Gear review: Topo Athletic Ultraventure 2 shoes

I’ve been on a quest to find the replacement shoe for my Salomon 3s

I’ve enjoyed the versatility, ruggedness, lightweight, and all-around performance of these shoes I’ve used regularly for five years and many miles throughout the backcountry.

My supply of them ran out, and I’ve tested other shoes throughout the year.

The apparent replacement, the Salomon 4s, are almost entirely different shoes, and I found them OK, not great, and serviceable at best.  

But I did purchase another shoe before then and had it “on deck” for when I ran out of Salomon 3s  – The Topo Ultraventure 2.

In the San Juans. PCO Joan.

I’ll get right to the nitty gritty specs of these shoes – They are almost as wide as Altra Lonepeaks, have a 5mm drop vs. a zero drop, weigh an impressively light 11oz/300 grams for a men’s size 10 US, and have a grippy and durable Vibram sole. They are also highly breathable.

In the Abajos. PCO Joan.

What do these specs mean in the field? I found these shoes durable, grippy on loose talus, scree, and similar, and they held up the rigors of hiking off designated trails. Though almost as wide as the Altra, they give more support with stiffer soles and work beyond maintained trails. These are genuinely mountain shoes and not just glorified Keds-for-the-trails.

And, yet,  they are highly comfortable. 

Post camping backpacking. PCO Joan.

It is telling that I did not feel the need to take them off at the end of a hiking weekend to slip into sandals. Overall, I found them fantastic mountain shoes for hiking through the Abajos, La Sals, and San Juans. If I tolerated the Ultra 4s as “meh shoes” overall, I absolutely LOVED the Ultraventure 2s and said I found the near-perfect shoe for me, my hiking style, and where I like to backpack.

After about three months of use.

I climbed up the scree and talus without a floppy feel in my shoes and found they worked well on designated trails and could easily cover ground in the rough country. Shoes that work well in the mountains near our desert home.

Now, as mentioned, I have found my near-perfect shoes. Except for one not inconsequential failing – When walking through brushy areas in canyon country this past December, I frequently removed the shoes as prickers kept getting into them. It’s not a good thing for our frequent canyon travels! And why I only wore them that one time before “mountain season” began.

However, even then, I knew Ultraventures would make a good shoe for me, particularly in mountainous terrain. And they went up and down the canyons and over the red rock delights. If only the prickly brush did not impact the shoes!

Luckily (?), the Ultraventure 2s got replaced by the Ultraventure 3. The newer version seems to have a similar, more robust design based on other reviews. The mesh, in particular, looks different. I’m hoping it deals better with “prickly things.” If the fit feels similar, I think I may have found my perfect shoe. 

Stay tuned for another review in the coming months.

DisclosureI paid for these shoes with my funds.

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9 months ago

On the prickers issue, have you thought about pairing the shoes with a set of lightweight gaiters like Dirty Girls?