Tuesday, September 19, 2023

Topo Athletic Atmos Multi Tester Review: Smooth! Ride is always king–and the Atmos is for sure royalty! 15 Comparisons

Article by Peter Stuart, Jeff Beck, Sally Reiley and Sam Winebaum

Topo Athletic Atmos ($160)


Peter:  Topo seems to be having a nice run of surprisingly excellent shoes. The Topo Athletic Atmos continues this trend. The Atmos is a max-cushioned daily trainer that weighs in at less than 10 oz and is a joy to run in. 

Jeff: Topo is one of two brands that prioritizes natural foot health/shape with every single shoe they make, but while many brands have had a number of maximum cushioning offerings, the tallest Topos have always been…close to max cushion, but not really there. That changes with the Atmos, a massively stacked 38mm heel / 33mm forefoot shoe that is going to put Topo on a lot of runners’ respective radars for all the right reasons. Am I foreshadowing too much? Spoiler alert: this shoe is nothing shy of incredible.


Balanced cushioning:  Peter/Jeff/Sam/Sally

Comfortable upper:  Peter/Jeff/Sally

Rolls through stride very easily:  Peter/Sam/Jeff

Feels light on the run:  Peter/Sam/Jeff/Sally

Low drop but not low heel at any pace: Sam/Jeff

Very smooth plateless rocker ride: Sam/Jeff/Sally

Light and dynamic enough for daily training, cushioned and forgiving enough for easy miles: Jeff/Sam/Sally

Super stable platform: Jeff

Top notch midfoot/forefoot cushioning: Jeff/Sam


The tongue is a bit short:   Peter/Sally


Weight: men's 9.7 oz  / 275g (US9)  /  women's oz / g (US8)

  Samples: men’s  9.45 oz  /  268g US 8.5, 10.62 oz / 301g US10.5

                   women's 8.2 oz / 232 g (US W8)

Stack Height: men’s 38mm heel / 33mm forefoot ( 5mm drop spec) 

$160  Available November 2023

First Impressions, Fit and Upper

Peter: The Topo Atmos was great for a 10 miler straight out of the box. It may not wow you with flashy style, but the ride is worth it. The upper is recycled engineered mesh which is very comfortable and breathes well. The tongue is on the short side–not a huge deal but I wasn’t able to go up to the top eyelet when lacing up. Fits true-to-size and there’s a nice wide toebox to help keep the feet happy. 

Jeff: Pictures don’t do this big boy justice, they actually look much more svelte in person. But there’s no getting around it, there’s a LOT of foam underneath the shoe - which in 2023 isn’t all that unique. But it’s evident right away that they found the right foam to put underneath, more of that below.

Fit is standard Topo, as in, those of us who have all five toes can enjoy the size and space the shoe gives up front. While everything Topo makes has a massive toe box, these are great without looking remotely like a duckfoot, for those of you who are especially sensitive to aesthetics. 

Lengthwise it’s true-to-size, and while I wouldn’t characterize the shoe as wide, it is very accommodating for my slightly-wider-than-D-width foot. 

I’m with Peter, the mesh is very comfortable and breathable. If it was a little thicker I’d term it plush, not that it isn’t very comfortable (it is), but plush uppers are usually heavier, and this is incredibly light up top. There’s just a single layer of mesh, and effectively no overlays, making a minimal upper with solid, but not obtrusive, heel counter. I didn’t have the same tongue issues, I could use the top eyelet without problem, though the tongue is short I didn’t find it as a bad thing. It isn’t gusseted, but there are two loops that laces run through to keep it in place, and I haven’t found the tongue to move at all.

Sam: When it comes to a secure fit with room and comfort Topo is always top notch. Here we have a seemingly “giant” toe box that works for even my narrower to medium feet.  Not always the case with such big toe boxes for me. So how does Topo pull this off?

Topo uses a thin very pliable engineered mesh that is dense and wraps the foot extremely well. The toe bumper is quite rigid but does not extend over the toes.

The midfoot does not have any overlays but does have thin underlays that also back the lacing eyestay. 

The tongue does not have a gusset, surprising for such a thin pliable mesh, but does have Topo’s ingenious dual lace loops which hold it in place.  

