Topo Athletic MT-5 Review: A Fine Addition To The Rotation

Topo seem to have a good shoe for most occasions. The MT-5 takes us from road to trail at a very reasonable price (if you are in the US). Silke has taken it to the mountains and is a convert!

Topo MT-5: Jack of all Trades

Silke: Topo is a brand known for their anatomically designed running shoes. In 2013, Tony Post, the CEO, and a small team launched Topo Athletic. Their goal was to help people move and in the most natural way possible. Topo’s trademark is using a wider toe box to give the toes room to spread and bracketing the drop to between 0 and 5mm. No super high drop shoes here, just well designed, simple shoes which hopefully work for a range of runners. 


The MT-5 is Topo’s Multi Terrain shoe. Described by the brand as the perfect entry level trail shoe, it will take you from your door to the trail and back. This iteration sees the MT-5 get a total redesign. It gains stack height and drop. This version goes from 25/22mm and 3mm drop to 28/23mm and 5mm drop. It also loses nearly 30g in weight

Topo MT-5 2
Topo MT-5 3


All specs from Topo Athletic:

Stack Height: 28mm in the heel and 23mm in the toe

Drop: 5mm

Weight: 218g | 7.7oz

Price: $130 | €170

Topo MT-5 6

Topo MT-5 Upper: An Acquired Taste

Silke: The fit and the step in feel of the MT-5 is pleasant and accommodating to my feet. Although I was never under the  impression that my feet were on the narrower side, I have lots of room in the toe box. At first, it was a strange feeling but after I had become accustomed to it, the feel was very enjoyable. The length is perfect so I would say it fits true to size. 


The chosen materials match the multi terrain purpose of the MT-5. A gusseted tongue, the right amount of overall padding and a flexible heel counter is what I like. If you are a fan of structured uppers and stiff heel counters, this one might not make the cut for you. Finally, the MT-5 is equipped with a water resistant mesh upper which allows any water which seeps in to easily drain away.


Adding to your comfort Topo Athletic have inserted an antimicrobial Ortholite® X25 footbed.

As there are always some even with the best, here are some little drawbacks. The laces, when I forgot to double knot, they came off loose. When wearing thinner socks my foot is sliding from left to right. On a slightly more technical downhill part  in the Austrian alps this caused my toes to stop at the front and at  the hard toe bumper. Ouch! Not good!

Topo Mt-5 8

Midsole: Smooth and Stable

Silke: Topo Athletic dont give much information about their midsole foam. However, the MT-5 is equipped with a “multi density midsole” made using Topos ZipFoam™ for a soft step in feel and increased response. Whilst Topo keep their lips tight about the exact nature of the foam, it is made from a TPU/EVA blend.


A 5mm drop is fairly standard across both road and trail lines of most major companies. For example, Hoka designs most of their running shoes with a 4-6mm drop. However, the 5mm of the MT-5 feels lower when the shoe is on foot. Maybe it is because I am used to much higher stacked trainers, but the first running steps outside felt minimalistic. Comparable, if anyone remembers, to the Nike Free models. Once you get onboard with the low profile, the rocker provides a smooth running feeling. 


Leaving the asphalt further improves the smooth ride. The MT-5 disappears under my foot. I barely notice them and that feels great. There is no rockplate at all, but on most of my daily runs I dont cross the Alps so this hasn’t been an issue for me.

Topo MT-5 Outsole

Topo MT-5 Outsole: As Quiet As A Ninja

Silke: Topo provides a Vibram outsole. In this case, it is the XS Trek Evo rubber. Underfoot, it is soft, as quiet as a ninja on asphalt. However, it is a little lacking in grip for technical trails. The lugs on the outsole are actually shorter than those on the Brooks Ghost which I have also been reviewing. I have found that, technical sections aside, the grip has been excellent for all my running needs.

MT-5 9

Topo MT-5 Conclusion: We Make A Fine Trail Team

Silke: I have enjoyed the MT-5 so far. We have rocketed through 80 km so far and they will absolutely stay in my rotation. For my daily runs, I start with 5k on roads and then turn onto some gravel paths and I find that the MT-5 is pretty perfect. It is light under foot, I love how flexible the outsole feels when I get some steeper climbs.  What’s important, the midsole doesnt leave my legs tired before heading off to work after 15-18 kilometres in the morning. 


Although I said that I enjoy the feeling of space within the toe box of the MT-5, I find that I do have to wear thicker socks with them. Despite this, I have never experienced any rubbing or blistering. I will come back to the MT-5 in a future monthly round up article to update you all about the upper. Whilst I have had no issues with it so far, I have noticed some wrinkling on the medial side which does give me some questions about durability.


50 years old

167cm (5’4″) – 55kg (121lbs)

Midfoot strike 


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