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March 23, 2018 3 min read

Given that I have been running mostly in minimalist or low drop shoes now for around 5 years I was more than pleased to get my hands on a shoe that I hadn't tried before but seemed to offer what I look for in a running shoe. I always want something that gives my feet space to move and that I can get a feel for the road or trail and in the past this had lead me on to running in various pairs of Altras, this ranged from Lone Peaks and Superior on the trails and instinct on the road.

Now these shoes seemed to tick all the boxes for me:

  1. Wide toe box... TICK
  2. Low drop... TICK
  3. Responsive... TICK
  4. Durable.... OH HANG ON!!!

So, they came very close to being everything I want but with a BIG but! They just didn’t last.

Every single pair no matter what model just had durabilty issues and at the end of it enough was enough.

This is where the Topo Fli-Lyte come in, yes they are not Zero drop but with a 3mm drop it is more or less there and at first glance I liked what I saw. The shoe feels very light and flexible in the hand and looks wise they are a great looking shoe.

Sizing on these shoes measures up correctly, I am normally a size 11 and these feel bang on the button.

The Stats

Best For: Road Running
Stack Height: 23mm (heel) // 20mm (forefoot)
Heel to Toe Drop: 3MM
Weight: 8.4 oz (Size 9)
Cushion: Moderate
Support: Neutral

First impressions

So first impressions, well straight away as soon as I tried them on I could tell the space in toe was just perfect for me, wide enough to let my toes splay but not too wide for them to feel like the shoe would move around too much when running. Lacing was fine and the tongue has a slight padding but nothing to over the top.

The Fli-Lyte 2 has 23mm of cushioning at the heel and 20mm at the forefoot and felt pretty springy yet responsive.

The midsole has a EVA foam which for me was a perfect combination of firmness and cushion. The outsole is made from a nice full length rubber which I tested on slippery wet and icy northern roads and stood up much better than I imagined, I can’t wait to test these in the spring and summer months.

The upper is where is see the biggest difference from the Altras I have used in the past, it has a lot of overlays on which should mean the durability is good but just like the Altras felt like so bloody comfortable.

Now on to looks, are there better looking shoes out there? Probably, but they are in no way an ugly shoe, I quite like a bright colour ways in a shoe so they certainly a shoe that I would go for.

So why low drop?

I am no 8st flying machine runner so a few years of running with a heel strike started to take it's toll on my body, I never really felt like I was running, it was more like I was smashing my way around the roads. So after a lot of reading and some training I found that a forefoot landing helped me feel more like I was actually running, moving forward and not doing as much damage to the old knees.

I feel that running with a shoe with a lower drop aids me in landing on my forefoot, now this isn't something you should just jump in to straight away and I advise transitioning to a lower drop shoe if you have run in 12mm drop plus shoes for years as you will no doubt come across a lot of calf pain or even calf injuries. But once transitioned I absolutely fell in love with the lower drop shoes out there.

With a 3mm drop the Topo Fly-lite 2is as low as you are probably going to find without  going to a complete zero drop shoe and to be honest since trying the Topo I didn’t notice a massive amount of difference. I mean… what is 3mm :)

Conclusion

So is the Topo Fly-Lite 2 the shoe for me? 100% yes, this will be a shoe that I will be putting the road miles in for 2018, Yes the low drop ticks the boxes for me but to be honest it was the comfort from mile one onwards that sold them to me. If you like a roomy low drop shoe then you must try the Fly-Lyte 2.

In answer to the question… have I just found my favourite road shoe ever?, maybe, just maybe I have!!! At least for 2018 :)

Buy your Topo Fli-Lyte 2 here