TOPO Fli-Lyte Road Shoe: $100
The Good: Enough cushion to protect against the pounding on pavement, but still the lightweight flex I’ve come to love from TOPO.
The Bad: While the cushion is nice, it’s minimal and your joints will feel the road after a solid run. The wide toe box allows for plenty of toe movement, which can be a bit rough on extended downhills or high intensity workouts.
The Ugly: Getting asked constantly what kind of kicks I’m wearing. This many compliments on my shoe choices may start going to my head.
Where I live, there are some nice trails a few minute drive from my front door. It’s a huge benefit living this far into Northern Cali. But right around the corner from my place, there’s a great paved system circling some private ponds. While the convenience is nice, running on pavement in trail shoes is noticably different than dirt. The extra cushion and protection needed for the rugged side of life just isn’t needed on that wide open Asphalt, so when we had the chance to grab a set of the new TOPO Fli-Lyte road shoes I was excited to get them out on the blacktop.
The TOPO design has a great distinctive design I’ve always liked. The bonded materials cuts down on stitching and necessary structure, so their shoes are light and flexible, and the nice tight ankle support gives way cleanly into a wide toe box for natural spread of your digits. This extra space to splay your toes gives a good connection to the trail, and the minimalist drop (3mm on the Fli-Lyte) plays well with the mechanics of good running form.
The Fli-Lyte shoes were tested while running on roads, during high intensity interval training, and also came along to the office quite a few times. The style of the shoes makes it something that can fit right into life without looking out of place, but still perform exceptionally during workouts and runs. The one issue I did have was the toe movement during long downhills, that likely had more to do with the style of my lacing, and was remedied after a full re-lace with an emphasis on keeping my heel seated well in the shoe.
Overall, these very lightweight cushioned runners are a well designed road shoe that still look good with a set of jeans. TOPO has certainly kept up their high standards and excellent design style. If you’re looking for enough cushion to run the roads, but still want a light and fast set of kicks, the Fli-Lytes are exactly what you’re after.