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Topo Athletic Atmos Review: Rolling
By David Salas

When I think of the company Topo Athletic, maximum cushioned shoes don't normally come to mind. Outside of the lightweight Specter model they made recently there hasn't been anything north of 35mm of stack height. The Atmos changes this and brings a 38mm platform and nice rolling ride for many miles to come. 

Topo Athletic Atmos
Weight: Not provided (men's size 9), Not Provided (women's size 8)
Stack Height: 38mm heel/33mm forefoot
Drop: 5mm
Classification: Maximum Cushioned Training Shoe


The Topo Atmos is a maximum cushioned training shoe that changes the conversation for the Topo Athletic assortment of training shoes. Previously they have focused on lower stack height options and a natural grounded ride. The Topo Atmos gives a high stack rockered ride that has a surprising amount of stability and centering to it. The shoe has plenty of cushion for long mileage and eating away easy day mileage.



The Topo Atmos fits true to size, though might have too much volume for some. My shoe is a size 9 and fits pretty close to 9.5 on volume and width in the forefoot. Other than that fit is very dialed in and Topo delivers again with a solid upper offering. The width in the heel and midfoot are normal to slightly snug. Topo is following the traditional anatomical fit that the company has used previously. There is a heel counter present, though there is moderate padding that does not provide any irritation. The heel cup almost has a concavity to it that wraps around the heel at the top and makes you feel secure. The mesh material itself does have decent comfort, with light reinforcement throughout the length of the shoe. There is slight stretch to it, though it does hold it structure relatively well. The tongue moderately padded and has enough cushion to lock the shoe down without issue or irritation. I feel Topo did a great job with this upper.

The only thing that comes to mind with improvement ironically is making the forefoot have a tad less volume as it is very airy and there is a lot of space in the region. Those that have higher volume feet will appreciate this however.


The Topo Athletic Atmos performed very well for its purpose. There is a moderate heel bevel and a moderate toe spring that runs through the full length of the shoe. This does provide a rockered experience without being overly dramatic. The updated ZipFoam has a slightly firmer feel to it than other foams, though gives you plenty of cushioning underfoot. The shoe has good sidewalls and sole flaring through the full length of the shoe and gives you a nice centered sensation. The outsole has not given me any issues with traction or lack of security. With that said it is on the flatter end and is definitely geared more towards road running. The platform does have a heel and forefoot crash pad in the midline of the shoe that actually seems to help with giving a slightly softer experience when landing in those region while also helping you feel centered. I did notice a small amount of foot translation in the forefoot due to the high volume, though it was not problematic when I laced the shoes down.

The Topo Athletic Atmos certainly does best at daily effort paces, but can pick up the pace a little bit if you need to. The high stack height does give this shoe a little bit of rigidity from the amount of foam, though there is still a small amount of forefoot flexibility as well. Because the toe spring is not as dramatic up front this more noticeable and may feel like a more natural toe off than some of the other maximum cushioned shoes. Outside of some the forefoot things I noticed this is one of my maximum cushioned shoes of the year.


The Topo Athletic is not a stability shoe but does have some things well integrated into the design. The first thing they do really well is usage of sidewall and sole flare integration. The shoe has a moderate amount of sole flaring through the heel and forefoot that actually integrates itself into the sidewalls along the upper. This is most prominent in the heel where the heel counter, sidewall, and sole flare feels like a small bucket holding your heel. The forefoot has a lot more room to it, though the design is similar and makes you feel centered. The shoe also has some crash pads in the midline of the heel and forefoot. Anecdotally this seems to make me feel a tad more centered and also a sensation of softness to the region. Gentle guidance would probably be my choice of words for this shoe. Traction is good underfoot and should serve well in most situations, though this is definitely a shoe for the roads. 

Thoughts as a DPT: Rolling in the Deep
By David Salas

The Topo Athletic Atmos is an interesting shoe for a couple of reasons. On the surface it looks like another maximum stack height rockered shoe. When we look a little bit closer at the geometry, it is actually different in a few ways. When we look at the geometry, most shoes have a dramatic heel bevel and toe spring if they have that much foam. The Atmos does have these components, but not nearly as dramatic. The bevel and toe spring is just big enough for you to feel them, though the transitions feel oddly natural for how much foam there is. 

