The world's most in-depth and scientific reviews of outdoor gear

Topo Athletic Terraventure - Women's Review

This zero drop shoe offers ample cushioning and a wide toe box, providing utility on a number of trails.
Topo Athletic Terraventure
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Price:  $110 List | $54.95 at Backcountry
Compare prices at 3 resellers
Pros:  Wide forefoot, heel cushioning, great protection, lightweight, durable, great value
Cons:  Stiff upper, less aggressive tread pattern
Manufacturer:   Topo Athletic
By Amber King ⋅ Senior Review Editor  ⋅  May 10, 2019
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69
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#12 of 14
  • Foot protection - 20% 7
  • Sensitivity - 20% 7
  • Traction - 15% 4
  • Stability - 15% 8
  • Comfort and Fit - 15% 7
  • Weight - 15% 8

Our Verdict

The Topo Athletic Terradventure stands out for its exceptional performance and super full toe box. This shoe features a 3mm drop with ample cushioning and suits any trail distance you decide to tackle. It is lightweight and durable, keeping you upright and stable on everything from technical trails to paved roads. The tread is sticky and rugged, biting down on a variety of surfaces. It fits those best looking for a wider toe box with a little support in the heel.

Over the years, we haven't had the opportunity to test a shoe that rivals Altra products such as the Altra Lone Peak 4, a moderately cushioned contender. Many shoes out there don't offer the wide toe box that is characteristic of Altra until now. The Topo Terraventure didn't score or perform as well as the Altra in this review for a few reasons; however, some runners out there prefer the Topo to the Altra. Some of the stark differences between the two shoes are the upper material, tread, cushioning, toe box design, and heel to toe drop.

The New Topo Terraventure 2 has been released!

This Spring, Topo released the update to this shoe. We are currently testing this model and will report on our observations in full come June 2019.

May 2019


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Awards  Editors' Choice Award Top Pick Award Best Buy Award  
Price $54.95 at Backcountry
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Overall Score Sort Icon
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Star Rating
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Pros Wide forefoot, heel cushioning, great protection, lightweight, durable, great valueSuperb traction, amazing durability, wide-toe box, zero-drop design, great sensitivity, highly protective outsole and upperAggressive and versatile outsole, breathable upper, protective, light cushioning, zero-drop, wide forefootInexpensive, super lightweight, light cushioning, comfortable, zero-drop, wide toe box yet narrow profileVersatile fit, large toe box, breathable, responsive cushioning, lightweight, quick to dry, less absorbent, great stability
Cons Stiff upper, less aggressive tread patternLaces come undone easily, lacks a women’s specific fit, upper takes time to break-inDurability issues, expensivePotential durability issuesNo rock plate, some durability issues, mesh is not particulate-proof
Bottom Line This zero drop shoe offers ample cushioning and a wide toe box, providing utility on a number of trails.This Editors' Choice winner is basically scores high in every metric, offering the best balance of features we've seen!A lightweight zero drop shoe with ample toe splay that'll take you anywhere you wish.This Best Buy winner offers lightweight cushioning with a zero-drop platform and wide toe box.A low profile and lightweight shoe that makes you feel like you have wings.
Rating Categories Terraventure Inov-8 TerraUltra G260 Altra King MT 1.5 - Women's Altra Superior 4.0 - Women's Air Zoom Terra Kiger 4
Foot Protection (20%)
10
0
7
10
0
8
10
0
6
10
0
6
10
0
5
Sensitivity (20%)
10
0
7
10
0
9
10
0
9
10
0
8
10
0
9
Traction (15%)
10
0
4
10
0
10
10
0
8
10
0
5
10
0
6
Stability (15%)
10
0
8
10
0
9
10
0
9
10
0
9
10
0
9
Comfort And Fit (15%)
10
0
7
10
0
8
10
0
9
10
0
9
10
0
8
Weight (15%)
10
0
8
10
0
8
10
0
7
10
0
9
10
0
8
Specs Terraventure Inov-8 TerraUltra... Altra King MT 1.5... Altra Superior 4.0... Air Zoom Terra...
Weight - ounces 9.7 oz 8.75 oz 9.60 oz 7.9 oz 8.90 oz
Ideal Terrrain All terrain All terrain All terrain All terrain All terrain
Relative width (wide, regular, narrow) Wide Regular to Wide Wide Wide Regular
Heel-to-Toe Drop 3 mm 0 mm 0 mm 0 mm 4 mm
Stack Height from toe to heel (mm) 22/25 9/9 19/19 21/21 20/24
Upper Nylon mesh Kevlar Mesh Ripstop nylon/mesh Engineered knit Flymesh, TPU toe box
Midsole EVA EXTERFLOW Altra EGO Altra Quantic Phylon molded, Zoom Air units
Outsole Rubber Graphene Grip Vibram MegaGrip MaxTrac/TrailClaw Rubber waffle, sticky lugs
Rock Plate? Yes Yes Yes Yes None
Sizes Available 6 - 12 4 - 15 6 - 11 6 - 11 5 - 12

