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In The Press

MTN Racer Press Feature

The Best Trail Shoe Ever?

Taylor: "I love it. Simply and whole-heartedly love it. It’ll be a great go-to shoe for hours of adventure on technical terrain and may become my choice for my upcoming 100-miler in July. It has enough of everything to make me confident on just about any terrain (except maybe roads)."

Product Overview

These sturdy mountain trail running shoes are performance tuned for trail racing and speed-hiking. Vibram® Megagrip outsole delivers optimal traction on any surface. Medial and lateral drainage ports enhance water release and quick drying.

Specs

  • Best For:Trail Running
  • Stack Height:30mm (heel) // 25mm (forefoot)
  • Heel to Toe Drop: 5MM
  • Weight:9.3 oz (M9)
  • Cushion:
    Less
    More
  • Support:
    Neutral
    Stability
  • Pliability:
    Flexible
    Stiff

Why We Love It

  • Roomy Toe BoxRoomy Toe Box

    Roomy Toe Box

    Anatomical toe box allows toes to spread naturally and comfortably.

  • 5MM Drop5MM Drop

    5MM Drop

    Our highest available drop allows you to access natural running with more under-heel cushioning.

  • Vibram Outsole

    Vibram Outsole

    Unparalleled grip and traction and durability from the leaders in technical outsoles.

  • Ortholite Footbed

    Ortholite Footbed

    Comfortable, anti-compression footbed with anti-microbial properties.

Ratings & Reviews

Average Customer Ratings

Overall
3.8

Very Secure

by

A few features of this shoe have made it my favorite Topo now beating out the Terraventure 2, but the best feature by far is how light and fast the shoe feels. The midsole: I feel the midsole is perfect for my faster gait and speed. It also offers fantastic protection mile after mile, it really blocks the rocks. The outsole: VIBRAM!! I love that Topo uses vibram and the Megagrip has mega grip. It seems to be much more durable than the xs trek compound. My negative with the outsole is that the lugs get a lot smaller near the toe and when going up 40-50 degree slopes it would be nice to have deeper lugs up front. The upper: Security is the name of the game. I've always wanted a shoe with toe room, but the security of a mountain shoe you find in other brands. I can do a lot of off trail exploring while feeling very secure. One negative is the insole slides forward and bunches up at the front of the shoe and makes the shoe feel shorter, I superglued it down to fix this.

Tons of potential

by

Fit is a touch short but not enough to size up. Grip is great. Toe box provides a very comfortable fit. Not a shoe that “feels fast” but doesn’t work against you either. The shoes have worked great in rocky technical terrain. My only complaints are after long descents I feel the need to retighten the laces my other is the midsole is separating from the upper after roughly 100miles. So much potential here. Can’t wait for v2

Red as the only color, seriously?

by

I like the structure of the shoes, offer just the right amount of support, cushioning for me on the trails. But like another reader said red? Seriously, as the only color. I decided to try red as seemed on the site to be a darker red, but they are loud, I will be sending them back as I can't wear a loud shoe. So if you can get past the color, these are a good shoe.

Amazing for Ultra Trail Marathons!!

by

I have run several ultra trail marathons and these are very durable and comfortable. Just ran ultra race in Arizona and three of top 20 were wearing these and we all commented how much we loved them. Feels like Topo took the best from several leading trail shoes and put into this shoe.

the best trail shoes I've ever worn.

by

Superb traction on hard pack, mud, ROCK, and WET rock. Work better than my approach shoes for climbing except for edging and I can compensate most of those by smearing.

Shrinking shoe?

by

Initially, I was very excited about the Mountain Racer and had a lot of great, shorter runs in them. Then, I ran a 50k and started to have problems with the size of the left shoe as one other reviewer noted. Since running the 50k, I continue to have problems with the size of the left shoe and will likely have to retire the shoe halfway into its mileage life. I exclusively wear Topo and have never had sizing issues. Not sure why this happened? I am well outside their 30 day trial window and would otherwise send them back. Don't get me wrong, I really like this shoe and its potential but like my toenails even more.

Show runs warm...

by

I have 200 miles on my size 13 Mtn Racer. I also run in Ultraventure (13), Terraventure (12.5) and Ultrafly (13). I like the soft tongue, Stronger Vibram sole and quick lacing. I don't like the less breathable upper. My feet get very hot in the Mtn Racer. I use an Altra rock plate if I'm running very rocky trails. Overall I like the shoe. My greatest Topo wish is the Ultraventure with a rock plate , tongue and sole of the mtn racer.

So Close

by

This shoe is so close to perfection. The fit is amazing If it only had a rock plate I think I would use it for training, 50km to 100milers. Current version, if you get into rocky terrain, I have to use caution or I risk feeling every sharp poking rock under foot. If the trails are buff its 100%

Durability, Stability, Support and Traction. I'm not sure you could ask for much more.

by

I received the MTN Racer as part of the Runner's World Magazine shoe test program. Let me disclose that I'm a fan of Topo first, before I say that I've worn almost every pair of shoes that they have produced and while I'm a fan, I'm not a fan of every shoe.

