Like the Mesa Trail from Xero Shoes, the Topo Athletic Terraventure 3 was in the shortlist for the Arizona Trail. Alongside the Altra Lone Peaks, it is one of the most popular trail runners for long-distance hikers. With its low drop, integrated rock plate and Vibram Megagrip sole, it definitely piqued my interest.
- Stack height: 25 mm heel and 22 mm at the forefoot
- Drop: 3 mm
- Weight: 289 g in shoe size 9
- Sole: Vibram Megagrip
- Attachment for gaiters (own system)
- 5mm thick Ortholite® footbed
I wore the Topo Terraventure 3 for over 400 km in the fall and winter, both on hikes with luggage over several days and distances of 20 to 40 km in the Harz Mountains as well as regularly on the way to work and when jogging through the forest. My aim was to use the shoe as intensively as possible on different surfaces to find out how durable it is on longer tours.
What I liked about the Terraventure 3
- Rockplate in the sole
- Topo’s own gaiters can be easily attached
- good fit on the hook and midfoot
- The Vibram sole
The integrated rockplate reliably protected my foot from stones. Compared to my Xero Shoes Mesa Trail, my feet get much less tired after a long day of hiking in the Terraventure 3.
The attachment for gaiters is practical. As a big fan of gaiters, I don’t want to do without them on long distances. Nor do I want to have to stick Velcro strips on other shoes to be able to use gaiters. In this respect, I would always prefer a shoe.
My personal preference is a shoe that is wide at the front and offers plenty of space, while the midfoot and heel should be rather narrow. I miss this feeling with Altra shoes, but I find it with Topo. What I also miss with most Altra shoes is the Vibram sole. I consider it to be a good compromise between grip and durability and find it more appealing than the developments from other manufacturers that I have had the opportunity to try out so far.
What I didn’t like about the Terraventure 3
- Durability of the upper material
- Special system to which you can only attach Topo’s own gaiters
After just 200 km, my right big toe broke through the mesh of the upper and my left big toe was also on the verge of breaking through. I wouldn’t say that my toenails are exceptionally long, and socks were always on top, with no holes. Over the following kilometers, the hole got bigger and bigger, giving sand and debris easy access into the shoe. I contacted the manufacturer by email about this. They advised me to send the shoes in. They would take a closer look at the problem and replace them if necessary. They were not previously aware of the problem. So could it be my feet after all?
It is unfortunate that Topo limits itself to its own gaiters for its system. Personally, I would prefer to use the Dirty Girl Gaiters with a Velcro strap on the back of the boot, which are widely available in the US, rather than the plain black gaiters from Topo. Even if that’s not a problem for someone, it could still be awkward on a long-distance hike because you might not find a store with Topo shoes that sells the matching gaiter.
My conclusion on the TerraVenture 3
A great shoe that would definitely have made it onto the Arizona Trail with a different upper or toe. The fit is great and I didn’t feel cramped or lacking support in the shoe.
As always, I’m a little late to the party, as there is now also a Terraventure 4, which probably also has a new mesh upper. Nevertheless, I think that the Terraventure 3 is still a good choice, which you can now probably get for a few euros less.