Sunday, November 01, 2020

Topo Athletic Ultraventure Pro Multi Tester Review

 Article by Renee Krusemark, Jeff Valliere, and Jeff Beck

Topo Ultraventure Pro ($145)


Jeff B: The first generation UltraVenture from Topo Athletic was a great first attempt - Topo sized toebox with an outsole they had used on other trail shoes with a little more midsole for longer days. This time around, the UltraVenture Pro reworked the upper and added a rock plate to the midsole, while keeping the great outsole intact. How would it work out giving an already solid trail shoe a rockplate? Not quite as well as expected.


Renee: water resistant (not proof), Durable outsole, Roomy toe box, Good ground feel

Jeff V:  comfort, cushion, durable outsole, traction, quality, construction, underfoot protection

Jeff B: great comfort, awesome outsole, kept feet dry(ish) in the snow, better protection that first.


Renee: heavy (and feels heavy), Insecure heel hold, Rigid outsole/rock plate combo

Jeff V: heel hold, overall fit, laces, flat arch, overly stiff

Jeff B: fit is inconsistent throughout- leads to not that great foot hold


Estimated Weight: men's 10 oz / 283 g (US9), 9.1 oz / 258g women's / (US8)

  Samples: women’s: L 9.24oz/262g R 8.99oz/255g (US8)

                  men’s: 10.25 oz / 292 g (US10), 11.0 oz / 312 g (US10.5)

Stack Height: 30 mm heel / 25 mm forefoot = 5mm drop

Available Nov. 2020.  $145

Tester Profiles

Renee is a former U. S. Marine journalist, which is when her enjoyment of running and writing started. She isn’t that awesome of a runner, but she tries really hard. Most of her weekly 50-60 miles take place on rural country roads in Nebraska, meaning mud, gravel, dirt, hills, and the occasional field. She has 2020 PR’s of 1:35:44 for the half marathon and 3:26:45 for the marathon.

Jeff is the token slow runner of the RTR lineup as such his viewpoints on shoe and gear can differ from those who routinely finish marathons in three hours or less. Jeff runs 40 miles per week, both roads and trails in Colorado and previously Arizona. He has a PR's of 4:07 marathon and 5K at 23:39. In December he raced his first 50 mile trail ultra. 

Jeff V. runs mostly on very steep technical terrain above Boulder often challenging well known local FKT's. 

First Impressions and Fit

Renee: Everything about the name of the shoe “Ultraventure Pro” sounds appealing. I think the name is appropriate as the shoe can be good for an “ultra” distance while “venturing” certain out on varied terrain for “pro” runners (or runners who run a lot, pro or otherwise). Did the Ultraventure Pro work well for me? I won’t bury the lead: something about the midsole/rock plate combination did not work for me and I had issues getting a secure fit at the heel.

I tested a women’s size 8. I think the fit is true to size. Because of the roomy toe box, runners between half sizes might be able to wear the lower of the two sizes. During review, I ran with the Ultraventure Pro on hilly country roads (gravel and dirt during both dry and muddy conditions) and on an uneven woodland “off trail” path. 

Jeff V:  I was pleasantly surprised when the Ultraventure Pro showed up at my door, as I did not recall hearing about this model, much less requesting it.  I was initially impressed with the look of the shoe, construction, build, tread and reasonable weight.  I have never been one to need or prefer wider shoes, and because of my thin foot, that rarely works for me, especially as  I mostly run fast on technical terrain. This said I have always found Topo to generally be a good compromise, not as wide and loose as Altra, but enough room for all day comfort (and I appreciate having some heel/toe differential as here we have a 5mm drop).  

While initially, the fit felt good and comfortable as I tested around the house and local walks, true trail running revealed a bit of a contrast to my preferences.  

While fit is true to size, not stubby and short feeling, nor excessively wide in the toe box, I could never dial in a secure fit, especially not for rocky technical trails, but is also a little iffy even for moderate, mostly level cruiser trails with just the occasional rocks or undulations.  I have had a bit of a struggle with the laces to secure the midfoot almost adequately and once I get the laces snug enough to hold better, there is uncomfortable pressure on the top of my foot, particularly on descents.  This pressure on the top of my foot had me stopping several times to try in vain to find a happy medium.  None of the above helped at all with the heel, as I never felt locked in and this ended up further compromising stability and confidence.