Our Analysis and Test Results

The Topo Athletic Terraventure is an all-terrain trail shoe that boasts excellent breathability, performance and a large toe box with additional support under the heel.

Performance Comparison


The Topo Terraventure is a lightweight trail shoe that features a wide toe box.
The Topo Terraventure is a lightweight trail shoe that features a wide toe box.

Foot Protection


This shoe provides wonderful protection from all sorts of trail hazards like sharp rocks, sticks, sand, and more. While venturing out on a 24 mile run through the heart of the Grand Canyon, we encountered all of the above, and the Topo Athletic Terraventure stood its ground. This performance comes from its great protective features.

The upper keeps out nasty particulates like sand and clay.
The upper keeps out nasty particulates like sand and clay.

A combination of features like a flexible rock plate, ample cushioning, and a bomber upper protects on the trail. The resilient ESS rock plate is a thin insert in the sole of the shoe that acts as an additional barrier that protects feet from sharps rocks and roots. The 25mm of cushioning under the heel (and 22mm under the toe) also protect from hazards underfoot. This set of features is in addition to a breathable upper that keeps out most particulates will keep your feet happy for miles.

The toe cap is hard and reinforced.
The toe cap is hard and reinforced.

A few things that this shoe lacks is a super tight-knit upper that keeps out fine sand and an exceptionally durable toe cap. Also, this shoe is not waterproof, thus earning an average score (seven out of ten) in this category. Despite the minor flaws, it holds up well on the trail for everything from one mile to one hundred.

Testing in the Grand Canyon proved to be a wonderful journey filled with many trail hazards.
Testing in the Grand Canyon proved to be a wonderful journey filled with many trail hazards.

Sensitivity


This shoe boasts average sensitivity. While on the trail, the rock plate and cushioning do a great job protecting from unsuspecting stubs and trail hazards. That said, you can't feel everything underfoot like you might with a shoe that has a super thin outsole. As a trade-off for great protection is sensitivity. Also, the shoe is not incredibly flexible, but sensitive enough to help you determine if you need to reposition your foot when placing it on the trail. Overall, this shoe has a decent sensitivity that should we should expect from a protective trail shoe.

Traction


The traction on this shoe is not as aggressive as others, but it still does well on everything from technical trails to roads. The lugs aren't super long, nor are they super aggressive. However, they are varied in size and multidirectional, grabbing the trail when soaring over singletrack.

The outsole is okay  but it could be a lot better. It sticks to different surfaces for versatility in its uses. That said  it's not super aggressive.
The outsole is okay, but it could be a lot better. It sticks to different surfaces for versatility in its uses. That said, it's not super aggressive.

Since the tread is not very aggressive, they do well for crossover routes that might go to gravel or paved roads. On that same note, because they are mild, they didn't perform as well as other contenders on super soft or slippery surfaces like heavy mud and steep, loose trails, as they sometimes slipped and didn't shed mud well. As a result of this, it earns a lower score then its contenders in this metric. Overall, because of its tread, we'd recommend this shoe for all-around use, except for the nastiest weather or super technical surfaces.

The lugs aren't super deep or aggressive but they stick to sandy and wet surfaces.
The lugs aren't super deep or aggressive but they stick to sandy and wet surfaces.

Stability


With just a wide forefoot that accommodates massive amounts of toe splay, we are happy to announce it feels incredibly stable on the trail. The low profile (with a 3mm drop) keeps you close to the ground while providing some lateral stability on less technical trails. Besides, the built-in rock plate helps to distribute the impact of stepping on smaller rocks and roots.

The laces fit into a stability harness that wraps around the foot to provide a specific fit.
The laces fit into a stability harness that wraps around the foot to provide a specific fit.

While it feels more stable than most, the stiffness of the shoes' upper and outsole makes for less flexibility on super technical surfaces. As a result, it doesn't conform as well to the trail. Also, we had a few experiences on super rocky trails where the shoe turned over as a result of this stiffness.

