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Topo Magnifly 5 Performance Review

Annie Keris Arune Singh
Topo Magnifly 5

Can the Topo Magnifly 5, the latest iteration of Topo’s popular daily runner, be the zero drop shoe for our erstwhile reviewers who love their max cushion running shoes?

In a world of max cushion, carbon plates and eco-friendly materials, there may be no debate that gets more charged than that around the drop of a shoe – meaning the difference in midsole height between the heel and forefoot.

This is just a matter of millimeters but it can make all the difference in how we run and which shoes work with our learned running mechanics.

But perhaps the most passionate debate over drop comes over the idea of zero drop – often associated with the barefoot running shoe movement. Unlike times past, zero drop shoes no longer mean just the Vibram Five Fingers “Toe Shoes” of the early 2000s with brands like Vivo, Xero, Altra, and more debuting acclaimed running shoes in the category.

One of the hottest companies in the space is undoubtedly Topo Athletic, who WearTesters has been following for almost ten years at this point, from their time as new kid on the block to their current meteoric rise in popularity.

5 years into the Magnifly line, we get our chance to see how Topo’s fit mixes with zero drop. Come along and find out our thoughts.

Topo Magnifly 5

Release Date: February 2024

Price: $135

Weight: Men’s 8.7 oz., Women’s 7.2 oz.

Drop: 0mm

Sizing: True to size

Buy Men's Magnifly 5 Buy Women's Magnifly 5
  • Rundown: The Topo Magnifly 5 is a versatile high cushion zero drop running shoe that will surprise you.
Topo Magnifly 5 on foot

What is the Topo Magnifly 5?

Topo describes it as:

When a shoe is perfect as is, why change it? That’s why we took the Magnifly you know and love and made some small tweaks to bring you the fifth generation. What’s new? The critically acclaimed zero drop, cushioned platform now features our updated ZipFoam™ midsole for an even softer, lighter, and more responsive ride. Next up, the recycled engineered mesh upper gets a fresh look for a more modern aesthetic. Lace up in Magnifly 5 and hit the ground running in unparalleled comfort.

Topo Magnifly 5 heel view


Arune: As someone with what I’d describe as Hobbit-feet that are wider in the forefoot with a slightly-wider midfoot, I find most running shoes don’t have a shape that compliments my monstrous hoofs.

That’s why so many barefoot or zero drop shoes are a blessing to test. They’re developed around more natural footshapes and better accommodate folks like me.

This is my first pair of Topo shoes but if it’s any indication of their whole line, the fit is absolutely unrivaled – full toe splay, an upper that hugs but doesn’t squeeze (more to come on that), and enough space for your feet to naturally swell while running without so much space that your foot rolls around (my unfortunate experience if I choose a wide version of most shoe brands).

I was sent a pair that’s a Men’s 9.5, which is my consistent running and training shoe size, and it was perfect.

Annie, how was this for you?

Annie: I also received my usual running shoe size of a women’s 6.5 in a standard (medium) width. I have an average midfoot but an average-to-slightly-wide forefoot myself. So while wide versions of shoes are almost always too roomy for me, a particularly slim-fitting forefoot is also a no-go.

So, like Arune, I’m the kind of person who can really benefit from Topo’s signature anatomical fit, with its accommodating forefoot but snugly held midfoot and heel.

For context, I also sometimes run a bit “short for my size” (which hopefully makes sense to those reading). So the only reason I’d say the Topo Magnifly 5 might be worth a try-on for some runners is if you happen to be like me and sometimes find yourself on the sizing bubble, so to speak – especially since the shape of the last is more specific here.

To be clear, my usual size 6.5 didn’t present any problems beyond the teeniest bit of temporary rubbing on the medial forefoot during my first couple of runs, and I was perfectly comfortable during the rest of testing. But curiosity led me to manually shift my foot a bit more forward in the shoe, and I could tell the toe box shaping would have lined up even more ideally for me in a slightly shorter shoe length. I’d also cinched the midfoot enough in the 6.5 to believe I had room to spare there.

SO, in my case, I felt interested, let’s say, as to whether I might have gotten on even better with a half size down – especially since Topo’s whole thing is that it naturally provides extra room in the one place I’d be most apt to want it (the forefoot).

Ultimately, unless you likewise find yourself straddling the sizing line at times, I think the vast majority of people will be super happy going with their usual running size in the Topo Magnifly 5.

Topo Magnifly 5 upper


Arune: Luxurious. That’s the word I’d use to describe the Topo Magnifly 5’s upper.

I knew this was gonna be something special the minute I held it in my hands – the engineered mesh feels soft and comfortable in a way most shoes don’t feel out of the box.

