When treadmills won't do.
There's a time and place for tracks and treadmills, but when the trails are supportive and tacky, it's time to lace up your Topo Athletic Men's Runventure Trail Running Shoes and put some dirt beneath your feet. Topo Athletic built these puppies to keep your dogs comfy whether you're settling into a fast pace on a rolling section of trail or grunting up a steep, washed-out climb. Lightweight and abrasion-resistant mesh keeps a steady supply of cool air passing through the shoe, while a cushioning EVA midsole works with a TPU rock plate to protect against everything from sharp rocks to pointy punji sticks. The Runventure also features a multi-directional lugged sole for solid traction on everything from loose dirt and slick scree to rubber tracks and plastic treadmills (but only if the trails are sloppy enough to send you indoors).
- No-sew mesh upper
- EVA midsole
- Rock protection plate
- 2mm drop
- High-traction rubber sole
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- Note: Topos are ergonomically designed to follow the natural shape of the foot- secure through the mid-foot and heel, with plenty of room for the toes to spread. Most people will feel comfortable in their typical athletic shoe size, although some people have preferred to size down ½ size compared to other brands featuring a narrower toe box.
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- Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer
- Fit: True to size
- Size Bought: 11.5
As a disclaimer, I don't really use these as trail runners. But then again, I don't use any shoes as trail runners. These are great multi purpose shoes that are light weight but with enough support and to handle a full day on the trail.
They got me through the mud slinging to desert ride on the whole enchilada, dried over night and gripped like a dream on 14 miles of messing around on steep and sandy slick rock.
- Familiarity: I've used it several times
- Fit: True to size
A worthy new entry into the slowly growing "minimalist inspired" shoe category. What does that even mean? Well, I put anything with little to no drop, moderate cushioning, light-ish weight, and an anatomically correct (read: wide) toe box into this category.
The Runventure hits all these marks and the result is a shoe that's really a pleasure to run in. At just over a pound for the pair, they're not barely-there light, but they're close. The soles are, for lack of a better word, awesome. It's not a terribly aggressive tread pattern at first glance, but don't be fooled. The rubber is sticky and the lugs, while minimal, are well thought out. These grip about as well as any shoe I've ever owned on steep loose trails, slick rock surfaces, and packed dirt.
At 9.5mm with a 2mm drop, these aren't barefoot shoes by any means, but they're not a cushy bottomless ride either. The compressed EVA midsoles and rock plate make for a firm but responsive ride. You get a decent amount of trail feel, but enough protection so a misplaced step on some steep talus won't beat you up too much.
A good bit of thought was put into the fit - they're pleasingly snug in the mid-foot area, but the toe box widens out considerably giving plenty of room for natural toe splay. My only issue with the fit, and ultimately why they aren't a five star shoe for me, is the lack of a defined heel cup. The back of the shoe is quite low and just doesn't grab my heel very well. I mostly notice this on steep climbs where the shoes tend to slip and rub a bit on my heels.
I'm very impressed with the quality and design of this shoe, given how new and unknown Topo Athletic is in the running shoe market. While there's not really any groundbreaking design features here, they're far from a sloppy "me too" copy - they're a thoughtfully designed shoe that refines a lot of ideas that have been floating around the minimalist shoe market for a few years with great success. And at a good price point, to boot.
I'd recommend that fans of Merrel, Altra, and the more minimalist offerings from Brooks give these a try.
Picture is after about three months of heavy use including a trail marathon and a 60k. They were holding up really well until a few weeks ago when the higher peaks fully melted out and I took them on some off trail ridge scrambles.