I used to run in Newtons.
Before that it was Brooks.
Before that it was Saucony.
Before that it was... Well, you get the idea.
It's not that I'm indecisive, but that I hadn't found THE ONE yet. Giggle all you want, but marrying yourself to a shoe brand is a lot of commitment! I thought I had found that in Brooks but they went and changed my favorite "pure" line shoes. Why must things change?!
Begrudgingly walking into Running Wild in Pensacola, Florida, I knew I was already doomed to be disappointed (hear that tiny violin playing in the background?). Alexandra listened and nodded along to my whines as she pulled a couple options for me: Altra and Topo Athletic.
At first I thought they both looked ridiculous; but then I tried them on. Altra was nice, cute colors, and a little clown-like. The Topo Athletic Fli-lyte slipped on like the glass shoe on Cinderella. I wasn't sold on this wide toe box nonsense at first, but it didn't take more than a couple of runs to be wooed.
Three years later and the Fli-lyte is still my dream-come-true road runner.
This might be my favorite thing about the Fli-lyte. It’s super thin, plastic-like mesh means this road runner is light, drainage time is next to nothing (water just simply exits as quickly as it enters), and dries faster than any other shoe in the Topo Athletic line. The lacing system allows you to tighten a little more right at the arch: Genius. With all the room in the toe box, your foot still isn’t going to be sliding anywhere with the lace-created arch hug. It also comes with 2 sets of laces, in case you want to have a more fun, brightly colored shoe.
This shoe is that in-between minimalist runner. It’s low heel-to-toe drop and stack height mean a more neutral ride, but still has a little firmness to them to make the feet feel protected. Don’t expect a lot of stability. The Fli-lyte is built with less fluff and a low ankle collar to let the foot bend as it pleases. It's designed for a forefoot to midfoot runner, as it has little cushion/restrictions on the Achilles protector/heel counter for heel-strikers. This is the neutral, responsive running shoe you've been looking for.
If you have read many shoe reviews, you know that this is a shining moment for Topo. The dedication to longevity of shoe means a durably made rubber outsole, particularly in the high abrasion areas (where you strike the foot to the ground when running). Most running shoes will suggest replacement around the 300 mile mark, but I have known people to wear their Fli-lytes for 800-1,200 miles with no complaints. The rubber has enough grip to be great on pavement whether dry or wet, and can transition to hard packed trail if you have a mixed terrain route you run. It’s primarily a roadie, though.
I have no con for you on this shoe, and I mean it. This was my introduction to Topo Athletic and why I was hooked at first run. The lightweight, easy drainage, and lacing style won my heart so quickly, I can’t imagine running road races/triathlons in anything else.
**Disclosure: I am a Topo Athletic Ambassador, although they do not pay me or require me to write positive reviews. Feel free to use TOPOSOLOMON20 at checkout for a 20% discount on any shoe at www.topoathletic.com