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Topo Cyclone 2 Review: PEBAX with no Plate
By David Salas and Andrea Myers

Speed and performance are not normally the words one associates with the footwear company Topo, but the Cyclone has come to change this. The Cyclone 2 is a lower profile training shoe that uses a PEBAX-based midsole for solid responsiveness. This shoe does not have a plate like many other PEBA/PEBAX based shoes. This shoe is aimed at being a lightweight trainer that can perform at faster paces as well. 

Topo Cyclone 2
Price: $150 (Late Jan. release)
Weight: Not provided
Stack Height: Unknown
Drop: 5mm
Classification: Lightweight Trainer/ Performance Shoe



RUNNING SHOE SUMMARY

David: The Topo Cyclone 2 is a lightweight training shoe that can do a little bit of everything. The shoe uses a PEBAX based midsole that has good responsiveness when pushed. There is no plate and so there is some mild flexibility up front at the forefoot. The overall stack and sensation on foot lean on the lower profile end of footwear. The shoe runs like a nice training shoe/speed shoe hybrid.

Andrea: The Topo Cyclone 2 is a major update of the original Cyclone, which I really enjoyed using for workouts in 2020 and 2021. When I heard what Topo had in store for v2, I could not wait to test them out. The biggest change is the PEBAX midsole that strikes the right balance between lightweight cushioning, responsiveness, and ground feel (the original Cyclone had Topo's TPU/EVA ZipFoam). The Cyclone 2 has Topo's wide toe box that provides just enough room for toe splay without being sloppy, and a much better fitting upper than the original Cyclone. The Cyclone 2 will be a great workout shoe for runners looking for a neutral, lower stack shoe with ample room in the toe box.

SIMILAR SHOES: Nike Streakfly, Brooks Hyperion Tempo, New Balance Rebel v3, Skechers Razor 3


FIT

David: The Topo Cyclone 2 fits true to size for me. I am currently running in the Women's equivalent size for my Men's 9.5 however. The width throughout the heel and midfoot are normal to slightly snug with the forefoot having the wide forefoot and toebox we have known from Topo. The anatomical fit feels pretty dialed in with the Cyclone. The mesh material is breathable, but lightly reinforced throughout. It has mild stretch it, but only enough to accommodate foot swelling. The heel collar is lightly padded and integrates with the lacing system well. The tongue is lightly padded as well and I had no issues with biting from the laces. The upper seems to really wrap the foot when locked down and I had no issues with heel or foot slippage in any directions. This has seemed to hold with cornering and track use as well. This is one my favorite uppers/fit in the past year. 

Andrea: The Topo Cyclone 2 fits perfectly in my usual women's size 9.5. I have a full thumb's width from my big toe to the end of the shoe and the toe box is wide enough for mild toe splay. This shoe fits similarly to the Topo Magnifly 4 and the Ultraventure 3. For comparable fit in the Specter, I went up to a size 10. The heel and midfoot are normal width, but perhaps a little narrower than the Specter. The mesh upper is thin enough that I can see my socks through it and very breathable. The upper has only mild stretch and I did not experience any foot translation in the shoe. I was able to achieve excellent lockdown without needing to heel lock the laces. Like most Topo shoes, there are lace loops on the dorsum of the non-gusseted tongue to help hold it in place. The heel counter is flexible and the heel collar is lightly padded.

Topo Cyclone v1 (left), v2 (right)

The one fit issue I had with the original Cyclone was that the upper part of the heel collar narrowed, and caused irritation around my Achilles tendon. The refined heel collar of v2, which does not extend as far superiorly and has a little more padding and structure, did not cause any irritation for me. The other major fit differences between v1 and v2 are that the mesh upper of v2 is thinner and more breathable and the tongue of v2 has a little more padding. I am really pleased with the improvements in fit of v2.





PERFORMANCE


David: The Cyclone 2 was a pleasant surprise. Right away I noticed a light on foot feel with my heel rises and strides. The shoe definitely leans towards a more natural feel throughout. The shoe has a slight bevel in the heel and a mild toe spring, though no major rocker profile. There is no plate and so there is some flexibility throughout the forefoot. This feels similar to the Skechers Razor 3 in some ways, but still different and itself unique. The midsole is made of PEBAX, the same compound seen in many new generation racing shoes. The Cyclone 2 feels like a nice hybrid between a daily trainer and a racing flat for me. So far I have not had any problems taking this shoe to 12 miles in a single session. I imagine I can take it more, though I haven't done it yet.

