The Topo Fli-Lyte 2 is an excellent combination of minimalist design philosophy with performance construction elements. It has our testers’ favorite shape last and excellent fit throughout the shoe, paired with nice flexibility to move naturally with your foot. The midsole platform has outstanding cushioning properties but limited energy return, making the Fli-Lyte 2 better suited for casual cruising miles rather than intense racing. The 3mm drop occupies a unique spot on the spectrum that is intended for midfoot strikers, but doesn’t leave heel strikers completely out.
Our testers love the overall fit of the Topo Fli-Lyte 2 from heel to toe. The heel is scooped out low on both the medial and lateral sides to accommodate the ankle bones, with a small groove in the heel to accommodate the Achilles tendon. Topo uses an anatomic last that matches the foot shape with good precision; some users described the last as similar to Altra’s but not as wide. The gently contoured arch supports the foot where it’s supposed to, and the forefoot is roomy enough for full toe splay and high enough to prevent impingement without being too spacious or sloppy. Synthetic overlays and a traditional lace system keep the upper locked into the midfoot. Length is true to size.
The heel cup of the Fli-Lyte 2 has moderate padding, which allows it to be secure and soft with a wrapped upper foot and ankle fit. Breathable mesh uppers ventilate well for thermoregulation on hot days, and there are no seams or stitched-on pieces to rub or irritate. A lightly padded tongue customizes the fit well and stays in place throughout the run without adjustment. The underside of the shoe provides soft cushioning on impact with flexibility to move naturally with the foot.
Energy return is moderate, as the revamped midsole material emphasizes cushioning over responsiveness. Our testers felt the Fli-Lyte 2 is great at handling impact forces, but less effective at transferring the energy forward into push off. Some users commented that they had to work harder than expected towards the end of long runs in the Fli-Lyte 2.
The Fli-Lyte 2 has a very smooth, efficient ride with nice flexibility to move naturally with your foot without getting in the way; between the light weight and outstanding fit, some users commented that it didn’t feel like they were wearing shoes at all. The outsole rubber is sparing but it is well positioned in impact areas to help with grip and push-off regardless of where you land on the shoe. With a 3mm drop, the Fli-Lyte 2 is more suitable for midfoot runners, but heel strikers will still feel the soft cushioning on landing.
With a great fit and being lightweight, it’s easy to crank up the speed in the Fli-Lyte 2. Our users put it through track workouts and tempo runs, and found it easy to pick up the pace and adjust speed back and forth. Some of those performance benefits begin to decline at longer distances though, so the Fli-Lyte 2 seems best suited for shorter workout sessions or road racing from 5K to half marathon distances.