TMS Ambassador Mike Tebbutt is an avid adventure runner and member of the Donner Party Mountain Runners. Follow Mike on Instagram at @irontebby. Although his record breaking time of completing the Tahoe Rim Trail was subsequently broken shortly after his run, we are very proud of Mike and his herculean efforts. Way to go Mike!
As the lower elevation trails of Tahoe began to open last month and the trail running season kicked in, it was time to get a new pair of shoes. I am fortunate to have a foot that works well with a wide variety of running shoes, though I am always in search of that perfect fit. My shoe of choice last year was the Brooks Pure 3 and it excelled for me as I used it to set a new Unsupported Fastest Known Time on the 175 mile Tahoe Rim Trail, but there was still room for improvement..
What are Topo Shoes?
Walking up to the shoe wall, my eyes immediately were drawn to the Topos, a brand I had never even heard of. I have ran in Altras in the past and always enjoyed the roomy toe box and zero-drop platform, though they were kind of heavy and clunky feeling for my tastes. So when I picked up the MT-2 off the rack, I was excited to feel how light it was and eager to feel it on feet.
Upon trying the shoes on, I immediately knew they would likely work well for me and made the purchase, not wanting to waste any of the time I had to run and test drive my new shoe that afternoon.
That first day, I took them out for a quick 5 mile run in the spring mix of dirt, mud and snow and started falling in love with my new kicks. They were light and nimble, allowing me to feel the ground beneath my feet, but still provided plenty of cushion to absorb the rocky trail. The roomy toe box allowed my forefoot to be splayed flat and provided a little extra length between the end of my toes and the front of the shoe. I kicked a rock pretty hard with the toe of the shoe and hardly felt it as that little extra room prevented the rock from impacting my toe, a feature that will be greatly appreciated when stumbling in at the end of really long runs.
I like a low heel to drop in my shoes, so the 3mm drop felt great and the fully gusseted tongue provides a super comfy feel for the top of my foot with no signs of any potential pinching or rubbing.The upper and mid-body of the shoe is fits nice and snug and has the slipper like feel that I have enjoyed in the Salomon Sense series.
At 130 Miles
Putting on the Miles
I am REALLY liking this shoe. The mesh on the upper of the shoe is highly breathable, it is also fairly fragile and easily tears on the rocky trails of Tahoe. I am always a little nervous about shoes with patches of outsoles rather than just one piece of rubber, as rocky trails tend to rip apart the bottoms of the shoes prematurely, but no signs of this happening so far with over a 100 miles over running fairly hard in them. I did find the insoles to be kind of worthless. They claim a 5mm insoles, but after only 10 miles that 5mm insole was permanently compacted to 1mm in the forefoot. No problem though as I just put some cushier insoles from an old pair of shoes that hold their form well. Other than that, I believe I have found a shoe that I will stick with for this season’s racing and running adventures.
At 250 Miles
I am still loving this shoe. While the mesh of the uppers is kind of destroyed on the right shoe and getting close to being destroyed on the other shoe, the comfort and feel have remained good, and the outsoles are still hanging tough and not showing too much more sign of wear than at 130 miles.
I have done some pretty amateurish repairs with Gorilla tape and Gorilla glue to keep the uppers in tact and expect to get at least another 100 miles out these shoes. If I can manage to not tear the uppers so early on in my next pair, I am thinking I can get up to 500 miles out of a pair, which I almost never get from other shoes.
The Bottom Line
This is a great shoe that I feel will fit a wide variety of feet. Things I hope to see in future versions are a better insole that retains its cushion for more than a few miles, a thin rock plate for added protection and stronger mesh in the uppers. I look forward to seeing what Topo Athletic comes out with next.