Topo Athletic continues to be a somewhat unsung brand that only certain folks know about, yet every year they continue to pump out better and better shoes. Each model seems to improve upon the last and in every category they have something for most runners. The Topo Athletic Ultrafly 3 is a prime example of this as they fully rethought out that upper material, lightened it up even more, and yet it still provides ample cushion and support. Read on to see more.
Quick Details, Specs, and Availability
- Features a fully redesigned upper and more responsive midsole
- Weighs in at 9.6oz or 272g for a US Men’s 9
- Has 28mm of cushion and a 5mm heel/toe drop
- Retails at $130.00 USD and comes in 3 colors for Men and Women
We did a full his and hers review on this to get two very different takes on the shoe. Our male runner paces in the mid 7s for most runs and will tackle distances over 20m, logging up to 100 miles per week. Our female runner is a more recreational and paces in the mid 10s, logging runs more in the 5k range on a regular basis with longer ones getting close to 10k.
Jeremy – I wasn’t sure what to expect from the Ultrafly 3, but out of the box, these things felt phenomenal on the foot. The upper is just amazing and breathes really well and the heel holds really well. Underfoot cushion felt solid albeit not a ton of pop at first glance.
Out on the run, I found an easy pace the best way to go in these. I could dial off a lot of distance but needed to keep it pretty simple and methodical. For me, the midsole just didn’t have that responsiveness I would like and while the cushion level is comfortable… it just fell a little flat when I tried to really dial it up. Keep in mind for me a nice simple pace would be in the high 7s or low 8s (min/mile), so not slow by any means. but it was real work to get down lower and frankly not worth the effort. If I wanted a Topo to do that, then I would switch to the Zephyr.
High point for me was the upper. The material choice was super comfortable and it breathes really really well. I also liked the toebox width and overall roominess.
Lauren – These are simply awesome for me. I love the wider toebox for roominess and the softness of the collar is really comfortable. I also find the shoe to be incredibly breathable and love the fit of the upper as there is so much give in there. I also really love the look of them and while the colors are muted, I couldn’t stand the Fli-Lyte 3 blue so this maroon version was perfect for me.
Running wise I did notice some of the same things around the bounciness of the shoe. They definitely don’t have the rebound of something like the Clifton 7 which I also tested, but for just an easy run the Ultrafly 3 is totally functional.
My only concerns are around durability. I have worn a hole on the inside of the heel after around 100 miles. Additionally, because of my foot strike, I can really see the wear on that exposed ZipFoam. They could have used more rubber on the front half of the shoe to mitigate this.
The Ultrafly 3 features an all new engineered mesh upper that is drastically improved from the 2. The mesh is lighter and more breathable against the foot with narrow slits across the toe box for even more breathability. It also features an updated external TPU heel counter to lock you in place even more. The collar is a molded foam that really helps keep that foot in place and the tongue is also slightly padded as well.
The big plus here is obviously the toebox. All Topo Athletic shoes feature a wider area, much like Altra. This allows for more comfort throughout your run as your toes have ample room for movement. Seriously though, the entire upper structure here is really solid.
As we move into the midsole, the Ultrafly 3 makes us of an updated dual-density EVA they call ZipFoam. We have seen this in other Topo shoes prior, but as a refresher, their goal was to provide better durability and a higher rebound. The easiest way to think about this is that it feels softer against the bottom of your foot, but much firmer and resilient against the ground. This leads to a more responsive experience during the run. It also features a medial stability element on the in-step to help with some stability and support. They also feature a 5mm drop which we find is a great sweet-spot for many runners.
The outsole on the Ultrafly 3 is a mix of materials. First, they use segmented rubber and have oriented in a way to encourage maximum flexibility. Along with that you have exposed areas of ZipFoam from the midsole, so inevitably you will see some additional wear, but primary foot strike will occur on the rubber.
Style & Aesthetics
The styling on the Ultrafly 3 is pretty solid, but also lackluster in terms of color choices. They are safe in many ways and while the color choices are good, we would love to see the palette open up a little bit or introduce better two tone color mixes on the upper. It is not a deal breaker though and the colors are safe and overall styling is solid.
The updates Topo Athletic has made to the Ultrafly 3 are frankly fantastic. The shoe is so much better than its prior iterations and the new upper alone is with the update. We didn’t get a ton of pop from that midsole, but it is comfortable and good for nice easy miles. The nice wide toebox, mid level drop, and a comfy midsole will make this highly accessible to a large group of runners.
Check Out Other Reviewers Thoughts
As always, we gather together some of our favorite reviewers so you can get a well-rounded view of the shoe. Here are our favorites.