And then I put it on foot, where the shoe really shone with the aforementioned accommodating fit. The upper moves perfectly with your foot, stretching and folding as you need but never losing this wonderfully secure fit. It hugged my foot in a way I don’t get from traditional running shoes that feel like a cold war with my sense of comfort.

While I normally complain about laces in every review (Editor’s Note: he’s not exaggerating, much to my dismay), these are not only more than long enough for even the biggest fit you shove in here but they also stay laced.

I also think this shoe just looks great, something that’s not always the case when we get into the world of zero drop and/or barefoot shoes. So many of those shoes – perhaps on purpose – seem designed in a way to scream “I’m not like the rest of you” and while I can admire that, I’m not wearing shoes to be noticed. Topo has chosen a low profile silhouette that fits in with the design aesthetic of the major, mainstream brands while also featuring their great logo well enough that you’ll get knowing nods from other runners. As the kids say, IYKYK.

I loved my Blue/Green pair and I could wear the Topo Magnifly 5 everywhere from the gym to the grocery store to a lot of lunch spots around Los Angeles.

Annie: I think Arune’s take on the lack of attention-seeking we get in the Topo Magnifly 5 is noteworthy in the world of zero drop shoes. And while beauty is indeed about as subjective as it gets, I, too, appreciate the path Topo designers took regarding the aesthetic.

I also couldn’t agree more about the actual performance and quality of the upper. It most definitely felt luxurious on foot.

Lockdown was excellent. I didn’t need a runner’s knot due to any fault of the upper. I ended up going with one though, since, as noted above, I was a candidate to consider going down half a size. I think the fact that I could potentially be equally comfortable in two different shoe sizes speaks further to how highly successful of an upper it is.

My foot stayed securely connected to the entirety of the footbed, and, as Arune noted, the upper hugged and flexed beautifully throughout the gait cycle. The shoe truly felt like an extension of my own foot.

When I first laced up, I had hesitations about the sort of heel-clip piece where it wraps around the rear medial side, fearing I’d find it irritating. But once I got going, the entire upper of the Topo Magnifly 5, including that little structural element, went about their business invisibly, but effectively.

Topo Magnifly 5 cushion


Arune: Now we’re at the main event. 

As a 220lb runner, I find that my lighter peers experience the ride of running shoes quite differently than me and I think that zero drop shoes only widen that divide.

So let’s start with the positives – this is probably the most perfect ride I could expect from a shoe like this one. Topo has managed to seamless integrate a rocket into what is a relatively lean midsole by modern standards and that means there’s none of the learning curve with so many zero drop shoes. That Ortholite insole is an absolute dream underfoot too.

The ride is incredibly snappy and this feels like a shoe that can nearly do it all – easy runs, temp runs, and solid 10K (as I did with it). I felt faster in this shoe than I do in a lot of popular daily trainers like the Brooks Ghost or the Asics Gel Kayano.

But there’s only so much I can do here – I think the Topo Magnifly 5 is designed for a lighter runner and I felt like that midsole isn’t made for repeated compression from someone like me. I’m the first to admit I’m probably addicted to thicker stacks of foam than I need but I need a bit more underneath my foot to keep going. I could feel my feet taking a beating and I think any longer than a 10K would’ve made my knees a bit crunchy too.

Annie: The man has a very valid point. So, Arune is legit nearly a foot taller than I am and also runs around with about 100 more pounds of unadulterated, lean, mean, muscle mass. And while I am still a far, far (like, seriously far) cry from the quintessential, gazelle-like runner over here (both in physical build and in running economy — or lack thereof), that size difference does mean I’m simply not contending with the same forces that Arune is.

Even so, my first run in the Topo Magnifly 5 did have me wondering if there was going to be enough protection under the forefoot to keep the ride from feeling harsh over longer miles.

In my case, though, I think at least part of that initial impression was a product of my current mechanics. My strike tends to fall around my midfoot most days, and the zero drop here pretty much immediately brought me closer to my forefoot instead.

It was borderline comical how apparent and instantaneous that shift was for me; and no, dear reader, I do not remotely possess the technical expertise to fully explain how or why that was my experience. Bottom line, said forefoot and the stabilizers of my lower leg needed a quick sec to adapt to absorbing more impact on that first outing.

What truly surprised me, though, was that the shift felt really freaking good by just the second or third run. I did introduce the Topo Magnifly 5 into my rotation somewhat mindfully, just to play it extra safe for my first foray into zero drop territory. But I quickly found myself content to take the Magnifly 5 out for speed intervals, a 2-hour run, and everything in between without much concern.

The ZipFoam midsole doesn’t necessarily have a ton of personality in the sense of what buzzy adjectives it may conjure in this shoe reviewer’s mind. But I found it effective, comfortable, and even fun across a variety of paces and distances.