Jeff B: Unlike Jeff, I had been waiting with baited breath for the UP - Sam had told me about it months ago, and I really enjoyed the first iteration (albeit wanted better rock protection). So an UltraVenture with a rockplate? YES, I’m in. Maybe due to irony, it took a while to get my pair to Colorado after being sent to my old address in Phoenix, but the moment they arrived I slipped them on and ...was kind of disappointed. Under the foot things got better, but the upper was immediately a red flag. I’ve liked-to-loved most Topo uppers, but this one has some issues. Fit wise it is true-to-size, but it isn’t quite so simple as that - see below in the upper portion.


Renee: I like the upper. I think the upper (although not waterproof) is very water resistant. I ran through mud and mud puddles (completely submerging the shoes) and the water resistance was good. The midfoot security was great, particularly for a heavier shoe. 

The middle lace eyelets are set farther away from the tongue as compared to other eyelets, which I thought helped with the hold in the midfoot area. I love the roomy toe box and thought the rubber toe bumper offered enough protection for gravel and roots while keeping mud and rain from entering the shoe. A gaiter can be attached as well, if that’s your thing. 

Unfortunately, I did not get a secure or comfortable fit in the heel. Why? I don’t know! The heel felt heavy underfoot and the foot opening seemed too large. Otherwise, the upper is comfortable. The tongue is well padded, but not plush. On foot, the shoe feels great. The only issue overall with the upper, for me, is the heel fit. 

There’s a lot going on back there in terms of material.

Jeff V:  Like Renee, I found there is much to like about the upper.  The upper does a good job at keeping out light moisture and dust, while remaining relatively breathable.  I have not run in temperatures beyond the high 80’s, but my feet were not overly warm.  Comfort, quality and flexibility of materials are all very good.  The tongue is moderately padded and nicely gusseted, adding comfort and ease of entry.

The heel collar is well padded and a nice height, while the heel counter is semi flexible.  While comfortable, as I mentioned previously, I found it impossible to achieve a secure lock on my heel.

The laces are a bit of an issue for me as well, as they feel a bit flimsy and I find it to be a bit tough working them to find adequate lockdown.

Jeff B: First, I do appreciate the water resistant nature of the upper; these bad boys were on my feet during my first snow run. And while my feet did get cold near the end, they really weren’t wet - so that’s a big bonus. The unfortunate issue is that this Topo kind of fits like an Altra, that is to say that the midfoot feels a little baggy. Which might be fine for a road shoe, but if you look at the outsole of this shoe, the UltraVenture Pro has plenty of grip for just about any terrain. 

But the baggy fit means that if the trail gets even a little gnarly, it isn’t a good experience. Even cranking down the laces didn’t change much, when I did that it led to a lot of pressure on the midfoot with slightly better hold. I didn’t experience any heel slip as a result, but overall the hold really didn’t inspire confidence. One of my runs was a road-to-trail affair, and even on the road the shoe felt a little ponderous. Lastly, the toebox is great, which is no surprise. 

The built up toe bumper isn’t overbearing, and the Topo-style shape gave my toes plenty of room to splay, which I always appreciate as I am at the edge of wide sizing depending on model.


Renee: Much like my feelings about the upper, the midsole felt great on foot. The shoe provides a good ground feel, which is what I tend to prefer as compared to highly cushioned shoes. The midsole is definitely not plush or soft, but it’s also not firm or hard. 

I was surprised at the comfort of the midsole, but I did not run more than 10 miles at a time in them, which is odd for me as I like to take even short-distance shoes for at least 13 miles just to see what happens. 

After each of my runs in the Ultraventure Pro, from 3 to 10 miles at a time, my forefoot hurt. While running, I felt like the midsole could carry a runner the distance of  an “ultra,” but I simply didn’t want to try it after having forefoot pain that clearly was from the shoes. I’m guessing the hard outsole, heavy weight, and rock plate all contributed. I have heavier shoes with rock plates, so I think there’s something about the combination that wasn’t working for me. I may also have been altering my stride to compensate for the weak heel hold, thus landing harder on my forefoot than usual. 

