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Craft CTM Ultra 2 Review: 40 mm for Road and Trail
By Senior Contributor David Salas & Chief Editor/Founder Matthew Klein

The Craft CTM line is what they consider their top shelf options. With three offerings for 2022 we are looking at the CTM Ultra 2, CTM Ultra Carbon 2, and the CTM Carbon Race Rebel. The CTM Ultra is the max stack daily training option of the lineup. The 40mm stack height provides plenty of cushioning underfoot and the shoe also utilizes the same all terrain outsole seen in the CTM Ultra Carbon 2. The CTM Ultra does not have a carbon plate in the midsole, but feels really nice at daily paces because of it. The shoe is a workhorse trainer that relies on geometry and protection while still allowing for some forefoot flexibility.

Price: $164.99 at Running Warehouse
Weight: 8.8 oz, 250 g (men's size 9), (Women's weights not provided)
Stack Height: 40 mm / 30 mm
Drop: 10 mm
Classification: Lightweight Daily Trainer


Matt:  The Craft CTM Ultra 2 is a non-plated, high-stack lighter weight trainer with the ability to handle multiple terrains. A slightly softer UD (EVA) foam sits underfoot, providing protection and comfort over daily training and uptempo runs. A solid rocker is uniquely paired with a moderately flexible forefoot make for a unique toe-off in a higher stack height shoe. A durable outsole with solid traction allows this shoe to excel on road or on mild to moderate trails. The Craft CTM Ultra 2 is a high-stack performance trainer for those who want a solid fit and some flexibility to adapt to what comes at them. 

David: The Craft CTM Ultra 2 is a max stack height daily trainer offering from Craft. The shoe does not have a carbon plate like the rest of the CTM lineup and the ride definitely softens up because of it. The shoe has a good rocker geometry throughout that also allows for some flexibility through the forefoot. The traction definitely leans more in the all terrain category and does well with versatility. This has quickly become a shoe I like to reach for when it comes to daily mileage. 


Matt: The Craft CTM Ultra 2 fits me true to size if slightly short in my normal men's US size 10. The upper is a lightweight and breathable polyester mesh. The fit is normal to slightly wider, with a higher volume fit in the midfoot and forefoot. The heel is fairly normal in width and has no heel counter. Those that are sensitive to counters will love this shoe. Due to the slightly shorter fit, I did have to lace lock the shoe but I did not get any heel slippage. The tongue is gusseted and stays secured well. The laces lock the upper down well as I found when I had to really tighten them to get a secure midfoot fit. The forefoot mesh is flexible, adjusting to normal to wider foot shapes. It is not an anatomic toe box but does have a little more room. The mesh through is breathable and the toe guard is flexible. This made this shoe good for sockless wear over shorter distances. However, I did get some rubbing from the thin heel collar over 7-8 miles. The slightly higher volume lends itself to handling swelling, making the Craft CTM Ultra 2 an excellent choice for warmer weather or longer runs. 

David: The material of the upper is really nice and constructed with an ultra-light polyester mesh that breathes really well. The upper does have some volume issues though. There is a lot of room vertically through the forefoot and midfoot. Thankfully with a heel lock all of the issues do seem to go away and I can forget about that volume issue. Without the heel lock though I would get heel slippage. The upper itself is breathable and reinforced just well enough to handle some off road conditions as well. The width is normal throughout most of the shoe. The toe box is normal to slightly wide. There is plenty of room for swelling accommodation if needed. there is no heel counter but there is a suede material present that reinforces the shape of the region and does seem to provide a little stickiness to the sock and prevent heel slippage once locked down. To summarize, the upper is really well done but with some volume issues. 


Matt: The Craft CTM Ultra is a rockered performance trainer. The 40mm stack height in the heel provides a slightly softer ride thanks to the UD foam. The heel is highly beveled, making for smooth transitions at the rearfoot. The midfoot is a bit narrow but transitions fairly well into a moderately flexible and rockered forefoot. The toe-off feels easy at recovery paces but slightly snappy as the pace picks up. The overall ride is slightly softer with some give in the midsole thanks to the higher stack height and no plate like the CTM Ultra Carbon 2. The outsole has solid traction that grips well on both road and trail. The moderate level of sole flexibility makes this shoe feel better to me on road than trail as I prefer the stiffer ride of the Ultra Carbon 2 on trail. However, for those that want a max stack height shoe that still flexes on trail, this may be a good one. There is a 10mm drop that is noticeable. It does not get in the way at all due to the significant rocker and feels great on days my calves are fatigued. The sole has been durable throughout the 35 miles of use on trails and road. Although I have worn down the lugs in my normal spot, the outsole is intact and the midsole has retained the same feel. Use-wise the Craft CTM Ultra feels best as a lighter training shoe. It can pick the pace up and does fine during fartlek and hills repeats, but isn't snappy enough to go faster. The flexibility makes it a little more easy-going and like David, I have been using these for recovery runs. Overall, the Craft CTM Ultra 2 is a great long-distance lighter weight training shoe for those who want a higher drop shoe for easy miles, long runs and some mild uptempo work.