The midfoot is secure and comfortable although for my narrowish feet I have to lace them quite tight, yet with no lace bite.

A big part of the secret of the overall hold is the rear of the shoe. Topo knows that for such a wide toe box and pliable upper with no gusset or big overlays to work the heel hold has to be very solid. The comfortable collars are quite stout and quite rigid with not only internal padding but molded top exterior overlays. The lower part of the heel counter is very rigid and wrapped on the exterior with a strap overlay.  

The fit is a perfect true to size for me in length with a very slightly looser fit on my narrower right foot. Very, very narrow low volume feet may struggle here but every other foot should be all smiles with this fit.

The net result is a super secure upper that while very roomy and comfortable does its job bridging comfort oriented and performance fits very well.

Sally: True to form for Topos in my experience, the Atmos feels super comfortable right out of the box. My pair arrived in a classic and striking solid black with white, always in style and great for doing double duty as an all-day lifestyle shoe. Yes, they are that comfortable. 

The wide toe box lets your forefoot relax and your toes spread out, and yet even my narrow foot is held securely by the recycled (yay for that!) engineered mesh upper. The fit is true to size, with no excess length in the front and plenty of height and width in the toe box to wiggle those toes. 

The tongue was a bit short for me and required some adjusting of the laces so as not to use the top hole; at first the laces crossed over the top of my foot beyond the top of the tongue, a definite cause for lace bite. But the tongue is held securely in place with no slippage, and the stretchy laces make it easy to fine tune the desired snugness of the fit. 

The stout heel felt low at first relative to other performance trainers I have been wearing, but the hold is very secure and comfortable. 

The upper is also quite breathable, a nice feature for runners in warmer climes.


Peter: The midsole foam is a proprietary blend called ZipFoam which is here in a new softer lighter flavor than before. .And there is plenty of it! The shoe stacks up at 38mm at the heel and 33mm at the forefoot.  The foam is not as fun as the PEBAX foam in the Topo Cyclone 2, but the ZipFoam in the Atmos feels much better to me than it does on the Phantom 3. The Phantom could feel a little harsh, but the Atmos is SMOOOOOOOOTH. While the shoe is max-cushion, it is a great balance of cushioned, bouncy and firm. It rolls through the stride easily and you don’t get beat up in the process. 

Jeff: 100% agree. Smooth is the word that comes to mind, because it encapsulates the sum of the parts. There are bouncier shoes out there, but this one is pretty bouncy, there are softer shoes out there, but this one is pretty soft, there are shoes with a more pronounced rocker out there, but this one has a pretty good rocker. Frequently jack-of-all/master-of-none is a good way to focus group yourself into adequate, but in this case, the Atmos is pretty good in every way underfoot, and the result is incredible.

Sam: It is quite rare that a run shoe combines excellence in the upper with an equally excellent midsole but here Topo does just that. Low drop, high stack trainers are hard to pull off as they can be too soft at the foam level and hard to get off the heel or overly rigid upfront due to foam height and hard to toe off.  Here we have a foam that is neither mushy low and soft or overly firm and stiff. There is plenty of quick rebound and lots and lots of protection. 

As with the Cyclone 2 and Specter,  the rocker geometry is key, and as Peter and Jeff say above,  Atmos is smooth with a pleasant easy roll and at all paces and plenty of toe off springy kick and a bit of front flex. 

Yes, the platform is very broad upfront (contributing to the shoe’s great stability)  with a massive 110mm forefoot width but Topo keeps the midfoot width relatively svelte at 75mm and the heel reasonably wide and stable at 85mm. 

I think by keeping the heel and especially the midfoot, which are relatively narrow for a max cushion,  the shoe is able to move along smoothly and fluidly while staying nonetheless stable. While the Atmos is almost but not completely rigid, there is never any awkwardness or hang ups to forward motion, no blocky heel or exaggerated far front toe spring that has to be hit just so to toe off. 

It is clearly the smoothest flowing all of a piece max cushion shoe to date for me.