Jeff V:  The Tri Density Zip Foam midsole strikes a nice blend of supportive, yet compliant cushioning for long days on the trail without feeling overly firm or soft with orange above the softest for landings, the main black firmer, and the medial green below the firmest for some support and mid foot stability.

Response is moderate, but I think I am often thrown off by the poor fit and loose heel and do not feel inclined to push faster paces, but I think with better fit and security, the performance of this midsole would really shine.

The Ortholite liner, combined with the shape of the inner shoe, make for a very low/flat arch.  My arch is middle of the road, yet I experienced a good bit of arch pain on my runs, most pronounced on uphills, which I am convinced was caused by this, in conjunction perhaps with the loose heel and very stiff nature of the shoe.

Jeff B: I agree with both of my colleagues. Renee is spot on - there is great (but not unpleasant) ground feel for a shoe of this stack height. But Jeff is also correct, the poor foot hold of the upper makes it hard to appreciate the great midsole. I didn’t experience any pain, and the little bit of extra protection, by way of rock plate, was great. From a cushioning aspect I could definitely see lighter runners wearing these for a 50K to 50 mile race.


Renee: The outsole reminds me of a farm muck boot, which is a compliment!  I think I will get better use from the Ultraventure Pro during snow, ice, and slushy road conditions. (Update: the outsole performed nicely in 3” of snow followed by two days of ice and slush. Because of the firm and stiff ride, the shoe works better for me as a hiking shoe than it does a running shoe ). For as stiff as the outsole is, I was able to run with a good forefoot strike. However, I was surprised that the outsole trapped mud. 

I ran for a short distance on minimal maintenance, all-dirt country roads and I had mud plastered to the outsole. Typically, in other shoes, the mud will fly off after .5 to 1 mile. After 1.5 mile leaving the muddy dirt  underfoot, I had a lot of extra weight in the form of mud trapped in the outsole. The addition of the rock plate is an upgrade from the regular Ultraventure, but its implementation in the Pro was not comfortable for me.

Jeff V:  The Vibram Megagrip outsole with 6mm lugs is my favorite aspect of the Ultraventure Pro.  Grip is excellent on a wide range of terrain/conditions and crosses over well to smooth crushed gravel and light road use.  Durability is excellent, with no signs of wear after having used them on mostly rocky terrain.  It may be too much outsole for this shoe given the less than ideal foothold and stability for my foot, meaning that one (well, not me) is unlikely to be able to confidently pilot this shoe on surfaces where this much lug and grip would be an asset.

Jeff B: Topo has used a near identical outsole design for a handful of their trail shoes, and I’m not knocking them for that. It’s a great design that works well in a variety of conditions, and the Vibram rubber helps give the shoe both great traction and durability. Zero slips in the snow and no problems on dirt or street.


Renee: I was able to forefoot strike easier than I thought given the weight and lack of flexibility of the outsole and rock plate. I easily kept a tempo pace during my 10 mile runs. However, my forefoot hurt after I ran in these shoes. Every. Time. The pain was not something I noticed while running, but it was enough to reduce my desire to grab the Ultraventure Pro for my long 20+ mile runs. 

The rock plate and durable outsole were great while running “off path” in woodland areas. The plate and outsole help keep balance on rough surfaces. However, with the poor heel security, I was not benefiting as much as I would like from the rock plate. 

Jeff V:  Honestly, I had trouble with the ride, primarily due to the fit and lack of heel hold, combined with the foot pain I got under the arch of my foot and after a few runs, relegated these to local walks.  I think that without the aforementioned issues that I experienced, the ride would be really smooth and pleasurable, great for medium to longer distances.

Jeff B: I enjoyed the ride quite a bit, ultimately it was as suggested - the UltraVenture plus a rock plate. It was hard to focus much on it due to the lack of midfoot hold by the upper, but it was a smooth ride with great cushioning. Unlike the previous model, hard rock landings on the forefoot weren’t an issue - the rockplate is doing its job.

Conclusions and Recommendations

Renee: My initial impression holds: the Ultraventure Pro is well named. I think the midsole has “ultra” potential while providing good ground feel for certain runners on certain surfaces. I was running hilly country roads and did not find the outsole/midsole combo as comfortable as I would want for muddy conditions. I think the outsole/midsole combo is too hard for firm/packed ground. 

