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Topo Athletic Fli-lyte Running Shoe Review.

The last time I reviewed a Topo Athletic running shoe was October of 2015 which was the Tribute Running Shoe.  It became my favorite shoe at the time (and yes, I’m still logging miles in the same pair!) and probably still is. Since that time, I tried a pair of the Fli-lyte running shoes by Topo Athletic.   It’s a bit of a heavier shoe than the Tribute, but still built on a flat sole with some added cushion.

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Right out of the box this is a beautiful looking shoe. I even purchased a pair for my father-in-law for Christmas last year and he loves them.  They come with two pairs of laces so you can alternate the color.  I’m using the black but I do like the orange.  All current color styles offer multiple lace combinations as well.

As with all of the TopoAthletic shoes, they are built with a wide toe box in the forefoot which has been engineered with a light mesh and printing technique that is seamless and extremely lightweight.

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They are built on a 4mm rubber outsole combined with EVA midsole and with a total stack height of 22mm and a 3mm heel to toe drop (It’s fun to think that only a few years ago, shoe companies didn’t even mention stats on stack height.  Oh how things have changed.) It’s deal for those who have transitioned out of thick cushioned heeled running shoes (the old school running shoes as I now refer to them) and want a shoe that is lighter, flexible, yet still boasting some cushion.  The Fly-lite is a bit higher of a shoe than the Tribute shoe I had been running it.  I definitely notice the increased cushion in the midsole.  As for the 3mm difference in heel height as compared to a zero drop shoe?  Not a big deal to me. Can’t say I could even tell.

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The shoe is still relatively flexible despite the added midsole material.  It passes my role up test.

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The heel counter is soft and flexible with some added padding.  Don’t worry, the old days of needing a firm heel counter to control rearfoot motion are no longer thought to be true.  This creates a more comfortable fit with room to move or breathe.

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The insole is glued in place. Not a concern to me as there is really no reason to remove the insole.  If you’re taking it out to put in a custom orthotic or off-the-shelf orthotic, there is no need to for several reasons. First, there is few scientific literature published on the use of an orthotic device in treating most cases of injuries or foot disorders-especially runners. Secondly, if you want to add a pair of inserts for whatever the reason, there’s plenty of room in the shoe as the insole is really thin.

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The bottom tread, again very similar to the Tribute, is a flat sole with no added arch stiffness or stabilizer. There’s bit of an upward bend in the forefoot when resting comparable to most running shoes. Lately I’ve been asked the question in regards to shoes containing extreme upward bends in the forefoot. I’m not aware of any literature discussing this or any biomechanical reason for doing so.


Overall Thoughts
This is a great training shoe as it adds cushion and still built on a minimalist like platform with a 3mm drop. For those who still like beefier shoe for long distances this is a great shoe. I still like the Tribute for any distance even though it’s more of a racing shoe as it is lower to the ground. With that being said, I occasionally wear this Fli-lyte on longer runs. If you’re looking for a minimalist shoe with more cushion this is it. It still maintains the flexibility and wide forefoot.

Topo Atheltic continues to deliver the best ergonomically designed shoe for the foot. I wish I could get more of my patients into this shoe.  The challenge that I see with it is “locating” it.  It’s difficult purchasing a shoe online without first trying it on.  Currently Topo Athleitc shoes are sold at select specialty running shoe stores, and of course, on line. Click here to locate a store in your area. 

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