Summary

We spent 8.9 hours reading reviews from experts and users. In summary, this is what runners think:

5 reasons to buy

  • People have commented that they appreciate the tread pattern on the outsole, also emphasizing that it is reliable on both wet and dry topography.
  • Some consumers mention that the toe box is wide enough to welcome the natural splaying of the toes.
  • The versatility of the MT-3 has been welcomed by those who like transitioning from the trails to the roads without changing shoes.
  • Runners are happy with the cushioning system of this Topo Athletic running shoe, noting that the comfort that they receive is consistent.
  • Running in wet conditions remains a confident and viable activity because of the quick-to-drain upper unit, as some testers have remarked.

1 reasons not to buy

  • A couple of testers claim that the collar of this shoe didn’t secure the ankles as well as expected.

Bottom line

The overall reaction towards the Topo Athletic MT-3 has been mostly positive. Those who have tried this product laud its highly agreeable outsole configuration for being efficient on both wet and dry ground. The well-draining upper and responsive midsole have also been highlighted. On the other hand, some have not agreed with the in-shoe feel, determining that the ankle security isn’t as robust as anticipated.

Neutral pronators who appreciate the rugged performance of trail running shoes are the ones who are welcome to use the Topo Athletic MT-3.

Facts

Terrain: Trail
Arch support: Neutral
Weight: Men: 9.9oz | Women: 8oz
Heel to toe drop: Men: 3mm | Women: 3mm
Pronation: Neutral Pronation
Arch type: High arch
Use: Jogging
Strike Pattern: Forefoot strike
Distance: Daily running | Long distance | Marathon
Heel height: Men: 25mm | Women: 25mm
Forefoot height: Men: 22mm | Women: 22mm
Brand: Topo Athletic
Type: Low drop
Width: Men: Normal | Women: Normal
Price: $110
Colorways: Black, Blue, Orange
Size
Small True to size Large
See more facts

Expert Reviews

Experts are runners, who post reviews at youtube, directly at RunRepeat or at their own websites. Each expert is categorized from level 1 to level 5 based on expertise. See stats on expert reviews and how we calculate scores here.

Are you an expert? Apply to contribute here.

88 / 100 based on 7 expert reviews

  • 97 / 100 | Jamie Gassman

    Topo Athletic MT-3: An amazing trail running shoe

    More photos

    I’ve worn these shoes for about 60-70 miles mostly on trails with some roads and paved paths. I do want to mention that not only are these shoes extremely comfortable for running, they are also very comfortable walking shoes, so I could see them being a great hiking shoe for someone as well.

    I have very few complaints about these shoes. The positives definitely outweigh the negatives. These shoes are mostly trails, with some roads.

     

    Weight

    The shoe weighs 8 ounces. They didn’t feel heavy, most of the time, it didn’t even feel like had trail running shoes on.

    Color

    The pair of MT-3 I have is orange and yellow with a brown/dirt-colored sole. I really do appreciate the darker shoe. These are trail running shoes, so they are going to be used on dirt and mud.

     

     

    With the darker sole, the shoes just look less dirty and old after being worn on a trail. I went to Topo Athletics’ website and found that these shoes also come in emerald and orange (with the sole being bright oranges) and blue and coral (with the sole being brown and coral).

    I like how all of the color options are darker colors because especially with a trail running shoe they are going to get dirty, so at least they look less dirty when they start out darker.

    Cushion & overall design

    Overall, I think this MT-3 has a great design. The shoes have Topo Athletic high traction outsole, which is meant to give you a good strong grip on just about any surface you run on.

     

     

    I can honestly say the shoes can do anything from mud to gravel to roads. I felt like I had an equally strong grip on all of these surfaces, even in the pouring rain. The MT-3 also have midfoot drainage ports, which allows the shoe to dry fast.

    Along with an ortholite footbed (that is anti-compression with anti-microbial properties) which stops microorganisms and their growth and is extremely comfortable. This shoe is extremely comfortable for standing and walking, as well as running.

    The ortho compressions footbed makes the shoe feel brand new every time you were it.

    Drop

    This shoe has a 3-millimeter midsole drop. I think the drop really helped with the comfort of the shoe.

    Most of the time, I stick to midsole drops anywhere between 4 and 6 millimeters. So a 3 wasn’t really that strange for me, but I feel like because the shoe was so light, and grip having your foot closer to flatter really helped.

