Topo Athletic Pursuit Trail Shoe Review

I began my thru-hiking career (Colorado Trail, 2015) in Hoka’s Mafate Speed trail runners, which were extra cushy, incredibly tough, and astonishingly lightweight. Alas, some 861 miles into my 2016 Appalachian Trail thru-hike, my already wide, short, high-arched feet had spread out considerably, and my beloved Hokas had caused a painful case of sesamoiditis. They were simply too narrow.

So I finished the AT wearing a wide-toebox shoe, the Altra Olympus. It was very cushy and comfy, to be sure, if not very durable. The next year I discovered Altra’s Timp and began using that one, as well.

Then, inexplicably, the company that won fame for its wide shoes began narrowing my two preferred models. I could still wear the company’s most popular thru-hiking model, but it provided very little cushioning and, while tougher than the other two, still wasn’t very durable.

When I went looking for a replacement, I discovered Topo Athletics, whose shoes offer a wide toebox and minimal drop, and that’s all I’ve worn since. The Topo Terraventure 3 remains, for my money, the best thru-hiking trail shoe around (see review here).

Now Topo has released the Pursuit, the company’s first cushioned, zero-drop trail shoe. I have been giving it a test ride since mid-August.

topo athletic pursuit clay bonnyman evans

A southbound Appalachian Trail hiker shows off his Topo Athletic Pursuit trail shoes. The Pursuit was a popular model among late-season SOBOS in 2022. Clay Bonnyman Evans photo.

Topo Athletic Pursuit At-a-Glance

MSRP: $140
Style: Dual-density, wide toebox, zero-drop, medium-cushion trail shoe with Vibram sole
Intended purpose: Trail running, hiking
Weight: 10.8 ounces per shoe (men’s 9)

Circumstances of Use

Worn for approximately 200 miles of mountain (Colorado) and beach (South Carolina) running, as well as hiking on the Appalachian Trail.


  • Roomy toebox: One of Topo’s top selling points
  • Roomy heel: While one well-known “wide toebox” shoe manufacturer has inexplicably narrowed the heel on several top models, Topo has kept its heels roomy
  • Secure midfoot and heel: OrthoLite® Performance insole and ZipFoam™ midsole
  • Zero-drop platform
  • Cushioning: Listed as “moderate” by Topo, but cushier than its other top trail models
  • Lightweight
  • Vibram® Megagrip outsole: Designed for wet and slippery conditions
  • Abrasion-resistant upper
  • Gaiter attachment: Compatible with Topo’s patented gaiter system

Topo’s Pursuit features the company’s standard wide-toebox, wide-heel profile. Courtesy Topo Athletic.


My feet are short and very wide with a high arch and instep. Topo Athletic shoes are now the best-fitting shoes for my feet, though I’ve bumped up to a size 9.5 (from my perennial 8.5).

At a full size up, I found the toebox and heel exactly roomy enough for my feet in the Pursuit without making me feel like I’m wearing too-long clown shoes or causing me to trip.


Topo created the Pursuit after customers asked for a “trail version” of the company’s popular Magnifly, a zero-drop, cushioned, breathable road-running shoe. So this is basically that model with a beefier, grippier sole with tougher uppers. It’s slightly heavier than the Magnify.

I found the Pursuit comfortable. Despite listing the cushion as “moderate,” I think it gives a slightly more cushioned ride than the “moderate” cushion TV3. This shoe feels to me like Topo’s version of the Olympus, but with a wider fit and better durability.

topo athletic pursuit clay bonnyman evans photo

Topo Pursuit with the company’s proprietary gaiter system. Clay Bonnyman Evans photo.


Topo’s standard Vibram soles are a real selling point for their trail shoes. The Megagrip is Vibram’s highly durable, high-performance sole, very much intended for trails and long distances. I’ve found Topo’s Vibram soles incredibly durable. They were still solid after 600+ miles (when, solely for reasons of cushion, not wear, I tend to switch out Topos). The Pursuit gives no indication of being any less tough after 200 miles.

Topo Athletic’s Pursuit features the durable Vibram Megagrip sole. Courtesy Topo Athletic.


I did not put the Pursuit through the wringer as I did the TV3 on the PCT in 2021, so I can’t render a definitive judgment on durability.

That said, the uppers on the Pursuit are made from the same remarkably tough material as the TV3. Even after 600 miles, the worst I can say of the TV3’s uppers is that I’ve seen the beginning of a hole on two occasions. At 200 miles, the Pursuit looks good as new, just as I’ve come to expect from Topos; I fully expect it will hold up as well as the TV3.


