They Say – A 30mm x 25mm stack height and 5mm drop makes the new Phantom Topo’s most cushioned road running shoe. Strategically placed rubber adds traction and durability where needed; Zipfoam™, a proprietary new midsole compound that delivers more cushioning and long-term resilience than traditional EVA. A breathable engineered mesh upper with lightly printed overlays and an external TPU heel counter help keep the runner secure over the platform.

We Say – I got these Topo shoes for a specific purpose – long distance training on the roads. I was convinced to choose them after looking through the very helpful graphs that accompany each Topo shoe on their website. This was the one for the Phantom model.

This told me that they had a lot of cushion, and didn’t have a huge drop, which was what I was looking for. I don’t live near any dirt roads or longer trails and to put in serious marathon and ultra training on tarmac increases risk of injury so I tried to limit the risk by wearing these shoes as they offer a lot of padding. I decided on this course of action after learning more about how the great Kenyan runners train – always on dirt roads or tracks. This allows them to put in 100 mile weeks without putting so much pressure on their knees. This in turn means they don’t get injured as much as if they were on tarmac, and this means they can train more and get better at what they do. I wasn’t looking to be very fast, I just wanted to get into shape to be able to run 100 mile races, which I was due to do in August and September.

The theory seems to have worked – it’s the end of the season and I’ve been wearing these Topo since early summer for my training and I’ve remained fit all the way, fit enough to run ultras every month as well as train during the weeks in between.

I also like Topo because their toe box area is wide enough to let the feet spread out without it feeling like the shoes don’t fit, or like they move about when you run. The fit is true to size and for me it’s a unique approach among shoe manufacturers – the shoe fits well all over, and it allows the toes to spread as if you were barefoot.

This photo shows me at the start of the Niagara Falls International Marathon, when I decided to take these shoes into a race situation. Obviously the guy on my left likes even more room for his feet to move about in! I was just using this race as a training event for an ultra later in the month, so I felt it was right to keep cushioned for what was going to be a fast training run. I expected to finish in around 3″30, which is my usual marathon time if I’m either tired out or not trying to race it, and that was what happened (my time was 3″28). So the fact that the shoes have a lot of cushion and they weigh a couple of oz more than a racing flat didn’t make a difference in my time.

If you’re looking for a cushioned shoe for long road training runs that lets your feet spread out naturally, give these a try. Topo are an American company but they have a local dealer in Burlington, for those of you who are, like me, from lower Ontario.

To discover more about this Topo Phantom road shoes,