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Summary

Are you looking for a well-cushioned road shoe to go the distance?

There's lots of options out there from well-known brands. But what about giving a rising brand a try?

This review is about the Topo Athletic Phantom 2.
Posted May 03, 2022
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Pros
  • Heel to Toe Drop: 5mm
  • Stack Height: 33mm (heel) 28mm (forefoot)
  • Wider toe box for comfortable, natural fit
  • Lacing system provides snug fit. No heel slippage using all the eyelets.
  • Extra rubber on the outsole for added durability (great for a high-mileage road shoe)
  • Smooth heel-toe transitions
  • Sweet color options
  • Available in half-sizes up to 13.0
Cons
  • Felt a little stiff out of the box

Full Review

When I interviewed Topo Athletic's top sales rep Casey McCombs for WeeViews (Topo Shoes: Follow This Brand Insider's Path to Natural Running), he offered to send me a pair of Topos to try out.

While Topo is probably most well known for it's trail shoes, I'm doing a lot of road running right now. (Marathon in June, then ramping up trail miles for a 100-mile race in September).

So I chose the Phantom 2. Topo's most cushioned road shoe.

(No strings attached...Casey at Topo just said: " I’d love to hear your thoughts after you get them dirty."

Over the last 25 years, I've ran in all kind of running shoes by:

  • Nike
  • Adidas
  • Hoka One One
  • New Balance
  • Altra
  • Asics
  • Skechers
  • Saucony
But I've never ran in a Topo shoe...until now.

Experience


💥The Break-In 

Honestly, I don't think any road shoe should require a break-in period.  

  • When the Topo Phantom 2 arrived, I wore them around for a couple of days.
  • I did some gym workouts, and a couple of short and easy runs wearing the shoes. So far...so good.
🏃‍♂️The Long Run

At the end of the week I mapped out a 26.2-mile out-and-back DIY marathon on the Springwater Trail near Portland, Ore.

🚩Start: I left at 5:30 a.m., with a raincoat, hydration pack, electrolyte drink, gel packs, and some chocolate pretzels. The Phantom 2 has enough upper material that my feet stayed dry, without getting hot.

Rain stopped after about the first 30 minutes, and I stuffed my raincoat in my pack for the rest of the run.

Mile pace: I ran a few sub-8-mile miles splits, but averaged 8:40 for the entire 26.2 miles. Heel-to transition was smooth, fortunately I'm mainly and midfoot striker. Wider toe box was very comfortable, with no heel slippage.

I did notice minimal friction on my right pinky toe beginning around mile 20. But it wasn't much. No blister or hot spot by the time I was done.

🏙Running near Portland, Ore.: The east side of the Springwater Trail is mainly bordered by greenspace. It's a popular trail for runners, walkers, and cyclists. 

😲But the closer you get to downtown Portland, the more likely you are to encounter homeless camps. Some runners recently got chased by a person with a make-shift machete. By the time I got about 100 blocks from downtown Portland, the homeless camps were pretty frequent with lots of tents, garbage, and burn piles.

Eventually, I reached the Sellwood nature area, running along the trail through dense forest, lush greenery, and signs of spring before the 13.1-mile turnaround. Shoes felt great from start to finish. 

Topo Phantom 2 performance

✅This shoe was a smooth ride for road + paved trail.

✅Wider, roomy toe box is Dialed In! Really comfortable.

✅Lacing system a little different than other shoes I've ran in (so many LOL). There's two guides on the tongue of the shoe across the top that help secure the fit. Used all the eyelets. Really good fit + no heel slippage.

✅Appreciate the extra rubber on the outsole for durability. So many road shoes just grind off fast, and I wear the outer left heel pretty hard

My Topo Phantom 2 experience...

It's always kind of a gamble to try out a new brand and shoe you're not familiar with.

I've had a few favorite running shoes over the years that got discontinued or redesigned to the point it's nothing like the previous version.

When that happens, you have to find a new shoe (identify all the features you want/need), and then try out different brands and shoes.

The Topo Phantom 2 delivered a great road running experience, and definitely a shoe I'll add to my rotation.

This is an incentivized review

Topo Athletic sent me the Topo Phantom 2 road shoe for free.

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