Gear Reviews

Topo Athletic MT2 Trail Runner

posted by gumptiongear March 10, 2016 0 comments

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As the snow begins to vanish and your go-to ski-touring terrain starts to yield back your running paradise, you’ll need to swap out those daunting Goretex boots for some light and fast trail runners. To help kickstart your Spring run routine, Topo Athletic offers the MT-2. A hybrid runner for men and women.

On Performance and Design…
Topo Athletic designed the MT-2 to be a hybrid shoe capable of tackling trail and tarmac alike. A generous amount of cushioning helps out on those longer runs, while the shoe still offers a 3mm heel-toe offset to provide the benefits of a natural midfoot strike. Whether you’re a seasoned vet or a trail-running rookie, you’ll appreciate the MT-2’s upper which is a refreshing mix of abrasion resistant mesh and no-sew printing techniques that provides a feather-light structure and impressive breathability.

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A little running honesty here: When you’re out racking up the miles, your foot needs to react naturally. Keeping it confined like a caged animal does you no favors when you’re aiming to eat big mileage. So for those seeking a more naturally designed shoe, the MT-2 rewards you with a wider toe-box while remaining surprisingly snug on the back-end of the shoe. The 23 mm platform puts you in the sweet spot, providing support and just enough stability to keep you balanced and agile on the trail when the surface gets a little wiley.

Notes from the Field…
Last year we were introduced to the Topo Athletic Runventure – a trail shoe deemed ‘the hidden gem’ by our editor’s in the 2015 Spring Run Guide. While the MT2 Trail Runner is a worthy addition to the Topo Athletic line-up, our preference is still for the Runventure, and here’s why.

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As noted, the MT-2 was designed as a hybrid shoe capable of tackling both trails and road. Towards those ends, it actually accomplishes both of those tasks with relative ease making the MT-2 a worthy addition to the arsenal of runners who want to do a little bit of everything. However, the same hybrid design that allows it to proficiently perform in both worlds, also prevents it from excelling in either category.

To help illustrated this point, we can examine the outsole of the shoe. Topo Athletic decked out the MT-2 with a 4.5mm rubber outsole to provide grippy traction and mud-shedding performance with its multi-directional lugs. Admittedly, the tread pattern served incredibly well on fire roads and buffed out trails. Yet, we believe that it also lacks the sensitivity and control some may be seeking for bigger trails with more technical terrain. And while that same tread pattern offers a relatively smooth road ride, it will be too aggressive for those that spend more of their miles on the pavement. 

Our final critique centers on the MT-2 overlays. In an effort to provide the MT-2 with greater structural integrity, the Topo Athletic design team added more printing (aka midfoot overlays) on the sides of the shoe (in comparison to the Runventure). While the MT-2 additionally features a softer mesh than the Runventure, our run team simply had some difficulty adjusting to the additional overlays. In some ways, we still feel as though we’re waiting for the shoe to fully break in and hit its full stride.

Bottom Line…
The MT-2 from Topo Athletic stands as a ready run companion that can cover miles on the tarmac as well as light trails. However, its hybrid design also prevents it from being a go-to choice for the hard core trail runner, or the dedicated roadie. As a result, our team views the MT-2 as a “tweener” never feeling truly at home in either category.  

*Gumption Gear Review received product samples of the item featured in this review from Topo Athletic at no cost, and receives no monetary compensation for this or any related review. The item featured was provided solely in return for our honest views and opinions.

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