And the shoe isn’t as light as I would like for the smoother dirt roads or woodland technical trails. In short: the Ultraventure Pro might be a great shoe, just not for me. I don’t totally dislike it and I’ll probably reach for it during the winter months when I’m slushing around on snow and ice in the empty, uneven corn fields. My score belowo reflects that I will use the Pro more for hiking and slow jogs than I will for running. 

Renee’s Score: 8.5/10 

(-.50 weight, .-15 feels heavier than it is, .35 weak heel security, .-50 firm outsole/rock plate combo)

Jeff V:  Ultimately, the Ultraventure Pro just did not work for my foot, which is a shame, because it is a really nice shoe.  The upper is superb, comfortable, high quality and durable, cushioning is excellent, the weight is reasonable and the outsole is grippy, durable and versatile.  Poor heel hold, overall stiffness and less than ideal midfoot lock down caused me a good bit of trepidation on technical terrain and even some uncertainty on relatively mellow terrain with only minor undulations.  Add to that the pain I felt under my arches.  If the shoe fits however, you will be rewarded with great comfort, a roomy toe box and a smooth ride, perfect for longer training runs.

Jeff V’s score:  7.9/10

Ride: 8, Fit: 7, Value 7, Style 8.5, Traction 9, Rock Protection 9

Jeff B: Topo took one of my favorite shoes of the recent past, “fixed” it just like I wanted, but sadly other areas took a step back. The rockplate really gives this shoe go anywhere capability with an incredible outsole and solid underfoot protection, but the upper doesn’t hold the foot nearly as well as the previous design. I didn’t experience any pain, but never felt like I could trust the shoe. Its water resistant upper was a nice touch for a snowy run, and the gaiter attachments are unobtrusive, and a nice touch for those who use them.

Jeff B’s score: 8.3/10

Ride: 8, Fit: 7, Value: 8, Style: 9, Traction: 10, Rock Protection: 10


Index to all RTR reviews: HERE

Topo MTN Racer (RTR Review)

Jeff V:  The MTN Racer is lighter, has better fit/foothold and overall feels like a more rugged, all mountain shoe with better all around ground feel.  However, the Ultraventure Pro is more breathable and if it fits your foot, likely a more responsive shoe and more protective for longer distances.

Jeff B: The ground feel is very noticeable between the two, and while I like the extra protection the UP brings, the MTN Racer foothold is a solid upgrade. If you can make the UP work for you, I think it’s the better shoe.

Brooks Caldera 4 (RTR Review)

Jeff V:  The Caldera 4 is lighter, has better fit/security while providing good foothold, has more plush and responsive cushioning/midsole and is a more stable shoe.  The Ultraventure Pro has a better outsole that grabs better in more technical, loose and rough conditions.

Jeff B: Jeff nailed it. Caldera doesn’t have the traction or toebox of the UP, but it does have more cushioning and a better fit. The sneaky good Caldera 4 is the winner for me.

New Balance More Trail (RTR Review)

Renee: The More Trail is slightly lighter in my women’s size 8. Although both are long distance shoes, they have very different rides. The More Trail has a beefy, soft, high-cushioned ride with a rocker feel; whereas the Ultraventure Pro is a ground-feel, firmer ride. The Ultraventure Pro has a far better outsole for trail conditions and may be more stable for some runners because of the lower stack height. The More Trail is comfortable and fun to run in; unfortunately, the Ultraventure Pro hurt my feet. In comparison, the Ultraventure Pro will lend itself to being more performance-based with better durability as long as a runner does not have issues with the fit. 

Jeff B: Renee sizes them up well. The New Balance brings more squish while the Topo added a rock plate - both work well in that regard. The NB toebox leaves something to be desired (at least, compared to the Topo) while the Topo midfoot hold is lacking. All depending on how things fit you, both could be great big day trail shoes.

Nike Pegasus Trail 2 (RTR Review)

Renee: The Pegasus Trail 2 is slightly heavier in my women’s size 8 compared to the Ultraventure Pro. The Trail 2 was too voluminous in the upper for me and I thought the Ultraventure Pro had a more comfortable fitting upper (aside from the heel fit). The midsole of the Trail 2 is far more forgiving and I found it to be useful for slow and fast(ish) paces despite the overall weight. The Ultraventure Pro is much more stable for me on uneven surfaces and is, overall, the “more” “trail” shoe of the two. 

