The Topo MTN Racer 3 is the third entry in the MTN Racer line. The line is targeted at avid trail runners who need a shoe that can handle both technical terrain and long distances. Can it get the job done and take a place among our favorite trail running shoes?
Topo MTN Racer 3
Weight: Men’s 10.1 oz., Women’s 8.3 oz.
Sizing: True to size
- Rundown: A workhorse in an extensive trail lineup, the Topo MTN Racer 3 is back in its third iteration but remains a solid go-to for most types of runs. An updated midsole creates a responsive ride that will hold up over any distance.
Perhaps the biggest change to the Topo MTN Racer 3 was the 3mm of added ZipFoam in the midsole in order to offer a more plush ride and a little extra stack. Updates were made to Topo’s ZipFoam to maintain a responsive ride and not sacrifice energy when you’re pushing it. I found the foam to be right in between cushioned and firm; the midsole definitely has some give for your foot to step into, but it’s firm enough that you can still enjoy a quicker ride without sacrificing comfort.
Topo went with a high stack height for the brand, but I found that the shoe didn’t sacrifice any stability. With 3mm of stack added to the Topo MTN Racer 3, Topo aims to provide more protection from rocks. I’d say they succeeded, as my foot felt removed from the bumps and sharp points along the trail. The ride is smooth and comfortable, which is key for anyone looking to stack long training days or ultra races.
The upper is a piece of woven mesh that I found to be quite durable and comfortable. Upon putting my foot in the shoe for the first time I felt immediate comfort. With two overlays in both the toe and heel, Topo chose to not sacrifice comfort for weight, which I think is a wise choice. The heel is padded and cushioned and I found it easy to find a lace pattern that locked my foot into the shoe. I took these shoes through some rainy days and found that they drained and breathed well. The upper is flexible enough to allow your foot some room but feels secure and present when moving around.
As I said, it was easy to lock my foot into this shoe. Topo uses a “lace stay” system that puts two holes at the base of the tongue to ensure it stays in place and allows you to adjust tightness up against your midfoot. Another notable change to the shoe was a bit more added space to the forefoot. I did experience some movement, but nothing that drastically impacted my running.
The Topo MTN Racer 3 uses the same outsole from the previous iteration: Vibram Megagrip with 6mm lugs. This aggressive lug pattern is awesome for anyone who runs rugged or loose trails. I found myself with no slippage and the ability to confidently climb loose dirt. Additionally, through some muddier conditions, I felt the lug pattern easily shedded mud. The rubber is sticky. All you PNW runners shouldn’t have to worry about slick conditions with the Topo MTN Racer 3. It’s a trail shoe that’s truly designed to be thrashed on the trails.
Is the Topo MTN Racer 3 wide foot friendly?
Definitely. Topo, like Altra, prides itself on making shoes that actually fit the contour of your foot. To my knowledge, the Topo MTN Racer 3 is one of their widest forefoots yet.
Is the Topo MTN Racer 3 worth $150?
Another definitely. Anytime you can find a solid trail shoe for under $160 that does everything, it’s worth it. This shoe is equal parts burly and comfortable. The midsole should hold up to 300+ miles and the upper takes abrasion well. This shoe will handle any type of trail condition and any distance you want to put on it.
Honestly, it’s hard for me to find a con with this shoe, barring one exception. The ample width through the forefoot might be a bit much for most feet. I understand that anatomically, we should be widening out the forefoot of all shoes; but sometimes in practice, it can go a little too far. If you have a super narrow foot, you may experience too much movement through the forefoot.
Topo MTN Racer 3 Summary
The Topo MTN Racer 3 is an affordable option for those who enjoy or experience all aspects of the trail. Vert, technical footing, mud, and flats are all handled well with the MTN Racer 3. If you want a shoe that will support your foot over long miles but don’t want the extreme softness of a Hoka Speedgoat or Altra Olympus, the MTN Racer 3 is a great choice at an approachable price point. I’m not sure it has the specifications to be an actual “race” shoe, but it’ll surely hold up if you choose to lace them up on your next 50K.