Product Review: Topo Athletic Terraventure Trail Shoe

Topo Athletic has been seeing a lot of momentum in the market recently as they continue to expand their product line and reach a wider user base.  I see more and more of them out on the trail, which tells me that their formula is working.  Their most recent expansion of their Trail line is the Terraventure.  For those of you that have been looking for a shoe that caters to more rugged terrain, this one is meant for you.  Let’s take a look.

DISCLAIMER: These were provided to me for free as a member of the Topo Athlete team.  While I am partial to Topo, know that I don’t take the decision to commit to a single shoe brand lightly.  At the end of the day, my goal in all reviews is to lay out the facts in an unbiased way so that you can make an informed buying decision and so the company can use the feedback to make their products better.

Product Description

The Terraventure is marketed as a shoe for more rugged terrain where traction and durability is more critical.  In looking at the shoe out of the box, I can see that this was definitely the focus in creating this particular shoe.  I don’t see the Terraventure as a shoe built completely from the ground up as much as I do a spinoff from one of their existing shoes, the MT-2.  Don’t get me wrong, I love the MT-2 (it is my favorite of their shoes all-around to date), but it does have its shortcomings when running in the rugged Wasatch Mountains of Northern Utah.  The Terraventures are meant to address those shortcomings, most notably with:

  • A more durable upper
  • A more grippy outsole
  • A more protected ride with the inclusion of a rock plate

Of course, these things don’t come for free with the trade-off being more weight in the shoe.  However, if you are looking for something that you can beat up and don’t mind a little more weight, this might be the shoe for you.

Specs

As I am largely comparing the Terraventure to the MT-2, I wanted to include the side-by-side specs for ease of comparison.  Also, here is a link to my review of the MT-2 if you want to look at that one.

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As you can see, they are comparable in most areas.  The difference in the stack height is largely attributed to the deeper lugs and the addition of the rock plate in the shoe.  The price is only slightly higher, most likely reflecting the increase in materials used.

Outside the Shoe

Sticking with the comparison with the MT-2, I have included some side by side images below (the terraventure is on the left/bottom in these photos).

On the upper, the design is only slightly different aesthetically, but largely the same.  What you can’t tell from the image, but is the main difference between the two in terms of the upper is that the Terraventure uses a slightly thicker, more durable material.  This is largely meant to reduce tearing.  The shoe uses a standard lacing system along with a nicely padded heel and tongue.

     

On the outsole, the lug pattern did change ever so slightly, particularly in the midfoot.  Additionally, the lugs are about 1mm deeper for increased traction and grip.

Inside the Shoe/Fit

The inside of the shoe fit almost identical to that of the MT-2.  That is to say, plently of room in the toe box for your toes to splay with a snug fit through the midfoot and heel to keep the shoe firmly in place.  This is Topos bread and butter design approach and it is resonating with a lot of people.

In Action

Fall/winter is my favorite time to test new shoes here in Salt Lake City because you have access to all weather conditions depending on whether you are back in the mountains or down in the foothills.  As such, I got a chance to test these in snow, mud, and dry conditions.  I had a number of observations:

  • The fit was pretty much identical to that of the MT-2.  In other words, my toes had ample room in the wide toe box while the shoe stayed snug with the secure fit through the mid-foot and heel.  Topo continues to stick with what works in my opinion.  They didn’t invent the wide toe box and foot shape design, but I think they perfected it.  While I have found other models to be clumsy in the midfoot and heel (causing slipping and blisters), the Topo design approach simply does not slip and slide around.
  • The deeper lugs, although only about 1mm of depth was added, made a world of difference, particularly in slightly packed snow.  While running, it allows the shoe to get a deeper grip in the snow, which reduced slipping by quite a bit.  In mud, I felt that they did a great job at shedding and preventing build up underfoot.
  • I noticed the rock plate, particularly on scree, where pointy rocks definitely felt a bit more dull.
  • No blisters or hot spots, which has never been a problem with Topo.
  • While heavier in comparison to the MT-2 that I usually run in, they didn’t seem cumbersome.  The shoe was responsive and had a good transition throughout the foot.

Overall, I maxed the distance in these out at about 12 miles for a single run.  It is a bit shorter than I usually like to go, but such is life in my offseason training plan.  Still, I didn’t see anything in those runs that would indicate possible problems over longer distances.

Final Thoughts and Recommendations

As with most trail runners, I have a number of different shoes that I use depending on where I am running and what the conditions are.  In terms of the Terraventure, I see these becoming an integral part of my every day training, when I often like to wear a heavier shoe.  I also see myself being able to log more miles in a pair of Terraventure versus the MT-2 thanks to the durability.  I would then save the lighter MT-2 for race days or speed trail workouts.  For everyone else, I always recommend that you at least try Topo out if you haven’t before; all of their models promote proper foot and running form through their foot shaped design and low heel-toe drop.  If you primarily run in rugged terrain and/or are looking for a solid everyday trainer, I would start with the Terraventure.

Pro’s

  • The increased durability really lived up to the test.  Have yet to see so much as a snag in my Terraventure.
  • The added 1mm in lug depth doesn’t seem like much, but I definitely felt a difference when running in mud/packed snow.  In fact, this was probably one of the most notable improvements in my wear test.
  • The rock plate is a nice addition.  The few times running on scree, I definitely felt more comfortable under foot.

Con’s

  • It is a bit heavy in comparison, coming in a full 2 oz. heavier than the MT-2.  As a user, if you are deciding between Topo shoes, you really need to understand how you want to use the shoe and what the most important factors are, weight or durability.  At the same time, it is actually lighter than many other shoes in the space that tout higher durability, such as the Brooks Cascadia or Saucony Xodus.
  • Breathability, while still more than adequate, is not as good as the MT-2 (as you would expect with a thicker upper).  This, again, is more of a tradeoff versus a deficiency.  I never had an issue with my feet sweating in the Terraventure, but the more durable upper definitely takes away a bit of the airy feel that I get with the MT-2.

If you decide to follow my advice, you can give them (or any other Topo shoe) a try AND get 10% off at topoathletic.com with code TOPODEAN10...with 10% off and a friendly return policy, why wouldn’t you?

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!

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!