Topo Ultraventure 3 - Women's Review
Compare to Similar Products
Topo Ultraventure 3 - Women's
$149.95 at Amazon
|$129.95 at Backcountry|
Compare at 2 sellers
|$180 List||$64.98 at Backcountry|
Compare at 2 sellers
Check Price at REI
|Pros||Protective, durable, comfortable, spacious, stable||Comfortable, great traction, affordable, durable, packs out to fit your foot shape||Great weight distribution, stable architecture, breathable upper, well-tractioned||Light, very protective, excellent mud shed, superior traction, surprisingly stable||Affordable, responsive, beginner-friendly, familiar fit|
|Cons||Slightly heavier, stack height might be too much for some runners||Might be too cushioned for some runners, slightly less sensitive||Lace pocket is difficult to use, tight collar can bite into the ankle, pricy||Narrow fit, runs small, rigid construction, takes time to break-in||Less aggressive traction, runs slightly narrow|
|Bottom Line||When you want to dig deep and tackle a trail, this protective and comfortable shoe will be with you for the long haul||A great all-around trail shoe that hosts some of our favorite protective features, all for a relatively affordable price||A great trail shoe that offers a streamlined fit with a grippy, confidence-inspiring outsole built to tackle the most technical terrain||Stable and deliciously sticky, this contender is just a crusher all the way around, built for training runs and long distances alike||An affordable shoe that is perfect for novice runners who want to take their trail legs for a spin|
|Rating Categories||Topo Ultraventure 3...||Hoka Torrent 3 - Wo...||Salomon S/Lab Ultra 3||Dynafit Feline SL -...||Brooks Divide 3 - W...|
|Foot Protection (25%)|
|Comfort and Fit (15%)|
|Specs||Topo Ultraventure 3...||Hoka Torrent 3 - Wo...||Salomon S/Lab Ultra 3||Dynafit Feline SL -...||Brooks Divide 3 - W...|
|Measured Weight (per shoe)||8.25 oz (size 7)||7.48 oz (size 7)||8.68 oz (size 7)||9.45 oz (size 7)||8.04 oz (size 7)|
|Stack Height (Heel, Forefoot)||35 mm, 30 mm||21 mm, 16mm||26 mm, 18 mm||Not disclosed||20 mm, 12 mm|
|Heel-to-Toe Drop||5 mm||5 mm||8 mm||8 mm||8 mm|
|Upper||Mesh||Mesh||Anti-Debris mesh with sockliner||Mesh, continuous nylon||Mesh|
|Midsole||ZipFoam||EVA||Energy Save PU foam with Profeel Film rock protection||Feline SL midsole||EVA|
|Outsole||Vibram XS Trek EVO||Rubber||Salomon Contagrip MA||Sticky Pomoco Outer||TrailTrack rubber|
|Rock Plate?||No||No||Not disclosed||Not disclosed||No|
|Wide Version Available?||No||No||Yes||No||No|
|Sizes Available||6 - 12 US||5 - 11 US||4 - 13 US||5 - 11 US||5 - 12 US|
Our Analysis and Test Results
With a 35mm stack height at its highest and a 30mm stack in the forefoot, the Ultraventure 3 is the shoe we recommend to runners who want to run in ultimate comfort. The toe box is wide enough for toes to splay while running, and the midfoot is sturdy enough to provide great support.
The Ultraventure 3 eked out a near-perfect score in this metric because of how impressively protective it is. It does not have a rock plate, but its high stack provides plenty of protection on its own. The 30mm stack in the forefoot offers a comfortable landing pad, and the ample space in the toe box prevents your toes from riding too close to the front of the shoe, which is a great first line of defense. The toecap is made of strong yet slightly pliable rubber and extends a bit higher than many others, offering excellent toe protection
The upper mesh is fairly porous, however, and easily allows water to travel into the shoe. That said, the Ultraventure dries out a bit more quickly than other contenders because of how breathable this upper mesh is. Since this trail runner sits significantly higher off the ground, we didn't feel any water infiltrate as we crossed small puddles and trickling streams. This isn't our first choice for sloppy and wet terrain, but if a few small water crossings are in your future, the Ultraventure won't hold you back.
