Topo Fli-Lyte 2 Review | In Stock at Northern Runner
Topo Fli-Lyte 2 Review
Born from Minimal Material & Maximum Natural Movement
For many runners Topo is a new or unheard of brand. Topo was launched in 2013 by Tony Post, who has been in the footwear industry for 40 years. The goal was to not follow the industry gimmicks and trends and instead provide footwear that encourages a better running experience through instinctive and natural movement. As well as running a 2hr 25min marathon at Boston, Tony was also the guy that ran London and New York Marathons in around 2hr 40min in his Rockport shoes to illustrate how comfortable they where. He moved on to be CEO at Vibram for 11 years learning all about natural movement and developing the Vibram Five Fingers. This experience has given Tony the knowledge to develop a range of shoes that offer everything that the more minimal shoes had to offer but, adding in the benefits of cushioning. Which makes these shoes of use to a much larger number of runners with varying skill levels.
I have run in quite a few pairs of Topo shoes, including two pairs of the original Fli-Lyte. Both pairs I wore until they could be run in no more, yet I found them so comfortable that I couldn’t throw them away! I still use them to knock about in. However, despite how comfortable they are now they didn’t start off that way. The cushioning was firm, which I like, but the original Fli-Lyte was initially very stiff. The stiffness made the shoes initially slap but the rounded toe box made them very comfortable, so I persevered. After a hundred miles or so the shoes became more flexible and eventually became my go to shoe when I wanted a light & responsive shoe. So, I was very keen to try the new Fli-Lyte 2 to see if Topo had managed to iron out what I felt was over-stiffness.
New Fli-Lyte 2
The first thing that I noticed about the Fli-Lyte 2 is that it felt lighter than the previous model. Like the previous model, and all of Topo’s shoes, the Fly-Lite 2’s upper is bonded together. This reduces weight and means that there is no stitching to rub. The finish of the shoe is superb and we have never had any wear issues at Northern Runner.
As Topo’s shoes are designed to promote natural movement they all have a low heel to forefoot drop ranging from 5mm down to Zero. The Fli-Lyte has a heel to forefoot drop of 3mm. Unlike a lot of other low drop shoes the upper is quite supportive. The fit is snug around the heel and into the midfoot but, then there is plenty of space for the toes in the more rounded, foot shaped toe box.
When I started to run in the shoes the first thing I noticed is that the shoes felt softer than the original model. That is, not soft and ‘mushy’, just slightly softer. The Fli-Lyte 2 still has a very responsive feel. So, you almost feel like you aren’t touching the floor. Although it is still a stiff-ish shoe, it is more flexible than the original shoe, which allows your foot to move more naturally in the shoe.
The other major improvement is the traction. Although this is a road shoe the previous model was really slippy on wet tarmac or slightly mossed-over paths. This did improve as the outsole got worn but, limited their use for a while. The new Fli-Lyte 2 has none of these issues.
I have found myself running in these shoes more and more and using them for everything from easy running to interval training. They are a really versatile training shoe with enough cushioning for the everyday miles but, with the light responsive feel of a fast running shoe.
The obvious brand to compare Topo to is Altra and the shoe in Altra’s range that rivals the Fli-Lyte 2 is the Altra Instinct 4 for men and Intuition 4 for women. Both shoes have a low drop (Altra’s are zero drop) and a rounded foot shaped toe box. The main difference is that the Topo’s are a touch stiffer and have a snugger fit around the heel and midfoot. If you are new to low drop shoes then these two attributes might make the Topo Fli-Lyte easier to adjust too.