|Rating:||8.9 / 10|
|Comfort||1.7 / 2|
|Durability||1.9 / 2|
|Support Stability||1.8 / 2|
|Weight||1.8 / 2|
|Value for Money||1.7 / 2|
The thing that always drives me insane about almost every shoe manufacturer is their incessant need to keep on releasing new models and often the changes are fairly minor or just cosmetic. Not so with this latest version of the Topo Ultraventure model, the Topo Ultraventure Pro. Now this review like the others on this site is about how these shoes perform as a hiking shoe and not as a trail running shoe so keep that in mind as you read.
This is the third version in this range after the Topo Ultraventure and Topo Ultraventure 2, and while I usually post a shoe review after around 200 km of use, in this case I have been wearing my Topo Ultraventure Pro shoes since December 2020, giving them a good workout for approximately 5 months and 700 km. So how did they go?
Before I look at this model let’s look at the Topo range in general. Topo Athletic make a range of trail running shoes and when you start researching them you realise the possible confusion with Altra shoes. I think many people who have looked at the Altra range, will also be fans of the Topo range. The direction that Topo has taken its features means you are going to lean towards one brand or another.
Like the rest of the Topo range the Ultraventure Pro is a wide foot shaped toe box similar to Altra and they also have a brand specific gaiter attachment point but that’s where the similarities end.
Size-wise I’m a size 15 US and this model of shoe fits quite well and runs true to size. I’m finding these days 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. While I do have broad feet, I find Topo to be very comfortable even after multiple days on the trail when my feet swell.
Unlike Altra most of the Topo shoes aren’t automatically zero drop shoes. In the case of the Topo Ultraventure Pro you have 30 mm rubber under the heel and 25 mm rubber under the front of the foot giving you a 5 mm drop. Hikers either love or hate zero drop shoes and the Ultraventure Pro has avoided this feature which make them more suitable to a wider range of hikers. I’m a large guy weighing in at over 100kg and the cushioning on these shoes, while firm provides excellent support.
The soles of these shoes are a Vibram sole and in this model, they are reasonably firm. The Topo website highlights another option, the Topo MTN Racer, which has the same thickness sole but is not as rigid. The tread is also reasonably aggressive so they grip well in both wet and dry conditions. One thing that make these a great shoe from my perspective is that they have a flat section in the middle of the sole. If you are using a more robust canvas style gaiter with an underfoot strap then this shoe is one of the best choices you can make.
In wearing these shoes there was some things I couldn’t quite place when comparing them to other Topo models. The different appearance is really just cosmetic. Probably the biggest change which isn’t really visible is the sole construction. The materials used in the sole sit on the firm end of the range when comparing them to the two previous models. Probably the biggest difference with the Ultraventure Pro is that it has a rock plate in the front of the shoe which provides additional protection from sharp and irregular shaped stones and roots. While this is aimed at runners, hikers with heavier packs will also appreciate this feature particularly on rockier trails.
The front and back of these shoes have good protection so if you manage to kick rocks you are well protected. All this combined offers a very stable and protective shoe that also has a good degree of sensitivity on the trail. Something most people will appreciate.
The upper on these shoes is water resistant rather than waterproof but will cope better than most shoes in moist conditions including heavy frost and rain. I often walk through thick wet vegetation and these shoes don’t even notice it. In addition the mesh material has a reasonably tight weave and keeps almost all but the finest dust out.
Price-wise the RRP of these shoes in Australia is $250 which is very similar to other high quality trail runners and trail shoes. Given they will last all but the most full-on hikers for a couple of years for 1000+ km they end up being very good value.
Now for the negatives, and there really is only one. Something specific to me is that as a size 15 US foot I make up a very small section of the population with size 12 and above only accounting for around 2% of the population. I was paying close attention to the US Topo website when this shoe was released and purchased a pair almost immediately and long before they hit Australia. (A word of warning here that when purchasing from the US manufacturer they work out to be more expensive by the time you receive them than when purchased in Australia.) At the time of this review there was good availability and I have just purchased a second pair purely for an upcoming 1200 km hike on the Heysen Trail.
The only other negative, and its being pretty picky, is that the colour choices are limited to one option, and that’s forest green and orange. It’s not a major issue and the colour doesn’t really show the dirt.
So how have they performed? I’ve been wearing these shoes for just on 700 km now and while they are starting to show signs of wear on some sections of the sole, I fully expect them to easily last 1000-1200 km. I will update you on this in another few months as I get to that stage. As with most of the shoes I wear and test, while they appear to be in good condition I can feel the support disappear as they age but that’s not the case with these shoes which have the same level of support as when they were new – the support hasn’t collapsed.
From my perspective the Topo Ultraventure Pro is the best trail shoe that Topo has produced and I believe in them so much that they will be my shoe of choice for my upcoming 1200 km thru hike on the Heysen Trail in South Australia.
Definitely! In fact this is my shoe of choice for my upcoming 1200 km Heysen Trail trip. They just tick all the right boxes for me as a trail shoe goes
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$250.00 AUD RRP
Topo Ultraventure Pro Trail Running Shoe (Forest and Orange colour)
Topo Ultraventure Pro side view
Topo Ultraventure Pro rear view
Topo Ultraventure Pro front view
Insert on Topo Ultraventure Pro. The insert doesn’t faze me one way or another
Topo Ultraventure Pro Sole view
Topo Ultraventure Pro close up of sole. Topo provides a clear section mid sole that allows you to wear this shoe with heavy duty gaiters
Topo Ultraventure Pro close up of sole after 700 km. Still going strong and providing plenty of support and cushioning
This review was done with product purchased by Australian Hiker from a retail store