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Topo MT-5 Performance Review

Topo MT-5

Billed as Topo’s “perfect” entry level light trail shoe, the Topo MT-5 quickly became a favorite in our rotation thanks to a few things they got really right. From build to fit to durability, the more we ran, the more we liked it.

Keep reading for specifics on the Topo MT-5’s performance so you can figure out if it should become your go to road to trail shoe.

Topo MT-5

Release Date: February 2024

Price: $130

Weight: Men’s 9.3oz., Women’s 7.7 oz.

Drop: 5mm

Sizing: True to size

Buy Men's Topo MT-5 Buy Women's Topo MT-5
  • Rundown: A well-engineered and reliable trail running shoe for beginners and those that often run road to trail routes.
Topo MT-5 cushion

Ground Feel

Tyler: As testing started, I had primarily been in a lot of high-cushion and high-stack shoes, so the first few miles in the MT-5 were a bit more aggressive on my feet than I was used to. However, the 5mm drop quickly kicked in and felt fantastic as I transitioned from road to trail.

What I soon discovered was in parallel to the stack height, the ZipFoam midsole, which gave just a bit of softness, really made the ground come alive underfoot, making for a pleasant ride and providing ground feel that helped assuage any hesitation on the light-yet-uneven trails I find myself on.

Drew: With 18mm of ZipFoam in the heel and 13mm of ZipFoam in the forefoot, the Topo MT-5 doesn’t provide a lot of cushion (by today’s inflated standards). There’s no squish to the foam and there’s no sinking in. Despite that, the MT-5 handles roads relatively well. There’s no bounce, but there’s impact protection. Anything over 5-6 miles on the roads would require some getting used to and less usage of the super bouncy shoes in your closet to better prepare your body.

But, in terms of road to trail viability, it’s enough impact protection to handle the miles until you hit the trail. Once you’re on the softer trails, the MT-5’s cushioning setup is adequate for up to double digit mileage. There are trail shoes with a lot more cushion on the market but that comes with a trade off of ground feel. The Topo MT-5 is perfect for trail runners that want to feel the undulations of the trail beneath their feet and whose trails aren’t too technical (for example if a trail is too rocky, the low stack/lack of rock plate becomes too noticeable).

Topo MT-5 toebox


Tyler: As seen in most Topo shoes, the MT-5 sports a wide toe box that allows a lot of toe splay, complimenting the sensation of the ground feel mentioned above. I want to be clear that we’re not talking about some type of barefoot-like experience, but more a solid and natural feel that a lot of shoes aspire to. Perhaps it’s the fact I’m pushing 40, or that my mechanics aren’t world-class level, but a wide toe box executed right provides benefits I feel well beyond the run, and the MT-5 hit the nail on the head.

Drew: The Topo MT-5’s toebox and 5mm drop just feel natural. I loved wearing the MT-5 casually in addition to my trail ventures. On workout days when I still needed to wear shoes later (sigh), the MT-5 let my feet breathe a bit as I spread my toes. I find this setup helps my feet recover from hard efforts when slides are not an option.

When running or hiking on the trails, the Topo fit is great. The room in the forefoot is balanced nicely with an easily customizable fit through the midfoot which prevents any sliding within the shoe when bombing downhill or rounding sharp corners.

One thing to note is that the laces are too long. So if you’re like me you’ll find yourself lacing them through the extra lace hole just to get them to a more standard and manageable length.

Topo MT-5 vibram outsole traction


Tyler: Seeing the Vibram badge on any outsole immediately dispels any doubt I have about traction or durability in a given shoe, and the MT-5 did just that. I’m at 40+ miles on my pair and with a 60/40 split between trail and road, the XS Trek Evo outsole looks brand new. With a lot of dreary days in February, most of my runs were in damp conditions and not once did I feel uncertainty in traction.

Drew: I had the chance to run on ice and snow using the Topo MT-5, and despite the Vibram outsole not using deep lugs, my footing felt secure as I pushed off snowy patches. The Vibram rubber is the star as it grips everything you’ll throw at it with mimimal slippage only appearing when trying to cross pure ice (and no rubber can handle that).

Topo MT-5 upper close up

Is the Topo MT-5 wide foot friendly?

Yes, wide footers are extremely likely to enjoy the fit of the Topo MT-5. It’s a construction that provides room everywhere a wide footer might need it.

Topo MT-5 heel and outsole

Is the Topo MT-5 worth $130?

The price point of $130 is more than fair in today’s market and should allow those not as familiar with the Topo Athletic to jump into a solid trail shoe and get a taste of Topo’s on foot feel.

Topo MT-5 lateral close up

Topo MT-5 Summary

Tyler: The Topo MT-5 is a fun shoe and I highly recommend it for anyone looking for a well engineered and reliable trail runner.

Drew: The Topo MT-5 is the perfect road to trail shoe for anyone who isn’t spending much time on pavement and can regularly run on not too technical dirt paths. The ground feel is elite, there’s just enough cushioning, and the fit is fantastic. The MT-5 is the great way to spread your toes on the trail.

How does the Author Run?

Drew Whitcomb (age 42, 6’6″ 195lbs): Runs daily with a once a week rest day. Runs a lot of miles due to testing needs and a growing affinity for long-distance races. Regularly competes in marathons, half-marathons, 10k, and 5k races.

Tyler Herrin (age 39, 6’2″ 205lbs): Runs 4-5 times a week and regularly cycles and plays tennis. Weekly milage varies, based on testing and/or training needs, but has a sweet spot for the 10K to half-marathon distance.


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

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