The MTN Racer ticks a lot of boxes for me. It's fast, flexible and comfortable across rocky and technical trails while it also excels on the climb. The tread is secure on gravel, mud and anything else you can throw at is and it disappears under foot in tough circumstances.

I wore it for my fastest 50K in the rain/wet and it did great so I find it hard to find any faults in 200+ miles of testing but I'm still waiting for the obvious durability mark to bite me. I've rarely gotten more than 300 miles out of a pair of Topos.

Nevertheless, these are a favorite of mine and combined with the new Topo Gaiters they are even more awesome. No rocks in my socks, less mud on my ankles and a fast and speedy ride under my feet.

Poor quality control on the sizing

by

I have Topo MT-3's and Ultraventures in size 9.5 and they fit fine. My right foot is a 9.5 and my left is a 9.0, so the Topo 9.5's fit. The 9.5 MTN racers fit my right foot, my larger foot, but were way too tight on my left foot, my smaller foot. They were so tight on the ball of my foot and the toes that my foot went to sleep just trying them on walking around the house.
I have many other brands of shoes like Altra and many other types of shoes like hiking boots and dress shoes. All fit my larger right foot tighter than my smaller left foot.
I can only decide that the MTN racers have poor quality control and for some reason the left shoe fits one to two sizes smaller than the right shoe.
Since I bought them on a "friends and family" deal, I cannot return them.
My lesson learned is don't expect different pairs of the same model Topo shoes to fit the same or the two shoes of the same pair to be the same size.

*Topo Note: Thanks for the feedback, Larry! This pair was found to be overstuffed in the heel on the left shoe, likely causing a one-off sizing disparity in this pair, and a new pair was shipped to this customer.

Mtn Racer goes for a walk on the DRT in foul weather

by

I've tried all types of shoes from Hokas to Altras to Salomons. This guy is hands down the best trail shoe I've worn. I took them out to North Georgia for a trail run on the DRT yesterday. The weather was awful so the trails were a hot mess. This shoe performed better than I had ever expected. It took on mud, slick rock, and roots perfectly. There were a couple of places going down Coosa that I thought I would lose my footing...never happened. The toe box is perfect and the shoe feels secure on technical terrain. The only thing, in my opinion, would be to add just a bit more cushion. Other than that, I'll be buying a couple of more of these in case they get discontinued! Way to go Topo! Nice Job!

Almost returned them... SO Glad I didn't

by

The Topo fit with the wide toe box yet snug fit through the heal is perfect for me, so when I needed new shoes for a Spartan race I decided to pick up a pair of MTN Racers. Because of the rip stop upper, they did not initially feel as flexible or comfortable as other shoes and after wearing then around the house and on the treadmill a few times, I seriously considered exchanging them for something else.
Ultimately, I decided to keep them and they were rockstars during my race. After only one short training run to break them in I ran a 13 mile obstacle course race and I could not be happier. Very solid on the steep terrain, great traction in the mud, outstanding grip on obstacles, and very quick drying. And my initial concern about fit was completely unfounded. They are extremely comfortable, and the lack of flexibility that I felt in the upper actually made for a much more secure feeling fit over uneven terrain.
With Topo’s 30-day risk free trial, these are a no-brainer.

Lots of great but one big negative

by

I now have 140mi in my MTN Racers and while I really like the shoes in many ways...fit, durability, grip and drainage the big drawback for me is the mid-sole. I was really hoping these would feel much like my awesome Ultraventures with just a little more rock protection but that is not the case. The mid-sole felt great initially but quickly broke down and flattened out, especially in the mid-foot area. The lack of a rock plate eliminated any sort of improvement in protection over the Ultraventure even though the mid-sole was supposed to be slightly more firm. The result was actually less rock protection once the mid-sole broke down.

In my mind a great combination would be the upper and out-sole of the MTN Racer with the mid-sole of the Ultraventure and for bonus points add a thin rock plate for the ultimate trail shoe.

Sadly after only 140mi my MTN Racers will now be retired due to the mid-sole.

Great fit. Smooth ride

by

Topo shoes were recommended to me by a great running coach. I figured I’d give them a shot and I’m so happy I did!
My foot tends to swim around a bit in Altras so I was looking for something else with a wide toe box.
The mtn racer fits me perfectly! Just wide enough in the fore-foot combined with solid ankle support.
I’m not quite ready for a zero drop shoe so the 5mm is perfect for long runs too.
Used these right out of the box for the Rainier Ragnar in late August, followed by the Rut 50k the following weekend.

Near perfect!

by

Over the past couple of running seasons I've had a lot of trouble finding a comfortable shoe that can hold up to the ruggedness of the Long Trail and the Adirondacks. The recent Lone Peak versions from Altra totally fall apart on these types of terrain, I had two pairs that didn't even last 100 miles! Salomons hold up, but definitely lack comfort when putting in 20-30 mile runs in the mountains.

