Topo Athletic Fli-Lyte 2
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82% say it's true to size.
Overview of this review
This is the moment we have all been waiting for! Finally, a road running shoe that has been constructed with human anatomy and biomechanics in mind.
The Fli-Lyte 2 is the perfect daily trainer with a wider toe box allowing for greater toe splay. It is also incredibly light in weight, which is perfect for all distances.
I honestly never realized how uncomfortable my previous running shoes were until I gave Topo Athletic a shot.
Trying a new shoe can be absolutely terrifying, especially if you’re someone like me who competes in races 2+ times per month, all year round.
I can’t afford to spend time nursing injuries or dealing with inconveniences such as blisters, so picking the right shoes is unequivocally imperative.
My first experience with Topo Athletics was with their new Hydroventure 2 trail shoes and I absolutely fell in love with the product line.
Naturally, after my great experience with the Hydroventure 2, I opted to give their road running shoes a shot and I’m so happy I did!
As always, I predominantly focus on functionality over aesthetics. I chose the “coral/aqua” model of the Fli-Lyte 2 and I think the color is really fun and bright.
Typically, I opt for low key color schemes, but the aqua is one of my favorite colors, so with springtime and warmer weather headed our way, I figured why not?
This may sound petty, but my “sole” wish (pun completely intended) is that the outsole was not the color white!
I primarily run outdoors and my shoes unsurprisingly get pretty dirty, so the color white inadvertently amplifies how dirty my shoes truly become.
I understand that they are running shoes and they are going to get dirty, but I’d prefer if there wasn’t a color that made it so obvious. I want my things to stay looking nice, who can relate?
Prior to purchasing the shoes, I read reviews about this particular model and decided to order a half size up.
Moreover, having previous experience with the sizing of the Hydroventure 2, I had an inclination that these shoes would also require a half-size increase for optimal fit.
I was correct in my assumption and the half-size increase was perfect.
Here are various shoe brands that I run in and my size chart to be used as a comparison in choosing the right size for yourself:
Here is a quick break down of the Fli-Lyte 2 road running shoe specifications:
|Heel-to-toe drop||3mm offset|
Before choosing the Fli-Lyte 2 road running shoes, I was contemplating choosing the Ultrafly 2 instead due to the differentiation in heel-to-toe drop and cushioning.
The Fli-Lyte 2 sit at a 3mm offset, whereas the Ultrafly 2 sit at a 5mm offset. This distinction may not seem like much, but if you are not acclimated to a lower drop shoe you may be prone to injuries of the Achilles, calves, posterior tibialis, or even arches.
To be clear, running in a shoe with less “drop” doesn’t automatically make you a better or more efficient runner.
The premise is that it changes the load that your body deals with for each step, essentially working the foot and ankle differently.
Footwear can actually change your running mechanics, so it’s important that you’re running in the correct offset for your individual optimal performance.
Needless to say, I never run in a single pair of shoes and I have a rotation of shoes that I use for varied terrain and training.
For instance, I am running about 40-50 miles per week and currently rotate between the Fli-Lyte 2 (as mentioned, 3mm drop), Saucony Breakthru 4 (8mm drop), Altra King MT 1.5 (0mm drop), and Topo Hydroventure 2 (3mm drop) depending on the terrain, tempo/pace, duration, and weather.
Moreover, after much consideration, I felt as though the Fli-Lyte 2 road running shoes were suitable for my needs because they are lighter in weight, have greater flexibility, and have neutral support in comparison to the Ultrafly 2.
I am very pleased with the result of the Fli-Lyte 2 sneakers, to say the least.
Performance and comfort
Turn up the pace! I felt like I had feathers on my feet with these shoes as they weigh in at a mere 6.9 ounces (~196 grams)!
Currently, I use these shoes for training purposes, but I will be testing them out in a race next month because of their light weight and phenomenal performance.
The Fli-Lyte 2 is very responsive and it is great for both tempo runs and endurance runs. I felt as though the cushioning was ample enough for long runs and had no issues running half-marathon distances in these shoes.
I would imagine it would be equally as great for those who desire to run marathon distances or greater in these shoes.
