Topo Athletics has consistently maintained a solid lineup across the road and trail running ecosystem, but they have always lacked in one model… a high cushion road runner. The Phantom is here to fix that and finally brings something for those customers looking for a higher stack height, a bit more cushion as well as a bit more foot security. We think it is something they have missed all along and finds a nice spot at the high-end of their lineup.
The upper is reminiscent of their other models like the Fli-Lyte 3 using a breathable engineered mesh and then adding a TPU heel counter. Most noticeable is the big padding tongue which definitely deters from feeling any lace issues and finished off by that nice bit toe box which provides ample splay. Definitely a comfortable plush feeling upper.
The midsole is made of something they are referring to as Zipfoam which is supposed to be springier than EVA while also being lighter. In our testing, it actually feels a little too soft and we actually like their other midsole implementation better. This would obviously support recovery more than attacking, so we would reserve this for that.
The outsole is a mix of ground contact midsole material mixed with strategically placed rubber and this was clearly done to keep the weight down. The other good thing is that less rubber means more flexibility which is uncommon on many high stack shoes. The grip is solid as well.
Style & Aesthetics
The Phantom comes in 2 colors for men and women and honestly, its a bit of a sleeper visually… almost clunky. This is one place where Topo Athletic needs to step it up across the board honestly, things are getting a little bland on the road end.
First off out of the box, I don’t like the colorway at all, it is just a little too parental and orthopedic. On foot some quick things hit me. First, the upper is nice and comfortable and the toe box is very roomy. You can also feel the height of the midsole and it does feel plush. In the run, the utility of the shoe becomes clear very quickly to me because it is a little sluggish. Speeding these up takes work because that midsole is so soft, but when I transitioned the shoe to my recovery days I enjoyed them a lot more. It is a nice easy, slow ride, so I would say don’t expect it to be something it isn’t.
As a much slower runner and a heel striker, I actually really appreciated the Phantom and I may be a bad judge because I love everything Topo Athletic makes. The shoe is comfortable for me across all distances and I am very happy with how they have designed it. I do clearly see where people might take issue with the speed of the shoe, but for slower runners I found a lot of enjoyment.
The Topo Athletic Phantom is their first foray into a much higher stack shoe, but something we think is a solid first step. Right now it is more of a recovery shoe and even feels a little clunky sometimes, but it has its moments. We are very excited to see what the next iteration of the shoe looks like more than anything because they’ve put the groundwork in for something that could be really beneficial for them and increases the brand’s visibility. Overall, this is definitely a risk we are glad they took.
Technical Stats, Pricing & Availability
- Weight: 10.2oz (size 9)
- Drop: 5mm heel/toe
- Cushion: 30mm
- Type: Neutral Cushioned Road
- MSRP: $130.00
- Available: Now