Oh boy, one of our favorites is back, it’s Topo Athletic and their new Terraventure, their most rugged trail runner. Topo Athletic is one of those periphery running brands with an increasing following that maintains its distinctive vision of creating a solid running platform without compromise. We loved the Ultrafly and the Runventure in our prior reviews, so let’s see how the Terraventure stacks up.
The upper on the Terraventure is designed to be bulletproof, composed of rip resistant nylon mesh and all the pattern you see is printed right on the mesh, it’s basically made to power through debris on the trails and still provide some reinforcement. It is not necessarily a wet weather shoe, but given the amount of material in the upper, you get fairly decent mud and wetness protection. All Topo Athletic shoes feature a enlarged toebox giving you ample toe splay and comfort from the mid part of your foot forward. The shoe also has a nice ankle lock which holds you effectively in place, so basically nice and firm on the heel which tapers up into a nice open forefoot. The lacing system has seen an update from some other models as well. It uses a full ghillie lacing system on all contact points (the Ultrafly) used it at only two points. Think of this system as vertical tubes/loops that your lace passes through instead of eyelets. For me, this provided for a snug fit throughout the run with minimal adjustment.
The big callout on the Terraventure mid is the flexible ESS rock plate in the forefoot which provides that extra bit of protection when you are out on the trail. Other than that it’s a fairly simple mid with a 21mm stack height in the rear and 18m at the front of the foot.
Honestly, while the upper is solid, the outsole is where the Terraventure shines, it is just so well thought out. Smaller sharper lugs have been placed at the front of the sole giving you more traction control and push off when climbing whereas reverse facing wider lugs have been placed on the heel which aids in breaking during descents. The two together provide you a solid level of control and help maintain ground contact. The entire sole is also made of Vibram rubber which handles any questions on durability and slip control.
Again, I am not sure I would call this an aggressive outsole, as that means something very specific to me. Instead, I would say this is a really well designed trail outsole that even works for road use. You can easily run these on the road, take them into gravel, onto the trail, and then back onto the road again. This is not a trail speed shoe, given its over 10oz, and there are other options that work better in that area, but as an overall trail shoe that can go the distance and beyond and at a decent pace, it is very well built.
Style & Aesthetics
Style-wise, the Terraventure feels very much in line with other shoes in the Top Athletic lineup, none of which are too in your face in terms of visual or colors. The visual profile is somewhere between a runner and a hiker which almost brings it into the athleisure department and honestly these make for great hikers. These are very at home with a pair of jeans and they are even a great travel shoe given their comfort level and ability to handle multiple environments. They come in two colors for men and three for women with the men’s being very muted and again more in-line with a hiker than a running shoe.
As for how they run, the shoe honestly feels a lot like an Altra. In fact, the specs are very similar to something like the Lone Peak. The Terraventure gives you a little more offset, with a drop of 3mm, and the styling I would say is more leisure compatible than the Altra. They are very competitive shoes. That being said I’m not here to pick one over the other because I think runners will enjoy both mutually.
On the trails, the heel holds you pretty well, but that lacing system is really the champion here. I never had to adjust my laces during my run at any point and I think that ghillie model they switched to is what handled that. The upper is still in really good condition despite being run through some gnarly stuff, so durability seems strong. The biggest thing though is that it’s just comfortable, they are really easy to wear and I will routinely grab these to wear when I am not running. They aren’t in your face and super easy to throw on.
In run, the Terraventure is not a super responsive shoe both from rebound perspective as well as lateral movement. It is grippy and you can hold your line well and it can go for miles without any cushioning break downs. If I could some it up, I would say, take another for speed work and take these for distance and easy days.
Overall, the Terraventure from Top Athletic is a really solid trail shoe and while I don’t think it’s going to make you a lot faster, it definitely makes up for that when it comes to durability and distance. Every shoe from Top Athletic just gets more and more comfortable and I think they have done a great job delivering a shoe that a large cross-section of people will enjoy wearing. Hardcore distance based trail runners will enjoy the moderate cushion, minimal drop, and wider toe box and more recreational folks will be pleased with the shoe’s overall comfort level. It’s not perfect yet, but if they can cut a little weight from it, then it’s right there near the top.
Technical Stats, Pricing & Availability
- Weight: 10.4oz (size 9)
- Drop: 3mm heel/toe
- Stack Height: 21/18mm (heel/fore)
- MSRP: $110.00
- Available: Now