Topo Athletic Magnifly 3 Review – P2 Road Test | Zero Drop Road Running Shoes
The Topo Magnifly 3 has the same midsole and outsole as the previous version. It is is a light, responsive, zero drop everyday training shoe. The midsole comprises a soft EVA under the foot to give a comfortable and initially soft feeling landing. There is then a firmer EVA underneath to give a more responsive overall ride, great for keeping you moving quickly and lightly on your feet. The stack height is 25mm and this coupled with a good toe spring makes this a shoe that you can easily run a long session in.
The outsole pattern is the same as on the Magnifly 2 and the popular lightweight racer/trainer the Topo Fli-Lyte 3. Rubber is only used in higher volume in the typical areas of wear to reduce weight and make the shoe more flexible. Despite the reduced rubber, this outsole has proved to be durable.
A Topo Athletic Fan
I find Topo Athletic shoes to be refreshingly old fashioned in the way that, like when I started running in my teens in the 1980s, you bought new shoes and ‘wore them in’. They always felt a little stiff but got better the more you ran in them. You would hit that sweet spot and they would be perfect. You would never want to part with them, even when the cushioning was all but gone. In the competitive running shoe market today brands have been making shoes that are instantly comfortable. They make the midsoles soft from the minute you open the box, so they feel cushioned initially and then actually flatten out, never getting to that ‘sweet spot’. For me Topo Athletic have been the antidote to this. This doesn’t mean that Topo shoes feel uncomfortable to start either. I find them very comfortable from the start, they just get better and better after my first few runs. I also find that they last well too. Obviously how many miles you get out of a pair of shoes varies a lot from runner to runner, depending on many factors, but I am always surprised how long it is before I feel my Topo running shoes have worn a thin. I have a pair of Ultrafly 2’s that I have been using for my easy recovery runs since I reviewed them about a year ago! They are currently the most comfortable pair of shoes I own and I have to stop myself from just slipping them on every time I go to the cupboard.
The heel to forefoot drop of the Magnifly is 0mm. This means that the height of the midsole at the heel and the midsole in the forefoot is the same. This encourages far better posture and a landing on your midfoot. The slight stiffness of the shoe means that your foot doesn’t have to work too hard. However, if you aren’t used to low drop shoes then it would be advisable to gradually increase the time you spend in these shoes so you don’t over work your feet and lower legs. If you are coming from a 12mm heel to forefoot then it might be better to consider the Topo Athletic Ultrafly 2 that has a softer cushioning and a low 5mm heel to forefoot drop. This will still allow you to run with good posture but won’t stress your lower limbs quite as much. Then as your feet get stronger you can progress to the Magnifly.
Upper & Roomier Toe Box
The only difference between the Magnifly 3 and the previous model is the upper. The Magnifly 3 has an engineered mesh. This means that the size of the holes alters around the shoe. There are large holes on top of the toes to encourage air flow and allow the feet to stay cool and tighter holes elsewhere to hold the foot onto the midsole of the shoe. The upper has a moulded foam collar that gives a snug, comfortable fit around the heel. An ortholite insole gives an added bit of comfort and reduces odour.
The effect of the new upper is quite marked when compared to the Magnifly 2. The Magnifly 3 feels a lot more flexible and feels roomier in the toe box. It’s is an improvement for those that have got used to their feet having the room to function inside the shoes. All Topo shoes have a broader, rounded toe box to allow the foot the room to function after they encourage a mid-foot landing, which loads the forefoot. The foot spreads out to absorb the shock and stretches out the planta fascia on the bottom of the foot. This recoils like an elastic band and propel you into your next step. The spreading out of the foot also stabilises and reduces any inward or outward movement.
After 150 miles or so in these shoes there is no noticeable sign of wear to the upper or outsole.
The Topo Magnifly 3 is a firmer, responsive shoe—great for gliding along quickly. Many runners would therefore not find them useful for the most relaxing recovery runs, where typically a softer shoe will be best. The Magnifly really has a bit of ‘zip’ to it. Ideal for cruising along on a steady run. They also have enough firmness in the midsole to be used for intervals, hills or other speed work. Essentially the Magnifly is a workhorse shoe designed to be used for most of your road mileage.
Charlie @ Northern Runner Newcastle
Altra Torin 4: This is the obvious rival to the Topo Magnifly 3. It is also zero drop and has a broad rounded toe box. Here is our review of the Torin 4:
New Balance 880: If you don’t want a zero drop shoe but, you are looking for a shoe that is good for steady runs and sessions then the New Balance 880 is 12mm heel to forefoot and has a firm responsive feel to it:
Brooks Ravenna: Like the New Balance 880 the Brooks Ravenna has a 12mm heel to forefoot. It has a firm and responsive ride. Ideal for steadier running or those runners who don’t like soft shoes. The Ravenna has a guide rail designed to help reduce over pronation. This is still suitable for neutral runners (not supinator’s) as if you don’t roll onto the guide rail then it doesn’t affect your gait.