Topo Athletic MT-2 Review Facts
Looking for a lightweight trail runner that has a natural fit, low drop, and are flexible and agile? How about one whose outsole has the traction of a dirt bike wheel? If your answer is yes to any of these conditions, the Topo Athletic MT-2 may be your next favorite trail running shoe. Topo has made a simple, straightforward trail shoe with a combination of features every trail runner will appreciate and realize after just a few runs just how ingenious its overall design really is.
The upper of the MT-2 is made from an ultralight mesh with welded overlays across the midfoot region that provides structure and a locked-down fit. Its gusseted tongue and traditional laces keep the foot comfortably secure in the foot chamber, while a rubber toe bumper protects the foot from rocks and other hazards on the trail. Featuring a 23mm stack height with just a 3mm heel-to-toe drop, the MT-2 is minimalist while also providing a solid amount of cushioning, which is further enhanced by its full-length EVA midsole for a springy and durable ride. Finally, its outsole features tenacious multi-directional lugs that perform great on dry and hybrid trails and provide reliable traction on wet surfaces. Its tread is a pretty dynamic construction made for long-lasting performance and able to take a beating without losing its grip or overall integrity.
With an overall trail feel that promises smooth transitions and a comfortable fit from heel to arch support to toe box (which is wide enough to allow for natural toe splay), a low profile, flexible upper, and just the right amount of cushioning, the Topo Athletic MT-2 continues the company’s tradition of making the right kind of shoe for its intended activity. Although not particularly attuned for sloppier trails, for trail runners who only run when conditions are dry will find in the MT-2 a lightweight trainer that is made for high-energy runs on dry and hybrid trails.
A central element to consider with all trail running shoes
is the construction of its outsole, and it’s here where the MT-2 really shines. With multi-directional lugs that offer solid grip, they’re shallow enough that ground feel is preserved but deep enough to provide excellent grip and traction on various topographies and conditions. Made of a high-abrasion rubber, the outsole of the MT-2 is long-lasting and durable even after many miles are put on this shoe, and with some deep cut grooves at natural flex points, the outsole allows for natural flexing during a run. Smooth, hard surfaces and dry dirt are best conditions for the MT-2, but it can also function well on wet surfaces--although sloppier conditions may prove a bit of a challenge. But for runners who avoid the mud and muck out in nature, the outsole of the MT-2 offers reliable traction that lasts long into the shoe’s life.
Unlike many minimalist
trail shoes, the MT-2 offers a good amount of cushioning in the midsole. With a 23mm stack height that allows for extra cushioning, the midsole is covered by a triple-density EVA foam platform that provides both comfort and a bit of underfoot protection. This is because unlike many trail running shoes the MT-2 does not have a rock plate. With its EVA midsole, runners can expect a much better ground feel and more flexibility when running on the trail while also feeling relatively safe against hazards they may come across on a run.
The upper of the Athletic MT-2 is where Topo
seems to have spent the most time in updating and creating something new for this edition, and much of that focus was on durability. Made of a synthetic mesh that feels rugged but also soft to the touch, the upper is flexible and features numerous perforations to enhance its breathability. With an extra wide toe box that allows for natural toe splay and a beefy gusseted tongue that brings extra padding and guarantees a snug fit after lace
-up, the upper of the MT-2 has struck a nice balance between comfort, flexibility, and overall security. Its strapping system is made up of seamless overlays that web the midfoot area, adding to the secure feeling of the shoe when unexpected terrains are encountered and sudden inclines need to be traversed.
Trail running shoes can go one of two ways, weight-wise: either lightweight
or surprisingly heavy. The MT-2 does the former, weighing in at 8.9 ounces/252 grams. This is lightweight in the world of trail running shoes, and the minimalist design and overall economic use of its materials has kept the weight off the MT-2. This lighter weight allows for runners to go farther and sometimes feel as if they’re not wearing a trail running shoe at all.
Thanks to the breathable synthetic mesh that comprises the MT-2’s upper, runners are able to keep their feet cool and dry throughout a ride in this shoe. There are also numerous perforations throughout the upper that allows for airflow into the foot chamber.
While the overall concept of the MT-2 is minimalist, there are many elements that have been included to keep the runner feeling comfortable throughout a run. Its full-length EVA foam midsole is springy and soft, while its 23mm stack height also adds to the overall comfort of the footbed. The MT-2’s thick gusseted tongue adds additional comfort after lace-up, while the heel
cup keeps the foot both secure and comfortably in place.
