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Shoes

Topo Athletic Runventure Trail-Running Shoe (Spring 2015)

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8.9 oz | 2mm drop | $110

 

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The Dirt: The Runventure shares characteristics with past models we’ve seen from Topo—natural fit, low drop, ground feel—but with the added protection of a rock plate and toe guard. For a minimalist-inspired shoe, there’s a decent amount of cushioning in the midsole and structure in the upper. The relatively unaggressive “all-terrain” outsole surprised testers with its grip on a variety of surfaces, including loose dirt, rock and to some extent mud, while remaining comfortable on stretches of road.

Devoted barefooters won’t flock to the Runventure, due to its rock plate and thicker cushioning, but runners who prize agility and natural biomechanics while wanting a bit more underfoot will find this shoe’s best-of-both-worlds approach appealing.

Best For: Moderately technical trail runs up to marathon distance, or longer for experienced low-drop runners.

Fit: True to size; roomy in the toebox and snug in the midfoot and heel, though the fit may feel a bit sloppy on a narrower foot.

>More spring 2015 trail-running shoes


Tester Raves

“If you want a nimble, low-drop shoe with enough cushion to ease the pains over the long haul, these are winners.”

—Iris Sutcliffe, Port Angeles, WA

“So light and comfortable that you can forget about your feet altogether.”

—Lauren Arnold, Polson, MT

“The construction of the shoe is superb, the quality of the materials truly second to none. The seamless upper is smooth as silk on the inside, yet also very breathable and durable.”

—Lou Brenner, Polson, MT

“On buffed-out singletrack, it felt solid, with great ground feel, and its light weight made me feel agile on both climbs and descents. On rocky, technical terrain, it felt nimble and provided great protection.”

—Hank Dart, Hailey, ID

 

Testers on Fit

“I love the open toebox. My forefoot has lots of room, and I feel like I can wear these shoes all day. The heel is very secure, and a snug fit is not sacrificed despite all the extra wiggle room up front.”

—Lauren Arnold, Polson, MT

“The anatomic fit of the toebox provides enough room for toes to splay or swell, and prevents hotspots or blistering.”

—Donald Buraglio, Carmel Valley, CA

 

Testers on Tread

“The rubber outsole with multidirectional, mid-height lugs is great for all-around running, no matter the surface.”

—Lou Brenner, Polson, MT

“Though the ‘all-terrain’ tread pattern is not very aggressive, it was nimble, with great grip on many different types of terrain: buffed-out singletrack, technical trail, loose dirt and scree, road and even the gym floor. The sole is slightly stiff, but feels supple on the trail.”

—Hank Dart, Hailey, ID

“Being a bit wider, the shoe had a fairly large surface area, which contributed to unexpected stability on the trail. The outsole is pretty conservative, but given the surface area, was more than adequate, holding well through varied conditions.”

—Casey Weaver, Carbondale, CO

 

Testers on Downsides

“The outer reinforcements are a bit stiff, particularly where my foot bends at the toebox. The shoe could also be a little more breathable if there wasn’t so much outer reinforcement.”

—Lauren Arnold, Polson, MT

“The rock plate makes the shoe too stiff, and very clunky when running on a hard surface, and it has a hard toe bumper that hurts more than toeing a rock.”
—Lou Brenner, Polson, MT

“The Runventure absorbs a lot of water in wet conditions, and drainage isn’t the best.”

—Iris Sutcliffe, Port Angeles, WA

“I found the midsole somewhat unresponsive. This is largely attributable to the flexibility of the shoe—which is by design. If flexibility is desired, the shoe will appeal to that preference.”

—Casey Weaver, Carbondale, CO

>More spring 2015 trail-running shoes

 

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