Topo Terraventure 2 Review | Versatile Off-Road Running Shoes | Northern Runner
Having enjoyed running in the original Topo Terraventure, I was quite excited about trying the second version of this shoe. Everybody’s trail is slightly different, so the perfect level of cushion and grip for one runner doesn’t cut it for someone else! The original Terraventure was more of an all-terrain running shoe than a trail shoe for UK conditions. Most of the top brand trail shoes you see are designed in the United States and either it doesn’t rain much over there or nobody runs in the rain! That’s mainly because a lot of trail shoes lack that bit of extra grip, designed to get you over the farmers’ fields on a wet UK morning.
The grip was the main issue that I had with the original Terraventure. The lugs where a little close together, so they clogged a bit easily and they weren’t ‘pointy’ enough to bite into the mud. However, I did find the shoe so comfortable, with just enough cushioning and feel for the floor that I have kept running in it. The outsole and midsole have proved to be very durable over close to 1,000 miles of road, railway line, tracks and fields.
The Terraventure 2 has a Vibram rubber outsole, which is a bit stickier than the previous outsole. It isn’t super soft though, as the Terraventure 2 is still an everyday work horse designed to be durable enough to cope with lots of miles, so it won’t wear out quickly. The lugs have been spread out more on the Terraventure 2 to avoid them clogging with mud and they are also a better shape for biting into the surface of the trail. It has made the Terraventure 2 much more of a trail shoe and a bit less of an all-terrain shoe. It still has the same comfortable cushioning, but the more heavily lugged outsole is now obviously more ideal for off-road conditions, but certainly doesn’t feel terrible on the tarmac to your favourite trails. Again, it is also a little more slippery in wet conditions on tarmac, due to there being less surface area in contact with the road.
Topo shoes, like Altra, have a broad and rounded toe box. Although this shape does fit wide feet, this isn’t the main reason for this shape and space. Topo shoes are designed to work with your feet and not ‘replace’ them. The shape of the shoes allows your feet & toes to spread out upon impact to stabilise and absorb shock simultaneously. When the foot spreads out it stretches the planta fascia on the bottom of your foot. This is like an elastic band and recoils to spring you off the floor. If your shoes are more of a ‘pointy’ shape and your feet get crammed into your shoes, they can’t work as nature intended. They don’t get stronger the more your run and you are more reliant on the cushioning and stability that your running shoe provides.
Although Topo running shoes have this broad & rounded toe box, the shoe still fits snuggly around the heel and midfoot. You don’t feel like you are slipping around inside the shoes. Even when you are running over uneven terrain.
As you would expect from a shoe designed to work with your body, it encourages you to run with a more natural midfoot by utilising a much lower heel to forefoot drop. The Terraventure and Terraventure 2 are 3mm from heel to forefoot.
The Upper of the Terraventure 2 is much softer and pliable than the older version. This allows the upper to mould better to your foot and gives an improved fit. The tongue is gusseted to reduce the chance of getting debris inside the shoe. It is also compatible with Topo’s new clip on gaiters to further protect you from the trail. The new mesh upper also absorbs less water. It’s a fine mesh construction so the water just comes in and escapes. When the shoes get damp they also dry faster too!
Cushioning wise, both the Terraventure and Terraventure 2 have a dual density injected EVA midsole, which gives a responsive ride. To me it is the kind of cushioning that you don’t sink into too much but it’s not hard and uncomfortable unless you pound your feet down in bad form. It seems to be just enough. If you are used to very soft cushioning in your shoes then you might find them firm but for your feet to ‘know’ you have touched the floor and spread out, the cushioning can’t be too soft. A firmer midsole is also an advantage on the trails, as the lugs on the bottom of the shoe grip the ground better instead of sinking up into the midsole of the shoes. A firmer midsole also protects you from feeling too many rocks and stones through the shoes and the Terraventure 2 also has a dedicated rock plate.
Although like most trail shoes the Terraventure 2 is a neutral build, it is stiff through the midfoot and would give some natural support for mild overpronation as any ‘support’ trail shoe.
On my first run I found the Terraventure 2 very comfortable. There’s no gimmicks. They just work. I found that I could forget about my feet and just enjoy the surroundings. That’s the same feeling I got from the original Terraventure. The cushioning doesn’t soften or bottom out on long runs. The shoes don’t get over flexed on long runs. For me they just do the job.
If you are currently loving your Terraventure and are disappointed that the new outsole is less road-friendly, don’t despair. Topo is launching a new shoe later in the year that would suit your all-terrain needs. The Terraventure 2 is ideally suited to a runner that wants a versatile trail shoe for a bit of road running to get to the trail and then plenty of grip on a variety of off road surfaces.
Charlie @ Northern Runner Newcastle
You could also consider:
Altra Lone Peak 4: This is the main rival to the Terraventure 2. The Lone Peak 4 is a bit more flexible, more volume in the forefoot and a softer cushioning. You do feel more of the trail through the sole of the Lone Peak 4 than the Terraventure 2. Some runners like more feel other don’t. The Lone Peak 4 outsole is a bit more stocky on wet rock but, wears down a lot faster than the Terraventure 2 outsole.
Inov-8 Terraultra G260: A firmer ride than the Terraventure 2 but, with a much more grippy outsole on both wet rock and mud. However, the ride of the shoe isn’t as smooth on firmer terrain. Teraultra’s are zero drop and have a broad rounded toe box like the Altra and Topo shoes.