|Rating:||8.8 / 10|
|Comfort||1.7 / 2|
|Durability||1.8 / 2|
|Support Stability||1.8 / 2|
|Weight||1.8 / 2|
|Value for Money||1.7 / 2|
While I have been aware of the Topo Athletic brand of shoes for a couple of years now, I hadn’t had the opportunity to test them out. After hearing good things about them from various sources I finally decided it was time to bite the bullet and after much research I decided to give the Topo Ultraventure model a go.
Before I look at the Ultraventure specifically, let’s look at the range in general. Topo Athletic make a range of trail running and running shoes. 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 their features means you are either going to lean towards one brand or another.
The choice of what model to test was driven by my wanting a shoe that was burly and provided plenty of support underfoot – that’s why I decided to start with the Topo Ultraventure. Topo shoes have 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 in this model of shoe when I compare it to the Altra’s with which I am more familiar, I find them just slightly smaller as well as slightly narrower. In all honesty my preference would be for a size 16 if Topo made it. I have found that after 400 km my shoes loosen slightly so fit better than when new. The width on these shoes compared to the Altra’s is still slightly narrower which provides a snugger fit – this may suit some hikers but that’s going to depend on how wide your feet are. What this means for the average person, is that if you are in between sizes, you should automatically go up to the next size whether that’s a half or a full sizing.
Unlike the Altra’s most of the Topo shoes aren’t zero drop shoes. In the case of the Topo Ultraventure 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 Ultraventures have avoided this feature which make them more available to a wider range of hikers. Also the Ultraventure shoes are one of two models in their trail runner range that carry this level of cushioning and as such they provide really good protection underfoot.
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 is mentioned in the literature is that these shoes have a flat section in the middle of the sole which means if you are using a more robust gaiter with an underfoot strap, this is one of the best choices you can make.
The front and back of these shoes have good protection so in the event you manage to kick rocks you are well protected. All this combined offers a very stable and protective shoe, that also had 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.
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 km or more – 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 you can feel the support disappear as they age but not these ones. They have the same level of support as when they were brand new.
Overall these are one of the best trail runners I have worn in a long time and will happily replace them with another pair once they eventually wear out and I am looking forward to trying out other models in the range as well.
Definitely! If you are a trail runner user then these are definitely worthwhile considering. They are also good for trail running
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$220.00 AUD RRP
Topo Ultraventure Trail Running Shoe, side view of the navy-black version
Top Ultraventure grey-green version
Topo Ultraventure Trail Running Shoe heel and toe view. Note the gaiter attachment point on the left shoe which is made for Topo specific gaiters. The toe guard on the shoe front provides good protection for when you kick the occasional rock
Topo Ultraventure side view
Topo Ultraventure front view
Topo Ultraventure Trail Running Shoe side vent
Topo Ultraventure Trail Running Shoe sole, near-new
Topo Ultraventure Trail Running Shoe sole, after 400 km of use
The Topo insert is typical of many shoes on the market
Topo Ultraventure Trail Running Shoe inside view
This review was done with product purchased from a retail store by Australian Hiker