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Although considered a neutral running shoe, additional arch support and lacing technology transform the Fli-Lyte 4 into a shoe gym rats and runners alike can enjoy.
The upper has been reworked from the previous version, still an engineered mesh but with increased fabric around areas runners tend to have more wear and tear.
This year's model now puts ZipFoam cushioning through the entirety of the midsole providing a more cushioned under-the-foot feel.
Similar most to an Altra Escalante, the Fli-Lyte 4 has a roomy toe box that allows the user's feet to naturally splay. The Fli-Lytes differ slightly with a 3mm drop and a wider fit not only in the toebox but also in the heel and midfoot.
Our reviewers liked the shoe best during short or tempo runs but could see runners accustomed to low-drop, lightweight shoes using them for longer distances.
HEEL TO TOE OFFSET: 3mm (23mm / 20mm)
WEIGHT: 8.3oz/235g men's size 9D
USE: Everyday trainer, road running
SURFACE: Road, track, urban
Aidan: The Fli-Lyte 4 fits great. I don't necessarily have a wider forefoot, but I enjoy a shoe with more room near the forefoot for my toes to splay. The Fli-Lyte 4 had a great balance and gave me enough room without feeling sloppy or overly spacious. I had zero issues with the length and the upper felt like it gave my foot the perfect amount of room. The lockdown around my heel and ankle was great and I had no issues with slipping or rubbing with the soft collar/heel cup. I felt that part of this lockdown came at the cost of flexibility in the tongue. In line with many other Topo models, the laces run through 2 loops near the top of the tongue and make it less flexible with the front side of the ankle. This made it a bit annoying to get on and off but did give good lockdown without any discomfort while running and walking.
I started wearing these shoes with low expectations for the ZipFoam midsole but was pleasantly surprised. The cushioning is still nothing to write home about, but I wasn't looking for a pillowy feel in such a lightweight shoe anyways. The cushion was a little bit less than I wanted out of the shoe but more than I expected. It felt adequately responsive during faster paces ranging from tempo pace to some light strides but didn't feel as great over the long haul.
The shoe fits exactly right for my foot. I usually get a 10 in most shoes and the Fli-Lyte 4 was no different.
Kimberly: As a long-time wearer of Topo's Fli-Lyte I was thrilled to get to review v4. The natural foot shape toe box is perfect for metatarsal splay. The heel cup holds the heel really well so there is no slipping on the heel. The size is my normal running shoe size and gives me all the room I need for metatarsal and toe splay. The new lacing eyelet style helps to secure the shoe better than previous versions on the midfoot and some may need to loosen the shoelaces for a wider opening.
These shoes are a little softer and more padded than previous versions. I felt more cushioning in the forefoot and the heel. The initial step-in feel when first putting the shoes on was like "wow!". As someone who has worn Topo's Fli-Lyte for a couple of years, I noticed a dramatic improvement in the medial and heel support. The shoe does not feel as flat as previous versions.
Aidan: I expected a fairly low amount of stability in such a light, neutral shoe but was again pleasantly surprised. The base is not wide by any means, but is far from narrow and felt very stable underfoot. The arch of the shoe also felt fairly supportive and comfortable for what I thought would be a very neutral feeling shoe.
Kimberly: I've had about 7 pairs of these shoes in previous versions. It has been my go-to cross-training shoe for a couple of years. The support of the Topo Fli-Lyte 4 has really changed from previous versions of these shoes.
Aidan: I wouldn't pick this as a long-run type of shoe and would prefer not to take it past 8-10 miles at a time unless you regularly use a lightweight shoe like the Fli-Lyte 4. The lightweight, responsive feel is great for speed work, strides, and shorter intervals. It can be used for longer intervals, shorter tempos, and possibly even races depending on what type of shoe you're looking for, but I wouldn't choose it for longer workouts or a long run.
Kimberly: I believe these shoes would be great for short and middle-distance running, or even long-distance for the person who wants a really lightweight low-drop shoe. I use these shoes for cross-training workouts such as HIIT and strength training. This is the first version of the Fli-Lyte that I've actually felt like I would like to take them out on the road for some mileage. There is an awesome transition and smooth feel to the shoe that I've never felt before in the Fli-Lyte. Unfortunately, due to injury, I was unable yet to run in this pair. Since this version has more rubber on the outsole I think it will help provide better cushioning for longer distances.
