Gear review: Topo Athletic Ultraventure 3 shoes

In September of 2023, I looked over the Topo Ultraventure 2 shoes and found them nearly perfect for my use.

After about three months of use, I put the Topo Ultraventure 3 shoes through the paces over mountains, desert, off-designated trail hiking, scrambling, and even packrafting.

The specs are more or less the same –

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.

PCO Joan

I found a slightly more cushioned shoe with different mesh that worked better through the brush, continued to let in less sand vs. the Salomons X Ultra 3s I used for quite a few years, were extremely comfortable, breathed well, and packed out before any noticeable damage to the mesh.

The old shoes on the left and the new shoes on the right.

As above, old is on the left vs new on the right.

After many days of use in varied terrain and scrambling, I found the shoe I’ll buy as long as they continue to make them and don’t change them too much (I’m looking at you, Salomon!!!)

PCO Joan

The Ultraventure 2s vs the 3s?

The shoes have a very similar fit and feel. The 3s feel slightly more “spongy” with a slightly less aggressive tread and perhaps not quite as responsive on more technical terrain. I found that the 2s worked marginally better for scrambling but not so much that the 3s make for different shoes vs the 2s.

The trade-off works well with letting in less “prickly” things into the front mesh area (gaiters would not help) vs. the 2s.

From Joan.

I don’t like the Kool-Aid color scheme. Runners seem to like garish colors vs hikers (visibility?). Luckily, all my shoes get pretty dull in color quickly!

I don’t think it’s any coincidence the more backcountry-oriented Terraventure 4s have more subdued colors. They also have a slightly lower heel drop and more aggressive soles, and I think it will be my next shoe purchase to see how they compare to the Ultraventure shoes.

I enjoy the wider fit and how well the UltraVenture 3s work for scrambling and off-the-beaten-path hiking, and I found them to be excellent all-purpose trail shoes for my use and hiking style. If the 3s are a smidge less effective for scrambling vs. the 2s, they seem to work better in brushier trail conditions for me.

Another photo from Joan.

I wish I could purchase them in more subdued colors, but their more backcountry Terraventure 4 siblings seem interesting partially for this reason.

(Edit – looks like more subdued colors avail via direct purchase from the Topo site)
Disclosure – I purchased the shoes with my funds.

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