Topo Athletic Hydroventure Review – Waterproof Shoes for Trail and OCR

Topo Athletic Hydroventure
4 / 5 Overall
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We recently got in touch with Topo Athletics to review the Top Athletic Hydroventure shoes. They were rated Gear of the Year by National Geographic Adventure, so we needed to find out if they lived up to the hype! 

They certainly live up to their waterproof claim, as discovered on some wet and muddy trails as winter turned into spring in Georgia! They are also, without a doubt, the lightest pair of trail shoes I’ve had the pleasure of beating to death on Kennesaw Mountain. While more geared toward trail running than OCR, these would certainly be great for certain courses that don’t require the deep lugs.

Topo Hydroventure Features

The Topo Hydroventures boast not only their lightweight waterproof membranes but also a full-length, flexible rock plate to prevent stone bruising. This is extremely important since you expect a shoe that protects your soles from stone-bruising to also be heavy laden. Thankfully, this is not the case with the Hydroventures. I found myself feeling that these were simultaneously delicate (so lightweight and comfortable) and unyielding. It’s much rarer to find applicable shoe reviews geared toward women, so when I found these shoes, I knew I needed to let all of our female readers know about these powerhouse shoes!

Other notable features are:

  • The Roomy Toe Box: These are noticeably boxier and wider in the toe box than other trail and OCR shoes like the All Out Crushes or Reebok All Terrains. This allows for your feet to freely form their proper strike position during a run.
  • Lug Rubber Outsole: The high-traction outsoles made the transition from sand to gravel to thick mud to puddles seamless with the design that allows the shoe to release the “crud” you would normally pick up from the trail which weighs down the shoes.

Topo Hydroventure Usage

I used the Hydroventures on some pretty technical trails around Georgia. The hills and mountains, covered in mud, sand, and rocks, provided a well-rounded picture of how these shoes hold up on various terrain. They also made their OCR debut during the Atlanta Warrior Dash!

I really enjoyed running in these due to their low drop. While they aren’t zero drop, they do have a low, 3 mm heel to toe drop which is important to me, and many other runners who prefer as minimal of a shoe as possible, while still being protective. The Hydroventures also have the lower stack height of Topo’s other trail shoes and is the only women’s trail shoe from Topo with a full-length rock plate.

These have taken a beating for weeks, being the only shoes I want to wear on the trails due to their extreme comfort. While they are the lowest cushioned of the Topo trail shoes, I can’t imagine needing any more cushion or support than the Hydroventures give. I would wear these around town if I wasn’t worried about wearing down the soles on concrete!

I didn’t have to “break them in” by doing those weird things we all do to break in trail shoes – wearing wet socks or bending them back and forth for hours. They felt extremely comfortable right out of the box, slipped on over thin, synthetic ankle running socks, and taken immediately out to the trails. I found them extremely flexible, and it was easy to forget I was wearing brand new shoes at all.

Topo Hydroventure Durability

Once I’m no longer carrying this extra weight in the front (I’m now far enough along in pregnancy to be front-heavy), I’ll be taking these on the bigger OCR courses to see how they do at races like Spartan, Savage, and Tough Mudder.

I have no doubts about the future durability of the Hydroventures, however, due to how well they’ve held up thus far through my long runs on technical terrain. They’ve already gone about 50 miles and still look brand new, in spite of all that I’ve put them through. Even the laces are holding up well compared to other trail shoes I’ve run in! The uppers feel very durable, and not thin like many of the other shoes on the market, with the waterproof coating helping to seal the durability of the upper material.

Topo Hydroventure Pros and Cons

Pros

  • Roomy toe box
  • Comfort and cushion
  • Mud-release outsole lugs
  • Low heel to toe drop (3 mm)
  • Waterproof
  • Fit true to size
  • Lightweight

Cons

  • I could do with more color options!
  • They could be a little more flexible from left to right, straight out of the box, but that will get better as they loosen up during continued use.
  • If only they had deeper lugs to make these the perfectly rounded OCR shoe – allowing for better grip on obstacles!
  • The drainage could be improved, for when you really need to submerge – they are very waterproof, but there are sometimes when the water is just going to get in the shoe, and the drainage took a little longer than I preferred.

 

Topo Hydroventure  Verdict

I will definitely be looking into more Topo shoes and if these ever happen to burn out on me, they will be replaced immediately. I would recommend these to the runners who spend most of their time training and running on trails over recommending using them for obstacle races. The Topo Hydroventures could certainly hold their own on some of the courses I’ve run in past seasons but are more suited for trail running.

The waterproof feature is also going to be appealing to other runners in wet climates such as the northwestern U.S. and our readers across the pond who put in hundreds of miles in the rainy climate of the U.K.

