Topo Athletic Ultrafly Fully Reviewed & Compared
With so many large, long-running shoe companies putting out line after line of trainers over the years and decades, solid reputations and brand are built between company and customer. But there are outliers and newcomers in the running shoe world that are producing top of the line running shoes, as well. Such is the case with Topo, a smaller company that debuted their first line in 2013 and has been refining their craft with each edition. Their latest, the Topo Athletic Ultrafly, aims to appeal to runners looking for a light trail shoe with excellent cushioning and a low drop for easy transitions.
Despite its low profile, the Topo Athletic Ultrafly is Topo’s beefiest shoe to date, with a heavily padded collar that secures your foot in the chamber, a roomy toe box that allows for toe splay, and a snug upper that cradles the arch. Maybe the most attractive feature of the Topo Athletic Ultrafly is the comfort it offers. Besides its spacious toe box, the cushioning in the Ultrafly is above average, with superior padding in the heel and an overall midsole that’s plush and absorbs shock superbly when out on the trail.
The midsole is made of three EVA layers with varying densities that are designed to follow the natural forward motion. With a firm medial EVA layer positioned below the arch that tapers in the heel and forefoot and a softer lateral EVA layer in the heel, runners will feel the difference in their stride from this carefully crafted multi-layer midsole.
Made of durable materials, this trainer will also last a long time after many miles across unforgiving terrains thanks to the synthetic mesh and welded overlays that protect high-stress areas. For serious runners that are looking for a durable, comfortable light trail runner that will hold up and perform in the long run, the underdog Topo company has created a winner with its Athletic Ultrafly.
A spacious toe box that
Low drop allows for more stability
Flexible, breathable upper for comfort
- Heel strikers may not appreciate midsole design
- Somewhat pricey
However, runners may notice a smoother midfoot to forefoot transition thanks to this complex midsole construction. An EVA Strobel board under the sock liner provides a firm platform for this midsole. Providing enhanced stability and comfort, the midsole of the Topo Athletic Ultrafly will be enjoyed by most runners, especially those who enjoy light trail running, except for perhaps heel strikers, who may find the midsole construction not as well suited for their running style.
One major feature of the Athletic Ultrafly is its wide toe box, which allows for natural toe splay and accounts for swelling while running. The toe box is capped with a rubber cover for durability and protection while running, while the tongue stays firmly in place after lace-up.
The snug fit of the upper never feels constrictive, and with a padded ankle collar that secures the foot in the chamber, runners can feel confident while on a technical trail that their foot won’t slip out of the Ultrafly. While this also means that you can’t easily slip into the shoe, it’s important to feel secure while on a run.
In addition, its padded heel keeps the foot secure after lace-up while its reliable tongue offers steady padding for the forefoot. Since many trail runners don’t usually offer the level of support and cushioning as this one, the Topo Athletic Ultrafly is a go-to for trail enthusiasts looking for a comfortable, stable ride.
The company seems to appreciate the structural sense and overall aesthetic of overlays since the Ultrafly’s upper is covered with overlays that zig and zag across the shoe. Not that it’s a bad thing: besides providing a fair amount of structural integrity, these overlays also give the shoe its pizzazz that would otherwise leave the shoe looking a little goofy--especially with the large toe box, which is smartly covered by a black rubber guard. Hiding its nature as a somewhat maximalist and stability shoe, the Ultrafly instead looks like an eye-catching trainer reminiscent of Altra’s aesthetic--which is a good thing.
But many runners and reviewers were impressed by how it kept its grip, cushioning, and all-around integrity even after many miles and runs have been put on the Ultrafly. While it’s not as tenaciously designed as other trail running shoes, runners will find the Ultrafly will keep performing long after first-step in with no visible wear and tear long into their lifespan.
- A flexible, breathable upper mesh
- Aesthetically pleasing and smart-looking design
- Extremely comfortable thanks to 28mm triple-layer midsole
- Incredibly durable construction