But behold, the MTN RACER! The best of both worlds. Excellent fit, lightweight, great traction, comfortable and - most importantly - durable! I've put 120 miles on them so far and there's absolutely no sign of wear and tear, they still look brand new but feel even better. It's nice to finally be able to break in a pair of shoes without actually breaking the shoes.

Ran the great range traverse in the Adirondacks last week in these, and they performed like a dream.

My only gripe (and it's a minor one): not a fan of the flashy red and orange, I wish there were other color choices.

Colorblind designers

by

Pros;
Generally a very comfortable shoe
I LOVE the flat tongue
Good gripy sole
Single seam upper feels quite durable

Cons:
The color
The toebox is bit narrow
The color
I replaced the atrocious Ronald McDonald yellow laces with black elastic laces (allowing for a little foot swell as the shoe has zero stretch, now it feels great other than the claustrophobic toebox)
The color

Classic black is a MUST in any model, come on Topo!

Awesome Shoe

by

This shoe has made my training so much easier. Before these I had a pair of SpeedCross3 and I had to ice me feet after every run. Now with my MTN runners my feet feel as amazing as they are going to after hard runs. I am a little disappointed that I listen to the lady at the store and went a size up. They are a size to big and my foot slides on up and down hills which makes them a little unsteady. I will have to get the right size next time. Other than that this shoe is awesome.

Disappointing

by

I was excited to try the Mtn Racer because the Terraventure 2 is one of my all-time favorites, and I needed something burlier for a long trip. The Mtn Racer was disappointing. Here's why:

Pros:
- Lightweight
- Grippy sole
- Nice stiffness/stability to reduce fatigue on longer days

Cons:
- The toebox is a lot narrower than my Terraventures, which eliminates one of Topo's big differentiators vs. traditional trail runners.
- My Terraventures are perfect in size 12. In the Mtn Racer, my big toe jams into the front of the toe box in size 12. My big toes were sore after just a couple miles of downhill. Even worse, Topo doesn't make a 12.5.
- This is a moderate cushion shoe..,so I was surprised that it feels almost too firm.

Overall, I love the concept behind this shoe. But the narrower toe box, higher drop and unfortunate sizing nearly eliminate Topo's advantage over other companies. I'd love a future version that stays truer to Topo's roots. I'll be returning these.

Great concept, could use a few refinements still....

by

Early impressions:
The good: Fabric of the upper. Keeps the fine dust of Cascadian trails out of the shoe and socks. Keeps splashes of water out, dries in 10 minutes if it does get soaked. Much prefer this to 'engineered mesh' Topo and others are using.

Mostly stitchless design of the upper is great. Lace guides on the tongue are very effective. Laminated tongue is nice, but could use a bit more padding.

Vibram soles have awesome traction and grip. Really appreciate the full sole, which shows no wear after 40 miles.

'Could-be-improved':
The midsole is too firm. After 10 miles the bottoms of my feet were feeling bruised. Better solution for the MTN Racer would be to use a slightly firmer Ultraventure midsole along with a rock plate.

While foot-shaped, the toe-box could still be wider. Topo really needs to offer a size 12.5, as many other trail shoe companies do.

A great light, wide, secure, cushioned shoe that goes the distance

by

I think Topo has just about nailed it with the MTN racer. It’s well cushioned, roomy in the toe box, secure everywhere else, grippy, light, and fast. It covers the bases, and covers them well. I could nearly replace all my trail shoes with the MTN racer. Sizing was spot on for me ie same size for these shoes as with other Topos.

I have done trail runs ranging from 10 to 30 miles, and felt good, on these shoes and am overall very happy. The roomy toe and secure mid and heel ensures smooth going even over technical terrain with uneven footing. It didn’t feel sloppy at all. The lugs and Megagrip made for great traction on mud and rocks. The stiffer cushioning provided good underfoot protection.

That all said, if the MTN racer could improve, at least for me, I would want stiffer, or different cushioning, for even more underfoot protection.

It’s okay

by

Fits okay but My kids told me that the color looks like Mc Donald’s shoes.

I haven't returned these yet

by

I haven't returned these yet, but I am after a single run. They seem to fit well. Narrower toe box than the Altra and wider than the Hoka Speedgoat. However, running in them was like running barefoot on concrete. For 25/30mm shoes they didn't feel like they have any cushion. And for that I am returning them. I wanted them to be good. Not sure I will try another shoe fro Topo.

Sets the Standard

by

The name of this shoe is fitting for how it performs on the trail. Today I ran a 5.3 miles loop run in these shoes straight from the box. The area I run in is rocky, sandy with steep ups and downs over rough terrain. I regularly run these trails in my Ultraventure and Terraventure trail shoes. The Mtn Racer borrows the best from both of these shoes. It has the cushioning of the Ultra and the firmness of the Terra. That makes this a fast and efficient runner. The cushioning and firmness of this shoe eliminates the need for a rock plate. The fit of this shoe is a little different than the Ultra and Terra. The heel locks down very well and greatly adds to stability when running steep sections. The fit is a little tighter and feels a little shorter that the Ultra and Terra. I am hoping as I put more miles in the shoes it will stretch out a little. Overall, I'm not sure if there is a better trail runner on the market.