Topo Athletic MTN Racer 2: "An all-purpose, any-terrain, any-distance ride"

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." 

What is it for?

Distance: Short to ultra distances

Pace: Slow to tempo speed

Surfaces:

  • Muddy single tracks
  • Snow/slush-covered horse trails 
  • Dirt/gravel roads
  • Rocky surfaces
  • Wet rocks/slabs

NOT for:

  • Buffed trails

Balancing performance and comfort the Topo way 

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

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 is the shoe's new tri-density midsole, which is a touch bouncier and softer than the previous version. 

Facts / Specs

Terrain: Trail
Weight: Men 295g / Women 244g
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.