The transitions are very mild and natural throughout. The midsole responds really well when pushed. I have been able to take the Cyclone 2 to my 5k race pace with no issues. This has been one of my go to workout shoes in recent times, even on the track. I have not had any issues pushing the shoe into corners both on road and on track. The moderately flexible forefoot actually feels really nice in these workout situation. Traction underfoot is surprisingly good as well and I have had no issues with slipping or sliding when on dirt or wet road. This shoe can go both slow and fast, though I must admit I like it fast. The shoe works really well for my stride having a light heel strike and quick roll through the midfoot and forefoot. I don't think I'd quite race in this shoe with other racing options on the market, though this has become potentially my number 1 training companion due to its versatility. 

Andrea: The Topo Cyclone 2 has lived up to what I hoped it would be: a plateless speed shoe that has the fit of a Topo with the performance of PEBAX. I have had so much fun testing this shoe during many workouts: easy runs, tempo runs, 2 mile pace intervals, and mile pace strides. While I found the shoe to be comfortable for easy runs, the Cyclone 2 really shines when I pick up the pace. The responsiveness of the PEBAX midsole in combination with Topo's late toe spring makes the Cyclone 2 come alive. Midfoot landings feel natural thanks to the 5mm drop and the mild heel bevel and the midsole compresses just enough to cushion landings without any instability. The late toe spring mildly assists with push off, but the flexible forefoot allows you to feel like you are in control of your mechanics, as opposed to the shoe forcing motion.

I used Cyclone 2 for a 35 min marathon pace interval and enjoyed the natural feeling and mildly cushioned ride. The shoe performs equally well at faster paces, particularly because the late toe spring and flexible forefoot let you use your mechanics for push off. I haven't had any threshold pace intervals to do since I have been testing this shoe, but I suspect that it will perform just as well at that speed. I did use the shoe on a number of easy runs, and while the shoe was comfortable at easy paces, it definitely performs best at faster paces due to the flexible forefoot. My longest run in the Cyclone was 10 miles and I am confident it can handle longer workouts as well. I wouldn't hesitate to use it for a long run with extended marathon pace intervals based on its performance so far.

While the outsole rubber coverage is not as thick as v1, it does cover about 2/3s of the bottom of the shoe. I wasn't sure how it would perform in wet conditions, but after doing 3 workouts in the rain or on wet roads, I can report that it has excellent traction. I have 45 miles on my pair and there is no visible wear on the rubber outsole, but some wear on the exposed midsole at the lateral midfoot. It will be interesting to see how the exposed midsole holds up over time and I will do an update after getting some more miles on the shoe.




STABILITY

David:
The Topo Cyclone 2 is certainly a neutral shoe. This is a shoe that wants you to run naturally throughout each transition in the gait cycle. Some things that they have implemented that seem to help a little bit with stability is sole flaring in the forefoot and a slight bucket sidewall in the heel. The forefoot gives you a nice platform to lever from, especially since the entirety of the shoe is PEBAX. The outsole gives a tad rigidity throughout as well, keeping the shoe from having a lot of torsion movement or over flexibility. The heel also makes you feel centered and held due to to the sidewalls. With this said, the shoe is still a neutral shoe and runs very much like a neutral shoe. The shoes I have closest comparisons for would be a blend of the Skechers Razor 3, New Balance Rebel v3, and the HOKA Rehi. 

Andrea:
The Cyclone 2 is a truly neutral shoe with only mild guidance elements. The heel bevel and toe spring are on the mild side and only provide light guidance with transitions. While the shoe has medial and lateral sole flare that runs the entire length of the shoe, it is not very wide and is not biased in a particular direction. The flexible forefoot could also create some instability for those who do not have sufficient 1st MTP extension range of motion or with forefoot instabilities. There are sidewalls in the midfoot and the shoe does have Topo's usual arch support, which does provide some stability to the midfoot. The excellent fit and lockdown of the upper contribute to overall foot stability in the shoe, but in general, those with specific stability needs may need to look at a different shoe.

The Cyclone and Nike Streakfly share some similarities


Thoughts as a DPT: Pondering a Pair of Plateless PEBAX Performance Trainers
By Andrea Myers
The Topo Cyclone 2 inhabits a small running shoe category: a lower stack, non-plated PEBAX shoe designed for speed work and racing. The shoe that the Cyclone 2 most reminds me of is the Nike Streakfly, but there are some signficant differences between the two shoes. While both shoes lack a plate to stabilize the PEBAX midsole, the Streakfly has a midfoot shank, which does provide some stability during midfoot landings. In comparison, the sole of the Cyclone 2 is generally more flexible than the Streakfly, particularly in the midfoot and forefoot. Shoes with a greater stack height of PEBAX often require a plate or more aggressive rocker geometry (like the Nike Invincible Run Flyknit 2) to stabilize the foam, but the Cyclone 2 and Streakfly do just fine without either. The Streakfly has a mild forefoot rocker and minimal toe spring as compared to the Cyclone 2. These features result in the Cyclone 2 having a more aggressive toe off than the Streakfly, although I do not consider the ride of the Cyclone to be aggressive as compared to super shoes, like the Endorphin Pro or Speed 3 or the original Alphafly.