David: I was very pleased with my time in the CTM Ultra 2. The shoe is very protective and the rocker is really well done. Because there is no carbon plate present in these the shoe does have some forefoot flexibility up front which does feel nice at daily paces. The shoe does ride relatively normal to slightly soft with cushioning thanks to not having the plate as well. The ride relies on a rocker geometry throughout that is done quite well thanks to a large heel bevel and good cross sectional area. The outsole is an all terrain outsole and the shoe can handle a nice variety of footing conditions. The midsole itself can handle some uptempo efforts but certainly leans more in the daily training category. The high stack and nice geometry do also seem to help me with muscle soreness as well. I have definitely been reaching for this shoe a little more as I'm coming back from some forced running stoppage. The weight feels really nice for the amount of cushioning present. Overall, this is one my favorite daily trainers of 2022 so far.


Matt: The Craft CTM Ultra 2 is a neutral shoe. However, there are a few elements that add mild stability. The heel features mild midsole sidewalls on both the medial and lateral side. This cups the heel and facilitates forward momentum at the rearfoot. The forefoot is wider and flexible, facilitating motion of the toes once you get there. The sole in the heel and forefoot feature flare in both the medial and lateral directions, making those areas inherently stable. The midfoot however is less stable. This is due to the increased flexibility of the shoe for having a max stack height as well as how much it narrows compared to the rest of the shoe. So for those with mild stability needs in the heel and forefoot, you will find it here. For those with mild or greater stability needs in the midfoot, you may need to approach with caution. 

David: The stability of the Craft CTM Ultra 2 is done pretty well. For having a 40mm stack height the shoe feels surprisingly grounded. The geometry is done well with a large heel bevel and mild to moderate toe spring. The flexibility upfront does seem to help with making the transition through toe-off feel natural. The outsole gives good traction and security in most situations. The upper dimensions could be reworked a little to make the volume issue and heel security better. Otherwise, stability is quite good for a daily trainer.


The majority of max cushion shoes on the market, particularly trail shoes, tend to have a lower heel drop. This is often done from a stability standpoint, as a higher heel drop combined with a higher stack creates the possibility for more frontal plane torque at the ankle. Lower heel drop typically have more inherent stability, however this is only if you have adequate calf/ankle range of motion. For those with limited motion, there bodies may compensate with the joints directly below the talocrural (ankle) joint, including the subtalar and midfoot joints. As these have joint axis in the frontal plane, those with limited ankle mobility may compensate with excessive movement in the frontal plane, making low drop shoes inherently more unstable for this population. This makes sense that even the research demonstrates that lower drop shoes put more torque through the ankle regardless of the stack height (Richert et al., 2019). That may be good for some people with great ankle mobility or strength, but not for others that lack it

This does not take into account the effect from rockered soles, which also shift the work away from the ankle (Sobhani et al., 2013). This has been a common suggestion from us for those with Achilles tendon issues, to consider a rockered shoe as those have been shown to unload the calf and Achilles tendon (Sobhani et al., 2013). The ultimate combination may be a shoe like the Craft CTM Ultra 2 that has a higher heel drop (10mm) combined with a significant rocker. The higher heel drop and rocker will both shift work away from the ankle and up higher, unloading the calves and Achilles tendon in the process. The increased flexibility up at the forefoot does not unload them completely, but does reduce the risk of the shoe being too stiff, which can actually increase loads into the ankle to get over it (Mcleod et al., 2020). As David alluded to, this makes the Craft CTM Ultra 2 a great long run/recovery shoe for days when your calves are beat up or if you know they might tighten up over a variety of surfaces.


McLeod, A. R., Bruening, D., Johnson, A. W., Ward, J., & Hunter, I. (2020). Improving running economy through altered shoe bending stiffness across speeds. 
Footwear Science12(2), 79-89.

Richert, F. C., Stein, T., Ringhof, S., & Stetter, B. J. (2019). The effect of the heel-to-toe drop of standard running shoes on lower limb biomechanics. 
Footwear Science11(3), 161-170

Sobhani, S., Hijmans, J., Heuvel, E., Zwerver, J., Dekker, R., Postemia, K. (2013).  Biomechanics of slow running and walking with a rocker shoe.  
Gait & Posture: 38(4): 998-1004.

