Topo has garnered a loyal following among runners who seek a natural, open toebox shape, low heel-to-toe drop, and simple, lightweight cushioning. We had the chance to ask Tony Post, founder and CEO of Topo Athletic, a few questions about Topo’s new trail running shoe, the Terraventure.
Who was the Terraventure developed for?
The Terraventure is a trail running shoe, but it’s versatile enough to work as a light hiker or travel/walking shoe. It features ample cushioning, a more aggressive rubber lug sole, a forefoot rock plate, and tear resistant durable and breathable mesh upper. At 10.4 oz. in a men’s size 9 or 8.2 oz. in a women’s size 7, it’s very lightweight given its strong durable design features.
How does the Terraventure differ from the MT-2 and Runventure?
The Terraventure features our classic Topo fit, roomy in the toes but snug in the waist and heel, and like MT2 and Runventure, it also features a fully gusseted tongue and a 3mm heel to toe drop. However, the Terraventure was designed as a more rugged evolution of Runventure – it offers more protection and cushioning, we isolated the rock plate to the forefoot, and it features a more aggressive outsole with deeper lugs and a wider base platform to insure stability and durability. It’s the most rugged Topo we’ve ever built, but a real value at just $110.
Why does the Terraventure have a 3mm drop?
All Topo shoes feature 0-5mm of drop – we like a more neutral underfoot platform that can encourage better posture, and a midfoot strike during running. Making shoes between 0-5mm of drop with different levels of cushioning allows the user to find the Topo that feels right for them.
How do you balance light weight and durability?
It’s really a combination of design, material selection, and shoe making techniques that prioritize those benefits. We tried many different upper materials, optimizing for abrasion resistance, breathability, comfort, and weight before settling on the mesh material we selected. The shoe was designed without overlays and features only one seam (in the heel under the TPU protective cover). The simplicity of this construction means fewer threads that can break and fewer parts to delaminate or fail. The upper pattern is printed directly onto the mesh, giving the shoe more body, reinforcement, and durability where it’s needed.
The sole is where we really put our work in. As the former president of Vibram USA, I learned a lot about making performance footwear soles over the years. Terraventure features aggressive wide breaking lugs for tricky downhills, stability lugs through the midfoot, and smaller sharper lugs with flex grooves in the forefoot to optimize uphill and sidehill traction. Each lug edge is chambered for mud/snow release and/or traction while maximizing rubber to ground surface contact. Our rubber compound is also critical, balancing the need for durability, slip resistance over a variety of conditions, and lightweight.
What type of testing was involved with the development of the Terraventure?
A small team of Topo and ‘friends of Topo’ who are passionate about trail running and hiking all tested the product (women and men). We went through four generations of sole development before settling on the final design and compounds. We tested prototypes in all different conditions and across different surfaces. We also tested our products against other top brands we respect before settling in on the final fit, upper, and sole specifications. The fine tuning, collecting feedback (good and bad) is really the exciting part for me – that’s when you start to know if you really have something, and with Terraventure I think we do!
What’s your favorite part about running in the Terraventure?
This shoe was designed to tackle rugged conditions. Years ago, I was associated with the Leadville Trail 100 and learned a lot about the gear needed for tough Ultras (Editor’s note: Tony is a Colorado native and the co-founder of the Leadville Trail 100 mountain bike race). I always wanted to build a shoe like this, it’s like having the perfect tool to do the job — there are other good durable trail shoes out there, but fine tuning our fit while perfecting the product for all those extreme conditions is what I find satisfying. I hope others will have as much fun testing their Terraventures as I have! There’s always more we can learn and improve, so let us know what you think, good or bad – we love any and all feedback!
Thank you, Tony!
Rachel runs for fitness. It’s entirely about personal health and mental/emotional wellness for her. She’s one of those weirdos that finds proofreading to be thrilling. As manager and lead editor for the Running Warehouse Blog, THIS is her baby. She also recently started a graphic design business with her husband Ryan as a side hustle.