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With 28mm of cushion positioned between the runner and the ground, the Phantom 2 by Topo Athletic is in it for the long haul. Topo Athletic paired ZipFoam cushion in the midsole with a 5mm heel-to-toe drop for a natural, plush running experience.
The upper of the shoe is breathable and ergonomically shaped allowing for a natural toe splay. The Phantom 2 features an additional 3 mm of stack height ZipFoam in the midsole compared to the previous model. Despite the significant cushioning, the Phantom is not a particularly heavy shoe, weighing in nearly identical to Brooks Ghost 13 and New Balance 1080v11.
HEEL TO TOE OFFSET: 5mm (28mm Forefoot, 33mm Heel)
WEIGHT: 8.4oz (238g) women's / 10oz (289g) men's
USE: Road Running, long runs
SURFACE: Road, track, urban
Toni: Let it be known that the Topo Phantom was my favorite distance running shoe of the past two years and having the opportunity to test the Topo Phantom 2 was a dream come true. Much of my feedback will be a comparison from the first model to the update.
The toebox fit of the Topo Phantom 2 appears to be slightly wider due to the removal of the overlays in this region greatly making the fit less constrictive than the previous model. The heel collar of the shoe has a very soft mesh verses the stitched in padding in the heel collar. This is a great update to take pressure off of the Achilles. The gusseted tongue adds a great touch of quality to the design of the shoe as does the update to the upper that allows to some awesome breathability.
When you lace up in the Topo Phantom 2, the step in feel is incredibly cushioned. You instantly feel the ZipFoam under your foot like a warm welcoming hug.
Topo added 3 mm of stack height ZipFoam to the midsole from the previous model. This made the ride of the Phantom 2 more cushioned in comparison to the responsive toe spring of the previous model.
Geoff: In regards to the toebox, plenty of room here. Many other brands (for me) sometimes pinch toes too much which leads to discomfort. This was a welcome change. The fabric on the toebox was flexible enough to provide comfort but not so much that it felt too loose.
The midfoot sometimes felt a little tight. Occasionally on longer runs (5+ miles), this area of my foot (primarily right foot) had some discomfort. This typically was not as much of an issue on shorter runs (2-3 miles). I also discovered I experiences more of this issue while running on the treadmill vs. road running.
I loved how the heel cup provided support for the heel. The anatomy of the cup plus the heel counter provided additional support for the back of the foot. There was no slipping in this shoe.
The length was good. Not much feedback in this area. The shoe did have a wider feel to it on the ball of the foot portion.
At first the shoe was more difficult to slip on as the structure of the laces provided a seemingly tighter area in which to put the shoe on. The fact that the laces are built into the tongue and then lace through the upper portion of the shoe sometimes made it frustrating as the laces would fall into the shoe as it went onto the foot.
The shape of the upper appears different than other shoes I've worn. The shape appears as a more block (squared off) shape. This also gives it a more orthotic look to the overall shoe. All in all, the upper was comfortable even if not as pleasing to the eye.
The cushioning was adequate. I would say there was a less cushiony feel here than with the New Balance 1080v11, but there's definitely a supportive feeling. I'm a Brooks fan and I would compare this cushioning to Brooks. I'd recommend if you prefer moderate cushion without the plush feel of some foam. The ZipFoam seemed to provide enough "give" but not so much that you had to counter it with adjusting your running form.
Toni: This shoe is a more stable neutral shoe. The last of the shoe is slightly straighter than the original model; providing great support for my long runs and recovery runs.
Geoff: I experienced no issues with feeling unstable. Even though the support is foam, it didn't feel so "squishy" that stability was compromised.
Toni: Personally, I want a fresh pair Topo Phantoms for every run of the week (#megafan). I feel that this shoe is fantastic for long runs and recovery runs. The ZipFoam provides an awesome high cushioned experience without a high heel to toe offset.
Geoff: I'm a big fan of Brooks - but have welcomed other brands to try new experiences. Honestly, this shoe felt very comparable to the Brooks Ghost. The cushion for both shoes felt supportive with enough give to feel stable but not so much where it caused discomfort. I would contrast this shoe to the New Balance 1080v11, which provided too much cushiony "give" that it caused foot discomfort. I felt some unsteadiness while walking in the 1080v11 as I think the foam in that shoe was too "soft".
Toni: Topo has enhanced all of the great qualities in the Phantom from the previous version. My favorite update is the overall fit. Investing in a new mesh, removing the overlays, made the shoe feel much more natural and less constrictive.
Increasing the stack height in the ZipFoam truly makes this shoe feel like a high-end cushioned distance running shoe.
Toni: I've logged close to 100 miles in the Topo Phantom 2. My runs have ranged from 3 miles to 15 miles. What I love about this shoe is it NEVER GIVES UP. The cushion level stays consistent regardless of the mileage. It gives me confidence that while I am fatiguing on my run, my shoes aren't.
This shoe is made for many folks! Runners of all distances and experience levels, walkers wanting more cushion, folks on their feet for long periods of time in need of cushion and support.
I also would highly recommend this shoe for anyone that is looking for a shoe that is a more natural fit providing more room in the toe box. People that need space due to width, bunions, hammer toes or better toe splay. This shoe is worth checking out.
Geoff: Overall, I loved the general feel of the Topo Phantom 2. At times there was some discomfort, especially during longer runs. However, I don't think the shoe was broken in fully to the shape and contours of my feet. I recall my first run in these shoes and felt great afterwards. The shoes were comfortable, provided enough support, did not slip on the heel, laces felt tight enough without feeling restrictive or cutting off circulation.
I'm not sure this shoe would work for everyone - but it worked for me. I'm a casual runner putting in 35-50 miles per week. I run primarily on pavement (roads, trails) or the treadmill. I would highly recommend this shoe to similar runners as myself. My only complaint is the shoe is not very pleasing to the eye (in my opinion). I like the colors (charcoal/gray) but the overall shape appears more orthotic in nature. However, I wouldn't let the aesthetics deter anyone from the functionality of the shoe - because it is a great feeling shoe.
38 year old
Wears women's size 10.5
I have been running since 2011 and am in it for the long haul. The longer the event's distance and the more challenging the better. I've been cultivating the running and walking community managing the Running Lab in downtown Brighton since 2015. Running is grownup recess. When your life is lacking joy, go run. When you need to be moved by nature, go run. When you want to celebrate your abilities, go run!
39 year old
Wears men's size 10
My background in running isn't a very exciting one :). Five years ago, I started running as a means to end a poor lifestyle. Even though I didn't run for fun, it never appealed to me until then. By the end of 2016, I had lost 65 pounds and felt the best I felt in a long time - mainly due to incorporating running/exercise into my life. My favorite place to run is Harsens Island. We have a summer cottage there. Running along the lakeshore is a great sense of freedom. I've been running for 5 years. I've participated in ~20 races - mainly 8k and 5k races. I work in the educational finance industry as an accounting manager. So I assist 5 charter schools in Michigan with anything related to their accounting records. My favorite thing about running is that it can be a lifelong journey. Paces, times, distances change. But one can always get that great feeling of accomplishment after a good run at any age. It's a great way to meet new people of similar interests.