• Weight per Pair - Size 15 US 728 grams
  • Sizes available (US) 7, 7.5, 8, 8.5, 9, 9.5, 10, 10.5, 11, 11.5, 12, 12.5, 13, 14, 15
  • Cost $250.00

Topo MTN Racer 3 Trail Running Shoe



Rating: 8.4 / 10
Comfort 1.6 / 2
Durability 1.7 / 2
Support Stability 1.7 / 2
Weight 1.7 / 2
Value for Money 1.7 / 2

Topo MTN Racer 3 Trail Running Shoe Review

This is the second of the new generation of Topo Athletic shoes that I have worn, and the second of this model but it’s been a few years between versions. It’s also worth noting I had just come off of testing the Topo Ultraventure 3. In all honesty I’m glad this was the order of testing because I came away thinking the Ultraventure 3s were going to be hard to beat. So, how did this model go in comparison after just over 200 km of use?

When I pulled Racer 3s out of the box the main thing I noticed was the aggressive Vibram Megagrip sole with its 5mm lugs. The is the sole I have come to love from Topo and one that proved itself on a range of conditions from powdery dry to wet and greasy. While I’ve only worn these shoes for just over 200km, the wear is minimal and the mid-foot support hasn’t varied.

The MTN Racer 3 comes in a range of colours with the black-lime colour being reasonably benign but balanced with this is the Mango Express colour which unfortunately doesn’t come in my size and for many people will be polarising with some hating the colour and some, like me, loving it! In addition there is a Blue-Orange colour which doesn’t seem to be one that is currently available in Australia.

Like the rest of the Topo range, the MTN Racer 3 has a wide foot shaped toe box similar to the Altra brand. Topo also has a brand-specific gaiter attachment point but that’s where the similarities end. Size wise I’m a size 15 US and with this model of shoe fits quite well and runs true to size. While the length is true to sizing, the biggest thing I noticed was that the width is narrower than the Ultraventure 3 model – as someone with a wide forefoot this is an issue. The average person won’t have this problem. I found that on shorter distances this wasn’t an issue but on those days where I did over 2o km, my toes on my left foot rubbed which isn’t good for long distance hikes. My right foot which is actually a size 14 was very happy in the size 15 given the additional length allowed a bit of room to move. If you do have a very wide forefoot, I would suggest going up 1/2-1 size.

As a generalisation I find that the more recent models from Altra tend to run a bit wider from front to back along the entire length of the shoe. The Topo shoes tend to be more of a medium width from the rear through to the mid point of the shoe and while they broaden out at the front, they aren’t as wide as Altra.

Unlike Altra, most of the Topo shoes aren’t automatically zero drop shoes. In the case of the MTN Racer 3 model, you have 33 mm of rubber under the heel and 28 mm of rubber under the front of the foot giving you a 5 mm drop. In fact, Topo even print the shoe drop on the heel of the shoe. Hikers either love or hate zero drop shoes and the MTN Racer 3 has avoided this feature which makes them more suitable to a wider range of hikers. While this model of shoe is aimed at trail runners, I do know that hikers have come to love this model as their main hiking shoe.

The upper on these shoes is  classed as ‘breathable’ which is a way of saying that if its raining or you are walking through wet grass then you will get water into them. The reverse of this is that they will dry out equally as quickly.

A negative specific to me and others who share a size 15 US foot, is availability. Having said that Topo is now owned by a larger outdoor company while still keeping their CEO in place. I’m glad to say that availability is a lot better although if you do end up purchasing a pair from the US, you will pay a price premium on freight; in my case I didn’t have much choice. Given that only 2% of males have feet over size 12US, this won’t be an issue for most people.

A feature that isn’t specific to Topo is the built-in gaiter system and while it’s a feature that Altra also has, in Topo’s case it’s not really transferable to other brands of shoes because of the way they do it. If you’re a Topo fan then this won’t be an issue and if you really don’t want to use the dedicated Topo Performance Gaiter system, you can aways use one the of lycra models such as the Dirty Girl Gaiters that can be adapted to just about any shoe.

One thing that seems to be standard in the Topo trail running range is good heel and toe protection, more so than a lot of other brands but in doing so it doesn’t reduce the flexibility and comfort.

Price wise the RRP of these shoes in Australia is around AUD$250 which is very similar to other high quality trail runners and trail shoes. Based on previous models from Topo, I would expect these shoes to have a good lifespan with my previous versions lasting around 1,000-1,200 km without losing midfoot cushioning.

While I found much to love about this shoe they won’t displace the Topo Athletic Ultraventure 3 model because of my very wide front forefoot. However if you have an average width forefoot then these shoes are definitely worth a look.

We Like

  • Very comfortable with good support
  • A good degree of protection all round provided by the materials used in the sole
  • Good durability
  • Stable over a variety of terrain providing good traction and stability
  • Reasonably lightweight which reduces the impact on the legs after long day’s hiking
  • Low profile without being Zero Drop which will suit a wider range of hikers
  • They breathe well so your feet don’t overheat. Stay dry in all but the wettest conditions, and dry reasonably quickly in warm weather when they get wet
  • Brand specific gaiters that attach to these shoes very well and after you have put your shoes on
  • The sole on these shoes works well with heavy duty gaiters; they almost seem to be designed for it

We Don't Like

  • As someone with size 15 US feet Topo never seem to produce enough of the bigger sizes. This does appear to be changing though
  • Not one of the more common shoes on the market so you may need to look for them or buy online. If buying online, choose a store that has a good return policy
  • A bit narrow in the front end if you have a wide forefoot

Would I Wear These Shoes for Hiking?

Not in my case, my forefoot is too wide. But for those with an average width foot they are well worth considering

Best Use

  • For hikers who want a good mix of comfort, durability and shoe protection, this is a great shoe
  • For hikers who have an average width forefoot
  • For those who are not fans of zero drop shoes

Buy One

You can purchase the Topo MTN Racer 3 Trail Running Shoe online at Wild Earth, Wildfire Sports or Amazon Australia

Disclosure:  We may earn a small commission, at no additional expense to you, if you click through on the above links and make a purchase. Please note that our affiliations do not influence, in any way, the independence of our reviews. If we don’t like a product, you’ll hear about it from us!


AUD $250.00 RRP

Other Versions

  • Available in both men’s and women’s sizings
  • Topo Athletic also has a range of other shoes suitable for hiking, running and trail running

Topo Athletic MTN Racer 3 Black Lime colour. Note the curved front on this shoe that provides an easier walking motion

Topo Athletic MTN Racer 3 Mango Express colour

Topo Athletic MTN Racer 3 sole view

MTN Racer 3 heal and toe view. the left hand shoe shoes the Topo Performance Gaiter rear hooking system. on the right hadn’t side of the image you can see the small gaiter hook at the front of the lacing

MTN Racer with the Topo Performance Gaiters fitted

MTN Racer 3 top view


This review was done with product purchased by Australian Hiker from a retail store

Last updated

22 February 2024

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