A relatively new company based near the Boston Marathon course in Newton, Mass., Topo Athletic incorporates natural fit and some minimalist traits into a wide range of running, trail running and gym-oriented training shoes. Although it was founded in 2013, the guy behind the brand, Tony Post, has been a key player in the footwear industry for years. Topo’s newest model, the Fli-Lyte, is a moderately cushioned road running shoe that serves up uninhibited foot flex, a more spacious toe box, a lower heel-toe offset and a ride that straddles the line between soft and comfortable and firm and responsive. Although it has a good amount of cushioning, foot-to-ground proprioception is excellent thanks to its easy-flexing characteristics and a less-is-more design ethos. Our testers liked it for its unique fit, no-frills construction and its lightweight, natural-movement pliability. “This is an interesting shoe. It’s a good mix between a minimal shoe and a traditional cushioned shoe,” said wear-tester John Tolbert. “I love the fit—locked-down in the heel and arch and roomier in the forefoot.” Added wear-tester C.J. Welter: “It’s amazingly light and flexible, with an almost ‘airy’ feel to it when you put it on.”
This is the shoe for you if: You’re looking for a modern minimalist shoe with sufficient cushioning for longer runs and enough versatility to do faster workouts.
Weights: 8.2 oz. (men’s), 6.8 oz. (women’s)
Heel-toe offset: 3mm; 22mm (heel), 19mm (forefoot)