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RoadShoe ReviewsSite Feature

Topo Athletic Phantom 2 Performance Review

What You Need To Know

  • Weighs 10.2 oz. (289 g) for a US M9
  • Airy upper that’ll be great for summer
  • Max cushion trainer for cruising down the road
  • Releases May 2021 for $140

JEREMY: On paper, not a lot has changed between the Topo Athletic Phantom 2 and its original 2020 version. They’re identical in weight, have the same 5 mm drop, and even the same Zip foam/engineered mesh combo as the original. The change lies in the details, such as the reinforcement of the upper’s sides, altered outsole rubber patterns, and a bit more stack height at 33 mm vs the original 30 mm. After running in a number of Topo Athletic shoes, I was really pumped to log some miles in this cushioned trainer.

HOLLIE: The Topo Athletic Phantom 2 is my first Topo road shoe in a few years. My knowledge of Topo isn’t as in-depth as many other brands; the extent of my knowledge is that I know them for a natural running shoe with a lower heel-to-toe drop. The Phantom 2 is the higher cushioned offering from Topo, which is just what I like in a shoe.

AUSTIN: Topo Athletic is definitely one of those companies that flies under the radar, but deserves more credit than it currently has. I reviewed the OG Phantom last August and it quickly became my favorite shoe of 2020. Let’s see if this one continues that trend.

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The Good

JEREMY: The Phantom 2 sports a gusseted tongue (shoutout to Thomas, the #1 fan of gusseted tongues) and is well cushioned to lay nicely on top of the foot. The engineered mesh upper does an excellent job balancing comfort and avoiding unnecessary weight. The overlays from the first edition have been removed, making the mesh extra breathable. A lot of runners didn’t enjoy the lack of breathability in the Phantom 1and we see that problem addressed in the update. The TPU heel counter locks in your foot and gives great support without any discomfort.  

I’ve put in around 100 miles on the Phantom 2 so far (with no signs of external wear on the outsole), and my biggest compliment is that they’re an excellent shoe for easy mileage or long runs. On the days when my legs are feeling beat up from workouts, I found myself reaching for the Phantom 2 and loving the high cushioned feel. On a lot of these runs, my legs actually felt better after the run than they did before.

HOLLIE: I have a wide foot, so I generally need a wide-width shoe. I scoff whenever brands talk about their big toe boxes as they’re never a match for my yeti feet. That said, I was shocked that the Phantom 2 not only fits me, but fits well. Like a running shoe glass slipper. Thanks to the seamless engineered mesh upper, there were no hot spots to speak of.

For their maiden voyage, I took the Phantom 2 on a 3-mile run at our local park. I fell in love instantly. Everything about the Phantom 2 is plush, from the heel counter to the tongue, to the ride underfoot. For a maximum cushioned shoe, it’s also fairly responsive. Unlike many high cushioned shoes, I didn’t feel like my foot was sinking into a pile of mush. I like that kind of balance in a shoe.

AUSTIN: I loved the cushioned, responsive midsole. The Phantom 2 looks and feels like it dropped a few ounces, but it still comes in at 10.2 oz in a men’s nine. A bit heavy for a daily trainer, but the max amount of cushion makes it worth it. 

I love the upper on the Phantom 2. The engineered mesh is free of overlays to reduce the risk of irritation and let that deep ocean green colorway wash over the landscape.

Like Altra, Topo shoes accommodate more feet based on the wider platform. Despite the extra room in both the midfoot and forefoot, I felt secure through each run. Ample tongue and heel padding stay, along with an uber soft ride. I used this shoe primarily for easy and long runs, but the Phantom 2 is capable of quick turnover for faster efforts.

Shop Topo Athletic – Men Shop Topo Athletic – Women

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The Bad

JEREMY: It may just be the specific colorway I received (Grey/Clay), but the Phantom 2 isn’t a banger by any means. Kind of a bland aesthetic. 

One other negative is that these shoes are definitely not for picking up the pace. Leave fast days for speedier shoes.

HOLLIE: If I’m nitpicking here, I can’t say it’s my favorite looking shoe but hey, when you wear a women’s size 11, what does look good? 

AUSTIN: The Phantom 2 doesn’t feel quite as snappy as the original, which is the kind of ride I prefer in a shoe. But that’s a very minor criticism, as this is a killer trainer.

Shop Topo Athletic – Men Shop Topo Athletic – Women

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Topo Athletic Phantom 2 Conclusion

JEREMY: The Topo Athletic Phantom 2 is becoming a staple in my rotation, particularly the day after workouts when I just need a shoe with max cushioning to keep my legs and feet comfortable. If you’re looking for a durable, comfortable shoe with ample room in the toe box, this is the one for you. 

HOLLIE: The Topo Athletic Phantom 2 excels as a cushioned daily trainer. If you’re looking for an easy run shoe with cushion that you won’t sink into, it’s a great option. If you have wide feet, then it’s an even better option.

AUSTIN: The Topo Athletic Phantom 2 price bumped up to $140, but that’s not a deal-breaker. This shoe thrives on easy runs, long runs, and recovery miles. If that’s a spot you’re looking to fill in a rotation, go grab the Phantom 2. 

You can pick up the Topo Athletic Phantom 2 for $140 in May 2021 from Running Warehouse (featuring free 2-day shipping and 90-day returns) by using the shops link below.

Shop Topo Athletic – Men Shop Topo Athletic – Women

Jeremy is a Microbiology and Immunology PhD candidate working in a Baltimore-based lab. Winner of the 2019 Baltimore Marathon, he is currently running way too many miles and road racing with a focus on the marathon.

Austin, who lives north of Atlanta, is also a husband, father, and writer. He loves Christopher Nolan films, NBC sitcoms, peanut M&M’S, and a good playlist for long runs.

2 Comments

  1. Thanks for a great review! How would you say the Phantom 2 compares to Altra’s more cushioned road shoes (Paradigm 4.5/5.0 and Torin 4.0/4.5 Plush)?

    I’ve been running in these but don’t quite love either of them – the Paradigm feels a bit clunky and tends to stiffen in the midsole after 200-or-so miles, whereas the Torin Plush is nimbler but I feel the zero drop too much and thus get pretty sore calves.

    1. Hi. I agree that it was a helpful review. One correction though to Jeremy is that the Phantom original and the 2 are *not* the same weight according to the Topo specs. The original (M9) was 9.8 and the 2 is 10.3, which makes sense since they added more cushion. I love the original Phantom for longer road runs so I’m sure the 2 will be even better with that extra cushioning. As for the Altra, I was a big fan of the trail shoes but also found some of the road shoes you mentioned too clunky. Ultimately I too started to feel tenderness in my achilles and lower calf and realized that zero drop was too extreme for me (I’m in my 60’s, so there’s that too.) Topo with their 3 and 5mm drops and wide forefoot that lets your toes spread out like Altras do is the perfect solution for me.

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