Topo Athletic continues to be one of those brands that just it’s under the radar of many runners’ views. It is one of those shoe brands that to know them is to love them and folks who do are truly faithful. Every shoe in their lineup has a very similar build and design meaning you can move across their range easily, and they’re all really well-built. They are also not mainstream meaning you find them more at an REI than your local running store, but this does it a disservice, and shoes like the Ultraventure Pro are a testament to why people love the brand.
Quick Details, Specs, and Availability
- The Ultraventure gets a full redesign and goes Pro!
- Weighs in at 10.4oz or 295g for a US Men’s 9, 8.2oz or 232g for a US Women’s 7.
- Features 30mm of cushion and has a 5mm heel/toe drop.
- Retails at $145.00 USD and comes in 1 color for Men and Women.
It is always an exciting day having a new Topo Athletic shoe to try out because they have done a great job transforming their lineup over the last few years. It is also great to see them coming out with a professional level trail shoe like the Ultraventure Pro because if anything it is validation for how strong their design can be.
As for the Ultraventure Pro itself, the out-of-the-box experience is a little underwhelming for men and only a tiny bit better for women. The reason for this is the shoe has a lot of black on it and doesn’t really necessarily jump out at you… it just isn’t sexy. However, it is hiding a lot of its goodness inside so it’s just not translating to the visual aesthetic of the shoe. Note it doesn’t look bad, in fact, it actually blends into the environment really well, but it won’t wow a lot of people.
On the foot, it fits like every Topo Athletic, and by that we mean it follows their consistent recipe. First, you have a nice wide toe box that allows for ample toe splay which inevitably will transfer into the run but you really can fully wiggle your toes in there and feel comfortable. As you move to the mid-foot and lace down it locks you in place and pulls you back into that external heel counter which keeps the rear of your foot from moving in any direction. So think, lots of wiggle room upfront and then a nice hold in the rear. Once laced down, there is no movement.
Out in the run, the shoe is solid, but it will only work for certain runners because the shoe runs very firm. While there is 3 mm of foam in the shoe, it is almost unnoticeable because this midsole does not have a lot of softness to it. This will actually make it a bit more performance-oriented and will also make it more appealing for those people that like a firm ride. The lug pattern allows for really easy up and downhills and also controls side to side movement really well. They are not huge lugs, but they handle almost anything we can throw at it. In terms of the fit of the shoe overall, the actual feel of the upper is perfect as almost all Topo Athletic shoes are, but that firmness will definitely be runner dependent.
For instance, our male tester found it just way too hard underfoot for long runs, it just wasn’t an enjoyable running experience but thought it would make for a really great light hiker. Our female runner had just the opposite response and loved the shoe, but she is traditionally a Topo Athletic runner and is used to that feel of their Zipfoam. Clearly, this is definitely a shoe you should try before you commit because it could go one of two ways for you.
The upper on the Ultraventure Pro is a very tightly-knit engineered mesh that is incredibly durable against the trail elements. It does have a bit of stretch which provides accommodation for varying foot sizes. The toe cap features a heavy rubber overlay that extends all the way around almost to mid-foot ensuring the longevity of the shoe and protection for your toes. As we move to the heel, we land on a memory foam style heel that sinks into a very rigid external heel counter which locks you in place. The tongue is lightly padded and gusseted and the shoe also supports gaiters as well.
The midsole is composed of a three-piece design using Topo Athletic’s Zipfoam. This allows the shoe to be lighter and still responsive during a run. As we have said before, their Zipfoam design tends to feel a bit more firm than cushiony despite the fact this has 30mm of cushion. It is definitely designed for people who like a bit more rigid ride.
The Ultraventure Pro’s outsole is all Vibram top to bottom which translates to maximum protection and durability so these things will last. They have also added an ESS forefoot rock plate to help protect your foot from those items on the trail that might find their way through.
Style & Aesthetics
Styling on the Ultraventure Pro is okay, just a bit underwhelming. There is a lot of black on the shoe across the midsole, outsole, and the overlays, so the actual color usage is very minimal. The color selection for both men and women is decent, but we would have loved to have seen more color choices for people as there is only one option to choose from. Maybe just a bit more pop in the main body color.
Overall, the Ultraventure Pro is a solid shoe. It builds on Topo Athletics already robust lineup providing a professional level mid-distance trail shoe. In our opinion, it will be best utilized by those who prefer a firmer ride and are probably running 50Ks or under. While the shoes could go farther, that firmness will inevitably translate into a little bit less comfort. We do wish the shoe had a bit more visual personality as it is a bit innocuous, but definitely not bad looking. If you are a Topo Athletic fan or have run in their road shoes and are considering a trail shoe, then this is a really easy purchase. If you are a fan of Altra but would love to have a little more support heel to toe, then this is also a great choice because it blends the things you love about Altra with a bit more drop.
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.