I’ve experimented with them on the treadmill as well as road running and I’m extremely pleased with the comfortability and performance of this shoe.
I dread running on the treadmill, but where I live is very flat, thus I utilize the “dread-mill” for hill training and the Fli-Lyte 2 shoes were the real MVP.
I felt as though the ride is still soft enough to be comfortable, yet still completely responsive to every step.
My husband is my training partner and he has to keep me in check sometimes while we are running together because when outfitted in the Fli-Lyte 2 shoes I push the pace on accident.
In my defense, my “need for speed” running pace is my favorite, but these shoes are just so light and springy it’s hard not to run fast in them.
Furthermore, it is gratifying to really be able to open up in a shoe that accommodates your foot so well! Needless to say, there may or may not have been a few slower-paced scheduled runs that turned into tempo runs on accident…whoops!
Let’s talk about these flat laces really quickly. I was elated to find that the Fli-Lyte 2 shoes were outfitted with flat laces because I believe a flat lace distributes pressure more evenly across the top of the foot.
There isn’t anything more frustrating than having to frequently stop to tie your shoes and this isn’t the case with these flat laces. I never have issues with my shoes coming untied and they always stay securely tied.
They are a tad on the long side, so I just double-knot and double-tie (I know, I’m extra) and not once have I had issues.
Uppers and shoe shape
As for the uppers, they are incredibly breathable and are constructed with a no-sew printed mesh.
Despite encompassing the wider toe box, the Fli-Lyte 2 does a great job at cradling the foot and still feels amply locked down, unlike the Altra Escalante which offers a wide toe box, but do not quite lock the foot down as adequately as I would like.
Unlike the exaggerated width of the Escalante, the Fli-Lyte 2 is the perfect width that gives you a natural feel without compromising functionality.
In addition, because the printed upper is one constructed piece, this reduces the overall weight of the shoe which contributes to why the Fli-Lyte 2 is so light in weight!
One issue I had with the upper material for the Fli-Lyte 2 for the first few miles was a bit of irritation on the dorsal aspect of my great toe. It appeared to be the area where the mesh has a small printed area toward the medial aspect of the shoe.
This issue was easily remedied by choosing thinner socks to offset the irritation I was experiencing.
The shoes are completely broken in at this point and I no longer experience irritation, but I did have a bit of trouble in the beginning. Otherwise, I had no issues with blistering or hot spots other than the first few miles.
Furthermore, I wanted to mention that I love how the heel locks down perfectly on the Fli-Lyte 2. The heel collar is padded perfectly and holds my foot in place without causing blistering as other rigid running shoe models do.
Midsole and outsole
The midsole of the Fli-Lyte 2 is perfectly cushioned with EVA cushioning great for all distances. I feel as though the flex point of the shoe is perfect and I have never had issues in this area.
The outsole of the Fli-Lyte 2 is unique as it is comprised of an EVA foam with targeted rubber aspects.
I personally believe the strategically placed targeted rubber tracts well over contact points, but I am interested to see in the future the longevity and durability of these rubber tracts after 100+ miles or so.
My shoes are currently showing signs of early wear and tear at 40 miles, so it will be interesting to see how long these shoes will hold up. The outsole is predominantly EVA foam; thus this certainly attributes to the overall lighter weight of this shoe model.
For clarity, I did not run attempt trail running in the Fli-Lyte 2 as I strictly use them for road running and treadmill running. I truly believe by design that this is their intended purpose and it would be prudent to use them as such.
The grooves of the outsole are small enough so stones do not get stuck in them while road running, but I’d imagine the shoes to be very slick under muddy conditions as the outsole is overall very flat and not aggressive enough for trail running.
- Wide toe box allowing for toe splay
- Shoe locks down really well
- Great responsive ride
- Ample cushioning
- Some irritation on my great toe
- Short break in period required
- Early signs of wear/longevity concern
Topo Athletics may be a newer shoe company, but if they keep releasing bangers like these shoes they will be a staple in the running community.
As the saying goes, “the cream always rises to the top” and that is where Topo is headed. The Fli-Lyte 2 is great for all distances and paces and I couldn’t be happier with the overall construction of the shoe.