Sally: There are only so many times we need to tell you that the Atmos is SMOOTH, a true pleasure to run easy in. This is a goldilocks of a midsole that is soft but not too soft, firm enough to be responsive but not too firm, and cushioned enough to be forgiving without being overly so. There is just enough rocker geometry to make for a smooth transitioning roll. I have not had the chance to really push the paces yet, but I can honestly say this is one of the smoothest, most mellow rides out there.


Peter: There is some firm rubber in a horseshoe around the forefoot and there are two slabs of rubber on either side of a moderate cut out under the heel. It looks like the rear rubber is slightly thicker than the forefoot rubber. The shoe has held up well on slick roads and never feels unstable or like you’re going to lose traction.

Jeff: It reminds me a lot of various racing shoes, especially adidas’ first Adios Pro, because there’s very little done with the rubber to give it extra traction. But it’s incredibly grippy rubber that has outstanding durability. The exposed midsole foam also has better durability than most, I don’t see an early retirement coming like some shoes do.

Sam: The smooth thin rubber is surprisingly grippy. During my runs along the beach road with fine sand over pavement it gripped as well as just about any shoe I recall with a tiny initial slip then as the rubber fully compressed total grip and yes alot like the Adios Pro 1 on the same roads,

Sally: As the others have pointed out, the thin rubber underfoot provides plenty of traction, and proved grippy for me even on very wet roads and beach sand strewn sidewalks. There are no crevasses or cutouts to snag pebbles or gravel in, and my favorite part: this outsole is stealthily quiet. No heads turning from in front of you to see who that loud runner is (yes, I get that alot in some noisier shoes). 

Ride, Conclusions and Recommendations

Peter: Ride is always king–and the Atmos is royalty for sure. The Atmos was a surprise for me–based on history with Topo I expected good, but maybe not great. Boy, howdy was I wrong! The Atmos quickly jumped up to be a co-favorite shoe for me. I’ve been loving the NB SC Trainer 2 and the Topo is an excellent and similar riding shoe. Balanced, cushioned but not mushy, the Atmos rolls through the miles effortlessly. I’d highly recommend it to anyone who is looking for a max-cushioned trainer that isn’t a marshmallow. It’s not a go-fast shoe, but it's a damn good daily trainer and long-run shoe. 

Peter’s Score: 9.6/ 10.The Atmos is an excellent shoe, rides beautifully and fits great. At  $160, it’s on par with other max cushion shoes. 😊😊😊😊😊

Jeff: I couldn’t agree more - ride is everything, and the Atmos got the ride PERFECT. Uh huh. I said it. The p word. It’s been a long time since I’ve put on a shoe that I literally get excited to go run in, and especially one that’s a daily trainer . As a shoe reviewer I’ll never have just one shoe that I log all my miles in, but the Atmos makes me think…maybe? And my version of fast and Peter’s differs by quite a bit (his easy day pace is around my goal pace) but I would say this shoe can go fast. The bounce and roll work quite well at slow-guy-fast-pace (SGFP™) even if they aren’t necessarily a race shoe.

It’s a big shoe that feels dialed in, a soft shoe that isn’t sluggish, a bouncy shoe that’s still controlled, a roomy shoe that isn’t ponderous, a versatile shoe that works at all paces - I could go on but I don’t want to make it embarrassing. I liked the Atmos quite a bit the moment I put them on, but it didn’t take very long to become one of my favorite shoes I’ve ever logged miles in. I think it’ll be a while before I take them off.

There have been a number of shoes that don’t get anything wrong, which makes it a pretty good shoe, and easy to recommend. But getting nothing wrong and getting everything right aren’t the same thing. The Atmos gets nothing wrong, and everything that it gets right it gets really, really right. 

Attention to detail seems like it went up for Topo, with the midsole and performance being the biggest difference, but it’s a sum of a lot of little things that put this shoe in rarefied air. My pair is identical weight, to the gram, which has happened exactly one time before (and I’ve weighed a few hundred pairs of shoes over the last decade - don’t kink shame me), and speaks to Topo upping their game. Does the same weight matter in any measurable way? Of course not, but it is impressive nonetheless. 

