Friday, October 24, 2014

Topo Athletic MT Review

I had never heard of Topo Athletic until I saw a post from Seven Hills on Instagram, but it looked like a solid shoe so I got in touch with the company for a wear test and was happy to get my hands on a pair. With a weight of 8.2 oz for a mens size 9 and an MSRP $100 we have the Topo Athletic MT (Mountain Trainer).

This shoe has an anatomical fit which provides a truly natural shape and the mesh upper is tightly woven and seamless which I found to be very breathable, drying very quickly when wet and keeping even the smallest debris out, I really enjoy the snug fit in the heel and mid foot that opens up to a very roomy toebox, it's super comfortable right out of the box. That being said, it doesn't have the performance fit needed for really technical terrain. The toebox was just too wide, which left me wanting a more secure fit on techy descents. On flip side it was flawless on more mellow trails.
Topo set an extra eyelet very low on the upper (pictured here with the lace through it) to accommodate runners with both low insteps and high insteps with different lacing options. I would say that I have an average instep and didn't find the need to use the low instep lacing option. I found that when not in use, the lower most eyelet protruded a bit and made it feel like there was a pebble wedged in each of my shoes. The irritation was not enough to cause any blistering or hot spots, but just enough to be noticeable, particularly on descents. 

The midsole has a 2mm offset with a stack height of 17mm in the forefoot and 19mm in the heel. It's made of a triple density EVA which provides a semi firm ride. This is the first time I've run in a shoe with a drop of less than 4mm and it was noticeable. I didn't get any extra soreness in my calves, but I did feel like I paid more attention to my foot strike, landing more midfoot. 
All in all I really like the ride. They're flexible and have just enough cushion without being too firm. I found them to perform best on groomed trails, but if you're used to a low drop and semi firm ride, then I think you'll also enjoy the ride on road. However, I found them to lack the necessary protection on rock strewn technical trails. I really had to tip toe down this type of terrain or risk a rock bruise.

The outsole is great. With shallow multi directional lugs and sticky rubber, the MT offers phenomenal traction. I found the grip to be better than 80% of the shoes I've run in lately. They did well in sand, on rock, on wet rock and even rode well on asphalt, though they may not perform as well on excessively muddy trails. After miles of testing, the lugs show very little signs of wear, which is uncommon down here in rocky Southern Arizona. 

This a great shoe for people who enjoy a minimal shoe with a natural shape and a good balance of cushion. They fit true to size and feel really good right out of the box. If you live somewhere with tons of jagged rocks, I might consider something a little more protective, but all in all I was pleasantly surprised with this shoe and plan to keep them in my current rotation.

Thanks for reading!
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