First Run Topo Ultraventure – October 10, 2020

I have been looking for a pair of trail shoes that I can use for my primary winter shoes, nasty weather running and trail running shoes.

On a whim, since I like the fit of the Topo Zephyr’s so much I thought that I would buy a pair of Ultraventures from REI’s good and used shop. The prices are better for experimenting and Topos don’t seem to go on sale all that often.

They originally were going to be a Christmas present from Bennie, but my other shoes just don’t seem to fit the niche that I want/need as we head into the cold weather, so I pulled them out from under the dresser and tried them out walking and running today.

Initial fit was spot on for my size 8.0s, maybe just a touch long and I might be able to get by with a pair of 7.5s, but since I want them for winter running and wool socks, the extra room will be nice. Coming in at 9.7 ounces was nice for such a maximal shoe. The quality of construction was excellent and while I am not a fan of black and blue (boring), this one actually looks pretty good, although some fluorescent orange or yellow accents would have really set it off.

However…

Mmmmm Houston we have a problem…

I like them too much. Which I hate to say after the first day of trying anything, it usually just doesn’t live up to the initial impressions. They can’t – right.

But the Ultraventures are so damn comfortable – the cushioned feel that I have been looking for and a wide toe, but snug enough in the heel that there is no slipping. The weight is where I want daily trainers to be – sub 10 ounces and have great outsole tread.

Walking in them I had zero problems.

When I took them out for an easy 5K run, I was shocked at how comfortable and good they felt underfoot. My first mile was faster than it has been in a while, without really a lot more effort and then I slowed down a bit with the hills on Blake Road.

The Ultraventures while having plenty of cushion still had a bit of road feel when I hit some of the rocky sections down-back. Nothing bad, but I could feel the rocks without the rockplate. Since I am only running slow right now, the ribs don’t like that hard breathing stuff yet, they are still rather tender, I don’t know how they would do at faster paces.

Although I have a feeling that they are going to be more for slower paced stuff anyway, so how fast I run in them is not really all that important. Besides most of my speed is disappearing and comfort is becoming more and more important.

The thing that surprised me though was how well they performed on tar. Even though they do have fairly deep lugs, they ran very smoothly and quietly on the tar and felt more comfortable than the Zepher’s for me in many ways.

They remind me a lot of the Pearl Izumi N1 Trails that I could run anywhere and any distance in, except they are a little more cushy feeling.

I am not going off the deep end after one run and a few walks, but the first impressions are good, no, very good. Let’s just hope that I feel this way about them in a few hundred miles.

Time will tell.

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