Jeff B: I enjoy the Peg Trail 2’s comfort and traction, and the upper’s fit is much better, but the Topo’s toebox is way better, as is its rock protection. If Nike had given the Peg Trail 2 a rock plate it could be my do-it-all shoe, but as it stands, it shines brightest on tamer trails while the UP can go just about anywhere. If your foot works for the UP, it’s the better trail shoe.

Hoka One One Torrent 2 (RTR Review)

Jeff V:  The Torrent 2 has superior fit, foothold, stability and response.  It is also lighter and costs $25 less.  If you have a wide forefoot and are looking for that extra room for longer distances, if the Ultraventure Pro works for your foot, it may be a better option for longer, slower distance.

Renee: I agree with Jeff V. Although the Ultraventure Pro has seemingly better quality  upper materials, the Torrent 2 is superior with fit and response. The Torrent 2 is considerably lighter, and for a Hoka, the Torrent 2 has a decent toe box width. The Ultraventure Pro midsole lends itself to longer distances, but many runners use the Torrent 2 for ultras. The outsole of the Ultraventure Pro is far more durable and the Pro has a rock plate. That said, the Torrent 2 outsole is versatile. My choice between the two shoes is overwhelmingly the Torrent 2. I wear a women’s size 7.5 in the Torrent 2 and a women’s 8 in the Pro, although I do have a good amount of length in the Pro. 

Topo Athletic Ultraventure  (RTR Review)

Jeff B: Fit and length are virtually identical between the two shoes, with the outsoles also being the same. The OG Ultraventure does have a little more plush feel and ride, and has far more overlays on the upper. I really appreciate the extra protection the rock plate gives, but the better fitting upper of the original is nice too.

Nike Wildhorse 6 (RTR Review)

Jeff B: The Nike toe bumper limits a decent width toebox, and the React midsole feels nice, but the segmented rock plate can’t be counted on to provide good protection, and the outsole can’t compare to the Topo’s great blend of grip and durability. Go Ultraventure Pro.

Altra Olympus 4  (RTR Review)

Jeff B: Altra’s highest stacked trail shoe might have an even wider toebox, and is definitely just a little more cushioned under foot. But the lack of rock plate, and the tamer outsole make it a clear winner for buffed out trails, while the UP can get into nastier terrain.

Saucony Xodus 10  (RTR Review)

Jeff B: I’ve brought this shoe up in a number of review comparisons, and it’s largely untouchable. The Saucony has more cushioning, and despite the lack of rockplate really doesn’t need one, with an upper that holds the foot well, and an outsole that offers as much traction, if not more, than the UP. I think the UP is a really good shoe with some fit issues, while the Xodus is an incredible shoe that punches above (or should I say below) its considerable weight. If you haven’t yet, give the Xodus a shot if you want the pinnacle of excellent trail cushioning without it being too much.

Jeff V:  Jeff B nailed it here, the Xodus is hands down one of the best and most versatile shoes of 2020.

The Topo Athletic Ultraventure Pro will be available in November 2020

Read reviewers' full run bios here
The product reviewed was provided at no charge for testing. The opinions herein are the authors'.

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Jeff Valliere said...


Charlie said...

I have a few questions:

(1) The reviewers reported issues with heel hold and some of the pictures show that the wearer(s) did not use heel lock lacing. Was heel lock lacing ever used with the UP and if so did that improve heel fit while running?

(2) The reviewers report that the shoe is heavy or feels heavy. What category of shoe did reviewers think the UP fit into in terms of stack height and intended run type e.g. medium, high, or max stack/cushion and all-purpose running, all-day running, ultras, etc.? I see the Ultraventure and UP as a high stack-leaning shoe, so more than a medium stack shoe that I think the Torrent 2 would fit into. Maybe closer if not analogous to the Timp 2, but not quite max like the Olympus or Hoka Speedgoat 3/4. With these in mind, I think it's interesting that the Timp 2 was described as impressively light weight while the UP is described as heavy when they were very close in weight according to the information listed (Timp 2 sample in M10=10.4 oz, UP sample in M10=10.25 oz). Also, the Caldera is listed at similar weight to the UP at M10=10.5 oz. However there could be size discrepancies i.e. the UP in M10.5 is heavier than other shoes in M10.5.