Comfort & Fit


The Topo Athletic Terraventure is a great option for women who are looking for a shoe that offers ample toe-splaying opportunity and a supportive midsole. This shoe is great for a plethora of conditions and distances on the trail. It features a super roomy toe box in addition to thick, responsive EVA cushioning. This cushioning provides protection all day as you put down the miles. The fit could work for any foot, but due to the construct of the shoe, we'd recommend trying it on before buying.

The uppers are thin  but not super flexible or comfortable for really long runs on the toes.
The uppers are thin, but not super flexible or comfortable for really long runs on the toes.

While the toe box is wide, we have a few qualms with the construct of the upper in this shoe. While the upper is breathable, it feels rigid, not soft, and it isn't very flexible. When wearing it for long periods, some of our testers experienced discomfort on the tops of their toes, earning blisters after about 10 miles of wear. This fact is primarily due to the lack of volume in this toe box from the top of the shoe to the midsole. The Altra Lone Peak 3.5, a shoe with a similar construct, also features a full toe box and provides a similar level of toe splay. However, it offers more volume in the forefoot (from top to bottom) and softer materials on the upper, making it a better option for some. That said, this is feedback from only a few testers with larger, more voluminous feet. Our testers with flatter feet didn't experience this issue.

A look at the switchbacks we climbed up from the top. This shoe provided decent comfort on this 26-mile day in the Grand Canyon where temperatures got to 90 degrees!
A look at the switchbacks we climbed up from the top. This shoe provided decent comfort on this 26-mile day in the Grand Canyon where temperatures got to 90 degrees!

Our testers did like that the lacing system was full-width, allowing those with both wide and narrow feet to lock down the fit around the arch. Some said that the fit felt stable around the heel cup, while others didn't like it. Also, there is an ample amount of material at the back of the shoe (near the Achilles) that feels rigid and less flexible. Some of our testers with a more pronounced heel experienced blistering at this location as a result of this feature, while others didn't notice it at all.

This shoe has a wide toebox offering the opportunity for toe splay.
This shoe has a wide toebox offering the opportunity for toe splay.

Overall, we feel that you, as a consumer, really need to try on this shoe before buying. The fit can be fickle for some, but great for others. The uppers are less flexible, and the shoe feels stiff overall. There are more comfortable options out there.

Weight


This lightweight shoe is for long days. This shoe weighs in at just 9.7 oz (for a size nine) and falls in the middle of the pack for weight. While on the trail, we didn't notice the weight of the shoe and felt like it was fit for running all day long. During our 24 mile journey into the Grand Canyon, we didn't once feel like it was too heavy. Also, while running through streams, it absorbed water but dried out quickly. In our water tests, it held a mere 3.6 oz of water, less than most shoes tested in this review. Overall, this lightweight shoe is great for short or long distance days on the trail or roads.

A look at wet weight. While this shoe is lightweight  it absorbs some water...but will dry quickly.
A look at wet weight. While this shoe is lightweight, it absorbs some water...but will dry quickly.

Best Applications


Ultimately, the selling feature of this shoe is its wide toe box and additional cushioning in the heel. It features decent traction and performance throughout most metrics, making it quite versatile. It dries quickly, making it a decent option for the odd river crossing, but, it's not waterproof. Nor is it warm in the cold. As a result, we'd recommend it for a plethora of surfaces including dirt roads, pavement, and some technical trails. We wouldn't recommend it for super slippery or soft surfaces or even super technical trails with big rocks. Overall, a great, wide trail shoe for most trail surfaces.

Pictured here is the main author on a solo running missing in the Grand Canyon National Park. We testing this shoe over rock and sand with 4 000 ft gain and loss. This shoe did a good job with some comfort issues along the way.
Pictured here is the main author on a solo running missing in the Grand Canyon National Park. We testing this shoe over rock and sand with 4,000 ft gain and loss. This shoe did a good job with some comfort issues along the way.

Value


Retailing for just $110, this is one of the cheaper trail shoes out there! During our testing period, we didn't notice any wear and tear, even after 50 miles of testing over desert and mountain environments. As a result, we'd call say its value is pretty awesome.

Conclusion


The Topo Athletic Terraventure suits long days on the trail. The wide toe box provides ample comfort and stability. While the outsole isn't super aggressive, it's great for all-terrain except for super slippery or technical trails. To boot, it has a low retail price, and proven durability on the trail. Overall, a great option for any trail runner seeking a wider forefoot fit!

Take the Terraventure anywhere you wish.
Take the Terraventure anywhere you wish.


Amber King