    Fit

    The shoe ran true to size lengthwise. I normally wear a 7.5, and the 7.5 fit perfectly. If anything, the shoe may run a little narrow, I have a narrow foot and didn’t have to pull the laces very tight, so a person who has a really wide foot may have a problem. The shoe also had a very roomy toe box.

    Cons

    This may be my one and only con for this shoe. The shoelaces weren’t very long, which made it sort of difficult to tie and double knot. I had to stop a few times mid-run to retie my shoes.

     

    Conclusion

    Overall, I really liked these shoes, and would defiantly purchase them again. From the drop, to how comfortable they were with running and walking, to the darker color options, and many other things. 

    This expert has been verified by RunRepeat. Reviews are neutral, unbiased and based on extensive testing.

  • 91 / 100 | Patrick Lister

    Topo Athletic MT-3: Thoughts from the road and the trail

    More photos

    We all love surprises, right? Well, I found a few in this shoe!

    To start, I never even heard of the brand before I opened the mysterious box I found on my doorstep one afternoon. I assumed they were shoes due to the size of the package but was expecting something totally different.

    I was quite disappointed at first, but as soon as I put them on to just get a feel, I fell in love with the comfort. Since then, these have been my most worn shoes. Let me explain why. 

     

    Type

    Neutral Trail Hybrid |  Weight: 9.9oz.  |  Drop: 3mm  |  Retail: 110.00

     

     

    For those of you who are not familiar with Topo Athletic, here is a quick synopsis that I took away from scrolling through their website. They are a relatively new company that started in 2013 by a former accomplished runner.

    He “founded this company from common sense, simplicity, and comfort for runners seeking a more natural running experience.” He was sick of all the gimmicks in the shoe market that just harmed the athlete and wanted to make the best natural running shoe out there.

    Some of the features that set Topo apart and are seen on all their models are: 

    • A roomy “anatomical toe box” 
    • Secure heel and midfoot 
    • A low drop
    • Lightweight

     

    All sounds really good and makes sense, but the real question is: Does the shoe follow through on the goals and promises? In short, after wearing the MT-3, I say a BIG YES!

    Let’s break this bad boy down and in this full access review!

    The breakdown

     

    This shoe has a lot of unique features I'm excited to share with you. I want to point out to you the biggest need-to-know. This isn’t a trail shoe. This isn’t a road shoe. It’s Both!

    The upper

    As far as Topo Athletic commitment, a lot of it applies to the upper. It is focused on a secure mid/rearfoot, a lightweight shoe, and a wide toe box. These features on the upper of the MT-3 were right on!

     

    The heel

    Checking out the heel, we see a lot of cushion, and you sure can feel it! It is like you are nestling deeply in a cozy pillow.

    I was very delighted with the design, and it allowed for a great fit on the shoe. Fit is so important to me. I hate when I get any heel slipping, especially on trails. This shoe creates a beautiful fit starting with the heel. 

     

    The tongue

    Like most shoes now, the tongue is connected to the shoe, which in turn helps with snug, secure, and comfortable fit.

    We also see in the tongue some very durable fabric that is moderately cushioned — nothing really notable good or bad here. 

     

    The lacing system

    The lacing system comes first with nice and thick laces that do not come untied. I never experienced the shoe coming untied once while running in these. In my opinion, that makes the lacing system a win.

     

     

    It seemed to secure really easily as well. I didn’t have to yank on them at all to get tight. The set up here helped for a great midfoot lock down which was a follow through with a promise from the brand. 

    The only issue I had was that it seems like one of the eyelets around the collar is beginning to tear which makes me nervous because there doesn't seem to be much reinforcement in this area. 

     

    The insert

    Traditional insert which is actually more high end than what some companies put in their shoes. The ortholite insert also has tech built in that helps prevent stinky shoes. 

     

    The toe box

    This is unique to the brand as well, and all their shoes come with a large toe box to allow for great natural, foot splaying.

    Now, I heard many companies start to go this way, but I just thought it was garbage. I promise you, once you experience a shoe with a natural toe box ( like Topo or Altra for instance) you will not go back.

     

     

    I loved this and thought Topo did a great job creating this. It feels great but not sloppy or too big, either. It is very comfortable and not as goofy looking as some of the Altra shoes on the market. I would say Topo does a great job with bringing this without making it an eyesore. 

    The material

    As you can see, we got a few different things going on here. In the back, we have a very cushioned fabric which allows for comfort and secure fit of the shoe.