Should you add Topo Hydroventure to your collection of trail shoes? Without a doubt! You will find these to be lightweight, comfortable, and durable, nearly all that we can ask for from a trail/OCR shoe.



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Kayla Coons

Editor and Race Relations Liaison at ORM
Kayla is the content editor and race relations liaison for ORM. Fancy ways of saying that she gets runners to the races and then cleans up their typos when they write a recap.

Her first race was the Georgia Warrior Dash in 2011 and she still enjoys racing local events and meeting the awesome runners who stop by the ORM tent when she's working.
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Salming OT Comp Shoe Review

Salming OT Comp
4.1 / 5 Overall
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It’s Salming not Salomon, although both companies are stellar in terms of quality and performance.  Literally the second I slipped the Salming OT Comp (Off Trail Competition) on my foot I knew the shoe was something special.  It was just so light and comfortable and looked so rad, like a performance track shoe made just for the mud.  The mesh fiber embodying the shoe and the aggressive lugs on the bottom looked like they would perform superbly in any condition.

Salming OT Comp Features

Aggressive Sole Lugs  – The lugs on these shoes are made for the sloppiest of mud and the steepest of mountains.  By the makers of Michelin tires, these soles will have you putting the pedal to the metal while maintaining traction through the mud. However, don’t run on pavement or these lugs will surely wear off.

Mesh Fiber – The upper is composed of a fiber mesh that wicks away moisture as it glides through the air.

Super light weight– 9 ounces

 

Salming OT Comp Usage

I showed up to this years Atlanta Savage Race with my New Balance Minimus shoes because I know they stay on my feet in mud, are lightweight, and are minimalist, meaning they are good for tip toeing through the forest.  I started the race however wearing the Salming OT Comps, and it was like going from a 2012 Toyota Celica to a 2018 Subaru Outback with mud tires, from quick and snug to quick, snug, lean, and mean.  Starting around noon the mud puddles had plenty of time to get super sloppy. I took the shoes for all they were worth and stormed straight through every mud slop puddle with a vengeance.   The lugs shot through the slop and grabbed onto solid ground as they propelled me to dry ground.  The six miles went by quickly.  The obstacles were all tackled smoothly with the shoes except for Balls to the Wall, where I wish I would of had my Minimus’ on because they are good on the climbing holds.  The OT Comps don’t have as much of a pointed toe as the Minimus’, however, for everything else, they were superior in ability.

Salming OT Comp Durability

As long as they are used off road, they will last a long time.  They are made just for mud and trails.

Salming OT Comp Pros and Cons

Pros

  • Lightweight
  • Streamlined
  • Comfortable
  • Durable
  • Rugged

Cons

  • Although they are comfortable, at least for up to six miles, there is not much support in terms of arch.  My feet hurt for a week.  They will take some time to break them in.

 

Salming OT Comp Conclusion

The Salming OT Comp is fresh to the OCR world and has come on strong.  They made this shoe just for mud runs and wicked terrain.  The Michelin soles and their extreme lugs hold their own to any shoe out there.  I would definitely recommend them to any OCR athlete or even ultra trail runner for that matter.  I just recommend breaking them in and doing some short runs before going on any long runs in them.  They are gorgeous, sharp looking, and in comparison with other OCR shoes, they are affordable.



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Kayla Coons

Editor and Race Relations Liaison at ORM
Kayla is the content editor and race relations liaison for ORM. Fancy ways of saying that she gets runners to the races and then cleans up their typos when they write a recap.

Her first race was the Georgia Warrior Dash in 2011 and she still enjoys racing local events and meeting the awesome runners who stop by the ORM tent when she's working.
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Spartan and Craft with Joe DeSena and Eric Schenker

 


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Spartan CEO Joe DeSena and Craft North American CEO discuss their new partnership to make OCR shoes and obstacle racing gear and apparel.

Todays Podcast is sponsored by:

Wetsuit Wearhouse – Save 15% using coupon code ORM15 on all purchases.

Show Notes:

Video announcement from earlier this week.Spartan Craft Sponsorship

Listen using the player below or the iTunes/Stitcher links at the top of this page. 

Merrell All Out Crush versus Reebok Super ORs

If you want to view a comparison video between the Merrell All Out Crush and the Spartan Reebok All Terrain OR shoes, watch this:

Complete Reviews Here:

Reebok Terrain OR

Merrell All Out Crush

Going to compare the latest OCR shoes on the market. Here we’ve got the Reebok Super ORs. Here we’ve got the Merrell All-Out Crush. Now, we’ll start here with the Reeboks. This is the third iteration of these shoes. If you go to our website we’ve got a whole thing about all the Reeboks that ever came out ever for OCR. Link is going to be here, well, or here, wherever my finger is. You’ll see it. Ping!