I’ve liked Topo from very early on because of their ethos and philosophy. While some of their shoes weren’t of the greatest execution, you could see where they were as a company, and where they were going, and frequently I was more excited for the step in the direction a shoe had put them than I was actually for the shoe. I wanted to like the shoe more than I ever did. That ends now. The Atmos is the payoff for them figuring out what works, what doesn’t, and what needs a slight tweak. Now it just makes me wonder - when do we get a trail version of this? I’m in on day one.

Just one suggestion for the Atmos 2 - do the same thing, but with the heel pull tab. Nailed it.

Jeff’s Score 10/10

Ride: 10 (50%) Fit: 10 (30%) Value: 10 (15%) Style: 10 (5%)

😊😊😊😊😊😊 (yes, I added a sixth -JB)

Sam: I am glad Peter says ride is king as I will put up with upper issues with a superlative ride. Here not only is the ride king but the upper is outstanding as well.  While that 110mm forefoot width does not make the Atmos the most “agile” or quick feeling of trainers, head over to Topo’s equally excellent Cyclone 2 and Specter for that, the smooth friendly flow, dynamic enough just right foam here puts it at the top of the max cushion class. 

Atmos can handle most of my daily miles, moderate tempos, and recovery runs as the platform, geometry, and cushion is so versatile, the roll so smooth and the weight reasonable at sub 10 oz. And the upper..roomy secure and comfortable threads the needle between a performance fit and comfort fit just right with the cheerful big and friendly look exactly reflecting the ride. 

Sam’s Score: 9.5 / 10

Ride 9.6 (50%): Fit 9.3 (30%): Value 9.5 (15%): Style 9.5 (5%):  

😊😊😊😊1/2 Easy 5 stars + if Topo could get the weight under 9 oz / 255g

Sally: Add me as a charter member of the Topo Atmos Fan Club! The soft smooth ride here is simply sensational, and when combined with an uber comfortable secure upper, we have a shoe that is absolutely a JOY to run in. I tend to gravitate to “faster” tempo trainers, but this max cushion gem gets everything right. I am totally fine with sacrificing a bit on my listed paces on Strava. 

I will reach for this shoe as a daily trainer leaning toward long days or recovery days, but I know I will also be wearing these for my power walks with Luna, my Labrador retriever, and even for “running” errands. The classy solid black disguises the fact that these are a fully featured performance trainer. We have a winner here!

Sally’s score: 9.6 / 10
Ride: 9.7 (50%) Fit: 9.5 (30%) Value: 9.5 (15%) Style: 9.5 (5%)


14 Comparisons

Index to all RTR reviews: HERE 

Topo Athletic Atmos vs. Topo Specter  (RTR Review)

Sam: The Specter is 1.5 oz lighter at 8.2 oz  / 232 g (US9)  with a 3mm lower 35 mm heel / 30mm forefoot stack. It shares the same rocker and geometry with the Atmos. Where it differs is in its midsole foams with a relatively firm EVA carrier and PEBAX supercritical foam inner core. If you want a more uptempo leaning trainer with a broad anatomical toe box it is an excellent choice. It is also an excellent complement to the more easy days Atmos.

Topo Athletic Atmos vs. Topo Phantom 3  (RTR Review)

Jeff: Topo’s old max cushion trainer versus their new one has to feel like Quintin Dailey (he was the starting shooting guard for the 1983 Chicago Bulls, the year before MJ got drafted). The P3 fits very similarly but under the foot it’s completely a different game - even though the Phantom also has Zipfoam. Not sure if it’s the higher stack of a different use of the midsole material, but either way, it’s not even a comparison.

Sam: Lower stack, similar geometry it seems more Zip Foam 2 and a more tuned rigid rocker in the Atmos make it an easy choice for me over the Phantom 3.

Topo Athletic Atmos vs. Topo Cyclone 2 (RTR Review)

Peter: The Cyclone 2 was a different kind of surprise than the Atmos. The Cyclone is moderate to low cushion in comparison but it’s built on a midsole of PEBAX, which makes it much lighter, forgiving, quick to turn over and relatively fast. I felt that I was on the verge of bottoming out sometimes with the Cyclone, but there is no chance of that on the Atmos. I’d say these shoes complement each-other well.

