I was very excited to try out the new Topo Athletic running shoes. Topo is a company started by Tony Post, former CEO at Vibram FiveFingers. I love my FiveFingers, but there are times when they just don’t provide enough protection on rough trails or from the occasional sharp rock on the road. In addition, after 2.5 hours of running, my feet tend to get a little sore and it would be nice to have some extra cushioning. I ordered a pair as soon as they were available on July 1st. The Run RT is promoted as a daily trainer, it has 8mm of cushion and a 4mm rubber outsole. It is a flexible, zero drop shoe with a wider toebox. It utilizes a split-toe design. The split-toe design allows your foot to function more naturally by giving you more room in the forefoot. Individual toe pockets allow a shoe to have a wider toebox without feeling sloppy on your foot.
I wear a 10.5 2E in NB running shoes. Topo’s website says they use a standard Brannock device for sizing, so I printed one off to measure my feet. I was between 10.5 and 11. I went with 10.5. This seemed to work. I had a little bit of extra room near the end of my toes, but they seemed to fit pretty well.
What I like
The thing that draws me to shoes with individual toe pockets such as Topo, B2R and Vibram FiveFingers is the wide toebox. Most running shoes can’t provide the same roomy toebox because as the toebox gets wider it can feel sloppy on your foot. This design challenge has been overcome by shoes like this. The split-toe creates an anchor point on your foot that provides stability and allows your foot to function more naturally.
What I don’t like
I don’t like how they decided to create an arch in the shoe. The foam is very flexible, but for a person with a wider foot, or slightly lower arch, this can be uncomfortable. For most people this probably won’t be a problem. I am hoping that Topo will eventually make this shoe in various widths.
As far as minimalist footwear goes this shoe is a little bit too much shoe for my tastes. I am thinking about trying out Topo’s RR version of the shoe, which is more minimal.
If you are looking for a shoe that allows your foot to function more naturally and you like the idea of a split-toe design, I would definitely give this shoe a try. If you have wide feet like me, it may not work. Keep in mind I’ve only worn this shoe for about 3 miles, so this is a very preliminary review.