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Topo Athletic Pursuit Review: A Happy Medium for the Trails
By: Senior Contributor David Salas

Topo has gradually been making themselves more known in the running world by consistently bringing some good quality shoes to the market. The Pursuit is a trail running shoe that is aimed at competing with the likes of the Altra Lone Peak as a daily trainer for the trails. The shoe utilizes Vibram Megagrip outsole with generously spaced lugs to help with clearing mud or snow, a softer ZipFoam midsole underfoot, and a very gently rockered zero drop shoe. The shoe is definitely a daily trainer for the trails with some versatility on terrain. 

Price: $140 at Running Warehouse
Weight: 10.8 oz, g (men's size 9), 8.6 oz, g  (women's size 7)
Stack Height: 28mm/28 mm
Drop: 0mm
Classification: Daily Trainer/Trail Running Shoe


The Topo Pursuit is a trail running shoe for daily training efforts. The shoe uses a zero drop platform with a uniform 28mm of stack throughout the platform. The ZipFoam midsole is softer than some other Topo footwear I have run in. The shoe has a very gently rockered ride that helps keep transitions feel smooth and natural when running. The Pursuit can work on nearly any kind of trail setting including technical terrain. I've had some success with road-to-trail as well in the Pursuit.


The Topo Pursuit fits true to size in my normal men's 9.5, though perhaps a little bit long in length. The shoe has the classic anatomical fit you usually see with Topo Athletic. The heel and midfoot are normal width with the forefoot and toe box having a wider fit. The mesh material is reinforced well and does not have much stretch to it. The inner lining of it is still breathable and comfortable as well. There are some areas for high abrasion built in such as the forefoot and some small overlays in the medial midfoot. The tongue is padded very well and allows for good lockdown without irritation. There is a heel counter present that is also padded very well and provides good security without sacrificing comfort to the region. This is definitely a trail upper and provides good security throughout the entire shoe. I did not have any problems with slippage in the upper, though the length could probably be dialed in a tad more. Otherwise, a great upper. 


I was really pleased with the performance of the Topo Pursuit. The ride is very balanced throughout and nothing feels overdone. I had a lot of confidence with navigating through trail terrain in nearly any condition. The Vibram Megagrip outsole is very sticky underfoot and the lugs are placed in a way they don't feel too aggressive or noticeable upon landing. The ZipFoam in the Pursuit feels softer than other Topos I have worn in the past. The cushioning feels like it is in a "slightly soft" category if we are going from hard/firm to soft. The resilience of the foam feels good underfoot and it provides plenty of protection for long miles. The shoe is a 0mm drop platform with 28mm of stack height but has nicely designed geometry to help with easing transitions. The shoe is gently rockered with a central heel bevel and mild toe spring in the forefoot. It still feels like a 0mm drop shoe to me, but the geometrical design makes it so I don't feel like I am overworking my calves in any way. If anything it feels like it lets me run pretty close to natural on the trail. The stack height of the foam felt nice enough to where I don't think a rock guard is necessary in this model. The transitions are very balanced throughout with a gently rolling heel and mild to moderate flexible forefoot. The shoe does come with a little bit of weight being at 10.8 ounces in men's size 9. For me this definitely is better for easy days out on the trail. I was able to push some sections of trail but the responsiveness and ride of the shoe feel much better at controlled paces. I do think I'd like to see it a little bit lighter overall, but this is a still very well done trail running shoe for daily training or perhaps long distance trail racing. The shoe reminds me a lot of a softer and slightly heavier HOKA Torrent 2 or Altra Lone Peak.


The Topo Pursuit is not a stability model but provides some components that help a little bit. The upper is reinforced very well and does give a nice sense of security throughout. The outsole is done well and provides great traction underfoot as well as a sense of ground feel. The wide forefoot bed helps with giving good cross sectional area at toe off. The heel and forefoot also have gentle sole flaring in the rearfoot and forefoot both medially and laterally helping with having a nice stable platform. The shoe still has some softness underfoot and a little bit of unavoidable instability in the midsole. Overall, though stability is pretty good in the Pursuit. 


The importance of having a solid trail shoe is important. The main things I look for are upper security, traction underfoot, and how your own biomechanics interact with the platform underneath you. When running in trails there are a lot of things that can happen with conditions. You have uneven terrain, potentially adverse weather conditions, and sometimes less space and time to make decisions. Hamill et al. (2022) found that the most prevalent reason for trail injury was a rolled ankle or sprained ankle, with 359 of the 1016 participants having a trail related injury. When you are running through trails your proprioceptive demands (joints awareness in space) are higher.  This means that having security in your footwear and a sense of ground feel is all the more important. I like that Topo didn't go crazy with their stack height in the Pursuit, while still placing some nice components to help with security and a balanced ride. Some of these features include a gentle rocker design that seems to help facilitate without rolling your forward to quick, a full contact outsole with great traction underfoot, and a very secure upper to help with lockdown. Sometimes keeping things simple can go a long way when applied to real world settings like the trails. Finding a shoe that works with your mechanics that gives you some security and confidence is huge in tackling off-roading conditions in the trails. 


Hamill, J., Hercksen, J., Salzano, M., Udofa, A., & Trudeau, M. (2022). The prevalence of injuries in trail running: influence of trails, terrains, and footwear. Footwear Science, 14, 113-121. 


I really enjoyed my time in the Topo Pursuit. My main recommendations are to streamline the fit with length a little more and to reduce some weight off of the platform. The shoe feels really nice and balanced, but the weight catches up to you after some time. Some of the main competitors in this category are still about an ounce lighter. With that said I enjoyed the nice balanced feel of the shoe and it is a trail option I definitely consider when going out into the mountains.


The Topo Pursuit is trail running shoe aimed at daily training. The shoe has a very gently rockered design with very balanced transitions throughout the platform. The cushioning underfoot is slightly soft but still holds good resilience in the trails. The Vibram Megagrip outsole is sticky and the lugs do well in a large variety of terrain. Though the shoe is 0mm drop it feels like it is balanced out well with geometry. The Pursuit is a balanced trail running shoe for those looking to have a low drop daily trainer that can tackle some technical terrain or even some road-to-trail if you need it to. 


Fit: A- (Just a little long, me being picky, otherwise would be an A)
B+/A- (Very balanced transitions that feel good on a large variety of terrain, runs a little heavy though over time, not super bouncy or responsive when pushing the pace)
Stability: A- (Good stability for not having any formal measures, good outsole, upper integration, and platform geometry, foam gives some inherent instability)
DPT/Footwear Science: B+ (Keeping this simple but executing well. Gentle sole flaring and keeping everything mild to moderate with bevel, toe spring, lug depth and outsole. A good culmination of relatively simple concepts.)
Personal: A- (I really enjoy the ride of the Pursuit. The cushioning is great underfoot and the transitions are nice for easy days. I do wish it was just a tad lighter and more responsive though when pushing certain trail sections.)
Overall: B+/A- (A well done trail shoe for daily training. Versatile enough to hit technical terrain as well as road if it needs to. Cushioning is a nice happy medium as well.)


Price: $140 at Running Warehouse

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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 Topo Athletic 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 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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