Sam: One of the most fun shoes of 2023 the unplated Cyclone 2 is super lively, bouncy and quick very a very natural exciting ride. Totally agree that the two make a great pairing with shorter speedy stuff and races in the Cyclone and everything else in Atmos.

Topo Athletic Atmos vs. Topo Ultrafly 4 (RTR Review)

Jeff: Topo’s old old most cushioned daily trainer before the Phantom was introduced, it follows the same formula as the Phantom with the same great Topo fit and upper, and an underwhelming midsole. Compared to the Atmos it feels flat and dull underfoot.

Topo Athletic Atmos vs. New Balance SC Trainer 2 (RTR Review)

Peter: The NB has been my favorite daily running shoe for the past couple of months, so it says a lot that I like the Topo Atmos just as much. They are both highly cushioned and efficient shoes that run lighter than they look. Can’t go wrong with either one, so just get both. 

Jeff: I’ll go with Peter’s final assessment, you should get both, but the NB is softer, though the plate helps keep it almost as stable as the Atmos. And the NB toebox felt pretty good, until worn against the Atmos at the same time. The SC Trainer 2 is a top tier performance trainer, though I’d take the Atmos over it without hesitation.

Sally: Now we are comparing the Atmos to the successor to my all-time favorite, the SC Trainer 1. I mentioned above my bias for a faster feeling shoe, and the SC Trainer 2 wins that contest, but the Atmos toes the line for being just as well cushioned and smooth. Deciding vote? The upper of the Atmos fits just that much more comfortably (the SC Trainer 2 runs a wee bit short for me at the big toe, so long runs can be painful). But ya, buy them both, wear them both.

Saucony Kinvara Pro (RTR Review)

Sam: With a bigger stack at 42mm heel / 34mm forefoot and 3mm more drop, the Pro has a supercritical top foam layer, a carbon plate and a big midsole as the outsole bottom layer. It weighs slightly more than Atmos. It leans and performs better at slightly faster paces than Atmos and is more dynamic at pace due to its plate. Atmos leans somewhat slower paces and is smoother and more seamless in flow and feel with a somewhat more comfortable and better executed upper.

Topo Athletic Atmos vs. ASICS Superblast (RTR Review)

Sam: It is clear if you are willing to spend the $50 more for the Superblast it will provide yet more cushion at a strikingly lower weight and higher stack of 8.43 oz / 239g (US9) shoe with a big 45.5mm heel. Credit goes to its supercritical Flight Foam Turbo foam which is so much lighter and is quicker reacting than the Zip Foam 2. Given the high high stack, its geometry while fine, is not as smoothly flowing/rolling as the Atmos. Its lighter upper is also just fine but not as well matched to the big platform as Atmos is or as roomy in the toe box. 

Topo Athletic Atmos vs. Hoka Mach X (RTR Review)

Peter: I wish I loved the Mach X. On paper it’s the perfect idea. Take the excellent Mach 5 and then add a bit more cushioning to it. Unfortunately I feel that I have to push more to get through the stride and the forefoot feels a little bit dead to me. Atmos all the way. 

Sam: 0.8 oz lighter with slightly more stack height and the same drop the Mach X includes a Pebax plastic plate which makes it more rigid if more responsive at faster paces. Its heel area is strangely firm, blocky and over stabilized at slower paces. Despite the weight difference the Atmos is a smoother flowing more versatile and pleasant trainer for all but fast paces.

Topo Athletic Atmos vs. Hoka Clifton 9 (RTR Review)

Peter: The Atmos and Clifton 9 are in the same basic area code. They are both highly cushioned daily trainers that should allow runners to log lots of miles. The upper of the Clifton feels a little bit constraining to me. Again, I’m a fan of both of these shoes. The Clifton is roughly 0.7 oz lighter than the Topo, but they feel similar. 

Topo Athletic Atmos vs. ASICS GEL Nimbus 25 (RTR Review)

Jeff: The Nimbus upper is much more plush, and the midsole is substantially softer, making it a more comfortable shoe, but also a more sluggish running experience. Atmos running dynamics put it way above the Nimbus as a daily trainer.

Sam: With Jeff. Nimbus is more plush all around but sluggish with a blocky heel and much more awkward less smooth flowing ride.