Now, would the Topo Magnifly 5 be my first choice for my regular long run shoe? Not necessarily. But in fairness to Topo, the company describes it as a daily trainer, not a long-haul trucker. I will say, though, that if I had to pick between the Magnifly 5 and the Atmos (Topo’s max cushion offering from last fall, which was a solid shoe in many ways but didn’t quite suit in others), I’d hands down go with the Magnifly 5. It just gives me a more natural, enjoyable ride.

Speaking of the Atmos, those of you who happen to be familiar with our review of that shoe might remember that its arch wasn’t super aggressive but that we noticed it. It was a bit too much arch support for me, as I am perhaps the most sensitive soul (–sole–?) of the lot.

I can tell you that while the arch in the Topo Magnifly 5 felt similar upon try-on, it disappeared more completely while on the run. I suspect this may have had something to do with the fact that I was simply engaging with it less due to the zero drop here (vs the 5mm drop in the Atmos). But, regardless of the reason, I wanted to note the fact that it caused no problems for this sensitively-arched lady in case anyone out there shares my particular quirk.

That was a lot.

Onward to the traction, intrepid reader…

Topo Magnifly 5 outsole traction


Arune: I got outdoors in Utah with this and while it didn’t perform well with some of the ice, I don’t think many shoes would do too well either.

This was pretty good in all other situations and I don’t have any complaints, but I also did most of my runs on the treadmill so I won’t pretend to be the expert here.

Annie:  I mean, “expert” might be overly generous, but I’ll nevertheless weigh in with my experience in the great, midwestern outdoors.

The Topo Magnifly 5’s outsole looks to be similar to that of its predecessor, the Magnifly 4, and it performed well on paved surfaces in both dry and rainy weather. If those wet conditions also involved temperatures hovering around freezing, however, I’d probably proceed with a bit more caution. While the traction is good, there are a few better options out there for the most challenging of road conditions.

As far as longevity goes, I can say that after about 50 miles, I’m seeing perhaps the very beginnings of a smoothing of the texture in the traction pattern in higher wear areas. But it’s extremely minor and hasn’t had a negative impact.

Topo Magnifly 5 medial view

Is the Topo Magnifly 5 worth $135?

Arune: 100%.

Oh wait, do I need to say more?

(Editor’s Note: I mean, you could stop there, but honestly, the chances you can end a section with just one sentence are about as likely as me winning the lottery.)

At $140, you have some excellent max cushion trainers like the Asics Novablast 4 or the Brooks Ghost Max, but you ain’t looking for those if you’re looking at Topo.

As long as you’re a sub 200lb runner – or perhaps just less picky than me – I think this is a great daily trainer that delivers great results.

Annie: I agree. If you are in the market for a zero drop daily trainer, the Topo Magnifly 5 is a really lovely option. It’s versatile and lightweight with a fantastic upper that, while seemingly simple, is so effective and comfortable that it honestly belies its price.

$135 is perfectly reasonable to me, assuming the zero drop and the moderate stack suit you. And the price also enables curious runners to try mixing a zero drop shoe into their rotation without feeling like they have to go full conversion in order to justify the price.

Topo Magnifly 5 final verdict

Topo Magnifly 5 Summary

Arune: It’s only my first time in a Topo shoe, but I’m excited to keep trying them as I develop as a runner and probably drop a few pounds too.

Even then, Topo has an absolute winner in the Magnifly 5 and sets a high bar for zero drop runners

Annie: As someone experiencing the zero drop life for the first time, the Topo Magnifly 5 turned out to be a total sleeper hit that I thoroughly enjoyed on a variety of runs. If you are comfortable with mid-level stack heights and are looking to try a zero drop shoe for the first time, this is a great ambassador for the category. I likewise imagine those who are seasoned when it comes to zero drop shoes will never tire of this phenomenal fit and will continue to love the pure, yet protected running experience the Topo Magnifly 5 offers.

How do the Authors Run?

Arune Singh (age 42, 5’11”, 220lbs): Trains daily with functional fitness programming from Deadboys Fitness, founded by Colby “Seth Rollins” Lopez and Josh Gallegos, along with logging 30-40 miles of running per week. He also has a medical history of Sleep Apnea and Myasthenia Gravis, meaning Arune’s focus is on lean muscle mass.

Annie Keris (age 39, 5’0” 117lbs): Typically follows a “two days on, one day off” running routine. “On” days include daily miles, speed work, and long runs. An “off” day usually involves yoga and mobility/recovery work. Enjoys occasional racing but perhaps enjoys the training process even more. Gravitates most toward the half marathon distance, but ventures into the 10k and 5k as well. The marathon is thus far uncharted territory…


While Topo Athletic did send pairs of the Topo Magnifly 5 to facilitate this review, they had no involvement in this review, didn’t receive an advance look at it, and have not attempted to influence it.

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