If you’re ready to embark on running with a more natural feel, you most certainly need to give these shoes a shot.
No matter if you’re a weekend warrior or an elite marathoner, these shoes are great to have in your arsenal. They unquestionably will not disappoint!
If I could only have a single pair of road running shoes, I would happily choose the Topo Athletic Flylite 2.
They can handle any type of road running, from speed work to long runs. With a wide toe box and low drop platform, the Flylites are a perfect combination of a barefoot running shoe and a standard daily trainer.
|Heel Height||23mm||Support Level||Neutral|
Data from Runners World Shoe Lab:
- Weight - Light | 8.4 oz
- Heel-To-Toe-Drop - Low | 4.3 mm
- Heel Height - Very Low | 25.4 mm
- Heel Cushioning - Moderate
- Forefoot Height - Low | 21.1 mm
- Forefoot Cushioning- Firm
- Flexibility - Very Stiff
- Stability Features - More
- Energy Return - Most
The Flylite has a soft, yet sturdy, perforated mesh upper. The upper has a synthetic moisture-wicking lining which keeps the feet cool and dry in hot weather. I never developed any hot spots or blisters while running in the Flylite.
The upper is reinforced with printed plastic overlays giving the upper a defined, yet adaptable structure. It doesn’t collapse around your foot like other uppers, making it feel more sturdy.
The Flylite has a low profile heel cup to provide structure and support. The heel collar is lined with plush cushioning to enhance comfort.
Topo made the cushioning just right: there is just enough padding for maximum comfort, without feeling clumsy and hot.
Tongue and Laces
The tongue has a moderate amount of padding. It absorbs all of the pressure from the laces without going overboard. The tongue stays put on top of the foot. It doesn't bunch up or move from side to side. The Flylite has standard flat laces.
Since the shoe has a wide fit, I do have to crank down on the laces a little bit, but this isn't a problem. The laces do not stretch at all. I wish they did; It would improve the fit.
I recommend putting a pair of lock laces on almost any pair of running shoes; they make putting on the shoe very easy and they improve the fit.
The Flylite has a straight fit. The heel and midfoot are the standard widths, but the toe box is very wide. This is a distinguishing factor of the Flylite, as it allows your toes to splay as if you were running barefoot.
The midsole is a made of a standard wedge of EVA cushioning that dampens a fair amount of impact. The EVA moderately dense. This makes the shoe feel decently fast while still absorbing plenty of impact.
The Flylite is quite a stiff shoe considering how thin the midsole is. The stiff midsole gives the shoe more of a standard daily trainer feel when running slowly and more of a fast springy ride when running uptempo.
A strobel board is a hard piece of material between the midsole foam and the sockliner. The strobel board stops your foot from sinking into the midsole cushioning. The strobel board effectively moves the epicenter of the midsole compression from just underneath your foot, to just above the outsole.
The strobel board causes your foot and lower leg muscles to work harder, but as a result, you go faster. Removing the strobel board makes the shoe more comfortable, because your feet and lower legs do not have to work as hard, but you can't sustain as fast of a pace.
The Flylite has a 3-millimeter heel to toe offset. This makes the shoe better for midfoot and forefoot strikers.
The shoe does not have enough cushioning to accommodate heel strikers. The low drop coupled with the wide toe box gives the shoe a natural ride.
The outsole is a combination of hardened EVA foam in lower wear areas and durable carbon rubber in high abrasion areas. The outsole provides good traction on wet roads and light trails.
The shoe prioritizes being lightweight over being durable. As a result, the shoe will only last about 300 miles. The shoe is also less expensive than the standard shoe so don’t feel like your getting gypped by the durability!
If I could only have one road running shoe, It would quite possibly be the Flylite. (Luckily this is not the case). The Flylite works very well as a lightweight daily trainer but can also handle uptempo running. I would run any race up to a marathon in this shoe.
