Topo Atmos Review: A Max Cushion Marvel

For the past 10 years, Topo have been looking to help people move their bodies whether through running, walking or hiking, they have a shoe for you. The Atmos sees them take on the bustling max cushion market.

Topo Atmos: High Stack, Low Drop

Topo have a wide range of shoes available for runners, all have one thing in common. Believers in low drop to promote a midfoot strike, their midsoles range from 0 to 5mm drop. The Atmos is their highest drop, 5mm and their thickest midsole. Built with comfort in mind, the Atmos combines a range of Topo touches to maximise the enjoyment of every run for every runner. 


All of this sounds marvellous in theory, but this is my first tastes of the Topo recipe. When I opened the box, I was very much looking forward to the first run. A thick midsole and a rather attractive upper made it look like quite the package. Added to that, the initial step in was very pleasant indeed. Spoiler alert: I really like this shoe!


But now for the details.

Topo Atmos (2 of 14)
Topo Atmos (5 of 14)


Stack height: 38mm heel to 33mm forefoot

Drop: 5mm

Price: $159.95/ £160

Topo Atmos (3 of 14)
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Topo Atmos Upper: Foot Shaped Delight

Andy: As soon as I slipped my foot into the Topo Atmos, I was a very happy person. Much like Altra, Topo prides themselves on their toe box shape allowing for a more natural fit. After trying the FWD Experience, I personally find the shape of the Atmos even more pleasing. It seems to be a perfect match for my foot shape. The toes have room to spread but the fit does not feel baggy or loose. Moreover, this is aided by the shape of the shoe moving towards the midfoot and heel. The Atmos narrows towards the middle and hugs the foot well. Consequently, the lockdown is very easy to achieve. 


The tongue, which is not gusseted, has a very well designed pair of lace loops on top which help it stay perfectly in place. Furthermore, it delivers well on padding whilst remaining not so thick that it overheats the foot. At the rear of the shoe, the heel cup is stout and holds the foot well. There is enough padding to aid the lockdown and ensure comfort while not feeling obtrusive or over built. The heel collar curves slightly inwards towards the rear of the heel which helps hold things in place but does not cause any rubbing or achilles irritation. 


The laces and closure are fairly traditional but do their job well. The upper material is soft and comfortable against the foot while not being so stretchy that the foot slides around. During my runs in the Atmos, I have not suffered from any overheating or rubbing. Overall, the upper offers a very comfortable fit which allows space for the foot to move naturally while maintaining a good hold. 

Topo Atmos (11 of 14)

Midsole: Thick, Soft and Stable

Andy: Topo’s Zipfoam compound is layered thickly between the foot and the road. A dual density foam, it has a softer top layer which is coupled with a firmer lower layer for responsiveness. This is not a super soft midsole. It doesn’t have the bouncy squish of Nike’s ZoomX but it is also more lively than the DNA Loft of the Brooks Ghost Max. For me, Topo have found a winning combination. The foam has enough softness to eat up all the miles you can put into it while remaining stable and supportive. The geometry of the midsole also helps to deliver a smooth ride.


Designed for a midfoot strike, there is also a very enjoyable toe spring to make sure that the foot rolls though effortlessly. Even with a more extreme forefoot strike, I found the midsole geometry to work very well. The foam itself soaks up the road well and protects the legs. I have taken the Atmos from short 5km blasts to a longer run of about 18km. It has been a great companion on all of these and each run has been very enjoyable. Whilst it not a shoe designed with high paces in mind, Topo make the Specter for that, it is a reasonably versatile shoe.


From 5:30/km+ on super easy days when pace doesn’t matter to my marathon pace when the legs were feeling good, the Atmos has made the runs feel easy. The smooth roll of the geomtery and the pop of the toe spring combine well with the pairing of foams to make it all feel easy.


That being said, I am not planning on running more structured workouts in the Atmos. I am sure if I had some of those fancy foot pods, I would find it was not the most efficient shoe in the rotation. Furthermore, it does not offer a great deal of road feel, so if that is what you are after, look away. Overall, the ride is fun, stable and very enjoyable in a shoe which feels very light on foot.

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Topo Atmos Outsole: No Drama

Andy: Thankfully, the British weather has offered me a range of conditions to test the Atmos in. We have had beautiful dry days and a fair smattering of rain sodden mornings to struggle through. At no time have I been worried about the grip on the Atmos. In addition to this sure grip, the rubber is mighty thick. I have about 60km in the Atmos so far and there is not a sign of wear on the outsole yet. This and the sheer amount of rubber Topo have provided make me believe that the Atmos will last a good long while therefore increasing its value. 

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Topo Atmos Conclusion: Easy Rolling Max Cushion Fun

Andy: The Topo Atmos provides neutral, stable cushion along with an enjoyable and smooth midsole. Offering cushion which lies somewhere between the ZoomX and DNA Loft on offer in other shoes, it should suit a wide range of runners. The density of midsole foam and thickness of rubber makes me believe that the Atmos will last a long time on the roads. Personally, I found the toe box to be filled with comfort as it almost perfectly matched the shape of my foot. If you are looking for a comfortable, cushioned shoe which still offers a fun ride, you could do a lot worse than giving the Atmos a go. It is the kind of shoe which will be a first pick for a suitcase when travelling, it offers enough of everything to make the choice easy.



45 years old

173cm (5’8″) – 66kg (145lbs)

Forefoot striker – (Very) high cadence runner


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