Topo Athletic Cyclone: Shoe of the Week
The Cyclone is a perfect lightweight trainer/racer done the Topo way, with a superb fit and responsive feel.
Get full access to Outside Learn, our online education hub featuring in-depth fitness, nutrition, and adventure courses and more than 2,000 instructional videos when you sign up for Outside+.
Topo Athletic Cyclone Review
Weight: 7.9 oz M; 6.4oz W
Stack Height: 28mm heel /23mm forefoot
Offset: 5mm drop
Moderate cushioning served clean in a foot-shaped package that lets you fly.
This is Topo’s entry into the lightweight trainer category with moderate stack heights of 28 to 23 mm. The midsole combines EVA and ZipFoam core for rebounding energy and compacting resistance, but removes the TPU plate that was in Topo’s predecessor model, the Zephyr. The outsole saves weight with strategically placed rubber for traction and durability while the seamless upper is made of engineered mesh.
This Is the Shoe for You If …
You want a clean-running, long-lasting and lightweight trainer for natural running. While the Cyclone isn’t overly cushioned, it isn’t raw either, especially with its ZipFoam midsole core. The toe-splay-accommodating fit provides a comfortable, connected and stable feel.
Topo stays true to form with a naturally-fitting, anatomically-wide toe box and low heel-toe offset, applied in a novel context to add pizazz to the wearer’s stride. The EVA and ZipFoam core midsole combo holds onto its cushioning qualities over lengthy runs and multiple runs, and the moderate 28/23mm stack height keeps the neutral Cyclone light and nimble.
The Cyclone was a hit among test subjects. Exclaimed one very satisfied user: “I absolutely loved these shoes from the moment I put them on. They instantly felt light and responsive yet supportive and secure.” The lightness, comfort of the upper fit — particularly how it allows toe splay — response of the ZipFoam, and quick transition from heel to toe were all praised. While the shoe feels more firm than it does lofty, testers appreciated the efficiency gains that come with a less absorptive midsole. The midsole, one tester described, “cushions, but so subtly and smoothly you feel only the responsive ground feel and rebound, noticing the absorption only due the absence of shock.”
The Cyclone is one of the new models this year that inspired us to review of a collection of “Simple Shoes.” It achieves excellence by reducing complexity and simply doing every element well. One tester said, “Topo took out the (unnecessary) flexible TPU plate from the Zephyr, giving the Cyclone, with identical stack heights and foams, a more adaptable flex, while retaining plenty of snappy response at toe off.” Another said she was reminded “a great deal of my first run in Altras — quite a mind blowing experience! I’m a huge fan of the roomy toe box and find this really helps achieve good toe-off and, in turn, helps with cadence and holding form.”
One tester praised the versatile, lightweight performance, calling it “Great for speed work/tempo runs, even though they do also feel supportive – I think, in part, due to the securely fitting upper and lace structure. I’ve only used these for road running, but they’ve been an absolute joy to run in and they’re sitting high on my ‘favorite shoes I’ve run in so far this year’ list.” Testers really appreciated “fantastic energy return” and the tuned midsole combination. One described it as “near-perfect for quick-cadence, light-footed strides — which their low drop and wider, foot-shaped base support.”
The Cyclone’s engineered, seamless mesh upper has a refined simplicity to it that not only looks good but, with its many eyelets, also fit well, although it took some adjusting and seeding to lock in the sock-like supportive fit. Testers appreciated the cleanliness of the lack of overlays. One did note, however, “The spacious toe box was, on one hand, nice because it gave my toes room to breathe. On the other hand, it made the shoes feel maybe a half a size too big.” The heel, however, is quite narrow and holds well despite its minimalist padding.