Aidan: This shoe had a lot of ground feel and was extremely lightweight compared to most shoes. I would say that it stacks up along the Brooks Pureflow, Altra Rivera, and possibly the On Cloudflow as a lightweight trainer with a low drop that can do the job without any excess weight or bells and whistles. The Pureflow (unfortunately discontinued in 2021) and Rivera lineups are the closest examples, in my opinion, with similar stack heights, offset, and cushioning.
Aidan: I did not have the opportunity to run in the Fli-Lyte 3, but everything appears to be relatively similar. Wear may be more apparent in the Fli-Lyte 4 since the ZipFoam midsole is now entirely smooth on the sides and will show creases.
Kimberly: As someone who has worn the Fli-Lyte for a couple of years, this is the best Fli-Lyte yet. Topo has knocked it out of the park. The amazing fit, feel, durability, and comfort of this shoe have been done well.
Aidan: I took the Fli-Lyte 4 out on a variety of runs. My first run was out on the dirt roads where I found that I really enjoyed the feel of a lightweight, versatile trainer on roads where footing is less than smooth. I usually run in very neutral shoes so it was a shock to me that I felt a bit of extra support around my arch in the Fli-Lyte 4, despite it being within the neutral category and not offering any traditional or intentional stability. Over the next couple of runs, I could tell that the shoe only felt better as I broke it in and became more used to the lightweight feel. Doing strides in the shoes was great and they felt comparable to a racing flat disappearing under my feet. I tried to do a longer workout in them but could tell that I needed just a little more cushioning for spending a long day out on the roads or track than the Fli-Lyte 4 could offer me.
This shoe would be perfect for someone who wants a lightweight, do-it-all shoe. Although I personally didn't enjoy taking the Fli-Lyte 4 out for longer runs and workouts, I usually run in shoes with a bit more meat to them and am biased against lighter shoes like the Fli-Lyte line. That being said, anyone who wants a super-light shoe that they forget is on their feet would enjoy it. It's a versatile trainer and I imagine that it could even be used for shorter road races or trail races with more mild terrain. It would also be a great fit for someone who loves the feel of Altra shoes but wants a little extra drop without going overboard.
Kimberly: I loved my workouts in this shoe and felt like it added a lot of spring to my plyometric jumps but didn't interfere. I can't wait until I'm healed from my current injury to take it out for some running miles.
I would highly recommend this shoe as a great cross-training shoe with its lightweight and low heel-to-toe offset. For someone who is looking for a low profile and very lightweight running shoe with an open toe box, this will work well for them.
20 year old
Wears men's size 10
I started running in 8th grade after joining the track team chasing a girl but fell in love with the sport as I went into high school. I ran cross country and track all 4 years at Brighton High School, where I dove deep into running and became a super fan at all levels of the sport, from high school to the professional ranks. I am currently serving as the apparel coordinator and distance training chair on the Michigan State Running Club and am planning on completing USATF certification to pursue coaching alongside a future as a high school teacher. I can be found running all over Brighton, from the trails of Huron Meadows and Bishop Lake to the concrete jungle along Grand River Ave. My favorite things about running are the community and the feeling of pushing yourself beyond what you thought you were capable of. I've met so many incredible people and made so many friends through my passion for the sport, some of which include my coworkers at Running Lab, where I work as a sales associate.
52 year old
Wears women's size 10
I have been running most of my life, but it wasn't until I was stationed in Monterey CA while I was in the Air Force that I really learned to love hills and long-distance running on the Pacific coast. I would go out for a short quick shake-out run every day around the wharf in the dark hours of the morning to get my blood moving and then I would go for a long 10-12 mile run on the coast about 4-5 days per week. Currently, I mainly run for fitness as I enjoy all forms of exercise. My graduate academic training as an Exercise Physiologist makes me kind of a geek when it comes to helping others achieve their goals in fitness.