Going into this, we were expecting just another incremental update, and one we were just so so with because the Topo Athletic Fli-Lyte isn’t a shoe that you typically wax poetically about. BUT Topo has done something really risky (and awesome) here as they have redesigned the shoe top to bottom. The Fli-Lyte 5 is essentially an all new shoe, almost nothing remains from prior iterations and this really allows us to tell a much better story, because despite its low stack, we found the shoe, incredibly useful in a variety of workout scenarios.
Quick Details, Specs, and Availability
- Weight – 7.5oz or 213g for a US Men’s 9, 6.3oz or 179g for a US Women’s 7
- Cushion – 23mm of cushion and a 3mm heel/toe drop
- Pricing – $125 USD
- Colors – 2 colors
First off, don’t be fooled by the Fli-Lyte 5s boring exterior. If anything, that is our biggest gripe with the shoe, we want more colors, because we think the shoe has way more personality, and just want it to pop more. The black/white color (a Topo staple), works really well when this bridges into leisure, which it can do, but we wish, the color palette had some punchier moments as well.
As for the shoe, let’s start up top. The Fli-Lyte 5 features a fully redesigned mesh upper that is super breathable. It is hard to tell with the darker color way, but you can almost see your hand through the mesh in the right light. They have coupled this with really solid structural underlay elements that help maintain lateral stability, but it’s all been an effort to keep the weight down on the shoe, which they have done well here. Up top, you’ll find a moderately padded heel and collar with no dedicated counter, yet the rear foot does hold you in place well. The reason for this is actually on the tongue and note this is not a gusseted tongue, but Topo has added two loops near the upper end that you lace through and that solves the tongue movement problem, but also creates a bit of a heel lock. This can feel a little snug sometimes, but easy to play with to dial it in. It also shows up on every Topo model now so if you like it, then consider other models as well.
From here, we move to the midsole which features a reformulated version of their ZipFoam technology. This version is supposed to be softer and more responsive and we can definitely attest, it has a nice underfoot feel. However, this isn’t a super cushioned shoe so you should expect a bit of ground feel here, that is the intent after all. It is going to be designed for runners who like to be closer to the ground and the flared midsole design also provides a nice stable base.
The outsole also gets a redesign, with more rubber being added to the heel really for durability and upfront they have changed the pattern adding rubber to those higher abrasion areas while also putting some lugs on the middle column to grip. The rubber is also really thin, again a weight loss mechanism. The design works really well, and again works even better when we’re talking about alternative uses because as a lifting shoe, there is zero slippage, and for quick little agility work, it still remains super nimble and grippy.
Multiple of our reviewers have said the same thing, the shoe is a lot of fun and very easy to wear. Many of them found themselves wearing them casually just because it’s a comfortable shoe. Others worked out in them, some use them for walking… it just became clear how a simple shoe can deliver in many areas. Our only concern is durability and longevity in the upper given how thin that mesh is, but It remains a fun shoe and while we won’t be running a marathon in these, there are plenty of daily tempo and easy runs these solve for.
Construction and Materials
The Fli-Lyte 5 features an engineered mesh upper, providing exceptional breathability and a comfortable fit. Paired with its long-lasting, resilient insoles with anti-microbial properties, it ensures lasting freshness during your runs. Additionally, the roomy, anatomical toe box allows your toes to spread naturally, enhancing overall comfort and performance.
The Fli-Lyte 5 incorporates the innovative ZipFoam™ midsole, effectively achieving a harmonious blend of plush cushioning and energetic responsiveness, delivering the ultimate running experience. In addition to this groundbreaking feature, the Fli-Lyte 5 also introduces enhanced heel and forefoot rocker designs, further refining the shoe’s ride for a seamlessly smooth and comfortable journey.
The Fli-Lyte 5 features an updated rubber outsole that significantly enhances durability and traction on various surfaces. They have increased rubber on the heel as well as changing the upfront pattern for better grip
Topo Athletic took a risk here and redesigning the Fli-Lyte, top to bottom. What they have delivered with the Fli-Lyte 5 is an innocuous looking, super versatile, and quite fun, daily training and workout shoe. It is not a shoe we’re going to run a ton of distance in given the cushion level, but it is a shoe we can throw on for those quick tempo runs, or cross-train in them during gym workouts, plyometrics, HIIT training and more. The shoe has a nice stable platform with a lot of ground feel, but is light and breathes really well and all of that together delivers a really solid versatile shoe.
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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.