The Ultraventure 3 boasts way better traction than what it is allegedly made for. The Topo Athletic website states that this shoe is best for mild to moderate terrain, and we are here to disagree with that statement. We have tested a lot of running shoes, and we intentionally try to skid out and slip in all of them. The Ultraventure features evenly spaced and square-ish lugs on a Vibram outsole. Not only is the mud shed top-notch, but the slight variance in the lugs across the outsole provides excellent traction. This grippy shoe is on par with some of our high scorers in terms of traction and stands out among the shoes designed for mild to moderate trails. The thick stack, sticky outside, and intentional lug pattern inspire confidence on challenging terrain.
Not surprisingly, the Ultraventure 3 is not the most sensitive trail shoe out there — far from it. However, some people might be looking for a stable shoe that doesn't offer as much sensitivity. When it comes to this metric, to each their own, so don't let this shoe's lower score fool you. The Ultraventure provides enough trail feel so you'll know what is going on, but it rides like protection is its priority. If you want a strong, protective shoe that is going to be with you for the long haul and aren't super concerned by sensitivity, this is a shoe that we recommend.
Because of how thick and beefy the Ultraventure 3 is, it feels like it encases your feet in a protective shield. It has a 5mm drop, which balances nicely with its tall stack height. The heel cup is thick enough to secure the heel, so we never felt any unnecessary lateral movements as we ran. This shoe has a bit more meat in terms of arch support, adding to the sensation of securing your foot. Additionally, the toe box space allows your forefoot to spread out and engage as needed, which encourages greater muscular stability.
Comfort and Fit
We love the balance that the cushioning of this shoe provides. It has plenty of padding where trail runners want it most, but the cushioning is hard-packed and compressed. This comfortable design increases this shoe's durability because it doesn't pack out as quickly as shoes with fluffier cushioning.
The toe box space of the Ultraventure 3 is extra-large without feeling clown-like, and we love it. The contoured heel cup fits snugly, so we never had any issues with slippage. The arch support comfortably provides some stability, so we never had to rely on the lateral structures of the shoe for this. The lace bed is plush with soft laces and never felt restrictive, even when fully tightened. Overall, if a secure and stable workhorse is what you want, the Ultraventure has a ton of attributes that make it just that.
Each women's size 7 US Ultraventure 3 weighs 8.25 ounces, which is on par with shoes of a similar structure. It isn't the lightest weight shoe, but the sheer amount of protection makes the weight worth carrying. The weight distribution feels good as you run, too. We initially felt a little bit like the forefoot of the shoe was heavier when compared to other shoes, but we grew accustomed to this sensation after a few short runs.
Should You Buy the Topo Ultraventure 3?
The Ultraventure 3 is a semi-niche shoe, so we can't flat-out recommend it to everyone. For example, if you want a sensitive trail runner that'll encourage you to speed down mountain faces, this probably isn't it for you. But this is a fantastic shoe if you love long trail slogs and don't mind a bit of structure surrounding your foot. We grew to love the rugged protection and wide base of support and think you will too — provided you want a shoe with cushion, a spacious toe box, and burly protection.
What Other Trail Running Shoes Should You Consider?
The obvious antithesis to the Ultraventure is the La Sportiva Bushido II. The Bushido is one of our top recommendations for runners who want to feel every bit of undulation and information from the trail below. Conversely, if you like the sound of the Ultraventure but might like a shoe that is a bit softer, the Altra Lone Peak 7 is the way to go. The differences are noticeable, but these shoes are of the same ilk. If you want to up the ante and climb wet, sloppy terrain, we heartily recommend the Salomon Speedcross 6 because of its crampon-inspired traction.
Ad-free. Influence-free. Powered by Testing.
GearLab is founded on the principle of honest, objective, reviews. Our experts test thousands of products each year using thoughtful test plans that bring out key performance differences between competing products. And, to assure complete independence, we buy all the products we test ourselves. No cherry-picked units sent by manufacturers. No sponsored content. No ads. Just real, honest, side-by-side testing and comparison.Learn More