Trail running shoes are hitting their stride with options for a variety of runner types, running styles and terrain. Some of the best standards that have emerged from the minimalist movement of years past are low or zero-drop designs and wider toe boxes (can I get an amen!). The all-new Topo Athletic Runventure 2 builds on previous designs while staying true to the core that makes Topo’s shoes so great.
Topo Athletic Runventure 2 Features:
- Lightly-cushioned design
- 0mm heel-to-toe drop
- 19mm stack height
- Flexible ESS rock protection plate
- High-traction outsole
- Roomy toe box
- Optional gaiter attachments
- Colors: Black/Green (tested) or Grey/Red
- Weight: 20 oz. (size 11, actual)
- MSRP: $110
Lightweight, comfortable and zero-drop
If I were to summarize the new Runventure 2’s, I’d say they are light, comfortable and feature a zero-drop design. What does all that mean? Well, these are tried-and-true Topo Athletic shoes with a fantastic close-to-the-ground feel.
Upon arrival, the Runventure 2’s went from box to the Osprey TrailKit 40L Duffel bag. I wasn’t heading to an epic trail run, but to Disneyland for 4 days of the Magical Kingdom with the family. Why is this important? Well, I didn’t break them in at all and I spent 4 solid days in them with not a single problem. No blisters, no discomfort — nothing. I was then very stoked to get them back home and on the trails, which didn’t take long.
I already knew they were comfortable, but how would that translate to the trails? Let me first circle back to the importance of these being zero-drop shoes. If you haven’t run in zero-drop shoes, your break-in period may be a little longer, but I hit the ground running because I prefer low-drop and zero-drop shoes. I’ve heard some runners needing several weeks before they can run in them. Listen to your body.
Hitting the dirt, the Runventure 2’s felt much like the variety of Topo Athletic shoes I’ve worn and tested previously, but lighter, more agile and zero-drop. I hadn’t noticed the Hydroventure or Terraventure being heavy at all (they’re not), but the Runventure 2’s are just that much lighter (1.5-2.0 oz to be exact). That weight difference is significant and noticeable with every stride.
Something that’s also immediately noticeable is the cushioned EVA midsole. It’s thin and light, but mighty comfortable on all terrain — including short stints on pavement. It does feel amazing with every step and has well-conformed to the contours of my feet, but being so thin, you can feel every sharp, pointy rock on the trail. Topo does say there is a rock plate in there, but I can’t imagine it’s much more than a token layer of fabric because I can feel everything.
Let me clarify one thing — I hate trail runners that are so cushioned or protective that they lose trail feel. These have plenty of trail feel, but do lack a little protection, so tread carefully if you run where the rocks are particularly sharp.
The outsole used on the Runventure 2’s is fantastic. It’s one of those “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” sort of things because it worked great with the Terraventure, so why not keep it going. That was a great choice because uphill, downhill and everything in between is met with excellent traction.
I really appreciate the mesh uppers and found them to be highly-breathable and comfortable. They are also thin, so watch out for rolling rocks as they hurt if you should punt one. Even though these are intended to be light and fast, I found that I couldn’t wear them with lightweight socks. I had to use more midweight styles due to the unforgiving lacing. It was honestly difficult to get the right lace tension without digging into my foot unless I wore a pair of socks with a little more buffer.
I’ll also add that because there’s little structure in the heel and cuff, I tended to get more trail scree inside these shoes than others. Luckily, Topo sent along a set of gaiters that are custom-made just for the Runventure 2’s and they solve that problem.
Something that I appreciate about Topo Athletic’s shoes is their wide toe box. Wearing them is so refreshing as my toes are able to splay out and push off so much better with every step. I wish all shoes had stubby toe boxes.
Note: The fit seems true-to-size with just the right amount of room in the toe box.
- The best Topo shoes I’ve tested to date
- Love the feel zero-drop shoes
- Very comfortable and quickly conformed to my feet
- Great traction
- Lightweight and breathable
- Wide toe box is just plain awesome
- Not much forefoot protection
- Need gaiters to keep scree out
- Had to use midweight socks due to lacing
The Bottom Line: Topo Athletic Runventure 2
While I had a few nit-picks with the Runventure 2’s, overall I really like them. If you’re a zero-drop aficionado, you won’t be disappointed and even though they are lightweight, there’s ample cushioning for long days on the trail.
Buy Now: Available at Amazon.com