This shoe runs best on roads. It works fine on groomed trails but the performance breaks down on anything technical. I recommend this shoe to any efficient forefoot/midfoot strikers on the market for another all-around road running shoe.
|Shoe Brand||My Size|
|Hoka One One||12.5|
Topo Flylite 2 Vs. New Balance Fresh Foam Zante V4
The Zante is the normal shoe version of the Flylite since the two shoes have a similar ride and weight, but the Zante has a standard narrow fit and greater heel to toe offset.
The Zante has a more secure fit and better traction. If you prefer more of a natural fit, the Flylite is a better option; but if you prefer a more standard shoe with the same ride, the Zante is a better choice.
Topo Flylite 2 Vs. Topo Magnifly
The Magnifly is the big brother of the Flylite. The Magnifly still has the flat geometry and the wide toe box of the Flylite, it just has an ounce and a half extra cushion.
If you want more cushion for longer runs or because you are a less efficient runner, the Magnifly would be a better choice.
Topo Flylite 2 Vs. Altra The One 3.0
The One is another low profile, natural running shoe. The one is slighter lighter than the Flylite and has slightly less cushion.
The One also has an even wider toe box. The Flylite can handle longer distances and rougher terrain than the One whereas the one has a more barefoot feel.
Topo has done a fantastic job with the Flylite. If Topo keeps producing such high-quality shoes that are so fun to wear, they are sure to become one of the big name shoe brands.
There is no blatant flaw with the Flylite; however, with further innovation, it could become always be lighter, more durable and more comfortable.
Topo Athletic may be a new name to you. Nevertheless, their shoes are worthy of your consideration.
They produce a small but perfectly formed collection of road and trail wear; a refreshing change in today’s market where big brands churn out so much product it’s hard to sort the proverbial wheat from the chaff. Topo Athletic’s range is restricted to a few models doing precisely what they are meant to.
Each adheres to the simple formula of a roomy toe box, lightweight construction, and a low drop. Together this is designed to promote a more natural running style, and it does just that.
The Fli-Lyte 2 comes from Topo Athletic’s road range, with a 3mm drop and pitched as having mid range cushioning and flexibility. Unlike the big brands Topo Athletic don’t seem to update models once or twice a year, you get the feeling changes made as and when they are needed
Fit and upper
The upper is mesh with welded overlays. They breathe well even on hotter days, at least for me in the ‘temperate’ climate of Snowdonia. True to their word the heel fit is snug and comfy, there’s a well-padded heel counter which rises up gently hugging your Achilles.
The fit continues to be snuggish through the midfoot but it’s at the toe box where the magic happens. I’d like to pretend I didn’t, but I actually made a little ‘aah’ noise when I put them on they felt so good.
The toe box is roomy, roomy similar to how it feels when your other half gets up, and you finally get to sprawl across the whole bed.
It’s not apparent why more running shoes don’t have this naturally shaped toe box; allowing your toes to splay out provides a stable toe off and feels great after longer miles.
Of course, this may not suit everyone, I have medium width feet with lowish arches and often find shoes a bit tight, no such problems here. If you have a narrower foot, it may be less to your taste especially as they are a little hard to lace up tight.
The tongue is thick and well padded, the flat laces are arranged to lie almost horizontally across the top of your foot which I love.
They fit true to size, although at first, you may feel they are too big due to the wide toe box. Despite the extra wiggle room they weigh in at a respectable 242g for a UK 9.
These shoes are a world away from shoes like the Nike Epic React; we’re clearly not in Kansas (or Oregon) anymore.
My bright orange pair resembled a couple of chubby lifeboats; this is a good look in my book. They also come in a more subdued blue or grey if that’s more your thing or are less nautically inclined.
Mid and outsole
The midsole is made up of different densities of foam and is well cushioned with 20mm of stack height up front and 23mm at the heel.
The outsole is restricted to strategically placed rubber otherwise leaving a lot of foam exposed. Consequently, these wouldn’t be my first choice for muddy or more technical trails, there are other shoes from Topo Athletic better suited to this.
That said after approximately 100km the soles are holding up well despite my usual run which mixes road and light trails.
Although well cushioned, these aren’t maximal shoes, and there is plenty of road feel. The ride is softish with a reasonable amount of responsiveness.