This is the first shoe by Merrell. Merell’s not come out with an OCR shoe before. They obviously just partnered with Tough Mudder, so this is their first iteration. Let’s start with the laces. Now, Merrell’s got the old school laces, regular regular. Rebook’s got the what I think is a no-brainer. You got to have them these days, the snap lock, these guys, whatever the technical technology is for these. Speed Laces.

First of all, I do it wrong, too. This is probably not the sexiest way to do this but basically I do this once and then you slip these things on for life, like you never have to do it again, they never fall off for the race. There’s nothing worse than stopping, having to tie your shoes, especially if you’re trying to go really fast, but again to me this is a no-brainer in running shoes these days. I don’t know why anyone would still go old school, to be honest, especially with an OCR shoe.

Second of all, with the second piece that you have to have for an OCR shoe, well, you got to have a drainage because you’re going to get wet and you’re going to get muddy and you need it to get out of the shoe. So, as they’ve had for all lines of these, the holes are down here where they should be, should be. Here, Merrell, for some reason, put them further up and a little higher, so they’re up here.

Now, theoretically, to me, water’s going to go down and out to the lowest part of the shoe and out. If they’re up here, stuff can maybe get stuck up in here. Now, I did a super muddy race, which I’m going to get to in a minute, and they didn’t, but I’m saying theoretically they could. In terms of the outer, what you’ve got here is a mesh coating that’s kind of perfect because it’s tough, as in it doesn’t rip. The old Reeboks, remember, would rip like crazy. These, I’ve done over a hundred miles, two laps of the Spartan, totally solid awesome.

This thing is so light, by the way, translucent. I can’t tell in this video. Translucent, light goes through it, yet still super durable. These, also a mesh-ish thing, but way thicker, which makes the shoe overall heavier, which is why this shoe is awesome. So light, a little bit heavier. If you want specs, those will be on the website. I’m not good with that stuff. But that’s really the biggest distinguishing factor by the way is the weight of these things.

Teeth, as we like to call them, on the lug side, pretty equal. I mean they’re shaped different, but if I counted them, which I didn’t, they’re about the same. Looks like these actually have a little more on the side piece but I didn’t notice any slippage with these.

Speaking of which, I did do the Macon Mud Run in these recently. That’s a very muddy race. Not as big on the obstacles but big on the mud. So you’re talking all kinds of mud, the standing kind of mud, the soupy kind, the kind you’re kind of sloshing through, the kind you’re sort of stepping on and people who are like it’s their first run and they’re wearing tape on their shoes, they’re slipping and sliding, these did phenomenal for that, even though they do have a slightly different thing than that guy.

Over all, I’m going to give these shoes an A. But these, super duper A plus. So it’s not even like a good to great situation, it’s like a great and a fucking awesome. That’s really my official ranking for these shoes. Great OCR shoe, fucking awesome OCR shoe.

 

Icebug Zeal RB9X 2 Preview

Here is the first look at the Icebug Zeal 2 RB9X® for 2016.

The official name of this shoe is the Zeal 2 RB9X as opposed to last year’s Zeal RB9X. They are commonly referred to by obstacle racers as Icebug Zeals or simply “Zeals”.

Icebug Zeal 2 Outsoles

The RB9X class of Icebugs means the “outsoles” (the bottoms) are made of a rubber compound. As the OLX models come with rubber on the outsole plus carbide fixed studs. As you can see in the photo, these do not have the carbide studs.

Icebug Zeal 2 RB9X Outsoles

Icebug Zeal 2 Width

Most of the previous Icebugs that were made, such as the Spwiders or Icebug Spirits were super narrow. If you didn’t have a narrow toe box, you could not wear them. The Zeal 2 kept the same width of toe-box as last year’s model and therefore run, “true to size”.

Icebug Zeal 2 RB9X

Icebug Zeal 2 Upper

For “the upper”, the part that the outside of the shoe is made out of, Icebug switched from a nylon to Kevlar. Kevlar has a higher strength to weight ratio than nylon, so you can consider it an upgrade from last year’s Zeal.

Icebug Zeal 2 RB9X Upper

The inside of the shoe also looks similar to last year’s model.  Icebug did include a pamphlet on insoles in the pair that I received. So if for whatever reason, your feet aren’t quite fitting the way you want, Icebug have got a whole insole system.  The bottoms are almost identical, as well, with the little rubber cleats Icebug are known for. Mind you, these aren’t the “real” cleats, made of carbide. Those are the OLX models.