One of the reasons why they were able to get away with doing this is their usage of geometry, sidewalls, and sole flare. In most maximum cushioned shoes the bevel has to be quite large because of stability demands and braking forces. If you bevel it more, it will transition you forward a little quicker and the loading of the shoe may actually help ease you into the midfoot. In the Atmos the foam is a tad firmer and the shoe has a lot of sidewalls and sole flare. Much of the shoes design seems focused on giving you a centered experience. Between the bucket-like sidewalls, sole flare, and the crash pads in the heel and forefoot you feel like you are gently guided down the midline of the shoe. Because of good integration of these components you don't have to worry as much about a fast transition at the heel and you can "roll in the deep" of the shoe. Yes, that was a forced Adele pun.


The Topo Atmos is a maximum cushioned training shoe for someone that likes a gently rockered ride for the roads. The shoe provides plenty of cushioning (though a tad firmer than other foams) underfoot and also gives a little guidance from its geometry. This would be in the camp of stable neutral shoes that we talk about here often.

I really enjoyed my time running in the Topo Atmos. The ride and experience was really nice, though there was one thing I kept thinking about. I felt the volume in the forefoot was a little too high and that there was a little too much space in the region. With that said I could feel my toes slide a little, though nothing problematic when the shoe was laced down. To streamline the ride and experience of the shoe though I would like to see the forefoot volume decreased (I am shocked I'd ever recommend this).


Fit: B+ (The Atmos has a very dialed in fit without being restrictive. The volume in the forefoot however is just a little too high and I find my feet moving a tad.)
Performance: A- 
(I felt the Atmos performed very well. Fun geometry and guidance, good security and traction, though the forefoot volume had some small amount of sliding of the toes on occasion)
Stability: A- (Stable neutral for sure. Great usage of sole flaring, sidewalls, geometry, and integration with the upper. Forefoot volume created small amount of foot movement in that region.)
DPT/Footwear Science: B+/A- (A good example of taking basic concepts and executing them well with geometry)
Personal: A- (One of my favorite maximum stack height shoes of the year for daily mileage on the road)
Overall: B+/A- 


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Skratch Recovery, Coffee Flavor: Mental and physical boost post run. Coffee flavor is excellent and goes great straight into a fresh brewed cup
goodr Sunglases: Run in style with goodr's super fun sunglasses.
Feetures Socks: Massively grippy socks that will make you feel more one with the shoe
Amphipod Hydraform Handheld Water Bottle: Perfect for long runs when you need hydration in the summer
Trigger Point Foam Roller: Help get those knots out post-run and feel better for tomorrow
Ciele Hat: Our team's favorite running hat of choice!
Fractel Hats: Our team's wider fitting running hat of choice!


Adidas Ultraboost Light - The 23rd ultraboost features Light Boost to help cut 2 oz from the trainer
Asics Gel-Nimbus 25 [Supermax Trainer] - Now a super maximal stacked shoe over 40mm!
Brooks Aurora BL - Brooks experimental project offers a look into the future
Brooks Ghost Max - Brooks new maximal rockered shoe that's also ortho-friendly
New Balance FuelCell SuperComp Trainer v2 - Shoe reduces stack to make a nimble max ride
Newton Isaac - Newton's first high cushion shoe!
Nike InfinityRN 4 - ReactX highlights a big change to the shoe, along with deconstructing past models
Nike Invincible 3 - Updated to improve stability, this max cushion trainer evolves for v3
Puma Magnify Nitro 2 - A higher stack of NITRO and a flatter geometry highlight this max trainer
Salomon Aero Glide - Salomon brings max stack to their lineup with this new offering
Saucony Triumph 21- The excellent Triumph from last year gets a new upper that dials in the fit for an excellent overall ride
Saucony Triumph RFG - Triumph's sustainable sibling sacrifices almost nothing in the process
Skechers GORun Max Road 6 - A totally new redesign for this max cushion shoes

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 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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