Topo Athletic is one of those brands that rides just under the mainstream radar. When you have them on and happen to spot someone else in a pair, it typically results in a subtle nod, as if you both know something everyone else is missing out on. You also don’t find them at traditional running stores, but instead walking stores and specialty shops. We have reviewed them in the past with shoes like the Terraventure and the Ultrafly, but we are back again with the new Fli-Lyte 2. This is Topo’s lightest cushion neutral road shoe.
The Fli-Lyte 2 is the lightest and most breathable shoe in the Topo lineup. The upper is composed of super lightweight breathable mesh with a small amount of printed overlays giving some very minor semblance of structure. This shoe is designed to be their fastest shoe however and while you still get staple features like a huge roomy toebox, this model is much simpler in its design.
The mid on every Topo is all EVA and is very similar across the lineup, only differentiated by varying amounts of cushion provided. I will say the Fli-Lyte 2 is a bit more responsive than the original model and I am honestly not sure where that is coming from, but it is noticeable. I wouldn’t say there is a lot of cushion here, but it’s enough to protect the foot. The shoe also has a 3MM offset and this is differentiator when it comes to Topo, they never go big on the drop, but always come in at the lower end so they match up well against shoes like Altra.
The outsole on the Fli-lyte 2 is EVA with targeted rubber at key points. It does seem to last quite a while and I haven’t noticed a lot of breakdown coming from the EVA itself. The shoe has decent width, so plenty of contact points and it tracts fairly well over all.
Style & Aesthetics
The Fli-Lyte 2 is available in 3 color variants for men and they have 4 color choices for women. The women’s versions definitely have a broader palette, whereas the men’s are fairly practical and can honestly be worn with jeans. I actually wish they offered one other color for men that was a bit more fun, but these are great shoes for practical travel as well.
For those that have never run in a Topo, it’s probably the closest shoe to an Altra that is currently in the market. They are very close to zero drop, have a nice wide toebox and I would say for the most part are designed to not be aggressive. Shoes like the Fli-Lyte 2 are those models that hit the more performance runner in that they are lighter and less cushioned than their counterparts.
I was a hardcore Ultrafly guy and pace typically in the lower 7s so was very excited to try out the Fli-Lyte 2. The fit and feel were very similar to other Topo models I have tried so right away I was out at ease. You get plenty of room in the toe box, so much so that you can even wiggle your toes. The upper really breathes well and it feels light under foot. I took these out at varying distances throughout my time with them and I’ll admit I had some struggles. The mid never really felt as soft and comfortable as the Ultrafly’s I loved, but that wasn’t being replaced by a lot of responsiveness. For sub 10 mile distances where I would dial-up the speed this wasn’t an issue and I loved the lightweight, but for longer runs I felt like I was missing something. I do think it’s a great update to the original Fly-Lyte don’t get me wrong, but not sure I will hang up my Ultraflys for distance runs just yet. I honestly tend to throw these on a lot when I’m traveling in all honesty as they are super comfortable, I think there is an entire walking market they are missing here.
I came from the Terraventure which I wore into the ground, so I was excited as well. I actually really didn’t love the original Fli-Lyte, but I can safely say the Fli-Lyte 2 has become my go to. The fit is perfect and not only do I get a lot of room in the toe box, but the heel holds me really well. The footbed is comfortable and I like the minimal drop. The color choices are hit and miss (my pair was a little bright), but overall styling is very nice. I am definitely on the slower side and keep my miles consistently below 10 so I never notice a lot of cushioning issues. I can say I am curious about their other models especially as we get into winter and the temperatures drop, it feels like a summer shoe basically. I do love the fit and feel though, I am truly buying into everything Topo has to offer.
The Topo Athletic Fli-Lyte 2 continues on the tradition Topo has built and really brings them visually in sync with the rest of the lineup. It is definitely more performance focused and my tendency is definitely still more toward the Ultrafly especially at distance. The shoes are super comfortable as always and they are really just as at home when you are traveling, walking, or running. Everyone I have put in any Topo is typically shocked by how good they feel on their feet.
Technical Stats, Pricing & Availability
- Weight: 8.4oz (size 9)
- Drop: 3mm
- Stack Height: 23/20mm heel/toe)
- MSRP: $100.00
- Available: Now