In terms of weight, they weigh the same as last year’s Zeal at 250 grams. They are not quite as light as, say, the new Reebok Super OR, which weighed in at 219 grams, or say, an X-Talon 190 which, that’s why they’re called 190s, they weigh 190 grams. But far lighter than, say, a Salomon, super heavy shoe coming in at 310 grams.

We will have an upgraded version of this blog, after we log some more miles, so stay tuned.

Reebok All-Terrain Thunder 2.0 Review

Reebok All-Terrain Thunder 2.0
2.5 / 5 Overall
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The Reebok All-Terrain Thunder 2.0 is a huge update from the mostly unused and unseen All-Terrain Thunder 1.0. This provides an intriguing route that Reebok is exploring by adding cushion to their already fast draining All-Terrain Super 2.0. In theory you can using a shoe like this for the longer races in obstacle course racing that get your feet wet but also keep you on your feet for over 15 miles. Or it could also be a great option for someone who is used to running in a shoe that has a heel to toe drop greater than the 5mm that the Reebok All-Terrain Super 2.0’s have. If you don’t know, changing to shoes with a drastically different drop can cause you quite a bit of leg and back pain on race day.

Reebok All-Terrain Thunder 2.0 Features

Terrain Skin – This is what Reebok is calling the rubber like material that they coat and inject into the material cover the outer of the shoe. They have started using this in most of their shoes for the All-Terrain line. It provides a good water repellency while also adding more durability. The only draw back I’ve found is that it causes that fabric to be a little more stiff than normal when bending.

Speed Laces – These are those types of laces that don’t require tying. All you need to do is slide on the shoes and tighten down on the quick tie mechanism. This is a step forward and backward all at the same time. One of the common complaints with the Super’s is the laces are thin and come untied all the time. While these won’t untie it is harder to get them to stay at the right tightness like you can with a standard pair of laces. Some like them, some don’t, it’s a personal thing.

Drainage Ports – A now standard feature in the Reebok All-Terrain line up. This allows water to flow right out of your shoes after a swim, river crossing, or rope climb. Works great just like on the other models.

Reebok All-Terrain Thunder 2.0 Usage

I was surprised by the lack of lugs on the bottom of these “trail/ocr” shoes. So, I first tested these around a park on mostly concrete. Within the first mile, I felt a heavy rubbing on the top of my foot by the tongue. It even left a small blister after that first run.  I later ran some trail miles in them and had similar issues. I immediately relegated these to “walking around” shoes. This means I would throw them on to go to the store, but never actually wear them for race.

Reebok All-Terrain Thunder 2.0 Durability

These are perhaps the least durable shoes I have ever worn. Even though, these became my “walk around” shoes, they began to fall apart after a few months. You won’t see the “standard holes in the sides” that usually come in this Reebok line. This could be because I never actually ran an obstacle race in them. Several other parts of the shoe denigrated pretty quickly, however.  See the photos below.

All Terrain Thunder Review

Reebok All-Terrain Thunder 2.0 Pros and Cons

Pros

  • Speed lacing is great, all running shoes to adopt this model.
  • Holes for draining also great. At this point, a no-brainer for all shoes made for obstacle racing.
  • Impress your friends who know nothing about OCR.
  • Step aside old “lawn mowing shoes”, there is a new sheriff in town.

Cons

  • Tongue gives blisters, even when rest of the shoe is proper fit.
  • Lugs not very aggressive, not ideal for trail.
  • Like most in the Reebok OCR shoe line, they fall apart easily.

Similar Shoes

Reebok All Terrain Thunder 2.0Reebok All Terrain ThrillReebok All Terrain Super ORSalomon Speedcross 3
Weight310 g320g219g310g
Heel Drop7mm13mm5mm9mm
Grip3/16"3/16"3/16"3/16"
Metal StudsNoNoNoNo
Price$124.99$125.00$90.00$80.00
ORM ReviewYesYesYesYes
BuyAmazon AmazonAmazonAmazon

 

Reebok All-Terrain Thunder 2.0 Conclusion

Do not buy this shoe. Do not pass Go. Do not collect $200.00.

 

**March 2016 Update: Luckily for you, Reebok has left this horrible shoe, and those like it, in it’s ugly past.

Click here to read about, possibly the best shoe in OCR.

 



Follow Me:

Kayla Coons

Editor and Race Relations Liaison at ORM
Kayla is the content editor and race relations liaison for ORM. Fancy ways of saying that she gets runners to the races and then cleans up their typos when they write a recap.

Her first race was the Georgia Warrior Dash in 2011 and she still enjoys racing local events and meeting the awesome runners who stop by the ORM tent when she's working.
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