TOPO Runduros $120
The Good: Lightweight materials, BOA fast lacing technology, nice wide toebox. Easy to clean after that nasty trail run.
The Bad: Some people don’t like the BOA lacing system, the wide toebox looks a bit strange compared to other shoes.
One of the things I like about running is the minimalist nature of the sport. All that’s needed is a stretch of road or trail, and the desire to go. While there are hydration methods and clothing designs that improve a run, the first consideration for me before a run is always the shoes. Shoes take a beating and make such a difference; especially when transitioning into higher mileage where weaknesses can really show up. We took out TOPO’s new Runduros for a month of testing and really liked the results. A few details make a shoe really stand out for me when I’m looking at a medium distance running shoe, here are my thoughts:
First, it needs a bit of cushion. The TOPO Runduros have a solid 3mm drop with enough cushion to protect, but still allow terrain connection and flexibility to react to trail conditions. After a few miles of pavement or rough terrain, even a few millimeters translates to less bruising or tenderness. The clean tread is broken up enough to provide nice flexibility without sacrificing durability and protection, with a muted lug pattern and flexible points to provide nice adaptation to rough terrain yet is burly enough to grab along the way.
Next, The lacing system has to be flexible but also hold tight through a run. I’ve had the BOA on a few sets of shoes and I like the flexibility, ease of adjustment, and the wire system translates to a better overall cinch in my experience. Plus, it’s an attention grabbing feature that gets a few second looks and comments just about every time I ratchet it down. The BOA system is easy to use with one hand for a fast lace that fits right every time.
Lastly, lightweight shoes really feel good after a half dozen miles. With a bit less heft to push along the trail, those feet stay more nimble and adjust well to the terrain. The printed upper is flat and streamlined and held up well during testing. Wearing the shoes without socks gave one of the testers a blister during a daily walk but in general use, the inner stitching didn’t cause hot spots or consistent blisters.
Overall, the shoes are a great mixed-use medium distance runner. For longer distances, the lack of substantial padding will likely translate into sensitive foot pads. They are also great for travel thanks to the fast adjustable lacing and comfortable light materials, and being so light, stuffing a pair into the carry-on means you can fit in a run at the hotel before dinner.