Topo Athletic Magnifly 3 Review | Zero Drop Road Running Shoes
Topo Magnifly 3 Review
For those unfamiliar with Topo, Topo is a brand that is all about letting the foot function. So all the shoes have a low heel to forefoot drop to allow a more natural, midfoot landing. The heel to forefoot drop ranges from 5mm to 0mm with a variation of cushioning levels/stack heights and different levels of flexibility. So whatever your skill level there is a Topo shoe that will meet your needs. The toe box is broad and rounded, more like a natural foot shape. This is to give the feet room to spread on impact. As the foot spreads out it also stabilises the runner. The planta fascia is stretched to absorb the shock and then it recoils springing the runner into their next stride. For this reason the midsoles of Topo shoes aren’t squishy, but firm and responsive. This way your foot ‘knows’ it has hit the floor and spreads out. In shoes that are extremely soft and narrow the foot doesn’t spread at all and the runner is totally reliant on the cushioning and any spring that the shoe offers. This means that the foot, ankle and lower legs don’t get worked and don’t get stronger the more you run. Unlike in a Topo shoe.
The Topo Magnifly 3 is Topo’s everyday training zero drop shoe. The third version of the Magnifly has the same 25mm, dual density midsole as the Magnifly 2. This gives it the same responsive ride. The midsole is injection moulded to make it resilient and give it some energy return. The top piece is softer to give an initial cushioned feel. The thicker white part of the midsole is a firmer more responsive EVA. So the Topo Magnifly doesn’t give a mushy, squishy ride. This makes it feel just as good running fast as it does slower over a long cruise.
The significant difference between the Magnifly 3 and the Magnifly 2 is the upper. The Magnifly 3 upper is lighter and made of a one piece engineered mesh. This makes the Magnifly 3 feel more roomy than the previous model. So your toes feel free to move and therefore function more within the shoes. The lack of overlays has also made the shoe more flexible, which adds to the light feel of the shoe. The Fli-Lyte 3 has a similar upper and this change in the upper transformed the Fli-Lyte. Making it feel lighter, faster and more responsive than the Fli-Lyte 2. Despite the midsole and outsole being identical. The same is true for the Magnifly 3.
The advantage of using a running shoe with a low heel to forefoot drop is that the shoe allows the runner to naturally land on their midfoot. The foot touching the ground under the runners centre of gravity. You don’t have to point your toes in order to get your midfoot on the ground first so your foot is relaxed and ready to absorb shock and spring you into your next stride. The lack of a heel also means that you are less likely to hit the ground with your foot in front of your centre of gravity. Which creates a breaking force and stops you from moving. So, you have to push off to get going again. Which uses more energy and overloads the knees, hips and lower back. Off course you don’t just pop on a zero drop running shoe and start to run like Seb Coe. It takes time to get used to picking your feet up rather than leaning forward and pushing. However, a lot happens naturally.
If you aren’t used to a zero drop running shoe and are coming from a higher heel to forefoot drop then it’s advisable to gradually increase the time spent in the shoe. Using it for short easy runs to start with and alternating it with your previous running shoes. Your feet, ankles and lower legs will function more in a lower heel to forefoot drop so you need to gradually increase the load on them. This way they will get stronger.
Charlie @ Northern Runner Newcastle