Product Review: Topo Athletic Ultrafly

It has been a while since I have posted a product review.  With my peak training in full swing and the constant grind of everyday life, I have been left with little spare time.  Fear not though!  I have been out testing a few things and finally found some time to polish up my review of the new Topo Ultrafly, released in May 2016.

DISCLAIMER: I am a member of the 2016 Topo Athlete Team and these shoes were provided to me free of charge.  As always though, I aim to provide my honest feedback to help you make the right buying decision and to help Topo continuously improve their products.

Product Overview

As those of you that have been following me for a while are well aware of, I try to get most of my miles in on the trails. However, with my schedule, I still manage to log a fair amount of road and treadmill miles out of necessity.  Downside, lack of scenery; upside, I get to try out even more shoes!

The Topo Ultrafly is an extension to Topo’s Road line of shoes and is their most cushioned shoe to date.  At 28mm in the heel and 23mm in the forefoot, it offers a more cushioned ride than their Fli-lyte and Magnify models and you can definitely feel the difference when you put it on your foot.  Additionally, this is the first shoe from Topo that offers “light support” through the incorporation of a denser foam on the medial side of the outsole.  So, while it isn’t a full on support shoe (it doesn’t incorporate plastic posts like most other support shoes), it does provide a bit more support than its brothers and sisters.  The outsole pattern and upper are not identical to their other road shoes, but are similar enough in look, fit, and feel that if you like the other road shoes from Topo, you will not have to adjust much to these.  Lastly, the 5mm heel-to-toe drop offers a more natural foot feel without having to transition all the way to zero drop…it is a happy median.

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Specs

Release Date: May, 2016
Price: $120 (An extra 10% off at topoathletic.com with code TOPODEAN10)
Weight: 9.2 oz (M9)
Stack Height: 28mm/23mm (5mm Heel to Toe Drop)
Fit: True to Size

Design/Fit

The design and fit holds true to Topo principles.  It fits true to size and follows the foot shaped design that gives you freedom in the toe box while securing the rest of the foot through the mid foot and heel.  The upper is light and breathable, yet durable.  My pair of Ultrafly has over 100 miles on them and they still look like I just took them out of the box.

Performance

Comparably Light

For a shoe with this kind of stack height, the Ultrafly is actually pretty light at 9.2 oz for a Men’s size 9.  It is at the lighter end of other comparable popular road shoes such as the Mizuno Wave Rider (9.7 oz) , Saucony Ride (9.2 oz), Nike Zoom Pegasus (9.9 0z.) and the Brooks Glycerin (10.6 oz). Topo saves a fair amount of weight with their light, breathable upper as well as through the strategic use of different foam types to incorporate in mild guidance without overdoing it on denser, heavier foam.  To be honest, I have never fretted too much over the weight of a shoe, particular within a half ounce or so and I don’t think most runners should either.  If the shoe performs for you and you train appropriately, then I don’t think it matters all that much to a majority of runners.

Comfort

The added cushion is definitely noticeable and makes for a great feeling underfoot.  With a 28/23 stack height, the Ultrafly definitely provides a soft, cushiony ride, but not without a minimal break-in period.  I found them to be a little stiff out of the box, but they did loosen up a tad after 25-30 miles.

Ride

Topo markets the Ultrafly as a guidance shoe thanks to the denser foam they use on the medial side of the shoe.  As this is further back on the shoe, you will probably notice this more if you are more a heel striker than you would if you run on your fore or mid foot.  The ride of this shoe was definitely plush, but I found the heel to toe transition to be a bit more stiff than their other road shoes, even after a break-in period.  As a support shoe, this is clearly by design and should resonate with the types of runners looking for a bit more in their shoe.

Conclusion

As a light support shoe, I think the Ultrafly is a solid first version.  It provides added support without hindering the natural movement of the foot, so it is not going to mess with your natural body mechanics.  While my personal preference is probably still for the more flexible Magnify, I would recommend this shoe to anyone that is looking for a shoe that embraces the natural shape and function of the foot while providing a bit more support.

Pro’s

  • The cushioning feels great under foot without being overly squishy.
  • The overall weight of the shoe, especially compared to its industry peers, is light.  The makes it a great candidate for race day or as an every day trainer.

Con’s

  • Not as flexible as I typically like in a shoe, but as this is built to be a moderate support shoe, this is by design.  It will work for runners that seek out more support in a shoe.
  • I don’t typically have to deal with rain as often on the road,  but I found the drainage to be less than ideal.  After a 6 mile run in pouring rain, they felt heavy and had puddles in the heels when I took them off.  This is due to the rubber bumper that wraps around the base of the upper.  I would like to see the next version to have some areas where the water can escape.  In the meantime, save these for dry days.

If you like this post and would like to stay up to date when future gear reviews, race reports, and other related posts are released, please follow my Facebook page at Ultrarunner Joe!

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Endevr MyID Medical ID Bracelets

As an introverted trail runner, I spend a lot of time on the trails by myself.  Like most runners I know, before I head out the door I make sure that I have food, water, and my shoes.  And while my adventures take me to some pretty remote places, I find that I rarely think about what I would do in an emergency situation.  While I can’t plan for every scenario, at the very least, I make sure I always have identification with me.

