Topo Athletic Ultrafly 3 review

With Topo shoes being a relatively newer brand of athletic shoes on the market, I wasn’t really expecting much. However, running in the Topo Ultrafly 3 was a pleasant surprise.

There's the immediate feel of comfort, the light, and responsive quality, a heel-box to put others to shame and enough cushion to go the distance all added up to deliver a shoe worth mentioning.

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Specs

           Use           road/mid-distance, daily trainer
           Stack height           28mm
           Drop           5mm
           Weight           9.75 oz (men’s size 9.5)

Notable features

The simple and unassuming Topo Ultrafly 3 has a lot of notable features. The superstar of all of these was the heel-box.

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The heel-box of the Topo Ultrafly 3 is so ergonomically well designed that it struck me straight away. It hugs the shape of your heel so snuggly that you almost could get away without lacing them.

Other shoes need the lacing system to create that locked down feeling, but the Topo Ultrafly 3’s heel design almost does so all by itself. The feeling of security that I get there is by far better than any running shoe that I’ve tried lately. 

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Spacious toebox

The anatomic toe box is another great feature. The foot-shaped design (much like Altra), allows for the toes to splay and spread out comfortably.

The solid purchase of the lace cage over your foot keeps the toes from experiencing excessive movement and running the risk of blisters. The wide toe-box creates a free and uninhibited feel for the toes.

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For some runners this is unnerving, so if a wide toe-box is new to you, make sure that you try them out in a running specialty store before buying them.

Cushioned, responsive ride

The 3-piece EVA midsole delivers an adequate amount of cushion for the intended use of the shoe, just enough for longer runs but not so much as to feel unresponsive. The slight 5mm drop encourages a natural foot turnover.

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The Topo Ultrafly 3 has a responsive feel to it and the sole encourages a natural gait with good energy return. While far from a racing flat, the Topo Ultrafly 3 does have a quick feel to it.

With a zippy bounce and the balanced cushioning of the ZIPFOAM material, this is a shoe that feels comfortable for miles. As a mid-distance trainer, I’m loving this shoe.

After 60 miles of running in the Topo Ultrafly 3, it has been my go-to for 7-10 mile runs on roads and paved pedestrian trails.

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Stable, grippy performance on varied surfaces

The wide foundation of the Topo Ultrafly 3 gives it a very stable ride. Coupled with the ample grip of the sole, even on wet surfaces, the Topo Ultrafly 3 is a forgiving running shoe.

While the traction of the sole is great, the durability of the Topo rubber compound is yet to be proven to this tester. With 60 miles in, it appears to be doing great, with no signs of premature wear evident yet. Time will tell.

The Topo Ultrafly 3 has a light feel to it but it weighs in at a reasonable 9.75 ounces in a men’s size 9.5 (US).

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Comfy and nonrestrictive

The upper is very comfortable and nonrestrictive with a supple and airy weave. The cushioning around the heel collar and on the tongue are adequate and not over the top like some brands.

These are areas of the shoe where I personally feel like less is more, and Topo Athletic does a nice job at finding the balance between too much and too little. I was impressed by how cool my feet felt in this shoe on hot days.

This attests to the airy weave and not being over-stuffed with cushion. Conversely, on wet, rainy days, the shoe drained water very well and didn’t get that water-logged feel that some shoes do in wet conditions.

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One notable feature on the Topo Ultrafly 3 is the lacing guide on the tongue. The two lateral lace holds seem to hold the lace in place much better than the standard central lace guide. This may seem like a small thing but it makes a huge difference on long runs, especially for over-pronators.

Another cool feature of the lacing system is the material that the lace hole reinforcement is made of. While rugged and providing needed resistance for lace wear, the material is incredibly supple and pliable. The extra-wide laces are a nice touch as well.

Conclusion

All in all, these features add up to a shoe that is a joy to slip on for those everyday runs. With an MSRP of $130, the Topo Ultrafly 3 is priced appropriately. 

Facts / Specs

Terrain: Road
Weight: Men 9.6oz / Women 7.7oz
Drop: 5mm
Arch support: Stability
Forefoot height: 23mm
Heel height: 28mm
Pronation: Overpronation

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Author
Sean Kiffe
Sean Kiffe

My name is Sean Kiffe. I live with my wife and three daughters in Missoula, MT where I teach middle school science. I am primarily a trail runner but also dabble in road events occasionally. Currently, I am working my way into ultra distances and will be doing my first 50K and 100K trail races this season.