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Topo Athletic Magnifly 5 Review: 0 Drop, 0 Problems
By David Salas and Andrea Myers

The Topo Athletic Magnifly has always been the moderately cushioned zero drop trainer from the company. The shoe maintains a very neutral profile and a no nonsense build. The Magnifly also uses the traditional anatomic fit that Topo Athletic is known for, having a streamlined heel and midfoot with a wider forefoot and toe box. Updates to this model include the engineered mesh upper. 

Topo Magnifly 5
Price: $135 at Running Warehouse
Weight: 8.7 oz, 246 g (men's size 9), (woman size unavailable)
Stack Height: 25mm
Drop: 0mm
Classification: Neutral Daily Trainer


RUNNING SHOE SUMMARY

David:
The Topo Magnifly is a very simple shoes in some ways. It is a neutral trainer with a moderate profile and zero drop. The platform is a little rigid but does have some flexibility through the forefoot when loaded. The shoe gives you a very natural feel to your landings and transitions. With that said the experience is definitely firmer and lower to the ground, so if you are looking for a super foam or highly cushioned experience, this isn't it. This is a no nonsense neutral daily trainer with a very middle of the line approach (cushion, responsiveness, weight, etc). 

Andrea: The Topo Magnifly 5 is Topo's neutral, zero drop, lightly cushioned daily trainer. It has the classic Topo anatomical fit, with a wide and high volume toe box that provides ample room without being sloppy. The ride is on the firm side, but well-placed flex grooves in the forefoot provide the right amount of flexibility to keep you moving forward. I have really enjoyed using the Magnifly 5 for easy runs as I build back up after some time off after the Philly Marathon thanks to the shoe's ground feel and natural ride. The Magnifly 5 is a great option for those looking for a zero drop shoe with a firmer, lower ride.

SIMILAR SHOES
: Altra Escalante 3
PAST MODEL: Topo Magnifly 4




FIT

David: Topo Athletic shoes have always fit me well. This continues with the Magnifly 5. The shoe uses an engineered mesh upper that has been updated from the 4. The fit and dimensions are very dialed in. The anatomic fit is very evident. The Magnifly has a good lockdown through the heel and midfoot with a spacious forefoot and toe box that does not make your foot feel like it is swimming around. The tongue is moderately padded and does a great job of preventing biting from the laces. There is a decently flexible heel counter that is padded really well. This seems to hold the structure in that region pretty well without any issue. There is an external heel mold that wraps medially and laterally that is integrated really well with the upper. The engineered mesh has a little stretch to it initially, but holds its structure well. I have not had any issues with this one and feel Topo delivered again. Ironically, I like the mesh material itself in the Magnifly 4 more than the 5, though I like the external heel mold and integration better in the 5. If they could blend those two that could make an upper of the year for me. Either way this going to get an A in scoring for me. Everything fits well without issue without sacrificing comfort. 

Andrea: I love the fit of Topo shoes, and the Magnifly 5 did not disappoint. It fits true to size in my usual women's 9.5, with a full thumb's width from my big toe to the front of the shoe, and plenty of width for toe splay. While the anatomical toe box has plenty of width and volume, I did not experience any medial-lateral foot translation in the shoe. I did notice some puckering in the upper over the dorsum of my 1st and 2nd toes, but I did not experience any friction or discomfort from this. The midfoot and rearfoot are normal width and I was able to easily achieve secure lockdown without a lot of trial and error with the laces. There is a semi-rigid heel counter in the lower half of the rearfoot and a moderate amount of internal padding. The shoe feels like it wraps around my foot comfortably and securely, without any areas of irritation. The non-gusseted tongue is moderately padded and held in place by lace loops. The mesh upper is thicker than the mesh used in the Magnifly 4, and while I tested the Magnifly 5 in 30-40 degree temps, I suspect it would feel warm during the summer. Despite the thicker mesh, I love the fit of the Magnifly 5 and find it to be most similar to the fit of the Phantom 3




PERFORMANCE

David: The Topo Magnifly 5 does what it is intended to do. The Magnifly 5 is a neutral training shoe that gives a pretty natural ride throughout. It is a little bit different than other "lower stacked" (at least in today's society) options being that it still maintains some rigidity to the platform. There are some flex grooves and the shoe does have moderate flexibility under load, though it isn't super bendy like minimal shoes. With that noted this isn't meant to be a minimal shoe and is meant to be in the moderate cushion category, but at 25mm of stack this is on the lower end compared to the market. The 0mm drop platform feels accurate but not overly aggressive. The shoe has a small posterior lateral heel bevel and very small amount of toe spring. This is definitely not a rockered shoe and falls more into the flat profile in geometry. This does have a very natural feel and I did feel the transitions were pretty smooth throughout. The heel can be a tad slappy transitioning into the midfoot, but otherwise transitions smooth.