     

     

    The shoe then transitions to a very unique material that I would say is somewhat of a “kite-like” feel. It is very thin, very sturdy, very breathable, and very comfortable. I have no idea what it is, but I love the stuff. 

    The rubber material is also surprisingly lightweight and makes its way into the upper of the shoe into the midfoot, allowing for midfoot lock down . It then flows down around the bottom of the shoe for all the protection you need for on the trail.

     

    Vents

    Real cool tidbit here. They have vents at the very bottom to aide with drainage and breathability. Not necessary but a real cool feature. 

     

    The midsole

    The mid is great in this shoe. It starts with a 3mm drop in a soft but firm foam that is quite flexible. It bends pretty easily, which allows you to maintain that natural type feels but not to the point of being unsafe while on the trail. 

    The feel is comfortable and responsive. I would say it is about a 50/50 ratio of responsive/cushion. I really think Topo hit the sweet spot in this shoe’s midsole.

     

     

    Topo's MT-3 is pretty supportive too. I wouldn’t consider this a stability shoe by any means, but it will give you a little help and support when out there running. I really appreciated the approach in this area. 

    The outsole

    So this area is a little complicated to review. You have to come in with the understanding that this is a hybrid shoe for trails and roads. In my opinion, if you are considering this shoe (or any hybrid shoe), you need to have the expectation that it will not be a superstar in either but will do the job well. 

    With that understanding and approach, I am able to say I got what I expected from the outsole. The treads give you enough that when you are on trails, you get some traction but not too much for the road. The MT-3 hits the mark in this area, and I can say that I gave these shoes great time on both areas. They followed through on their promise. 

     

    The road

    When you get these things on the road, they are sufficient. You will feel the great lock down which will carry you miles if you desire. You will feel the wonderful midsole cushion and response, which will keep your run enjoyable. You will feel the hybrid outsole, which makes the road feel a little clunky. 

    Due to the hybrid goal, the outsole brings too much for the road and brings a heavy feeling when contacting with the road. You can even hear the contact of the thick outsole as you contact the ground. I did wear these on the road a lot and was able to have good runs in them, but it certainly wouldn't be my go-to road shoe. 

     

     

    I would recommend wearing them on sloppy roads when it’s wet or snowy out, as well as runs that have a mix of trail/asphalt. These would also be good for you if you are a low mileage runner who just wants one shoe to do all. If you intend on putting these things through a lot of road mileage, you will not be happy. 

    The trail

    This trail hybrid shoe felt so much better on the trail than it did on the road. This shoe brings all you need for a long trail run, but it will also bring the lightweight design to allow for quick trail work as well.

    All the awkwardness I felt on the road with these was washed away when I got on this gravel/dirt trail. It connected well and allowed for great contact. I did not feel any of the clunkiness feeling that I felt on the road. 

     

     

    This shoe functions best on the trail and is great, especially for light trails such as gravel or dirt, due to the lack of large lugs. I would not want to bring these things on any aggressive or muddy surfaces for fear that the traction would just not be there. 

    If you love to run light trails/rail trails like we have everywhere in PA, then I would say these things are awesome. 

    Overall

    This trail/road hybrid shoe has been an awesome experience overall. It has been so dynamic, and it quickly has become my go-to shoe over the past month. I enjoy the versatility and comfort it brings.

    Here are some of the highs and lows.

     

    The highs

    • I love the brand's philosophy and features. Natural is always better, and this brand blends natural and applicable better than any I have seen. 
    • I love the idea of having a shoe that can do anything because sometimes I just can’t make up my mind of what shoe Ill need for the journey. 
    • The midsole combines cushion/response perfectly!
    • Great lock down
    • Comfortable
    • Wide toe box. I am converted now. 
    • Lightweight is impressive in this type of shoe. 
    • The upper materials are great and unique. 

    The lows

    • Rock plate up front sometimes catches my toes and rubs a bunch.
    • The road feel is just not great. It works but nowhere near as good of a feal as the trail. 
    • The durability is in question.
    • The glue that keeps the upper to the mid seems to be coming apart in some areas already.
    • Tearing is occurring in the upper eyelet, as seen in the picture. Not happy about this. It happened very early on. 

    Summary

    I loved my experience in this shoe. I am so glad I experienced not only this shoe but the brand. I am a believer in Topo and their mission. I will be trying all the lineup now and am excited to welcome them to my running journey. 

