Topo Athletic MT2 Review

June 10, 2016
GEAR INSTITUTE RATINGS
73
Comfort
7
Speed
4
Security of Fit
7
Agility
8
Responsiveness
3
Protection
4

The Good

  • Roomy toe box
  • Natural feel

The Bad

  • Poor traction on loose surfaces
  • The MT2 is a comfortable shoe with a very natural ride and flexible feel. The low heel-to-toe drop and light weight also make the MT2 very agile. This is not, however, a fast running shoe due to the rather unresponsive midsole. 

THE VERDICT

The design of Topo shoes emphasizes light weight, a roomy toe box, and a low (but not zero) drop. The MT2 features all of these design elements, along with a soft comfortable upper and a flexible feel. The result is a very natural ride that also handles quite well on technical terrain. One notable characteristic of the MT2 is that it does not feel quite as boxy and clunky as other shoes that focus on similar traits. The soft flexible upper also facilitates an excellent fit. 


Where the MT2 comes up short is in its responsiveness and speed. The midsole material feels somewhat flat and unresponsive. This is compounded by the 3mm heel-to-toe drop, which further inhibits turnover. The other major issue with the shoe is that the outsole lugs are rather ineffective on anything more technical than groomed trail or dirt roads. The outsole material does have some grip on rock, but struggled on anything wet. 


The MT2 will work well as a general purpose shoe for runners who prioritize a natural ride and flexible feel. The MT2 is probably not the best choice for runners who need a lot of cushioning and/or support, or who want something more suitable for either speedwork or highly demanding terrain.


Comfort
The MT2 is a very comfortable shoe due to the softness of the upper material and the overall flexibility of the platform. It conforms to the foot very well, almost like a slipper. The padded and gusseted tongue is also a nice touch. The MT2 is not a plush shoe, however, and its cushioning may not be adequate for heavier runners over long distances. 


Speed
The MT2 struggles with turnover. This is largely a consequence of the unresponsive midsole and the low heel-to-toe drop. The light weight compensates for this somewhat and keeps turnover from being horrible, but the MT2 is clearly not designed for fast running.


Security of Fit
The softness and flexibility of the MT2 upper really help facilitate a secure fit without excessive lace pressure. The midsole material also conforms well to the bottom of the foot, so that shoe stays put both above and underneath.


Agility
The MT2 is a very agile shoe due to the low overall stack height and light weight. The overall flexibility of the platform does reduce stability during aggressive handling, but the natural feel when quick stepping through technical terrain is definitely there. 


Responsiveness
Responsiveness is definitely the weak point of the MT2.  The midsole material has a flat, non-energetic feel and simply is not designed to provide energy return in the way that a stiffer shoe will. 


Protection
The cushioning of the MT2 provides adequate push through protection, but the upper and toe area are definitely vulnerable. This is not the result of any design flaws per se, but rather a consequence of the lighter weight:  an 8.5 oz shoe is simply not going to have the features found in a heavier, more protective shoe.

ITEM DESCRIPTION
Very comfortable upper
FULL REVIEW

To conduct our lightweight trail running shoe test, test director Jacob Waltz recruited multiple testers to use these shoes over a solid period of testing. All of the shoes were put through 50-100 miles of rigorous testing on technical single track, paved dirt roads, and some mixed pavement.

For more reviews beyond this Spring 2016 test, check out other trail running shoe tests along with our road running shoe tests and related running gear tests.

 


jacob-waltz

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