Sobhani, S., Zwerver, J., Heuvel, E., Postema, K., Dekker, R., Hijmans, J.  (2013).  Rocker shoes reduce achilles tendon load in running and walking in patients with chronic achilles tendinopathy.  
Journal of Science and Medicine in Sport.


Matt: I have enjoyed the Craft CTM Ultra 2 and found the upper to be slightly more secure than the CTM Ultra Carbon 2. This may be due to the slightly shorter fit. What I had more trouble with was the instability in the midfoot secondary to it narrowing and not having a plate or anything else to secure it. When you have a high stack height, sole flare and width become more important to balance out the inherent stability that comes with that. If that is not done, the area with the narrow sole will be more wobbly and less stable. This can be compensated for with a plate or other stiffening agent, but the Ultra 2 dos not have that. Thus moving forward I would suggest filling that area in and experimenting with sole sculpting elsewhere to save weight. 

David: My main recommendations for the Craft CTM Ultra 2 lies within the upper dimensions. The weight to ride ratio feels pretty spot on especially for the amount of stack the shoe has. The transitions throughout are smooth but can be effected by the upper dimensions if not heel locked. The volume vertically/dorsally through the forefoot and midfoot is what seems to effect this the most. Otherwise one of my favorite daily trainers.


Matt: The Craft CTM Ultra 2 is a max stack height, daily/lightweight trainer for those who want a higher heel drop, higher volume fit and a rockered sole for multiple terrains. The mesh is lightweight, breathable and features a higher volume fit for swelling. Those with normal width to slightly wider feet will do well, but still may need to tighten down the laces. The sole is highly rockered with a higher heel drop, making it best for those with limited ankle mobility, stiff calves or who like those features. The max stack height UD foam provides mild softness underfoot, with a surprising amount of flexibility to adapt to a variety of terrain thanks to a well-designed outsole. The Craft CTUM Ultra 2 is unique as a high drop, rockered, lighter hybrid road/trail shoe and may be worth checking out for those who like those features. 

David: The Craft CTM Ultra is a maximum stack height daily trainer for those looking to have a nice rocker sensation without the use of a carbon plate. The ride is a little softer because of the lack of plate and there is a little more flexibility through the forefoot as well. The result is a very balanced and rhythmic feel. The ride isn't the most responsive but feels really nice over daily training paces and efforts. The outsole traction and platform feel good enough for off road conditions as well. Being someone that runs through a large variety of footing and terrain on a daily basis within the same run this a shoe that I seem to consistently reach for. The upper does require heel lock for me, but otherwise one of my favorite trainers right now. 


The Craft CTM Ultra 2 is a lightweight, high-stack, non-plated daily trainer which offers a more cushioned ride than the other two shoes in the CTM line-up (CTM Ultra Carbon 2 and CTM Carbon Race Rebel). The upper is composed of a thin, lightweight, polyester mesh allowing for optimal ventilation. However, the upper offers minimal adaptability to the foot, therefore resulting in extra movement within the shoe. The lacing system makes up for increased midfoot width by providing a decent lockdown, however leaves the forefoot with excess room. There is no heel counter, however there are mild medial and lateral internal heel cushions to provide protection to the heel and Achilles and very minimal stability to the rearfoot. Overall, the upper provides very minimal structure and security to the foot and could a major area for improvement in future models.    

Composed of UD Foam, the high-stack midsole provides a very cushioned and flexible ride. Although the shoe has a higher stack, it does a great job of maintaining ground feel, likely due to the high level of cushioning and flexibility of the midsole. The cushioning allows for adaptability to the surface on contact, which provides feedback to the foot regarding ground feel and surface type. The heel-toe drop is 10mm with a rockered geometry and a toe spring to increase responsiveness/bounciness of the shoe. The outsole’s traction is excellent in all conditions that I tested in and on various surface types – road or trail. Further, it has shown very minimal wear after running ~100 miles in them during testing.    

Despite not being a fan of the upper design, this shoe became a go-to for me on easier runs and for strides. The smooth ride and high cushion of the midsole is exactly what I look for in a trainer. With the higher drop, rocker, and toe-spring, this shoe is very easy on the posterior chain, especially on the calf, making this one of my top choices for recovery runs following speedwork. Conversely, it is also a great option for the day before speedwork as it reduces load on the calf and is also responsive enough to transition into some faster strides. As someone who prefers to do strides the day before a faster workout, this is a key point for me on runs preceding a workout. Overall, I am a big fan of this shoe as a daily trainer and will continue to log more miles on them. My only recommendation for future models would be to increase the structure of the upper to provide more security to the foot and avoid excess sliding in the shoe.

