Topo Athletic RR and RT shoes Review

August 19, 2013
Topo Athletic RR and RT shoes
2Topo-Athletic-RR-and-RT
3Topo-Athletic-RR-and-RT
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5Topo-Athletic-RR-and-RT
6Donald-Running-in-the-Topos
Topo Athletic RR and RT shoes 2Topo-Athletic-RR-and-RT 3Topo-Athletic-RR-and-RT 4Topo-Athletic-RR-and-RT 5Topo-Athletic-RR-and-RT 6Donald-Running-in-the-Topos
GEAR INSTITUTE RATINGS
88
Weight
9
Fit & Comfort
7
Flexibility
8
Ground Feel
6
Traction & Durability
8

The Good

  • Lightweight construction
  • Flat, flexible midsole
  • Effective ventilation in upper
  • Boa closure (on RR only) is highly secure

The Bad

  • Stiff ankle collar requires some breaking in for comfort
  • Boa system prevents custom tightness through midfoot
THE VERDICT

The Topos are best for predominant road runners who want a lightweight, flexible shoe that allows natural biomechanics, but also prefer adequate midsole cushioning for a similar level of comfort and protection as traditional trainers.

FULL REVIEW

Fit and Comfort
Material construction of the uppers is similar on both models, and combines ultralight mesh and microfiber that felt comfortable against sockless feet in our testing. All seams on the interior are heat welded which prevents chafing on the underside of the feet. However, the ankle collar on both models was initially rigid and caused some irritation at the Achilles tendon. After a breaking in period of about 25 miles, this was no longer an issue.

The Boa lacing system on the RR is generally a nice innovation: it is quick and easy to use, and locks the midfoot area down extremely securely. The laces are virtually indestructible and seemingly unbreakable, although they do need some cinching down from time to time. The only drawback is the Boa system always tightens the laces in a uniform distribution, so if you like customizing your lace tension differently from top to bottom (say, looser near the toes and tighter at the top), you’re better off with the RT’s traditional lace system.

Flexibility
All components of the RR and RT are highly flexible through the forefoot and midfoot, with slightly more thickness and less flexibility in the heel. For a shoe with a moderate stack height (see below), overall pliability is fairly significant.

Ground Feel
Topo shoes feature the traditional Japanese split-toe Tabi design, intended to help anchor the forefoot to the ground during foot strike. Stack height consists of 3mm outsole + 6mm midsole + 3mm removable insole for a total of 12mm.  The flexible and lightweight material construction of the midsole plus sparing use of outsole rubber (next item) enhance ground feel during testing.

Traction
Both the RR and RT utilize rubber sparingly at the points of impact, leaving the midsole EVA in contact with the ground elsewhere. Traction is strong on asphalt in wet and dry conditions, as well as on groomed trails. The outsole pattern is definitely biased toward road use, as grip is quite uncertain in muddy off-road conditions.

Durability
With approximately 100 miles of use on the RT and 60 on the RR, neither shoe shows signs of unusual wear.

Versatility
Although Topo also makes a general fitness shoe (the RX), either the RR or RT have good crossover potential for general athletic use. They can also be used for combination road/trail runs if the off-road portion isn’t too technical.

Weight: RT 6 oz, RR 5.3 oz

 


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