Topo Athletic has gone all in this last year in terms of refining and broadening their line to ensure they have representation across multiple aspects of road and trail running. Never is this truer than with the release of the latest in their trail arsenal, the MTN Racer. This is their latest and most dynamic trail runner and while it features a number of elements that their other trail show, this is definitely a little more performance-oriented. In terms of where it lives, it clearly falls right between the MT-3 and the Hydroventure.
The upper on the MTN Racer uses a durable engineered mesh and honestly while it is not billed as being weather-resistant, it actually does a really good job of handling inclement conditions including rain, mud, and more. The ripstop fabric handles sticks, rocks, etc as well. It also features a gusseted tongue which really helps the shoe maintain a stable and sock-like fit throughout your run. They have also added drainage ports, so if any water does get in it has an easy way to escape.
At just over 9oz and sporting 30mm of cushion this double density injected EVA midsole is more about comfort than anything and it really shows. It is like a pillow, but one that absorbs things like rocks and more without an actual rock plate. This thing is hyper comfy, no joke.Construction: OutsoleTo out some icing on the cake of the MTN Racer, they also have an integrated Vibram® Megagrip outsole. While the lugs aren’t especially aggressive, they do provide more than enough traction on the trails. The spacing on the multidirectional lugs is also wide enough that the mud and debris don’t clog it up.
Style & Aesthetics
It definitely looks like all other Topo Athletic shoes and the biggest drawback here is that it only comes in a single color for men and women. It is solid though and it’s a good looking shoe and the color option that is available is well thought out. We get a lot of questions around what we are wearing when we have these on, so clearly something is resonating.
As always with Topo Athletic reviews, we like to get a his and her view on the shoe to compare and contrast.
I actually loved everything about the shoe and I’m not sure I was expecting too. It is nice and light underfoot, but it still has that full Vibram outsole and great traction from those lugs. The upper feels great on your foot and you can go for a lot of distance without much of a problem. For longer runs, there were no noticeable hotspots or inconsistencies in the shoe… it powered right through. It was nimble across crazy amounts of elevation and handled different kinds of terrain whether it was tight singletrack or wide fire roads, muddy conditions, etc. The ripstop upper does a good job of protecting the foot and then the drainage system does a good job expelling water. My guess is they would run a little warm on hot days as they don’t breathe that well, but given how much I enjoyed them not a problem.
I am sitting here racking my head for complaints and honestly I can’t find any. Of all the Topo Athletic shoes I have run over this last year, this one definitely is my favorite and something I will continue to run in regardless.
I really like the room in the toe box and the upper material is very forgiving. They work great on wet leaves and trails and I have noticed no traction issues. The heel cup is also very stuff that holds me really well without pushing me forward in the toebox. Overall I would say these are fantastic, my feet stay dry and they are super comfortable and literally the first shoe I go to when heading for a trail.
Topo Athletic has definitely knocked it out of the park with the MTN Racer. It is a quick and nimble shoe, it is light and protects your foot nicely, and best of all it grips like nobody’s business. It has all the characteristics of a profession level super durable distance-based trail shoe that you can also take for an easy weekend run. We just can’t say enough good things about this shoe and the entire crew gives it a thumbs up.
Technical Stats, Pricing & Availability
- Weight: 9.3oz (size 9)
- Drop: 5mm heel/toe
- Cushion: 30mm
- Type: Neutral Trail
- MSRP: $140.00
- Available: Now