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My Rating

Facts

Terrain: Road
Arch support: Neutral
Weight: Men: 10.2oz | Women: 8.6oz
Heel to toe drop: Men: 5mm | Women: 5mm
Pronation: Neutral Pronation
Arch type: High arch
Use: Jogging
Strike Pattern: Midfoot strike
Distance: Daily running | Long distance | Marathon
Heel height: Men: 30mm | Women: 30mm
Forefoot height: Men: 25mm | Women: 25mm
Release date: Jun 2019
Brand: Topo Athletic
Type: Low drop | Maximalist
Width: Men: Normal | Women: Normal
Price: $130
Colorways: Blue, Grey
Size
Small True to size Large
See more facts

Expert Reviews

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88 / 100 based on 7 expert reviews

  • 85 / 100 | Zack Dunn

    Topo Athletic Phantom - Is it worth it?

    More photos

    There have been many profound maximalists running shoes such as the Hoka One One Clifton shoes, or the New Balance Fresh Foam shoes. Topo Athletic recently released their most cushioned road running shoe to date - the Phantom.

    It features Topo’s signature wide toe box. It also features Topo’s new midsole, Zipfoam, which provides lightweight cushioning that provides more spring so you can extend your mileage with less impact on your joints.

     

    First impressions & looks

    In terms of looks, this shoe has a very simplistic design. It also has very nice and simple colorways to it. It does look very clunky and looks like it has a lot to it (which it should), being a maximalists shoe.

    It also is a very wide shoe. My feet being, exceptionally narrow, took a lot of adjusting of the laces to this shoe. It did look very pleasing in terms of comfort due to the very stacked midsole.

     

    Upper

    In terms of upper, it has a very nice, smooth, light engineered mesh. It is very breathable and definitely doesn’t give added weight to the shoe. The shoe also has a very good TPU heel counter, which is made to keep the runner's foot secure, and it does that very well.

    The shoe also has a printed upper pattern that provides a secure midfoot lockdown for a better fit. The toe box provides an extra-wide shape to make a more natural toe movement.

    Outsole

    In terms of the outsole, there isn't much to say. It is a rubber outsole that runs the length of the shoe for increased durability and traction. I believe this shoe could last very long, at least 400 miles due to the very stacked midsole.

     

    Midsole

    The midsole features a full-length Zipfoam Midsole which gives lightweight cushioning with more spring than traditional EVA. It is very cushioned, as expected. It definitely feels great underfoot for slower runs.

    Comfort

    Anyone could probably use this shoe for any easy, normal run to long run. One thing with this shoe in terms of comfort is that it is very hard to go fast in these shoes.

    I can run a sub-5 mile, and I found it very hard to push even 6’45” in these on a normal run which I could do with ease in many other shoes. I do believe that is because of how heavy the shoe is due to it being a maximalist shoe.

    That being said, I do have considerably large feet for my body wearing a size 10.5 with the shoes weighing 11.3 oz only weighing roughly 135 lbs at 5’11. I do believe this shoe is great for a recovery run or a run where the goal is not to go fast.

    I would definitely use this shoe for my recovery days after a hard workout, but would never use it for any sort of tempo run or speed workout.

    Price

    In terms of the price, I do feel these shoes are overpriced, but for a shoe that will last a very long time, $130 is ideal if you do plan to use this to its fullest. If you only plan to use this shoe to 300 miles or less, I do not believe you should spend $130 on it.

    If you do mainly longer, slow to normal paced runs than these will do, but if you do faster shorter runs, then these are probably not for you.

    Personally, if you’re like me and do a mix of both fast and slow runs, there are probably more versatile options for better prices.

     

    What I like about this shoe

    There are a couple of things I do like about this shoe. One thing is that it is a good recovery shoe and definitely has enough cushioning to go miles on end.

    I also like the simplistic design if the shoe as it does look nice without any flashy designs. I do also feel like these shoes could last at least 400 miles, which is very nice.

    Why you should buy this shoe

    You should buy this shoe if you want a nice and promising recovery or easy run. You should also buy it if you're training for a race anywhere from a 5k up and would be perfect for a marathon trainer.

    Overall, it is a road running shoe and very benefiting to the runner.

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

  • 80 / 100 | Stephen Christian

    Topo Athletic Phantom: An end-all be-all neutral running shoe

    More photos

    The Topo Phantom is a shoe that could work as the end-all-be-all neutral shoe for runners like myself. There’s a natural toe-box, very minimal drop, and decent cushioning.

    The question is, does it live up to the hype the specs make it out to be? Let’s check em out.

     

    Style

    Aesthetically, the Phantom isn’t a bad looking shoe. The open mesh upper is stabilized by synthetic overlays, with die-cut panels that give the shoe a sleek look.

    The midsole has a cool broken glass style pattern, which gives it a level of separation from other shoes in its category. The external TPU heel counter is a nice touch, giving a techy look and an opportunity to give the shoe a color and material pop.

    Unfortunately, the toe-spring combined with the wide forefoot and thick midsole gives the shoe a bulky overall appearance, especially on the microchip grey colorway.

     

     

    The upper of the shoe is fairly straight forward in terms of materials. The varying open mesh leaves key areas more open for breathability, and the heat fused overlay lend support where it’s needed.

    The lacing system of the Phantom is a hybrid, having oval eyelets on the bottom two and top three, and two nylon gillie eyelets on the mid-foot for a snug fit. The tongue is more of the same, with two different meshes with padding at the top. There is no gusset on the tongue, but it may not even be necessary.

