Topo Athletic Ultraventure 2

The Topo Athletic Ultraventure 2 lives up to its name - it’s a super comfortable yet supportive shoe that is built to tackle just about any adventure. If trail running is your main jam, this shoe is worth checking out.

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Where to Buy
Zappos
See Deal
Pros & Cons
Pros
Sticky Vibram XS Trek EVO outsole
Great for long-distance runners
30 mm stack height for added cushioning
Responsive 3-piece injected EVA midsole
Lightweight- weighs in at just 9.2 ounces
Quick-drying mesh upper
Stiff exterior TPU heel counter for added stability
Cons
Does not include a rock plate
Some runners feel that the upper is too tight
Runs small
Key Features
Key Features
MIDSOLE

The thick and cushioned 3-piece injected EVA midsole feels light and supportive and adds an extra spring to your step. While it doesn’t exactly feel soft and squishy as you step down into the shoe, this midsole really comes to life as you start to pick up your pace.

I found it odd that this dedicated trail running shoe did not come equipped with a rock plate, but the 25 mm stack height and 5 mm drop works well enough to protect your feet. What you lose in underfoot protection you make up for with flexibility and speed.

What I also love about the construction of this midsole is that it also comes equipped with a stiff heel counter. This hard piece of plastic on the rear of the foot really helps to lock your feet in place. It’s a great addition for runners that love to scale steep uphill climbs and downhill descents without their foot shifting around inside the shoe.

The unique construction of the upper (more on that later) and the stiff heel counter ensures that your feet are locked securely in place no matter how difficult the trail ahead gets.

OUTSOLE

A trail running shoe demands a tough and aggressive outsole, and the Topo Athletic Ultraventure 2 really delivers. There is no exposed EVA foam found on this full-length Vibram rubber outsole, which limited flexibility but enhances energy return as well as durability.

The Vibram XS Trek EVO is a rubber compound that is geared more towards mountain, snow, and water sports due to its tacky feel that sticks to the ground under your feet. Whether you are running through mud, gravel, sand, or snow, this outsole provides unmatched stability and control over your stride.

This outsole also boasts deep 6 mm lugs that are made for trails. What I love most about these aggressive lugs is that they have a flat head (instead of tapered) which allows runners to easily transition from rocky trails to roads with ease.

The flat heads don’t chomp down on messy trails the same way as tapered lugs, so you lose a bit of grip in exchange for versatility.

It’s also important to note that this outsole loves to collect mud in the widely-spaced lugs. When running through messy trails, runners are left with a mud-pancake outsole that adds a bit of additional weight to this shoe.

UPPER

The upper offers a protective and flexible design, but runners found that it is a little less than ideal. While the midsole and outsole sing out there on the trails, the construction of the upper is where many runners complain about this trail running shoe. The build of the upper boasts a tight fit at the base of the laces which can feel a tad awkward and uncomfortable.

This unique fit on the base of the foot is designed to hold your toes securely in place with running up and down hills, but many runners could do without this odd fit.

However, it’s not all bad in regards to the upper. It is composed of a few layers of engineered mesh that keeps dirt, dust, and even sand from penetrating the top of your shoe. It also boasts additional molded foam on the heel collar and tongue for a super comfortable overall fit that contours to the shape of your foot over time.

Many runners found while this shoe isn’t exactly waterproof, the lightweight mesh materials dry fairly quickly as long as you leave your cotton socks at home!

PERFORMANCE

Overall, the Topo Athletic Ultraventure 2 is a trail running shoe through and through. The quick-drying and supportive upper offer an enhanced range of motion, and the unique lacing systems helps to lock your toes securely in place.

The midsole and outsole play very well together to provide a perfect marriage of stability and underfoot protection without the need for a bulky and stiff rock plate.

This shoe is incredibly lightweight for a trail running shoe, making it a great option for serious long-distance runners.

It’s also important to note that with aggressive 6 mm lugs, this shoe just isn’t made for trails. The flat head design of these lugs makes it a little bit easier to transition from paved surfaces to trailheads.

While it’s not a dedicated road-running shoe, the unique design of the lugs on the Vibram outsole won’t feel too awkward or uncomfortable if the trail shifts from rocky to paved.

If the trails are where you like to clock in your daily miles, this shoe is built to come along for the ride no matter where you take it.

It’s a shoe that is designed for runners that love a lot of responsive cushioning without a lot of extra weight. Smart design features help to aid in stability while keeping your gait cycle nice and bright.

FIT

Topo Athletic often struggles with a versatile fit, but the improvements made to the Ultraventure 2 shoes marked improvements over previous designs. This design boasts a nice and roomy toe box that allows your toes to naturally splay inside of the shoe.

The bottom of the laces fits tightly along the top of your foot which feels a little awkward at first but kicks into overdrive when you are running downhill. The lacing system helps to really lock your feet in place so that your toes won’t jam at the bed of the shoe.

While the majority of users found that this shoe runs true to size, there were a handful of runners that felt that this shoe ran a little small.

To ensure that you get the right size for you, be sure to take ample measurements of your feet and compare them to their sizing chart. When in doubt, it’s never a bad idea to size a half size larger and then tinker with the laces for an ideal fit.

If you have the option, I highly suggest heading down to your local shoe store to give them a test run. The overall fit of these shoes is a little unusual when compared to other brands out there on the market, and it may not be for everyone.

PRICE

The cost of the Topo Athletic Ultraventure 2 runs par for the course. It’s not the most expensive trail running shoe out there on the market, but it isn’t exactly considered to be budget-friendly. Overall, many runners compared the performance of this running shoe to brands such as Altra. The aggressive nature of the outsole and the enhanced durability of this shoe make it an overall great value for long-distance runners that really love to rack up the miles on a daily basis!
Comparisons to Previous Versions
This is the second iteration in the Ultraventure series, and it has undergone slight changes to the original design that are worth noting. While the performance of these two shoes remains largely unchanged, there are some slight yet notable design features that were added to the Ultraventure 2.

While these two shoes boast the same stack eigh and drop, the midsole of the Ultraventure 2 is slightly firmer than previous iterations. A firmer midsole provides more support and stability, but it doesn’t feel quite as soft and squishy when you first slip your feet inside of this shoe.

A denser EVA foam midsole not only provides runners with an extra spring in their step, but it also holds up better after a few hundred miles together.

There have also been some notable improvements to the fit of the upper. The newest design boasts a microfiber belt that increases lockdown on the heel for a more stable and secure fit.

It ditches the bulky synthetic overlays and replaces them with additional layers of mesh fabric. It also adds a gaiter clip to further help keep your feet nice and dry on those rainy trail runs.
Verdict
If you are on the hunt for a great trail running shoe that feels lightweight and comfortable on those long-distance journeys, the Topo Athletic Ultraventure 2 is a running shoe that is worth checking out.

Unlike other trail running shoes out there on the market, this design is surprisingly lightweight. It weighs in at just 9.4 ounces, which is very light for a trail runner. It achieves this lightweight design by omitting a rock plate and utilizing lightweight materials throughout the entire shoe.

It boasts a supportive midsole that provides high-end cushioning that holds up well over time and a unique upper that really holds your feet in place, even on those steep downhill descents.

If you hate being weighed down by heavy trail running shoes on your long-distance runs, this is a great choice.
Where to Buy
Zappos
See Deal
By Tara Summerville
Last updated:
Ana Nodilo
Where to buy
Best offer on: Oct. 19. 2021

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