Sally: Jeff summed it up well in that the Nimbus is softer and more sluggish and “less runnable.” I will even pick the Atmos for walking the dog.

Topo Athletic Atmos vs. Skechers Max Road 6 (RTR Review)

Jeff: Even bigger underfoot than the Atmos, the MR6 has a large slab of Skechers Performance’s latest iteration of their lightweight midsole material, Hyperburst, and the result is pretty good. But it lacks the dynamics of the Atmos, or the stable platform or exceptional fit. 

Topo Athletic Atmos vs. New Balance Fresh Foam X 1080 v13 (RTR Review)

Jeff: New Balance’s big daily trainer latest version was a massive step forward for the shoe, and shares a lot of characteristics with the Atmos. Similar stacks and landing feel, the New Balance is softer, but doesn’t have the bounce of the Atmos, also lacks the same platform stability the Topo boasts. The 1080v13 is a great shoe, the Atmos is just that much better.

Sam: For sure softer and more flexible, the 1080 is a more traditional riding take on max cushion. It lacks the decisiveness and smooth flow of the Atmos having a more easy going and for me overly mellow comparative ride. Its stretch knit upper  is very comfortable but does not compare to the hold and security of the equally comfortable Atmos upper.

Topo Athletic Atmos vs. Nike Zoom X Invincible Run 3 (RTR Review)

Jeff: Nike’s super bouncy PEBAX equipped trainer got reigned in from the previous versions which were more bouncy and borderline unstable (or not borderline depending on who you spoke with). The Nike has more sink in feeling at landing in the heel, but its forefoot is less dynamic than the Atmos. Also the Nike has a major heel slip issue, and has none of the inherent stability the Topo brings.

Sam: Agree with Jeff here. While the Nike has superior and energetic foam, its geometry and resulting ride dynamics are more awkward than the Topo and its rigid upper is no comparison.

Sally: I loved the earlier versions of the Invincible, but Nike lost me with V3. Heel slip extraordinaire! The Atmos is a smoother, softer feeling shoe that fits and feels much better.

Topo Athletic Atmos vs. Nike InfinityRN 4 (RTR Review)

Sam: Considerably heavier at over 11 oz with a similar heel but higher drop of 9mm, the newest Nike trainer is softer, more flexible but not very dynamic despite its new React X foam. It has plenty of cushion but not nearly as much decisive and smooth move along energy as the Topo. Equally comfortable as the Atmos upper, he Nike upper is a stretch knit with not as secure hold. As a max cushion trainer the Topo is clearly superior.

Topo Athletic Atmos vs. Saucony Endorphin Shift 3 (RTR Review)

Jeff: Saucony’s large firm stacked and geometry dependent daily trainer uses their PWRRUN midsole that doesn’t have much give, but has an exaggerated rocker under the forefoot to keep your feet moving forward. Firm cushioning lovers may prefer the Shift, but if you like your shoes to have any comfort, squish, or bounce, take the Topo.

Topo Athletic Atmos vs. Saucony Triumph 21 (RTR Review)

Jeff: Saucony’s followup to the exceptional Triumph 20 took a great shoe and made the upper that much better. For me, the Triumph has best in class landing softness, dynamic response, overall comfort, etc - and when wearing one on each foot for a few laps around the neighborhood, the Atmos is effectively identical, with just a little more pop under the forefoot and a wider platform to keep things stable. The Triumph 20/21 had been my benchmark for well-cushioned daily trainers, and today that changed.

The Topo Athletic Atmos will be available November 2023

Tester Profiles

Peter lives in Austin, Texas and has been a sub 3 hour marathoner as well as a 1:21 half marathoner in recent years.

Jeff Beck is the token slow runner of the RTR lineup, and as such his viewpoints on shoe and gear can differ from those who routinely finish marathons in three hours or less. Jeff runs 20 miles per week on roads and trails around Denver, CO (and sometimes on the treadmill when the weather gets too much for a Phoenix native). Jeff only got into running in his 30s, as a result his career PR's are 4:07 for the marathon and 5K at 23:39. Jeff has finished several ultra marathons, from 50K up to 50 miles, and is still debating if he wants to go down that road again.

