When I decided to get into triathlon, like most things in life I was not going to do this by halves. Running analysis, swimming analysis, new bike, new footwear, wetsuit, etc, etc. To date I am on my second wetsuit (just because it has worn out). Still riding the same bike (just new wheels). Original Garmin 910 XT has been replaced with a Fenix 3. But I have been through about 20+ pairs of trainers. From Vivo Barefoot, to Adidas and Nike, New Balance, Mizuno. And now Topo Athletic. Whooooooo? you may say.
I have found with footwear, it is so personal but can really be the difference between a nice happy run and excruciating pain. I run fairly neutral and the switch to barefoot running style really did help with knees, shin pain and overall running comfort. But I found I was after some cushioning from my footwear. More than the completely flat foot of typical barefoot running shoes, but not as much as something you would expect from an 'Air' based trainer.
The Topo Fit
Topo Athletic footwear follow three core principals for their FIT philosophy.
The shape is all about a natural shape. A secure fit for the heel and midfoot with plenty of space for your toes to spread for healthy walking and running. This allows for that barefoot / natural feeling.
With little or no heel-to-toe drop the Topo footwear provides a neutral platform with light cushioning and protection for a natural load and support for motion during the gait cycle. A natural body posture and mid-foot running strike is encouraged.
Using ultralight materials and seam-reducing construction they keep weight down and blisters at bay.
Topo do work with the core principles that allow a natural movement.
Back to the test
My first run was a gentle trail run. Not really what they are designed for but I didn't feel myself slipping in the wet mud. A 6k loop with lots of ups and down. Overall they felt great. So to test out the impact I took them on a parkrun. Parkrun because this means running harder, faster and more impact. 5k no probs and it was a fast pace (for me). Next day 6k road run. After several days in a row I would typically start getting a few niggles. But all seems ok. This is enough of a win for me. A trainer helping deliver a neutral running style, with wide foot spacing, lightweight and enough padding to not smash up my legs when trying a PB. With footwear the real results seem to come after a few weeks of testing so I will continue to train in these trainers. But for now I have a pair of neutral training shoes that I would happily take out on race day.