Who should buy the Topo Athletic MTN Racer 2

Given its name, the Topo Athletic MTN Racer 2 gives the notion that it's intended solely for mountain running. But, that's not the case. It's as multi-functional as you can imagine — it can do your easy and fast runs, just as it can run short to ultra distances on any surface. As experts say, it's almost as if it has been "misnamed." It might benefit you well if:

  • You run long-distance at a slow and tempo speed. 
  • You are looking for a shoe that bites well on surfaces like muddy single tracks, snow/slush-covered horse trails, dirt/gravel road, rocky surfaces, and wet rocks/slabs.
  • A running companion that offers ample ventilation to keep your feet fresh and cool. 

Topo Athletic MTN Racer 2 Logo1

Magical ride experience

Achieving an optimal blend of comfort and trail-ready features is not an easy feat. But Topo is here to disprove that with the MTN Racer 2. So, what are the defining features of the shoe? The midsole is where the "magic happens" as it has a semi-rocker geometry that creates the shoe's agile ride.

Topo Athletic MTN Racer 2 Midsole1

Unlike other trail shoes, it's not harsh because the foam has some give to it. Lastly, it's also responsible for the shoe's protective ride that doesn't sacrifice ground feel. It's also forgiving and nimble. It's not sloppy, nor unresponsive — it just has enough flex and softness that creates a lively feeling. 

Topo Athletic MTN Racer 2 Midsole2

A secure and well-ventilated room

Complementing the midsole is the shoe's debris mesh upper. True to Topo's signature, it's roomy in the forefoot, yet secure in the heel and the midfoot. Moreover, the heel hold is better than that of the Ultraventure 2 and the Pro. It also has a  secure midfoot section. 

Topo Athletic MTN Racer 2 Upper1

The mesh upper is very soft, pliable, and breathable as observed by wearers. There have been no reports of hot spots as well. It also prevents any tongue slippage and betters the overall upper lockdown. 

Topo Athletic MTN Racer 2 Upper2

The shoe's combination of the toe bumper and cushion shields the foot effectively from the harsh ground without forgoing trail feel. 

Topo Athletic MTN Racer 2 Upper3

The Topo Athletic MTN Racer 2's traction

And with a full-coverage Vibram outsole, the shoe has an aggressive bite on soft, loose, and hard surfaces. 

Topo Athletic MTN Racer 2 Outsole1

The MTN Racer 2's grip is also very versatile. It does great on uneven surfaces, mud, slush, snow, and thick gravel. 

Topo Athletic MTN Racer 2 Outsole2

Light and stylish construction

The Topo Athletic MTN Racer 2  is "lighter" than it looks, claimed various trail runners. It is also lauded by various experts for its "sleek" and "modern" design. 

Topo Athletic MTN Racer 2 Style1

MTN Racer 2 vs. 1: A step-up from an already excellent shoe 

The first version of the MTN Racer has been warmly received by runners. However, there were a few things that needed some fixing. And an iteration later, Topo has introduced the following changes: 

  • Better stability. The upper has been updated with a stabilizing clip that locks the heel in place. Meanwhile, the medial foam is made firmer to guide the foot. 
  • Enhanced comfort. The upper is softer, more flexible, and breathable. Unlike the MTN Racer 1, it doesn't require a break-in period. Contributing to this as well would be the shoe's new tri-density midsole, which is a touch bouncier and softer than the previous version. 

Topo Athletic MTN Racer 2 Comparison2

Facts / Specs

Terrain: Trail
Weight: Men 10.4oz / Women 8.6oz
Drop: 5mm
Arch support: Neutral
Forefoot height: 25mm
Heel height: 30mm
Pronation: Neutral Pronation / Supination / Underpronation

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Author
Jens Jakob Andersen
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.