(3) More comparisons to other shoes like the Timp 2, Speedgoat, Sense Ride 3 etc would be informative.

Dean said...

Thank you for the detailed review! It seems pretty disappointing about the fit of the upper. Would you recommend going with the same size as I wear in the Ultraventure or does it fit (in length) more like the MTN? Cheers, Dean

Jeff Valliere said...

Thanks for reading.


1). I have never had to use heel lock lacing, most I have ever had to do was employ that extra set of eyelets, but nothing beyond that. Not sure if it would do any good here.

2). Comparisons are very unscientific, I basically just go stand in front of my shelf and scan, come up with what I think is closest in terms of weight/performance/purpose. Weight is tricky, I have had light shoes feel heavy and heavy shoes feel lighter than the measured weight would suggest and also have those perceptions vary depending if I have super fresh legs and motivated, vs. barely being able to force myself up the hill. Though of course try to average that over a bunch of runs.

3). Speedgoat 2/3/4 - more ample and soft cushioning, a faster shoe with Meta Rocker, superior traction, superior foothold/security for technical terrain, though if a wider foot, Speedgoat could be tough for longer distances.

Dean, while security is not ideal, sizing is consistent with other Topos I have used (have not run in normal Ultraventure, but MTN Racer feels just slightly shorter).

Jeff Valliere said...

Sorry, forgot Salomon Sense Ride 3 - comparable ride/feel, but the SR3 has much more secure and well balanced fit for technical terrain.

Edit to SG comparison, I guess tread/traction would perform comparably, but what I meant was more related to the foothold of the UV Pro limits the utilization of the outsole.

Jrowan99 said...

How does the mega grip outsole compare to the xs outsole of the og ultraventue.

Sam Winebaum said...

Hi Jrowan99,
Will let the testers comment as I did not test the Pro but the XS Trek in the original Ultraventure is softer than Vibram MegaGrip, and from what I can tell has more bounce and less of a firmer hard response. Vibram and Topo confirmed that MegaGrip has more of a "dead feel" with XS Trek having more resilience which I interpret and feel as softer with more bounce but less snappy responsive pop. Mega Grip has somewhat better wet conditions traction according to Vibram, but is less abrasion resistant than XS Trek.
Sam, Editor

Charlie said...

Hi Jeff, thanks for your detailed responses. I didn't know about the UP, and the information in this review left me in a combination of optimism and curiosity about the UP. I was looking for a new ultra shoe and liked the Speedgoat and MTN Racer but neither really hit the spot. I wanted a little more width in the Speedgoat and more midsole life or underfoot protection against sharps out of the MTN Racer and wanted both to be lighter. The UP looked like it might fit the bill, but so does the Evo Speedgoat and Caldera 4.

I did previously experience some heel sloppiness in the Ultraventure and MTN Racer and heel lock lacing made all the difference to me.

Will said...

FWIW I feel that the s/lab Ultra 3 is superior in every way compared to what I am reading here (I haven't run this one, but I did run the OG and this sounds worse). It is officially way more expensive but I got if for $135 presale and Salomon often does 25% off, which actually makes it cheaper. I loved TOPO before (the MT2 was my favorite shoe) but I feel that they keep stepping back... heavy, their mesh on some recent shoes is hot, the MT3 last was short, the Ortholite footbed takes up volume and holds tons of water, they are quite expensive for what you get. Also the OG Ultraventure split on the side when I got to 100 miles. Last, I already felt the Terraventure was very close and now, with a rockplate, that seems more the case but the Terraventure is way lighter. (Not that I personally had an issue with the Ultraventure; I stomped on rocks and was ok, but I get how some would want it).

Off topic but since it was mentioned, I got the Xodus 10 and was shocked at how agile such a high and heavy shoe was, the grip was great, durable, etc. That said, I did really struggle with the weight (even if I agree that it didn't feel quite so heavy as it was). It may be the weight plus the stack, but my joints took a pounding I hadn't experienced in lighter ultra shoes. Well, it's probably that my mechanics are way worse than the testers here!

Jeff Valliere said...

Charlie, you may want to take a look at the Caldera 5. This could just be my favorite shoe this year in it's class.