- Contributor Megan Flynn


Fit: B+/A- (Higher volume fit with breathable upper. Easy to secure with laces but fits just a hair short. )
B+ (Slightly softer midsole with well rockered ride and flexible forefoot. Best for long runs and easy runs with the ability to handle uptempo work on both road and trail)
Stability: B/B+ [Neutral] (Stable heel with sidewalls and wider forefoot. Narrow midfoot with high stack less stable)
DPT/Footwear Science: B+/A- (Unique offering as a high drop, rockered hybrid trail shoe. Midfoot could be wider due to high stack.)
Personal: B+ (Solid ride with a comfortable upper. Slightly unstable midfoot for me limits this shoe to moderate to short distances)
Overall: B+ (A good lighter-weight daily trainer/long run hybrid shoe for those who want a higher volume, high heel drop and rockered ride)

Fit: (Good lightweight and breathable upper, a lot of volume that does effect heel slippage though. Thankfully heel lock did eliminate the problem for me. Otherwise great upper.)
A (A really balanced ride for me. Very protective, rhythmic, a nice flexible forefoot, and a good traction on trail. Nothing flashy responsiveness wise but a really consistent and reliable ride for daily training efforts.)
Stability: A- (Good outsole, good use of sole flaring in the forefoot, good geometry, the upper could be reworked)
DPT/Footwear Science: A- (I like the focus on all terrain from Craft. I also like that they showed a maximum stack height shoe without a plate can still work well for daily training and trail efforts without being overly unstable.)
Personal: A (One of my favorite daily trainers right now. A good balanced ride with good protection, traction, and forefoot flexibility.)
Overall: A- (A really well done daily trainer with plenty of protection and a balanced ride. The shoe offers decent versatility with trail and off road use as well. A good all terrain workhorse that could just use a little dimensions work on the upper.)


Learn more about the latest Craft CTM lineup hitting the market for 2022


Price: $164.99 at Running Warehouse

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Doctor of Physical Therapy
Board Certified Orthopedic Clinical Specialist
Fellow of the American Academy of Orthopedic Manual Physical Therapists

Dr. Matthew Klein is a 150 lb male with notable PRs of 14:45 for 5k and 2:32:44 for the full marathon.  He typically runs 70-100 miles per week and trains at a variety of paces from 8min per mile recovery runs to 4:40 per mile 1k repeats.  He prefers firmer and responsive shoes with snug heels and medium to wide toe boxes.  The stability guy of the group, he also prefers a little stability in his footwear. However, as a researcher, clinician and running shoe aficionado, he will run in anything.

David Salas PT DPT CSCS
Doctor of Physical Therapy
Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist

Dr. David Salas is a 135 lb male with notable PRs ranging from 3:54 in the 1500m to 1:08:36 for half marathon. He typically runs 60 to 70 miles per week and trains from about 7:30 recovery runs to fast shorter efforts at 4:30 pace. He normally prefers neutral shoes with a firmer ride, but is completely open to other types of shoes.  He is a footwear enthusiast at heart and will always appreciate a high quality shoe when it comes around. For updates on training or testing,

Editor's Note: As always, the views presented on this website belong to myself or the selected few who contribute to these posts. This website should not and does not serve as a replacement for seeking medical care. If you are currently injured or concerned about an injury, please see your
local running physical therapist. If you are in the Los Angeles area, I am currently taking clients for running evaluations.

***Disclaimer: These shoes were provided free of charge in exchange for a review.  We thank the people at Craft Footwear and Running Warehouse for sending us a pair.  This in no way affected the honesty of this review. We systematically put each type of shoe through certain runs prior to review. For trainers and performance trainers, we take them on daily runs, workouts, recovery runs and a long run prior to review (often accumulating anywhere from 20-50 miles in the process). For racing flats we ensure that we have completed intervals, a tempo or steady state run run as well as a warm up and cool down in each pair prior to review. This systematic process is to ensure that we have experience with each shoe in a large variety of conditions to provide expansive and thorough reviews for the public and for companies. Our views are based on our extensive history in the footwear industry and years testing and developing footwear. If you are a footwear rep looking for footwear reviews or consultations on development, we are currently looking to partner with companies to assist, discuss and promote footwear models. Partnership will not affect the honesty of our reviews.

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Topo MTN Racer 2

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