Endevr, maker of the MyID medical information products, sent me a few of their products to review..  The first thing that caught my eye about Endevr was the range of their products that gives me many different options to ensure I can be identified no matter the situation.  This is the most comprehensive collection of medical ID products I have seen from a single company.  As a plus, their products aren’t limited to those that are physically active either; they make products for all members of the family, ensuring that no one is left without access to critical information in a time of need.

Overview

Endevr is all about creating an ecosystem with their MyID line.  After creating your information profile online for free, you can then link up to 10 bracelets, 5 sticker kits, and a wallet card to your profile.  Additionally, each product provides three methods for accessing the owners profile:

  • QR Code
  • Website
  • Phone Number

Let me quickly go over the products that they sent me.

Products

MyID Sport
MyID Sport – $19.95

The Sport is the more minimal of their bracelet offerings.  This is my preference because I don’t like larger, bulky bracelets while running.  It is made of durable silicone, making it water/sweat proof.  I actually haven’t taken it off since I got it, which speaks to the comfort and minimalism.  Another thing I love about the Sport is that they make kid sizes, which means you can get them for the whole family!  The biggest downside to the Sport is the size of the QR code, which I had trouble scanning with my iPhone.  I was able to get one out of the three apps I tried on my phone to read the QR code successfully. (NOTE: Endevr has let me know that they were aware of this and have implemented a new printing technique that resolves this issue – it will be available on all bracelets on August 1, 2016).

MyID Sleek
MyID Sleek – $29.95

The Sleek is a bit wider than the Sport, giving it a more sturdy feel.  The metal clasp allows you to adjust the size to the wearer, versus the non-adjustable Sport.  The one thing that I like about the Sleek is that it comes with the metal slider, which allows you engrave custom text in it.  This is great if you plan to be in remote places, because you can engrave key information in it in case you are outside of cell phone range and can’t use the other forms of retrieving the users information.  The downside is that the engraved slider comes with an extra $5 charge and is pretty restricted on the amount of text.

MyID Wallet
MyID Wallet Card – $9.95

The wallet card is hard plastic and is designed to fit into your wallet.  I like this for everyday use simply because when I am not running, I always have my wallet with me.  I keep it in my wallet with my driver’s license and health insurance card, both items that people typically search for in an emergency situation.

MyID Sticker
MyID Sticker Kit – $4.95

The sticker kit offers the most flexibility of any item they have.  It comes with four stickers that you can put anywhere.  Some good places to put these would be your bike, phone, gym membership key ring card, etc.  The possibilities are endless and with four, you can put them in places that ensure you are always identifiable.

Conclusion

I have switched over to MyID from RoadID as the ecosystem it makes me feel like I have all of my bases covered, which provides me with a much better sense of safety.  With MyID, I feel like my information is very accessible to those that may need it.  Additionally, I can create and manage an emergency information solution that works for my entire family.

Pros

  • Multiple ways to access the data ensures that your information can always be recovered.
  • Multiple products creates an ecosystem that ensures you always have your emergency information on you.
  • Not just for runners, but great for the whole family.
  • The app is easy to use for creating and maintaining your emergency information profile.  It allows you to store a ton of information that may be useful to emergency responders.

Cons

  • Other than getting the slider on the Sleek engraved with key information, these require you to have an internet or phone connection.  While first responders generally have better forms of communication in the backcountry, such as radios, this may be a problem in very remote locations if found by someone with access only to a mobile phone.

If you like this post and would like to stay up to date when future gear reviews, race reports, and other related posts are released, please follow my Facebook page at Ultrarunner Joe!

You Might be an Ultrarunner if…

Most of us have heard the Jeff Foxworthy comedy routine, “You might be a redneck if…”.  I decided that our community needed a version of our own.  I would love to hear any more that you might have in the comments!

You might be an ultrarunner if…

  1. You have ever run out of Gerber baby food and given your infant a Clif food pouch instead.
  2. You have ever followed someone out of the bathroom after they didn’t wash their hands and immediately lined up behind them at the buffet without even questioning it.
  3. You have ever purchased your race kit from TJ MAXX.
  4. You have ever washed down a pancake and syrup burrito with a swig of pickle juice.
  5. You use more diaper rash ointment than a newborn baby.
  6. You have ever gone for a short training run only to end up in the next county.
  7. You have ever told your family to expect you at the finish line in 8 hours and it actually takes you 14.
  8. You get a bulk pallet discount on your gels.
  9. You refer to those gels as “nutrition.”
  10. You have ever debated whether or not a puddle of water is “drinkable.”
  11. You have ever asked people on Facebook to diagnose your ailments.
  12. You have had someone tell you that they “don’t even drive that far.”
  13. You have more wildlife friends than human ones.
  14. You have ever wondered to yourself if having Hobbit feet would make you a better runner.
  15. You have a tendency to take a nap or go to the bathroom without any concern for your current location or surroundings.
  16. Your have become hyper vigilant to random sounds around you.
  17. You have ever left your house wearing two socks and returned with only one.
  18. You have ever screamed in agony during what would otherwise be a relaxing shower.

If you like this post and would like to stay up to date when future gear reviews, race reports, and other related posts are released, please follow my Facebook page at Ultrarunner Joe!