Shoe ReviewsTrail

Topo Athletic MT-3 Performance Review

While it’s always nice to have a rugged trail shoe that can handle the gnarliest conditions, sometimes it’s nice to have a shoe that can do the everyday things well. Like the Topo Athletic MT-3, a shoe designed for transitioning seamlessly between road and trail.

Will this be your go-to shoe for super technical east coast trails? Probably not (Topo has other shoes for that). But for lighter trails, fire roads, and just roads in general, the MT-3’s light but cushioned ride, paired with its quick-draining technology, is a no-brainer.

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The Good

No point in beating around the proverbial bush: the Topo Athletic MT-3 is my favorite trail shoe of 2019. It’s one of my favorite road shoes of 2019, too. Wait, what?

This shoe is perfect for road-to-trail runs or — gasp — those dreaded road miles that inevitably appear in ultramarathons. I even wore these for a handful of road-only runs. The outsole has multidirectional lugs that do their job, but aren’t so aggressive that you notice them on the road.

They weigh in at 8 ounces for a women’s 7, which kind of surprised me TBH because they feel lighter than that. The midsole is the perfect combination of cushion and responsiveness (slightly on the stiff side, which I prefer).

The upper is made of ripstop mesh, and there are drainage holes in the midsole. So while the upper has a bit more structure than, say, an Altra Superior would have, they still drain well. And the structure is one of the best parts of this shoe: they feel secure on your feet. Like a slipper, but one that holds your foot in place. This is, I think, where Topo really nails it. While I love my Altras, they aren’t my first choice for technical terrain, because they’re just a bit too sloppy, upper-wise, and the toebox just a tad too wide. The Topo MT-3 has plenty of room in the toebox without giving too much room.

I received these in the orange/yellow colorway, and after a hundred pairs of snooze-fest black and gray trail shoes from other companies, I have to say just looking at these makes me happy.

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The Bad

While the upper drains well, it can get a little hot. I’d also suggest sizing up a half size in these. My normal 8.5 fits, but they’re a little snug if I wear them with Balegas or any sock of comparable thickness.

That’s it. That’s all I got.

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Topo Athletic MT-3 Conclusion

If you’re looking for that solid hybrid trail shoe with just the right amount of cushion and drop, get this shoe! You won’t regret it. You can pick it up for a reasonable $110 at Running Warehouse using the shop links below.

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Erin is our resident female trail runner and enjoys running ultras all over the East Coast, in addition to her hometown of Baltimore. Check out her gnarly review of the Georgia Death Race here.

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