Having put my pancake feet through more than their share of beatings, I am now very aware of what they crave. After a long and tedious search, and after having tested many a pair of shoes on the trails, finally, a shoe has emerged as a clear favorite.
The Topo MT.
I’ve put roughly 500 miles on these bad boys and they are still rocking, so my feet and I believe it’s finally time for a shout-out. My feet have never been happier.
- Weight: 6.8 oz (W7); 8.2 oz (M9)
- Anatomic shape for natural foot positioning
- 3-Density mid-sole for plating protection and comfort underfoot
- Lugged outsole for multi-directional traction
- 19 mm X 17 mm total stack height (2 mm drop)
- Seamless printed upper pattern on breathable mesh
- MSRP: $100 US
THE FIT | Straight out of the box I was impressed. Supportive in the mid-foot but roomy in the toe box (without feeling like clown slippers). All smooth on the inside, with no rubbing hot spots to speak of.
THE FEEL | Walking in these is so natural I forget to take them off. They are feather-light (men’s size 9 weighs 8.2 oz). The 4 mm heel-to-toe drop keeps my stride unconscious and agile. The wide toe box lets my toes spread out for better stability and airflow (important to avoid blisters in between the little piggies). I can feel the ground beneath the sole, yet there is just enough protection to keep my feet happy.
THE DURABILITY | After 500 grueling trail miles through mountains, rivers, and a healthy dosage of bushwhacking, I still feel confident loading up a week of food and hitting the trail. For $100, that right there is a high V-Factor!
THE SOLE | The bottom of this shoe is almost completely rubber, except for a few slots. This exposed foam is a weak point that has left rocks and dirt under the rubber, encouraging the rubber to peel off. The rubber is also starting to detach from the toe and heel.
THE PROTECTION | While I feel safe enough, I wouldn’t mind sacrificing some of the flexibility for some rock protection underneath. I might wish for a slight addition of protection once I hit the High Sierra of California or the Rockies in Colorado.
I have received many questions about these shoes while on the trail, and unless the person is wearing a 50+ pound pack, I recommend them.
They are perfect for the mindful, graceful stepper who doesn’t mind avoiding obstacles instead of barreling over them. It is quite nice to not worry about my feet on a 3000-mile hike, try some on.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
A Michigan-bred champion of life, Appa the Sky Bison is currently pursuing his second tour of the Pacific Crest Trail. If he is good to us he will continue to occasionally update us with reports from the trail. Want to get in touch with Mr. Bison? Leave a comment below or get in touch via the contact page.