The overall aesthetic of the Athletic MT-2 is one that conveys motion and activity. Coming in a variety of color combinations, runners will appreciate the busy nature of its look. With wide overlays that criss-cross over the upper that contrast nicely with the varied colors of the upper mesh, and its thick stack that defines the outsole, the MT-2 looks like a heavier shoe than it really is. While you may notice the overlays first when looking at a pair, the part you’ll rarely see (the outsole) is itself a winner in design, with just a few touches of color that highlights its dynamic lug-heavy design. This is a lightweight trail runner that looks as ready for the action its owner is looking forward to engage in.
One highlight of the MT-2 that many reviews tend to gloss over is its durability. With a synthetic mesh upper that’s heavily covered by overlays and a high-abrasion rubber outsole that doesn’t wear down even after numerous rides on the trail, runners can expect a pair of MT-2’s to last them a long time. Nobody wants a flimsy trail shoe, after all. And although lightweight and highly breathable, the MT-2 is smartly designed using durable materials to hold up and keep their tread long into their life.
Being a trail shoe, the protection the MT-2 offers is going to be substantially higher than your typical running shoe. Its high-abrasion rubber outsole is lined with numerous lugs that will keep the sole of the runner’s foot safe from many of the hazards that can be encountered out in nature. It is outfitted with a toe bumper that wraps around the front of the upper to keep a runner’s toes from damage during a run, while its upper is heavily covered by numerous overlays that both protect and secure the foot in place after lace-up. So while it may not be a nigh-indestructible shoe, for a lightweight trail runner the MT-2 offers a great amount of protection against the bumps, shocks, and unexpected topographies a runner may encounter on the trail.
There are two elements that heavily play into the high amount of responsiveness in the MT-2: its midsole and its lugs. The EVA foam midsole is thin enough so the runner never feels disconnected from the ground, and although comfortable it is never too plush. Since the MT-2 doesn’t have a rock plate, the EVA foam midsole is directly placed on the platform, which leaves runners’ soles resting nearly directly on the platform. Meanwhile, its multi-directional lugs, although numerous and tenacious, are shallow enough that runners never feel disconnected from their running surface, and both horizontal and verticle flex grooves cut on the outsole make the shoe flexible and provide a natural running experience.
While excellent, the standard arch support
that the MT-2 provides to runners is also geared towards neutral runners. This means that those who suffer from various conditions, like fallen arches or overpronation, may want to invest in insoles to address these issues if purchasing this shoe.
Lightweight and made to move, the Topo Athletic MT-2 is ready to traverse the dynamic trails a runner may find themselves on. Made as both a trail and hybrid trail shoe, whether it’s dirt and rocks or pavement and grass, the MT-2 has the lugs, the protective overlays, the wide toe box, and the low-cut frame to take on these various topographies. However, these shoes may not perform in muddy or snowy conditions as one would like. Mud may find its way into the shoe through its porous upper, and runners may find their foot a little chilly in snowy conditions. Outside of that, the types of terrain the MT-2 can conquer will bring trail runners
through the many varied ground conditions they find themselves in during a ride.
Not the lowest priced trail shoe on the market, but for its ability to perform ably as a trail runner without the added extra weight and bells and whistles, the MT-2 is a fair price for a durable, lightweight shoe meant for the trail.
Thanks to the numerous multi-directional lugs that dot the MT-2’s outsole, a great amount of traction can be found while running in a pair. Its outsole’s design is specifically made for the trail and the various topographies and ground conditions that can be found in nature, and in this regard the MT-2 has the traction of a dirt bike wheel, which is a good thing.
The upper of the MT-2 is covered with overlays, but this does not hamper its flexibility. The outsole is also surprisingly flexible thanks to the cut grooves in-between its lugs. Its minimalist construction guarantees that a runner will feel free in this shoe.
Thanks to its 3mm drop, the MT-2 is a natural-feeling, stable trail running shoe. However, it is not specifically a stability shoe
. Its low drop simply provides a fair amount of stability without going full zero drop
Its 3mm drop may require runners used to the standard 10mm drop a period of adjustment and transition (usually lasting two weeks) to get used to its low drop. However, the natural feel and added stability this low drop provides, when combined with its wide toe box that allows for natural toe splay, will encourage many runners to spend more time on the trail.
- Overall great fit, from its wide toe box to its snug fit from midfoot to heel
- Great cushioning without feeling overwhelming or too plush
- Made of highly durable materials for a long-lasting shoe
- Price point is moderate considering the dynamics of this shoe
- Fantastic outsole that provides a great amount of traction
Trail runners looking to lighten their load, take notice of the Topo Athletic MT-2. Delivering the kind of tread and performance that trail runners demand in their shoe without all of the weight, and offering solid protection against hazards found out in nature, the MT-2 could be your next favorite trail running shoe. Moderately priced and packed with cushioning and style without losing responsiveness along the way, the MT-2 is a slick package for the trail runner looking to shed the bells and whistles many other trail shoes needlessly attach to their product.