The lower drop helps to guide you into a midfoot landing. Unlike some other shoes, I don’t find myself thinking about my foot strike, it just happens.
The Topo Fli-Lyte 2 is a great shoe to eat up the miles. I’ve put in 22km today wearing them, and my feet felt fresh at the end.
Along with the New Balance Beacon, they are my current ‘go to’ shoes for long runs and probably the most comfortable shoe I have ever worn. I have three different shoes from their range and love them all.
If you’re thinking of trying out a low drop shoe the Fli-Lyte should be on your shortlist; this is the shoe your toes would choose.
It’s so frustrating to think you identified the perfect running shoe, then the new and improved release is not the same and its back to square one!
As a “mature” runner in the grand master category who has suffered foot issues over the years, it has required me to do a great deal of shoe experimenting. I thought I hit a home run with the Saucony Kinvara earlier releases, but, unfortunately, recent versions have not been working.
Design & Comfort
Being primarily a road runner, I average 55 to 65 miles a week and race a variety of distances. Although, living in North Central Florida does result in a flexible definition of a road, at times to include our share of lime rock and sandy surfaces.
The shoe is very responsive and provides cushioning especially when tracking over some of the irregular and rough “roads”.
My experience with the lower drop shoes (Fli-Lyte 2 is 3 mm drop), has been very successful providing appropriate positioning and striking comfort. In addition, I have not experienced any running injuries.
I love the anatomical toe box with the no seams feature. It has eliminated all my prior blister problems, painful rubbing, and black toenails.
Although the toe box is wider, the shoe has just the right snug fit in the heel and midsole area. I did not make any adjustments to my shoe size. Even at the end of marathon races, my toes were not compressed, and feet still felt comfortable!
The shoe is available in three colors: black/yellow, blue/pink and coral/aqua. Of all the features, the color selections are my least favorite, however, also of least importance!
The shoe is lightweight (size 7 is 6.9 oz.) and the upper portion made of breathable mesh materials that have proven to be very durable.
The soles have excellent traction and are not slippery on wet surfaces of which I have encountered in other running shoe lines. I placed approximately 275 miles on these shoes and you can see the bottom tread have reasonable wear based on the usage.
The Topo Fli-Lyte 2 is a fairly priced shoe and deliver both comfort and durability.
It was put to the test supporting me through the sopping rain and relentless puddles at the 2018 Boston Marathon.
Updates to Topo Athletic Fli-Lyte 2
- The Topo Athletic Fli-Lyte 2 features a Full-Length EVA Midsole that’s made to provide a more flexible and softer ride. It has a wide Anatomical Toe Box that allows natural splay.
- An updated upper design adds durability and form to the façade. It also features a Printed Upper Pattern to provide midfoot security.
- Lastly, a Rubber Outsole is layered beneath the midsole foam, and it provides enough traction and increased durability.
Size and fit
The Topo Athletic Fli-Lyte 2 is a neutral road shoe that has a standard running shoe length when it comes to sizing. This best for users who prefer short and long-distance running activities. The available widths are D – Medium for the men’s version and B – Medium for the women’s version.
The Topo Athletic Fli-Lyte 2 utilizes a Rubber Outsole that enhances traction and increased durability. It has the ability to withstand any damage and pressure. It performs its function properly over a long period of time.
In its midsole, the Topo Athletic Fli-Lyte 2 utilizes the Full-Length EVA material. The foam is soft and flexible. It provides enough cushioning and rebound properties. This technology is important in protecting the runner’s foot from feeling sharp objects during walking and running activities. Engineered with a 3-mm heel-to-toe drop, the cushioned midsole encourages foot motion and natural loading.
The Topo Athletic Fli-Lyte 2has an updated Ultra Light Mesh that provides additional structure. It offers added durability without affecting the breathability and weight.
It utilizes a Printed Upper Pattern that provides a more snug and secure fit for the midfoot.
The Anatomical Toe box also plays an important role in the construction of the shoe. The roomy box promotes a more comfortable and natural toe splay. This prevents runners from experiencing issues like blisters, bunions, and cuts.