Will, agreed, love the S/Lab Ultra 3

pug said...

Thanks for your review. Love(d) my Topos, however the past few versions of their shoes have been disappointing. The MT2 was a great shoe at 23/20 and a simple upper. The MT3’s stack was raised (not needed) the upper is too hot, especially during the east coast summer months with the humidity. The shoe ran short and the Ortholite insoles were too big, poorly fitted, and retained water. I had the same issues with the Fli-Lyte 3. I am looking forward to the next versions of these shoes and hoping they’re updates are better.

Dean said...

I tried the heel lock lacing; it doesn't work well at all on this shoe (for me). The review is spot on, these shoes do not provide a good fit in the heel; sloppy is the best way I can think of to describe it. I wear the Topo Ultrafly, Ultraventure, Runventure, Phantom, and MTN Racer, this shoe is terrible in that regard.

Dean said...

I ordered these shoes from the US, I am an expat in South Korea. It cost a small fortune and it was a complete waste of money.
These shoes have no reason to exist, to agree with Jeff B, what the heck were they doing. They took a nearly perfect shoe, the Ultraventure, added things that should have made it better, but then decided in the design process to make a shoe that was not going to work for people that fit in the Ultraventure perfectly. This is a complete waste of resources, research, design effort, etc.
What Topo should have done is something like this:
Created a modular Ultraventure. The shoe is near perfect, and anyone that the original fits really well isn’t likely to fit in this shoe properly/comfortably. By modular, I mean they should have just taken the original, and made 'options' for it, while fixing some of the original problems such as the weak point on the inside midfoot area of the upper.
I. They could have made an Ultraventure 'Rock' (with a rockplate) for those that like that sort of thing. As it is, this shoe is dead on impact; for anyone that likes to have a sense of ground feel, that's pretty much gone.
II. They could have made an Ultraventure 'Mega Rock' (with a rockplate and Megagrip) and get rid of the also relatively pointless MTN while they were at it.
III. How about an Ultraventure 'Mega' (with Megagrip) for those that want some extra connection, but not the ground alienating rockplate.
IV. etc.
They took the Ultraventure, that reviewed well, fit well on many people, and destroyed that template (I have yet to get a pair of the UV2, but that's not looking hopeful). Topo has some serious issues. I’m sure I am not the only one that has tried to connect with them directly to provide information, video / text / photos / audio, just to try and help them along.
This is a disappointing shoe. I have taken it on two runs, one 18km trail and one 20km trail; both times, I spent the entire time thinking about how bad the shoe is, how big of a step in a weird direction it is, and how much I wish I had just worn my Ultraventure. Normally I wouldn't take a shoe like this out a second time, but it cost me so much to get it here that I wanted to give it a second chance. If I were not an expat with a shoe size that is entirely unavailable in South Korea, I would never wear this shoe again. Unfortunately, I may not have a choice since the original is no longer being sold in my size by anyone shipping internationally.
Topo needs to stop with the 'through hiker/trail running shoe' thing; they are not the same thing. Sure, this shoe might be good for through hiking, but that is not a marketing point for trail runners, at least not me. The Altra Lone Peak is marketed as a through hiker/trail runner, it sure is comfortable for hiking, it's a great 'slipper' shoe, but it’s also the kind of shoe that made me a Topo runner, until the UV Pro that is...
I can wear pretty much any shoe, but I prefer Topo, I want to stay with Topo. I have a foot that is neither wide nor narrow. I can wear very narrow shoes with 'torpedo' toe boxes or really wide 'sloppy' shoes like Altra; what I mean to say is that this is not likely a case of my foot just not fitting this shoe well. Also, as I mentioned earlier, who are Topo making shoes for? If they are making a shoe that they hope people who liked the Ultraventure will like, then this shoe is unlikely to match that purpose.
What I want to say is, DO NOT buy this shoe unless you can wear it on some varied terrain over a reasonable trial distance and still return it. I should also add that the laces are a step backwards; the original UV have had nice laces, these ones act and feel as if they are from a bargain store $10 pair (nothing wrong with budget shoes, but these cost $145 not including shipping).
Thanks for the great reviews, I should have just followed the review and not bought them, but Topo isn’t providing any options for overseas customers.