Sally is a lifelong runner and mother of five who agreed against her better judgment to run her first marathon at age 54; she has since run the past ten Boston Marathons, two NYC Marathons, one Chicago, and one London with the WMM Six Star Medal now in her sights. With a Boston PR of 3:25:55 in 2022 (9th place in AG) and two consecutive 2nd place in Age Group W60 awards in NYC, she competed in the Abbott World Marathon Majors Age Group World Championships at the 2022 London Marathon and ran an all-time PR of 3:24:02, placing 6th in the world in her women’s 60-64 age group.  She also competes in USATF races with the Greater Lowell Road Runners team. To add meaning to her Boston Marathon races she runs with Team Eye and Ear and has raised over $275,000 for Massachusetts Eye and Ear Hospital. Sally is 5’2’’ and 105 pounds and lives in Marblehead, MA, training outdoors year round. She blames her love of skiing out West for any and all Boston Marathon training challenges.

Sam is the Editor and Founder of Road Trail Run. He is 66 with a 2018 3:40 Boston qualifier. 2022 was Sam’s 50th year of running. He has a decades old 2:28 marathon PR. These days he runs halves in the just sub 1:40 range if he gets very very lucky. Sam trains 30-40 miles per week mostly at moderate paces on the roads and trails of New Hampshire and Utah be it on the run, hiking or on nordic skis. He is 5’9” tall and weighs about 164 lbs, if he is not enjoying too many fine New England IPA’s.

Samples were provided at no charge for review purposes. RoadTrail Run has affiliate partnerships and may earn commission on products purchased via shopping links in this article. These partnerships do not influence our editorial content. The opinions herein are entirely the authors'.

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Ben said...

Thanks for the great review. The Phantom 3 had weird heel/arch support that was a deal breaker for me. Any similar issues with the Atmos?
Also would love a comp to the Ghost max. Seems like they'd be extremely similar.
Thanks again.

Anonymous said...

Comparison to Novablast and Superblast?

Sam Winebaum said...

None of us noted an over done arch support in Atmos maybe to more flowing geometry of midsole? Compared to Ghost Max and will add. Yes very similar, I would say Atmos is smoother flowing, a bit more dynamic in foam feel and softer and a touch less responsive. I prefer Atmos.
Sam, Editor

Anonymous said...

Superblast? This one sounds like a winner for sure though!

Jeff said...

Sorry anonymous, I haven't tested the Novablast/Superblast so I can't chime in.

Ben - for Ghost Max, similar levels of overall cushioning and stability, but the Atmos has a much more dynamic midsole, especially in the forefoot. The Ghost Max doesn't have the same level of rocker/geometry the Atmos does, and while its toebox is pretty good, it can't contend with the Topo.

Sam Winebaum said...

Hi Anonymous,
It is clear if you are willing to spend the $50 more for the Superblast it will provide yet more cushion at a strikingly lower weight and higher stack of 8.43 oz / 239g (US9) shoe with a big 45.5mm heel . Credit to its supercritical Flight Foam Turbo foam which is so much lighter and is quicker reacting. Given the high high stack, its geometry while fine is not as smoothly flowing as the Atmos. Its lighter upper is just fine but not as well matched to the big platform as Atmos is or as roomy in the toe box.
Sam, Editor

Michelle... said...

Wowza, this review! I’ve been Topo Loyola since 2016 (thanks to Sam!) due to Morton’s neuroma. However, some recent updates have been disappointing, especially since with a more recent hallux limitus diagnosis, I can’t tolerate a lot of flexibility. The Ultrafly 4 was a massive disappointment, for instance, and made me nervous about the Phantom update. So this review has made me excited about Topo again. Atmos sounds like it is going to be a wonderful addition to my lineup, and perfect for my bad toe! Can’t wait to order them!

Anonymous said...

Hi, curious if the upper on th Atmos is the same as the Specter, or how it compares. I live in Miami and am always looking for light and breathable uppers and the Specter is pretty good in that regard. I have had a good experience with the Specter but find it a tad firm. I'm trying to decide if I try the Atmos or wait for the '24 Specter with the all Pebax midsole.

Anonymous said...

Great review everyone! I love the comparisons at the end.