     

     

    The MT-3 is a great shoe for you guys looking for a light trail shoe or a shoe that does everything. You absolutely can’t go wrong with buying these because they can do so many things well. I never knew I needed a hybrid shoe, but surprise! I did, and I will always keep a pair in my lineup. 

    Thank you, Topo for the amazing journey and I look forward to many more miles on not just the MT-3 but the rest of your lineup. 

    This expert has been verified by RunRepeat. Reviews are neutral, unbiased and based on extensive testing.

  • 90 / 100 | AirLandandSea Blog Channel | | Level 1 expert

    All-in-all, I really like this shoe.

  • 92 / 100 | Believe in the Run | | Level 4 expert

    If you’re looking for that solid hybrid trail shoe with just the right amount of cushion and drop, get this shoe! You won’t regret it.

Become an expert

  • The Topo Athletic MT-3 is a running shoe expressly made for the trails. But this product has been built to be versatile enough to handle cement paths and other types of flat ground. The underfoot cushioning system follows the structure and configuration of the original Terraventure model, though the rock plate has been removed. An OrthoLite® sockliner is a substitute, though the entire platform isn’t flimsily made.
  • Though the upper unit of the 3rd iteration looks somewhat similar to its predecessor, the MT-2, the changes are more functional. A ripstop fabric replaces the lightweight mesh of the previous version, invoking extra durability.

The Topo Athletic MT-3 was constructed to be true to size. Runners are given the opportunity to get a pair using their regular sizing choices. However, it is generally recommended to test the shoe first or get ahold of user reviews to be sure about the in-shoe experience.

When it comes to width, the available options are D - Medium and B - Medium for men and women, respectively. Low and medium foot volumes are the ones that are welcome in this shoe’s interior compartment.

The semi-curved shape of this running shoe mimics the natural curvature of the human foot.

The outsole unit of the Topo Athletic MT-3 uses rubber. This layer of protection is meant to stave off wear-and-tear, especially since the trails are rife with elements that would cause abrasion to the materials of the underfoot platform.

Semi-prominent gripping lugs fill the surface of the external pad. These opposite-facing, flat-ended nodes offer extra traction on the various types of topography. The even tips permit transitions to flat ground, thereby making it a versatile product that also works on the roads.

The midsole unit of the Topo Athletic MT-3 uses ethylene vinyl acetate (EVA), a compound that is responsible for delivering reactive steps and shock attenuation. It has a lightweight build and a flexible structure, permitting lively and natural performances. EVA is an industry-standard product that is used in many running shoe series, including the well-known Hoka One One Clifton roster.

An OrthoLite® footbed is placed on top of the main cushioning unit to provide a soft surface for the underside of the foot. This removable piece has anti-moisture and antimicrobial capabilities which allow it to maintain a clean and healthy in-shoe compartment.

The upper unit of the Topo Athletic MT-3 is made of ripstop fabric, a light and flexible material that is able to protect the foot from invasive trail debris through its close-weave construction. It also has the ability to resist rips and tears because of its high-grade fibers.

Printed overlays line the front, the sides, and the back. These synthetic prints are tasked with maintaining the upright position of the facade while also working with the lacing system to provide a snug and secure coverage. The sturdiness of these accoutrements also bolsters the anti-debris purpose of the upper unit.

The padded tongue and collar work together to cushion the topmost portions of the foot. These elements are also designed to prevent in-shoe wobbling during the run, as well as unintentional shoe removals.

The lacing system is comprised of semi-flat fabric shoelaces that loop through a cascade of isolated lace-loops and print-reinforced eyelets on the instep. This fit-adjustment scheme allows the wearer to quickly and effortlessly adjust the tightness or looseness of the cover system, following personal preference and intentional in-shoe steadiness. Extra eyelets are installed near the front of the collar to permit additional heel security and lockdown.

Comparison

Author
https://cdn.runrepeat.com/wp-content/uploads/jens-jakob-andersen.jpg
Jens Jakob Andersen

Jens Jakob is a fan of short distances with a 5K PR at 15:58 minutes. Based on 35 million race results, he's among the fastest 0.2% runners. Jens Jakob previously owned a running store, when he was also a competitive runner. His work is regularly featured in The New York Times, Washington Post, BBC and the likes as well as peer-reviewed journals. Finally, he has been a guest on +30 podcasts on running.

jens@runrepeat.com