist area that sort of tapers in from the wider toe box to give a more snug, secure fit to the foot, while still allowing your main articulation areas to move freely as needed. The heel area is also very snug. In turn, you get a secure, wrapped fit, locking your foot in place without totally compressing the entirety of it, allowing for flexibility, motion and better control overall. You’re basically allowed to be more in-tune and synced with the shoe.
Another aspect you will get across all their lines, that may not be as visual (in my opinion), but just as significant, is their low profile midsole and minimum offset for an overall more natural running experience. The heel-to-toe drop (offset) isn’t completely non-existent in all their shoes, but does fluctuate through the lower ranges from zero to five millimeters, which will give you a particular ride considering traditional running shoes tend to be in the ten millimeter offset zone.
Featured Shoes: Ultrafly | Terraventure
Ideally, you want to propel down the road with speed and comfort without having to worry about an unnecessarily gimmicky shoe sapping your energy and ultimately putting a damper on your otherwise great experience. With a shoe like the Ultrafly, you may not need to worry about that. No extra additives here, just the performance features needed from a shoe, based on how the foot already functions naturally. You get just enough overlay for a good amount of protective, supportive fit, plus a 3-piece EVA midsole with the right amount of flexibility for functionality and a sufficient drop height that is going to enhance but not hinder your natural ride. They weigh in at nine ounces for a men’s size 9, with a five millimeter midsole offset, so you get great natural performance in a well designed package.
The Ultrafly is out now, and RunnerClick will have an in-depth review on it shortly. Go ahead and try it out, and make sure you let us know what you think about it.
Go off course a bit and hit the back country trail with the Terraventure. Here you have their award winning, staple design incorporated with features specific for tackling trail terrain. The trend you will see in Topo Athletic shoes is a lightweight naturally designed package with effective performance and in their trail specific shoe, the durability you need to get out there. Shield your feet with an incorporated rock plate on the forefoot, ensuring no obstructions leave you banged up and utilize their aggressive lug pattern to grip and grab so you don’t have to worry about slipping. Overall you get a secure, lightweight, durable fit made to protect your feet from the environment while performing at your best. I will definitely be trying this shoe out for my personal activities, but RunnerClick will also have one of our testers review it so you can look out for an in-depth write-up soon.
The Terraventure is also is available now, so make sure to try it out let us know what you think!
Video overview from Tony Post: Topo Athletic Ultrafly | Topo Athletic Terraventure
So there you have it! Two great, unique shoes to check out from an innovative company that’s willing to venture outside the lines and try something new, but that also keeps some effective design aspects that we already know and love. A nice balance of new and tried is great. They seem to hit that mark well. You can ask around. They’re certainly making rounds. I’m glad to now be much more familiar with their shoes. Next step will be trying them out for myself.