ADRIENNE: The Topo Athletic Magnifly 3 may be one of the simplest shoes I have reviewed so far. There are no fancy, proprietary foams here, minus a dual-density EVA midsole. Underneath, a reasonable amount of blown rubber sits beneath the heel and forefoot, leaving the midfoot exposed (spoiler alert: this is a shoe geared towards mid-forefoot strikers). Up top is a breathable engineered mesh that is comfortable, sleek, and perhaps a little too non-obstructive-I’ll explain that part later. This is my first experience with the brand founded by Tony Post (‘Topo’, get it?!) and I find the shoe to overall be well-made with quality materials despite its simplicity.
My women’s 9 weighed in around 8.3 oz., a weight I find acceptable for a daily trainer and this shoe fits that category nicely, as the Magnifly 3 is neither fast nor slow. Unless we’re talking about Altra, there seem to be few Zero Drop shoes out there now– which is a shame because I actually enjoy running in them (call me weird, whatever!) The MF3 seems to do best at moderate paces. I took these out for easy runs of 4, 6, and 10 miles with a couple of shakeouts here and there and picked up the pace on the 10. This shoe is intended to provide the runner with a ‘natural feel’ and IMO, it delivers. With a healthy dose of toe spring and wide base paired with a 25mm stack height, you feel the ground, yet feel protected.
The ride is relatively stiff, and while cushioning is decent, it feels relatively firm to me. This is not necessarily a bad thing; it just depends on what you’re into when choosing kicks. The midsole is designed with a softer upper layer and a firmer lower layer for response. The firmness paired with the toe spring makes for a fairly quick transition in the gait cycle-if your foot fits into the rather large toe box provided.
ADRIENNE: Based on background, it appears that Topo Athletic’s Magnifly continues to make gradual improvement. While not sexy, the design of the MF3 seems well-thought-out, providing a stable ride and for the most part stays out of the way of your stride if you are a fairly efficient runner. Step-in feel was great. Given this is a natural running shoe, toe splay is encouraged and available. You are free to move. Again, the toe spring and stable feeling at midstance were my favorite parts of the shoe. Also, even with the firmer cushioning and zero drop, I noticed minimal calf discomfort after running in them– which is nice! Lastly, ground feel. You feel in control the entire time running in the MF3.
THOMAS: This shoe is basic and not in a bad way, more like how a grilled cheese sandwich is basic, and in its simplicity nearly perfect. The engineered mesh upper is supple and flexible while providing the right amount of structure. The moderately padded tongue and collar are comfortable and give the shoe a nice overall fit. You won’t find any “new” super foam in the midsole, but it feels good underfoot giving protection and ground feel.
I enjoyed the ride of the Magnifly 3, it just rolls through the stride smoothly and feels right. It is hard to quantify what that means, but I typically like a little differential in the drop of my shoes and these zero-drop trainers had me forgetting about drop altogether.Shop Magnifly 3 – Men Shop Shop Magnifly 3 – Women
ADRIENNE: While not as exaggerated as some manufacturers, this shoe is supposed to be more “foot-shaped”. Great for some, but my feet are actually more the shape of traditional trainers, so, a bit of a problem for Adrienne. Picking up the pace had a lag simply because I could not get this shoe to be tight enough in the midfoot… it was borderline baggy on my feet. If you have higher volume, wider feet, the Magnifly 3 may be a good option.
THOMAS: My narrow foot slid to the front of the wide toebox on downhills. On flats, there wasn’t an issue. I guess my foot isn’t “foot-shaped”. There is too much room in the toe box for my preference. Which leads to a sloppier toe-off feel.Shop Magnifly 3 – Men Shop Shop Magnifly 3 – Women
ADRIENNE: Durability: check. Simplicity: Check. Midfoot stability (minus us narrow-footed folks): check. Decent price: check. Comfort: check. While not the best for yours truly, the Topo Athletic Magnifly 3 is a good daily trainer. Those in the market for a good zero-drop shoe that is comfortable and relatively affordable will likely enjoy running in these. Sometimes its fun to just have a connected ride and the MF3 brings that-just make sure the upper connects to your feet though!
THOMAS: Adrienne nailed it in her conclusion. This shoe checks boxes. I would even include that I like the way they look. I compared these to a grilled cheese sandwich, which is high praise. However, with grilled cheese, I have to be in the mood for comfort food and with the Magnifly 3, I have to be in the mood to have my toes splay. I will say the Altra Torin 4 and the Magnifly 3 both are top picks for me in the zero-drop/balanced platform shoes. With the next Torin going to just a “plush” model, Magnifly 3 might be what you need to replace your Torin 4.
You can pick up the Topo Athletic Magnifly 3 at Running Warehouse for $120 (featuring free 2-day shipping and 90-day returns) by using the shop link below.Shop Magnifly 3 – Men Shop Shop Magnifly 3 – Women