     

     

    Keeping things stable on the back of the shoe is an external heel counter, with some extra padding at the collar, and an Achilles notch. The rest of the collar is padded as well, right up to where the tongue wraps across the foot when fastened.

    Toe splay is no issue in the Topo Phantom, as it’s engineered in a way that allows the foot to spread at the toes in a natural manner. With proper sizing, the combination of a snug heel fit with a roomier forefoot can be the key.

    The midsole of the Phantom is thick and smushy. The drop on the sole is 5mm, which is usually a good thing for mid-foot strikers.

    The durometer (the measurement of how soft or firm the midsole is), increases in number the firmer the compound. These are definitely on the lower end of the spectrum. Topo’s name for this particular EVA is called Zipfoam.

    Regarding the outsole, the Phantom is relatively unconventional, but it makes sense. The high-wear areas in the heel-strike and toe-off zones have pods of rubber, while the rest of the outsole is essentially molded out from the midsole.

    The general flow of the traction pattern follows the standard “S” pattern, with arbitrary insets and lugs peppered throughout.

    Performance

    When I first put the shoe on, the Topo Phantom felt fairly comfortable. I could feel how soft the midsole was, and I noticed how roomy the toe-box felt.

    Once I laced them up, however, it took quite a bit of adjusting and tightening to get the proper fit. The concept of using gillie eyelets on the mid-foot is good, but could be slightly more effective if they were stitched just a few millimeters lower in the upper, allowing for a greater range of adjustability.

    Once I got out the door and started the run, I could definitely feel the shoe rocking my foot forward. While there was nice toe-splay in the forefoot, the heel fit was a little bit iffy for me.

    It took quite a while for me to run in the shoe confidently without worrying about heel slippage. This was even more amplified while ascending big hills, which are unavoidable where I run.

    Descending hills wasn’t as much of an issue, because my toes had enough room. As the insole broke in, the forefoot did start to get a little bit sloppy. All of this could very well be a sizing issue on my part, as I am between sizes in certain brands, and this was my first Topo encounter.

     

     

    The traction of the Phantom was adequate, even in slightly damp conditions. Through construction zones, the thick midsole glided over broken asphalt and rocks and transitioned well to the regular sidewalk.

    A gravel trail wouldn’t be a big issue in these shoes, but stability could potentially be an issue on more technical terrain, as is with most road trainers. Speaking of stability, the expectations for a low 5mm offset threw me off a bit.

    Expecting better cornering, the overall height of the midsole allowed for more potential for ankle roll. The thick and soft midsole was comfortable out of the box but could stand to be firmer. I started to notice my plantar fascia getting stressed on longer runs, and the last shape of the shoe doesn’t allow for any support inserts.

    Overall

    Overall, the Topo Phantom is a shoe that, for me, could have a lot of potential in its sequels. The formula of low-drop and natural toe-box is definitely one that a lot of people could get on-board with, and the external heel counter is a nice touch.

     

     

    Though I felt bogged down a lot of the time, this shoe could very well hit the sweet spot for a lot of runners. As much as I wanted the Phantom to perform well for me, I can only rate it as average. I’m interested in seeing what the company has to offer in the future.

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

  • 95 / 100 | Road Trail Run | | Level 4 expert

    I really like the Phantom as a recovery cruiser, but I don’t enjoy it for tempo/faster work. If you’re looking for a “do-it-all” shoe, this isn’t it. But if you’re seeking a uni-tasker for soaking up easy miles, the Phantom is a great choice.

  • 90 / 100 | Road Trail Run | | Level 4 expert

    The ride was too soft for my long days, but ideal for easy shorter runs. Fit is as good as it gets, and value is off the charts with $130 for a shoe that is going to last a very long time. Style is fine, but nothing exciting.

Become an expert

- The Phantom is the newest most cushioned road running shoe from Topo Athletic. The shoe features a 5mm heel-to-toe drop for a more natural and comfortable running experience.

- It also features the brand’s innovative midsole foam, the Zipfoam™. This midsole technology is created to provide more bounce and responsiveness than the regular EVA foam.

- Lastly, the upper is made from a light engineered mesh. It is meant to deliver a breathable coverage to the foot without compromising comfort. The breathable upper material offers a skin-like fit and feel.

The Phantom running shoe is designed following the ideal Topo Fit system. The shoe has a very light, smooth upper coverage that hugs the foot comfortably. It also has a roomy toe-box for the toes to spread more naturally while running.

The Topo Athletic Phantom runs true to size and since it has medium fit in the heel and forefoot sections, the shoe should comfortably accommodate medium-footed runners. The available width options for the male and female runners is medium. 

Design for road running, the outsole of the Topo Athletic Phantom mostly consists of exposed Zipfoam™ technology. It is, however, made durable by the rubber placements added strategically in the heel and forefoot area. These rubber placements also offer a good level of traction on a wide variety of paved surfaces.

A full-length Zipfoam™ technology made up the midsole of the Phantom road running shoe. The Zipfoam™ provides the foot a reasonable amount of cushioning needed for both long and short-distance runs. This midsole foam is also formulated to deliver more bounce and responsiveness as compared to the traditional EVA material.

The upper of the shoe is made of lightweight and breathable materials. The engineered mesh provides the foot proper ventilation and the overlays enhance the shoe’s overall fit and durability. 

The shoe also features an anatomical toe box. It is designed to allow the toes to spread naturally, giving users a more comfortable running experience

Lastly, the shoe makes use of a TPU Heel Counter.  It provides the foot a more stable and secure heel lock-down which is necessary to prevent heel slippage while running. 

Comparison