Topo offers a unique gaiter system. The gaiter attaches to a small metal loop at the bottom of the tongue in front, like most brands. But in back, Topo gaiters attach via metal clips to two small rubber nubs on the heel.

topo athletic pursuit gaiter sytem clay bonnyman evans phtoo

Topo’s gaiter attachment system, heel view. Clay Bonnyman Evans photo.

That’s a cool innovation, though Topo’s gaiters take a little more effort to attach than, say, a pair of hiker-favorite Dirty Girl Gaiters. Once fastened, they do a great job of keeping the clutter out.

That said, they are heavier than Dirty Girls or similar gaiters. If you want to use a Velcro-based gaiter, you’ll have to create it yourself by self-sticking Velcro at any hardware store. I strongly advise super-gluing the Velcro to the back of the shoe.

Surprisingly, for such a tough shoe, the Pursuit dries out quickly.

And I remain pleasantly surprised that Topo’s laces stay tied and toecaps tend not to peel off (OK, I’ve had one peel away, but that’s all). I have no idea why this is, but if Topo can do it, why can’t other manufacturers get this right?

Topo Athletic Pursuit Pros

  • Excellent design for thru-hiking and trail running: Wide toebox, wide-but-secure heel, lacing that accommodates a wide range of foot shapes.
  • Relatively lightweight at 10.8 ounces per shoe.
  • Vibram outsole: Extremely grippy and durable.
  • Very comfortable (and well-cushioned).
  • Zero-drop, in contrast to Topo’s other popular thru-hiking models.
continental divide trail san juan wilderness clay bonnyman evans

Here’s a pretty picture of the Continental Divide Trail in the South San Juan Wilderness because how many shoe pictures do you really need to see? Clay Bonnyman Evans photo.

Topo Pursuit  Cons

  • Relatively flexible sole and lack of a rock plate may not provide enough protection for some hikers.
  • Accommodates only Topo gaiters, although you could make them compatible with Dirty Girls by using stick-on Velcro.
  • Not quite as wide as leading competitor’s most popular thru-hiking model for those who like an extremely roomy fit.
  • A little more expensive than the company’s best long-distance hiking shoe, the Terraventure 3.

Topo Athletic Pursuit Overall

I’m looking at the Pursuit as Topo’s zero-drop, slightly more cushioned version of the Terraventure 3. I think I still prefer the TV3 for thru-hiking—it’s a little roomier—but the Pursuit is a comfortable, solid, and durable shoe for those seeking a sliver more comfort and a zero-drop model. And that said, I think I prefer the Pursuit for running. Topo is doing things right; here’s hoping they continue!

Shop the Men’s Topo Athletic Pursuit

Shop the Women’s Topo Athletic Pursuit

Comparable Models

Altra Olympus

Weight: 12.3 ounces each
Price: $180
Drop: zero
Stack height: 33 mm
Drop: Zero

Hoka One One Speedgoat

Weight: 10.3 ounces each
Price: $155
Fit: Narrow; tapered toebox
Drop: 4 millimeters

Brooks Cascadia GTX

Weight: 11.7 ounces each
Price: $160
Fit: Medium width; tapered toebox
Drop: 8 millimeters

The Topo Athletic Pursuit was donated for the purpose of review.

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Comments 6

  • Drew Boswell : Nov 10th

    Your description of your foot – wide, short, high-arched – is exactly the same as my own, so thanks a whole lot for doing this review. I’m very much in the market for a good shoe in which to hike. Using my Asics Gel Cumulous running shoes just ain’t cutting it anymore. I look forward to trying out a pair of Topo Athletics in the near future. It’s especially heartening to hear you say the durability is pretty decent. I’d also be curious what size shoe you normally wear for everyday use, so I could compare to my size 9.5 4E Fred Flintstone short wide foot.

  • Buzz Burrell : Nov 11th

    Good callout on Topo. Their design ethic is spot on for me as well: wide, low, MegaGrip, durable, relatively low weight. I’ve not seen the brand in a retail store, so I hope they survive the shoe shakeout.

    • Barrett Deisher : Nov 11th

      REI carries some of them. I’ve seen some in other stores, like Fleet Feet. But they’re more hit or miss with stock.

  • Scott : Nov 11th

    I’ve been wearing Topo Terraventure trail shoes for the past 4 seasons. I switched from Solomon. I also have a wide foot/high arch, size 11. Great wearing, sturdy shoes. I purchased the Ultraventure Pro this fall. This model is nicely cushioned, has a 5mm drop and a rock plate. Have less than 100 mi on them so far but liking the fit and feel. Eastside Sports in Bishop, Ca. carries a full line of Topo trail shoes including their new mid-boots.

  • Cliff Renner : Nov 14th

    Montrail Hardrock was (discontinued) my favorite rugged trail shoe. Why do they always seen to discontinue or change a good shoe when they get one?


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