Topo Athletic’s Terraventure 3 Trail Runners are moderately cushioned trail runners designed for use on rugged trails. They have a 3mm drop and wide toe box that provides plenty of room for your toes to splay out naturally. Vibram Megagrip outsoles with generously spaced lugs deliver excellent grip on wet and dry surfaces, while the shoe’s mesh uppers drain and dry quickly when they get wet.
Specs at a Glance
- Heel-to-toe drop: 3mm
- Heel stack height: 25mm
- Forefoot stack height: 22mm
- Outsole: Vibram Megagrip rubber
- Rock plate: Yes
- Sizing: True to size
- Wide sizes: No
- Weight Tested: men’s, size 10.5; (1 lb 8.6 oz/pair)
- Gender: Men’s and Women’s available
Trail Runners for Hiking and Backpacking
I wear trail runners for hiking and backpacking in warm weather because they provide excellent traction on the mountain trails that I frequent. I prefer non-waterproof trail runners because they drain and dry quickly after water crossings and because they’re cooler, my feet sweat less, and they require no break-in time, so my feet are less prone to blistering than in a more rigid and unyielding hiking boot or trail shoe.
I’ve been going through a lot of different trail runners this year, trying to find ones that give my toes plenty of space to spread out to mitigate the effects of Morton’s Neuroma, an inflammation of the nerves between my little shoes caused by wearing tight shoes for several decades. While I’ve tried zero drop shoes, including Altra Lone Peaks, I find that I prefer shoes that have a low drop in the 3-4mm range because they cause less stress on the Achilles tendon in my feet.
The forefoot room in these Topo shoes is good, with plenty of room to spread out my toes in addition to adequate height in the toe box to accommodate a thin third-party insole to prevent pronation and plantar fasciitis. There’s slightly less forefoot width in the Terraventure 3 than the Altra Lone Peaks, but they’re also far less sloppy so I have better proprioception with a more assertive and confident foot placement in the Topos.
Vibram Megagrip Sole
The Terraventure 3 haw a Vibram Megagrip rubber sole with widely spaced lugs. I’ve found that they provide good traction in mud, on dirt, and rock, both wet and dry. The soles are flat which together with the low drop height, provides good stability and prevents ankle turns.
However, the flat sole works best with the use of a strapless gaiter. Unfortunately, Topo does not provide a velcro gaiter trap like other brands, but insists on using a proprietary bayonet-style gaiter attachment system which I don’t care for (on principle). It’s not a showstopper, but I prefer using the gaiters I already own which have straps that run under through a distinct arch.
Drainage and Dry Time
The Terraventure 3 has mesh uppers that are not waterproof and drain water rapidly. However, the pores in the mesh are fine enough that they block sand and sediment from getting into the shoes during water crossings or when I’m fly fishing and wading along stream beds. That is a big win because sand and sediment tears through wool socks and causes them to wear out quickly.
I’ve also been very impressed by how quickly the Terraventure 3 dries after it gets wet. I can do a stream crossing and the shoes will be completely dry within a few hours and even faster when I put them on my boot drier after fly fishing in them all day. The uppers will also be dry the next morning when I camp out at night, which is a lot nicer than putting on cold wet shoes first thing in the morning!
The Terraventure 3 also has a rock plate, something I look for in trail runners to provide protection from roots and rocks, because we have them in abundance in New Hampshire, and because they trigger metatarsal pain in my left foot.
But I’ve found that there’s not enough toe kick protection on the Terraventure 3 for my taste. While the outsole curves up in the front of the shoe to protect the middle toes, there isn’t sufficient protection for my big toe, resulting in a cracked toenail on my last backpacking trip. That’s is really my only complaint with these trail runners, and why I don’t intend to use them going forward. That’s really too bad because, in all other respects, they’re definitely a pair of trail runners that I could like for long-term use.
Topo Athletic’s Terraventure 3 Trail Runners are stable, low-drop shoes that have a wide toe box that lets your toes splay out naturally and relax. They have a soft Vibram rubber outsole that provides excellent grip on wet and dry surfaces and the shoes dry very quickly when they get wet. I think they’d be awesome for use on gentler hiking trails, but they don’t have enough front toe protection for the mountainous terrain we have in New Hampshire. I plan to try other trail runners from Topo because I think I prefer a low drop to a zero drop trail runner, as long as it has a wide toebox for my toes to spread out.SectionHiker is reader-supported. We independently research, test, and rate the best products. We only make money if you purchase a product through our affiliate links. Help us continue to test and write unsponsored and independent gear reviews, beginner FAQs, and free hiking guides.