Topo Athletic is a relatively new company, founded in 2012 by Tony Post, former CEO of Vibram.  They make several models of athletic shoes ranging from cross training and lifting shoes to running shoes.  Their mission is to create a footwear brand “for athletes and by athletes with a mission to develop gear that amplifies your body’s amazing natural abilities.

“Our shoes work with you, not for you, because we know you have what it takes to be great.”  said Tony.M_Runventure-Grey_Olive-threequarter-944x720

 

I recently got my hands on one of their trail shoes, the Runventure, and put it through the paces on all types of terrain and conditions.  The following is my overview and first impressions of this shoe and brand!M_Magnifly-Black_Red-hero-944x720-768x424

 

Specs

Dual layer, tear-resistant mesh

// fully gusseted tongue

// 4.5 mm rubber outsole, 5 mm footbed

// Molded TPU midsole plate for rock protection

// 9.5 mm (heel) // 7.5 mm (ball) midsole

// Total stack height 19 mm x 17 mm (2 mm drop)

// Weight: 8.9 oz. (size 9

Fit & Feel

The initial step in feel of these shoes was excellent.  They feature a foot shaped toe box similar to Altra that gives your toes plenty of room to splay without being sloppy while the midfoot was very secure and even on the most technical and uneven trails there was so slipping.

The heel was a little low and allowed some movement but that was easily fixable by using a loop through the last eyelet. The upper was comfortable and breathable but substantial enough to handle uneven terrain without ripping like some lighter shoes are prone to do.  A short, fully gusseted tongue makes the fit around the ankle secure and comfortable, and does a good job of keeping debris out of the shoe.G0082282-1-768x576

 

Ride & Performance

This shoe hits the sweet spot for me in this category.  A full contact sole allows for great ground contact, while a soft EVA midsole gives just enough cushion and protection to make the ride smooth without taking away ground feel or becoming unstable on technical trails.

With a 19mm stack-height and a 2mm drop this was one of the most stable shoes I have ever worn on steep technical terrain.  A rock plate provides more than enough protection on rocky ground and while I feel that removing it or lightening it a bit could improve the feel slightly while dropping the overall weight of the shoe, I didn’t have any actual problems with it as the shoe remained flexible enough and at 8.9 ounces is still plenty light.G0072265-1-768x576

 

Outsole

This left a little to be desired for me.  The multi directional lug pattern and depth was great for a trail running shoe while still being comfortable on packed gravel and pavement, although to perform well in mud it would have to be a little bit deeper or more aggressively shaped.

When it comes to technical rocky terrain I actually prefer less aggressive lugs so for the majority of my training and racing this would meet my needs.  The outsole performed perfectly on dry rocks and dirt without a hint of slipping and I even took it through an obstacle course where the rubber gripped wooden walls and handled rope climbs without slips or any sign of wear & tear.  However in wet conditions on rocks and leaves the shoe found no traction whatsoever.

Admittedly these are the toughest conditions to find traction in and no shoe is perfect but for me this shoe definitely failed in this area.  This is by no means a reason not to buy the shoe it just rules it out for me for specific conditions and trails.

This is the same issue I had with The North Face Ultra Guide’s, a shoe that I have won several ultras in and is one of my all-time favorite shoes.  This issue that was fixed with a Vibram compound in the new Ultra Mountain and I hope to see a stickier rubber in upcoming versions of this shoe as this would make it the most versatile shoe in my arsenal.G0012349-768x576

Summary

Weighing in at 8.9 ounces with a 19mm stack height and a 2mm drop this is one of the most versatile running shoes I have ever had on my feet.

It can handle mileage, quad pounding downhills, and the serious pounding that comes from jumping around on rocks, while still being light enough for shorter races, and low and nimble enough to be stable on some seriously technical terrain.

This is one of the only shoes that can cover all these areas for me, making it a go to when traveling or when I step out the door without a plan as this shoe can handle almost anything.  The one area I found it lacking in was on wet rocks as the rubber was not quite sticky enough but this would do nothing to deter me from buying this shoe again.

Functionality: 4.5/5

Weight: 5/5

Durability: 5/5

Cost: 5/5     $110.00 (most shoes are about $120.00)

Comfort: 5/5

Total 24.5/25

 

 

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About The Author

Currently sponsored by the North Face as an ultramarathon runner. Jordan loves his family, running and makes time to stay fit. 2014 Bushido 2 Challenge, 1st place 2014 Spartan Super, Evergreen, 8th place Jordan has placed first in: North Face Endurance Challenge, New York 50 M Hells Hills 25 KM Rothrock Challenge 18 M North Face Endurance Challenge, Kansas City 50 KM North Face Endurance Challenge, Washington 50 M North Face Endurance Challenge, New York 50 M Nueces 50- 50 M Placed in top 3 in multiple endurance challenges. Attended Liberty University, majoring in Kinesiology and competed on the track and cross country teams. While at Liberty earned several conference titles and was part of the 2006 US Junior Cross Country team that competed at the World Cross Country Championships in Fukuoka, Japan. PR’s are 3:50 for the 1500m, 14:00.13 for the 5k and 29:34 for the 10k. Member of the North Face Team, McDougal rolled through the desert trails in 6:30 to earn the U.S. 50-Mile Trail Championships/Nueces 50 – Rocksprings, Texas. 2007 (R-Jr.):Five-time All-Big South performer (one cross country, two indoor track, two outdoor track) … finished as runner-up at the Big South Cross Country Championships … earned first all-region honor of his career at the NCAA Southeast Regional Championships … finished 16th at the meet, in a personal-best 10K time of 30:27, narrowly missing a berth in the NCAA Division I Cross Country Championships … became the first men’s runner to win three straight 5K titles at the Big South Indoor Track & Field Championships, and also anchored the Flames’ distance medley relay squad to victory … garnered a pair of second-place finishes at the Big South Outdoor Track & Field Championships, in the 3,000-meter steeplechase and the 5K. 2006 (R-So.):Five-time All-Big South performer (one cross country, two indoor track, two outdoor track) … Big South third-place finisher in cross country … Liberty’s No. 2 runner (32nd overall) at the NCAA Southeast Regional Championships … defended his Big South indoor 5K title and finished as 3K runner-up … 1,500-meter and 10K runner-up at outdoor conference meet. 2005 (R-Fr.):Five-time All-Big South performer (two indoor track, three outdoor track) … finished second behind his brother Josh at each of the first three cross country meets of the year … ran an 8K PR of 23:46 to finish as the Stanford Invitational runner-up … placed fifth at the USA Track & Field (USATF) Junior Cross Country Championships, earning a trip to Japan for the World Championships … 5K champion and 3K runner-up at the Big South Indoor Track & Field Championships … 5K and 10K champion and 1,500-meter runner-up at the Big South outdoor meet … finished second in the Penn Relays 5K. 2004 (Fr.): Redshirted the season … placed fourth at the USATF Junior National Championships in the 5,000 meters with a time of 14:29. Prep: Home schooled … placed 23rd at the Foot Locker Northeast Regional Cross Country Championships as a senior. Cross Country Bests: 8K – 23:46, 10K – 30:27 Track Bests: Steeplechase – 8:58, 5K – 14:00 Jordan subscribes to the Spotter Up way of life. “I will either find a way or I will make one”.

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