The ride is certainly on the firmer end. Zipfoam does not have as much compliance as other foams, but does give you enough cushioning to tackle workhorse mileage. The ride is very predictable with each step and might come off as "boring" in some of the best ways. The foam does not have too much bounce to it, though the firmness of the shoe and flat geometry do allow you to get up on your toes and push the pace if you need to. I do find this best for daily mileage efforts. The shoe is designed for roads, but does decent enough in all reasonably footed conditions. This is a shoe that feels natural all-around. From running to standing and walking this shoe is quite comfortable. You do have to be okay with the lower stack height and firmer platform though. This is definitely a really nice shoe if you are looking for something simple and neutral riding. 

Andrea: The Topo Magnifly 5 shines at easy paces and I have really enjoyed testing it as I build my mileage back up after the Philadelphia Marathon. When coming back after some time off running, I like to run in shoes that are lower to the ground, have a more natural ride, and let my feet and ankles do more of the work. The Magnifly 5 has been perfect for this, and I found that my feet and ankles felt better after every run in the shoe. It definitely runs like a zero drop shoe, but the higher longitudinal bending stiffness makes the shoe less stressful on the forefoot as compared to more flexible, even lower stack options (like the Topo ST-5 or Xero HFS). Midfoot landings feel natural in the Magnifly 5 due to the zero drop and the wide base. The later toe spring and horizontal forefoot flex grooves provide some give to an otherwise rigid sole, but do not really provide any amount of guidance to  push off. This is a shoe that lets you do the work, as opposed to other highly rockered shoes that feel like they force you into push off.

The Magnifly 5 uses Topo's Zipfoam, and I would say the compliance and resilience of the Zipfoam in this shoe feels most similar to the original Cyclone. There is not much give in the foam upon initial contact and there is not much energy return for push off. The midsole provides protection from the ground and not much else, which is sometimes exactly what I want. I'm not sure I would choose the Magnifly 5 for a recovery run in the middle of marathon training, but it is perfect for easy runs when my legs aren't trashed. The outsole has extensive rubber coverage in the rearfoot and forefoot, with some exposed midsole in the midfoot. My pair has minimal wear after 25 miles and I would expect higher than average durability out of this shoe. My first run in the shoe was in pouring rain and I had no issues with traction.



STABILITY

David: The Magnifly 5 is not a stability shoe, but runs with decent stability. The underfoot platform has decent width and cross sectional area and feels trustworthy when you are running. The stack height and foam composition lean on the firmer end and give you plenty of feedback from the ground under you. The external heel mold, though on the softer end, still seems to help with giving some guidance through the rearfoot without being overly involved. There is really slight sole flaring which feels integrated well. The upper gives good lockdown and trustworthy footing with turns. I think this would be in the consideration of a stable neutral offering.

Andrea:
The Topo Magnifly 5 is a neutral shoe that has greater foot and ankle strength and mobility requirements due to its zero drop. That being said, for a zero drop shoe, its higher longitudinal bending stiffness and wider base makes it more stable as compared to zero drop shoes with greater flexibility. The well-designed upper, particularly the rearfoot, provides secure lockdown and stabilizes the foot in the shoe. The late toe spring and forefoot flex grooves provide a little give, but not much guidance, in an otherwise rigid platform. The Magnifly 5 may be a good shoe for those interested in trying zero drop, but runners should still proceed with caution and gradually increase mileage in the shoe.


Thoughts as a DPT: Small Changes to Noticeable Results? 
By David Salas

Footwear has never been so complex as it is now. Over the last few years every company has been playing with foams, rubber, plastics, carbon, and the literal geometry of the shoes. In some cases we see overhauls on popular shoe lines and other times we see smaller updates. Do the updates really improve things? That answer can really depend. There are so many things that go into running performance. Some people will look at physiologic variables such as running economy, VO2 max, Lactate Threshold, or Ventilatory markers at given intensities. Others look at kinematic variables such as forces or ranges of motion through given joints. The honest truth is that a lot of these markers are still not fully understood and can be difficult to study when it comes to footwear and its direct impact on performance. 

