Verdict from 7 experts and 100+ user reviews

7 reasons to buy

  • Ride: The Ultraventure 2's performance is "predictable," "stable," and "steady," which is attributed to the shoe's "solid" arch support. It also allows sufficient ground feel. 
  • Cushion: It's not plush but it's very comfortable. It's almost like the Runventure 3 but "beefed up." 
  • Traction: The shoe bites excellently on muddy, soft, loose, and snowy terrains. 
  • Lightness: For a trail shoe, it's very light on foot. 
  • Lockdown: The lacing system of the shoe ensures good midfoot security. It also stays tied during the run, and when running steep downhills, testers' feet didn't slide forward. 
  • Toe box: As a true Topo shoe, the Ultraventure has a very spacious forefoot and toe room. 
  • Upper comfort: The mesh has some stretch to it, feels plush, and is super breathable. For those who run in cold conditions, experts advise wearing thicker socks. 

3 reasons not to buy

  • Flat ride: It's "lifeless," and has a "mediocre response." It's not slow but it's not speed-enhancing either. 
  • Heel issues: Narrow-heeled runners have expressed concerns about heel slippage. Meanwhile, there are also those who find the heel a bit "intrusive" because of the external TPU heel counter and oversized heel collar.  
  • Too open: The upper is very porous. Athletes warn that you might end up with black toes when taking your shoes off, especially if you run somewhere dry and dusty. 

Bottom line

The Ultraventure 2 from Topo is a trail shoe that encourages natural running while muting harsh trail elements. It's a shoe that gives you free rein — if you want to go fast or slow, it can accommodate. And as per experts' testing, it is best suited for slow to moderate-paced long-distance runs. 

Be wary, though, the shoe veers away from its name as it's not really designed for ultrarunning adventures, given its minimal cushion. 

Tip: see the best trail running shoes.

Topo Athletic Ultraventure 2: Prioritizing a natural ride

Unlike other brands involving themselves in the "superfoam wars," Topo is making a clear statement with the Ultraventure 2 — they are targeting the niche market of natural running. How? There are two elements of the shoe that make up its natural ride: 

  • It's a "classic EVA ride," meaning it's not designed to give you a snappy toe-off or a very lively ride. 
  • The shoe doesn't have a crazy stack. It's low to the ground, allowing you to feel the surface beneath you. 

These don't necessarily make the Topo Ultraventure 2 a bad shoe. To put it simply, how the shoe performs is all up to you —  if you go fast, it goes fast, and if you want to mellow down your pace, it can too — which is the essence of natural running. 

Ultraventure 2 vs 1: A better update! 

The general consensus on the changes adopted by the second iteration of the Ultravneture series is that it's a welcome upgrade. The upper is more breathable and lighter. A TPU heel counter is also incorporated to secure heel fit. Lastly, the midsole has been revamped using a three-piece injected-EVA midsole for better stability. 

Topo's trail lineup 

  • Ultraventure 2 - The "workhorse" of the bunch. 
  • Ultraventure Pro - If you want a rock plate for better protection out on the trails, this the shoe for you. 
  • MTN Racer - It's lighter and faster — totally designed for races! 

What is it for?

Speed: slow to moderate paces

Distances: short to long distances 

Surfaces: 

  • steep technical trails 
  • packed gravel/dirt 
  • pavement
  • packed snow
  • rocky slab 

NOT for: 

  • buffed-out surfaces
  • ultra-running distances 

Rankings

How Topo Athletic Ultraventure 2 ranks compared to all other shoes
Top 24% trail running shoes
All trail running shoes
Bottom 26% Topo Athletic running shoes
All Topo Athletic running shoes
Top 43% maximalist running shoes
All maximalist running shoes

Popularity

The current trend of Topo Athletic Ultraventure 2.
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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.