Both shoe are truly neutral shoes, but the wider overall platform of the Cyclone 2 does make landings and transitions feel a little more stable as compared to the Streakfly. The medial longitudinal arch support and midfoot sidewalls in the Cyclone 2 also provide mild stability in the midfoot. The Streakfly has an unusually wide forefoot for a Nike shoe, and feels nearly as wide as the forefoot of the Cyclone 2. Lockdown is excellent in both shoes due to both shoes' secure mesh uppers. For me, the Streakfly feels like running in a slipper designed for speed, and the Cyclone feels more like what I expect from a performance trainer, likely due to its larger forefoot rocker. I have used the Streakfly for workouts at every pace, and I have found it to perform best at hill reps and flat intervals at 5k pace or faster due to its flatter forefoot profile. The Cyclone 2 is more versatile for me and can comfortably be used for easy pace all the way down to mile pace. The right shoe for you will depend on your individual biomechanical needs and your specific training goals. Remember, shoes are tools, so choose your tools wisely based on your specific needs.



RECOMMENDATIONS

David: I really enjoyed my time in the Cyclone 2. This is one of the few times I find myself scratching my head on what I could see changed. For being a non plated option this is one of my favorite shoes period. I think I would be curious to see how the shoe rides with a PEBAX or nylon plate, rather than a carbon plate. This would still give some flexibility and could open a racing option for Topo, though this shoe is still quick. 

Andrea: The Cyclone 2 has definitely lived up to the hype that I created in my mind for it. Topo really nailed the fit, midsole, and geometry to make a responsive, non-plated speed shoe. I do wonder what the shoe would feel like with a firmer forefoot, perhaps from a forefoot plate like the original Asics Magic Speed. However, my main recommendation would be to leave the shoe exactly as it is. 

WHO THIS SHOE IS FOR

David: The Topo Cyclone 2 is a neutral lightweight trainer for someone looking for a shoe that can hit a variety of paces. The shoe works really well as a training companion and can hit track intervals up to road tempos. There is still enough stack and flexibility where this shoe can also hit daily miles. I have had multiple 10-12 mile efforts in this shoe with no issue. The PEBAX midsole is very responsive when pushed, but also forgiving at slower paces. Those wanting a lightweight responsive ride but are sensitive to plates should definitely put this on their radar. 

Andrea: The Topo Cyclone 2 is a neutral, lightweight performance trainer that has Topo's signature wide toe tox and late toe spring. Its PEBAX midsole gives it a responsive and fast ride that is perfect for interval days, but can handle warmups, cooldowns, and easy runs as well. If you enjoyed the Topo Specter as a tempo or long run shoe, you will love the Cyclone 2 as a speed shoe that can also handle longer tempos. The Cyclone 2 is a great option for neutral runners looking for a non-plated performance trainer.


GRADING

David
Fit: (Lockdown throughout is really good. Upper lightly reinforced well. Breathability is solid.)
Performance: A 
(A true swiss army knife. I have run 4:40 mile pace fine and I have run 8 minute pace fine.)
Stability: B (A very neutral shoe throughout, though sole flare in forefoot and heel sidewalls give some security)
DPT/Footwear Science: A (A shoe that is going to shoot up quick to the top of the ladder at the plateless performance shoe category)
Personal: A (My favorite shoe to hit the track in at the moment, and I can warm up and cool down in it)
Overall: (Incredibly versatile option for a lightweight trainer that could even double as a racing flat)
 
Andrea
Fit: (Wide toe box, excellent lockdown, and refined heel counter make the Cyclone 2 an incredibly well-fitting shoe)
Performance: A 
(versatile shoe that can be used at a variety of paces, but excels at workouts, including sub-5k pace)
Stability: B- (A neutral shoe that does not have significant stable neutral features. Best for runners without stability needs)
DPT/Footwear Science: A (Topo has created a great shoe in the plateless performance trainer category that rivals the Nike Streakfly)
Personal: A (Great fit, performance, and comfort. My new favorite speed shoe.)
Overall: A (Really impressed with the Cyclone 2, particularly Topo's use of PEBAX without a plate to make a high performing speed shoe)


SHOP | SUPPORT DOR

Topo Cyclone 2
Price: $150 (late Jan releaes)

*Using the link to purchase helps support Doctors of Running. Thanks so much!

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FURTHER READING

Adidas Adizero SL
[Neutral Trainer] -
A remodernized daily trainer for the Adidas line
Brooks Hyperion Max [Neutral Trainer] - A brand new lightweight trainer from Brooks

Find all Shoe Reviews at Doctors of Running here.

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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\Athletics 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.

Please feel free to reach out, comment and ask questions!
Contact us at doctorsofrunning@gmail.com

NEXT:
Brooks Hyperion Max

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