The reason I bring this up is because of one small addition to the Topo Magnifly 5 from the 4. I noticed there is a softer external heel mold that wraps around the calcaneus medially and laterally. Subjectively, I feel like it does give it a little guidance and maybe a small boost to stability through the rearfoot. Objectively, that would be very hard to quantify. Kinematically speaking, it can be very hard to accurately reflect range of motion and "stability" through the calcaneus. Traditionally companies tend to place motions sensors on the heel of the shoe at given angles and make their best educated guess on range of motion through the calcaneus. Alcantara et al (2018) found that calcaneus range of motion in the frontal and transverse plane were significantly different and higher than the motion of the shoe itself when they drilled strategic holes to accurately place motions sensors. Even doing this, this did not account for motion through the midfoot or forefoot. There are a lot of moving parts to our feet, ankles, and our footwear. This is why I do still feel there is some value to subjective feelings around giving shoe components. This would be an accurate interpretation of the "art and science" we discuss of  here at Doctors of Running. 


Reference:

Alcantara, R.S., Trudeau, M.B., Rohr, E.S. (2018). Calcaneus range of motion underestimated by markers on running shoe heel. Gait & Posture 63. 68-72.




RECOMMENDATIONS

David: I really enjoyed my experience in the Magnifly 5. The shoe worked well for my mechanics, though I would still like to see the posterior lateral bevel increased a tad. The shoe still came off a tad slappy through the heel into the midfoot. The only other thing I'd like to see is blending the 4 upper and the 5 upper from the upper material standpoint. I really like the mesh on the 4 and would like to see that same softness and airiness integrated into a model like the 5. 

Andrea: The Topo Magnifly 5 is a well-designed zero drop shoe that I have greatly enjoyed testing. The only suggestion I would make is to improve the upper by reverting to the mesh from the Magnifly 4. I think v5 will be hot in the summer, and a thinner mesh will make the shoe more breathable and a little lighter. Otherwise, this shoe remains one of the best zero drop, neutral daily trainer options on the market.

WHO THIS SHOE IS FOR

David: The Topo Magnifly 5 is a neutral daily training shoe for someone that does not want an overly plush or rockered experience. This is for someone wanting a grounded feeling and a flatter profile to their shoe. The moderate stack height and firmer foam gives a lot of appeal to those sensitive to more compliant shoes. Those that need wider toe boxes and more accommodating uppers will respond well to this as well. This is a very comfortable shoe that does not feel aggressive or forefoot forward for being in the 0mm drop category.   

Andrea: The Topo Magnifly 5 is for runners looking for a zero drop, firm riding, neutral daily trainer. This shoe is not bouncy, rockered, or flexible, so if that is what you are looking for, look elsewhere. I personally have loved testing the shoe because I feel that it has helped me get back to basics after a long season and some time off. I would highly recommend the Magnifly 5 if you are looking for a well fitting, wide toe box, neutral shoe for easy miles.


GRADING

David
Fit: A (Good dimensions that don't sacrifice comfort or security)
Performance: B+/
A- (Heel bevel on the smaller side and heel to midfoot transition still a tad slappy, otherwise really nice natural feeling shoe. I would like to see a tad more responsiveness out of it though.)
Stability: A- (wide base, good traction and grounded sensation, solid upper that is reliable)
DPT/Footwear Science: B (Small additions to an already well integrated shoe)
Personal: A- (A little dependent on the day, but a shoe I reach for when I want that firmer natural feel)
Overall: B+/A- 
 
Andrea
Fit: (classic Topo fit with a wide toe box and secure fit)
Performance: A- 
(Firm, neutral ride is perfect for easy miles that let you do the work)
Stability: B- (neutral) (a neutral, zero drop shoe that fits well but has minimal guidance features)
DPT/Footwear Science: B (updated mesh may affect the shoe's comfort in warmer weather, otherwise a solid update)
Personal: A- (Great shoe for easy miles when my legs aren't super fatigued, may be a little harsh as fatigue increases)
Overall: A- 


SHOP | SUPPORT DOR

Topo Magnifly 5
Price: $135 at Running Warehouse (2024 Release)

Shop Men | Shop Women

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FURTHER READING: More Zero Drop Trainers

Altra Escalante 3 - We provide an update on this low profile zero drop trainer
Altra Paradigm 7 [stability] - Altra's unique zero drop, guidance-based stability shoe
Altra Provision 8 - Altra's Provision offers a stable zero drop shoe for a wide array of runners
Altra Torin 7 - Altra's zero drop, moderate cush trainer
Topo Athletic ST-5 - A great minimal shoe with a nice wide fit
Xero HFS II - An update to one of the few minimalist shoes remaining today
Xero Shoes Scrambler Low [trail] - A minimalist trail trainer with a generous fit

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, Santa Barbara, Danbury and Stevens Point areas, we 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.

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

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Altra Provision 8

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