Topo Mountain Trainer (Spring 2014)
$100 | 8.2 oz | 2mm drop | www.topoathletic.com
The Dirt: Founded in 2012 by the former CEO of Vibram, Topo is primarily known for its minimalist, split-toe designs. The MT represents Topo’s foray into single-toebox, trail-running footwear.
A road-trail hybrid boasting a smooth, close-to-ground ride, the MT sports a dual-density midsole that lends protection without compromising proprioception. The gusseted tongue fends off debris, while sturdy upper overlays add lateral stability on winding, technical trails.
The cozy upper features anatomic creases that create flexibility through the midfoot, making the MT feel like an extension of the foot. One tester reported: “I did a six-hour run with no hot spots or blisters.”
Best For: Short to mid-distance runs on mildly technical terrain. Devoted minimalists will likely embrace it for ultras as well.
Traction: The MT’s low-profile, sticky-rubber outsole does a decent job handling a variety of terrain—“impressively grippy, while not being too cumbersome,” said one tester.
Fit: True to size, with a roomy toebox that seems to magically suit a wide variety of foot shapes.
The Downsides: While the MT features more structure and weight than most minimalist offerings, runners not accustomed to a near-zero heel-to-toe drop might find the cushioning a bit flat.
Tester-Monial: “Topo appears to be staking out the middle ground between minimal purists and recreational runners who want traditional shoe features with natural biomechanics.”
–Donald Buraglio, Carmel Valley, CA