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Topo Athletic Tribute Running Shoe Review

It’s been several months since I have posted any reviews on running shoes, or any shoes for that matter (I’m getting a little backed up!).   I was looking for a new shoe to run the Akron Marathon in as I traditionally will test a new shoe for the race. I know. Sounds crazy that I would try a “new” shoe to run 26 miles in.  Honestly, once you log about 80 -100 miles in a shoe, you’ll know if you like it.  And as for the Tribute? I LOVED it!

Why? Let’s start with what I had been running in.  I had done my several marathons in shoes that had a bit more cushion than I was accustomed to running in, and I really think they altered my gait a bit. Several of them also had a 4mm drop which I still think I can feel the difference in when compared to a zero drop shoe.  The Tribute is built with a zero drop heel to forefoot difference on a 16mm total stack height sole.  The sole offers some cushion provided from a 7mm midsole and 5mm footbed. It’s more of a firm or stiffer cushion which is what I like.  When the cushion is “squishy” or soft it may feel great at first, but this can lead to overuse of the lower extremity muscles in attempt to stabilize the foot in response to the unstable base. Over time the shoe will compress (laterally most likely) and a wobbly shoe can result.  You’re also less likely to rear foot strike in the Tribute.

The stiff sole is still soft enough to be rolled up making the shoe flexible. So it passes my roll up test. And to think at one point we used to teach that the shoe should only flex in the toe box. Motion is good- it allows the foot work the way it was designed!

As for weight, it’s pretty light at 7.05 oz. for my size 9 men’s. I think it could be lighter but then you may sacrifice the construct of the shoe possibly. I do know they did use a very lightweight material for the toe box and side fabric.


The heel counter is soft but firm with no excessive irritating padding.

The  insoles are removable but I would advise leaving them in as the footbed is stitched and not really designed to be used without them.

Finally someone realizes that the laces do not need to be 50 feet long! It’s really annoying when I put on a new pair shoes and tie the laces to find the loops are so long they hit the ground. The Tributes (and other Topo Athletic shoes I have tried) have a prefect length to the laces. I know this is petty but I would think it’s not hard to accomplish.
Overall? This is a “fast” shoe. That’s the best way to describe it. They have categorized it as a “road” shoe built for speed training, racing or the true minimalist.  If you want a lightweight shoe for a 5k as opposed to your more cushioned or heavier training shoes, I would recommend this. I prefer less of a shoe so for me this was an ideal marathoning shoe.  It had more “shoe” than the super light weight flats I have ran marathons in before which I liked.  I logged about 80 miles in them prior to the marathon and I haven’t taken them off since.

As a side note, they did well enough to allow me to PR! (The pink Garmin is my wife’s!!!)

Akron Marathon Campitell              IMG_0008

They’re priced right as well at $100.00.

Any Questions? As always, please ask in the comments so others can read as well.

Thanks Topo Athletic!

Dr. Nick


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