Everyone is always on the lookout for a solid recovery shoe, but many times this comes in the form of a sandal or slide that is all plastic and while there is a place for this, there is also room for something better. In this case, the Topo Athletic Vibe fits the bill balancing between support and recovery with something you can actually walk in and enjoy the experience.
Quick Details, Specs, and Availability
- A recovery shoe you can actually wear and not feel awkward about it.
- Weighs in at 8.2oz or 232g for a US Men’s 9, 6.4oz or 181g for a US Women’s 7.
- Features 25mm of cushion and has a 5mm heel/toe drop.
- Retails at $110.00 USD and comes in 2 colors for Men and 3 for Women.
We have long been fans of a good post-run recovery shoe, but most come in the form of a slide or slip-on and are made of plastic which makes them really easy to clean, but every once in a while you want something with a bit more style that you can actually continue wearing in public. The Topo Athletic Vibe really hits on that market and this helps explain the premium price point.
The upper is a bit weird when you first put them on as you can’t just slip into them quickly like a normal clog. The top piece of material will roll back under itself, so you need to flip it up, and don’t worry you will get used to it. Once in the shoe, the upper cradles you really well and we were worried it might feel snug, but instead just the opposite. It feels roomy and soft against the skin. Plenty of toe splay like a normal Topo Athletic shoe so a very easy transition if you are already a fan.
For our money though the footbed is the biggest success here. That Wave footbed and in particular those little ridges might feel a little disconcerting at first, but after repeated use, you get used to it and it just feels good. With every step, you get a slight little massage against the bottom of your foot which stimulates those nerve endings and helps with that recovery process.
The upper on this is really interesting in that it is two distinct pieces. On the front half of the foot, you have an antimicrobial engineered knit, but the back half is a more playable elastic material that sweeps around the front of your foot and locks you in place. That stretch allows for easy on and off and having the knit in the front does increase the breathability of the shoe overall.
Their Ortholite 3D Wave Sense footbed is really what delivers on the recovery elements here. Kind of nestled inside of the traditional insole this footbed allows you to sink in a bit and then the grooves provide a little massage element to the bottom of your foot with every step. In all honesty, quite enjoyable.
The midsole on the Vibe is really just your typical EVA. You get 25mm of cushion in the heel and 20mm upfront for a drop of 5mm. There is ample cushioning here for really anything recovery-oriented and if you enjoy the feel of any other Topo Athletic shoe, then this is a perfect parallel.
The outsole on the Vibe is a mix of midsole EVA and then blown rubber which has been added at key contact points in the forefoot and heel which aids in both long-term durability and grip. This stands up pretty well and while the grip isn’t usually a huge recovery shoe need, it makes it a better recreational or walking shoe as well.
Style & Aesthetics
Styling is a mixed bag on this one. The black is pretty innocuous so you don’t really notice the material mix on the upper, it just looks like a clog. The other colorways really show off the variance in the shoe and honestly, we have just seen mixed opinions in terms of the look. We prefer the styling of the white or green over the black given they have a bit more personality.
The Topo Athletic Vibe is a really solid recovery shoe and something you can easily grab quickly for casual usage. Their Wave Sense footbed really allows your foot to relax and cradles you nicely. Our biggest drawback is probably the price as these are essentially the cost of a whole new pair of shoes and almost double any other recovery shoe on the market. Given it is something you can wear casually as well or even to activities like yoga, then it definitely makes it more palatable.