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8.7 oz. (246 g) for a US M9,
7.2 oz. (204 g) for a US W7
25 mm in heel, 25 mm in forefoot (0 mm drop)
Any pace, any place
Zipfoam midsole, Ortholite insole, recycled materials throughout
$135, February 2024
CHAD: If you’ve been following along with me this year, you would know that I have become a full-fledged Topo Athletic fanboy. The Phantom 3 was one of my favorite daily trainers of the year, and their debut max-cushion Atmos is my go-to recovery day shoe. Add in the other highly touted road shoes and their deep complement of trail offerings, and Topo is arguably in the running for Best Running Brand of 2023.
All fanboying aside, there are still shoes to review, including the subject of this review, the Magnifly 5. The Magnifly is Topo’s entry in the zero-drop market, featuring 25 mm of stack in the heel and forefoot (5 mm footbed, 3 mm outsole rubber, 17 mm Zipfoam midsole). The recycled mesh upper and the low profile of the shoe combine for a lightweight package, at 8.7 oz. for a US M9.
KALEB: I’ll keep it real with you folks: when I found out that I was getting yet another Topo Athletic shoe, I had mixed feelings. On the one hand, every shoe I’ve reviewed from Topo has been great. But on the other, none of them were that exciting. The Phantom 3 is a shoe that’s more or less locked into an easy pace, and the Fli-Lyte 5 and ST-5 are so minimal there’s only so large of an audience for them.
So it was with a little ho-hum in my heart that I geared up to review the Magnifly 5, a zero drop, mid-stack daily trainer that seemed more generic than a white girl drinking Starbucks and watching Friends while checking her horoscope. Little did I expect I was unboxing the shoe that would become my favorite daily trainer to date.
CHAD: Topo really knows what they’re doing when designing and constructing a shoe when it comes to comfort level. The upper fit and the anatomical toe box have enough volume to let the piggies breathe but not enough that my foot shifts around during the run. It doesn’t hurt to have an Ortholite insert in the shoe for added comfort underfoot, either.
I’d also put this shoe up high on the list of versatile offerings. I wore this for several different types of runs, including a recovery run, a workout, and some easy miles that included hill strides at the end, and it performed admirably for all of them. It was easy to turn over with the light weight and comfortable enough for easy miles.
KALEB: On step-in, the Magnifly 5 is easily the softest, most comfortable Topo shoe I’ve ever put on. I don’t know if it’s a tweaked Zipfoam compound or if it’s just the Ortholite insole doing some gospel work for your feet, but walking around in the Magnifly as I broke it in was a pleasure. The comfort extends to the upper, too — the engineered mesh is soft and gives in all the right places, providing good lockdown without suffocation. There’s also the perfect amount of cushion in the tongue and collar for your foot to feel cradled without adding unnecessary weight, and in general, the shoe disappears on foot because it’s so comfortable you don’t notice it.
On the run, the Zipfoam midsole is downright paradoxical. I’ve put almost 55 miles on the Magnifly 5, and this puppy can do it all. I logged a 15-mile long run, and despite only 25 mm of stack (I put “only” just for you max cushion addicts, 25 mm is plenty underfoot), the shoe felt cushioned and comfy the whole time, even when switching between pavement and gravel paths. Comfort isn’t unusual for Topo, and I didn’t expect any less. What I didn’t expect was for the Magnifly 5 to be able to switch gears and pick up the pace.
However, when I did some 200m repeats up at mile race pace, I was pleasantly surprised to find that I not only felt fresh but was finishing some reps a full second or two fast. The relative softness of this Zipfoam midsole makes for smooth comfort, but the low stack allows it to compress and firm up when the speed picks up, which makes the Magnifly 5 a very versatile trainer.
Topo Athletic nailed the rocker geometry of this shoe. It’s zero drop, but it rides so smoothly on the run I couldn’t tell. This is great for easy runs as well as tempo paces: it just works.Shop Topo Athletic Magnifly - Men Shop Topo Athletic Magnifly - Women
CHAD: These aren’t knocks on the shoe, per se, but are simply personal preferences. First, I wish there was just a bit more foam underfoot. I know that would increase the weight, but if it could have been in the 30 mm-33 mm height range (33 mm being the heel stack height of the Phantom 3), I think I would have enjoyed the shoe a bit more and would have been able to take it longer distances. I probably wouldn’t take the Magnifly 5 more than 6 or so miles, given the low stack height.
I also don’t know if zero drop is really for me. I do enjoy low-drop shoes in the 4mm to 6mm range, but I’m not sure if my surgically repaired left ankle appreciates the extra stimulus placed on it.
KALEB: My only real knock on the Magnifly is the outsole grip: in slippery conditions, there’s a little bit of slippage, which is to be expected, since rubber compounds tend to trade grip for durability, and vice-versa. It’s not pre-2023 Nike Trail level bad, but I’m not going to be taking corners too sharp in wet conditions or bombing down any hills in the rain.
Other than that, just some disclaimers: I’ve had a little more experience with the zero/near-zero drop world of running, so I didn’t face any issues with my Achilles like some runners do. That said, always take your time when transitioning to zero drop — try to log no more than 10% of your miles the first week in something dramatically different.
I’m also a very different runner than Chad: while he’s our resident Big Strong Viking Man reviewer, I’m… well, I’m a small cross-country runner, so use your imagination. Even when taking the Magnifly up to long distances, I didn’t face any troubles because my running form and size didn’t end up doing much to sink through that 25mm stack of foam. Not every shoe is for every runner, so choose a shoe that works best for you.Shop Topo Athletic Magnifly - Men Shop Topo Athletic Magnifly - Women
CHAD: If you’re looking for a lightweight daily trainer that has no heel-toe drop, you’d be hard-pressed to find a better option than the Topo Athletic Magnifly 5. It’s just another one in the line of successful drops that Topo has had in 2023. If there’s a brand to keep your eye on in 2024, whether you run roads or trails, it’s Topo Athletic.
KALEB: I was afraid that I was falling out of love with Topo Athletic, but I’ve been won over again. The Magnifly 5 is a gem of a daily trainer in my book, especially for lighter, nimble runners looking for a do-it-all shoe that promotes good foot health. Topo’s road department has flown largely under the radar in the past, and I think part of that is simply not having a viable plated racer yet. I don’t know what they have in store for 2024, but I agree with Chad: watch out for Topo Athletic. They’re coming for the top, slow and steady.
You can pick up the Topo Athletic Magnifly 5 for $135 starting in February 2024 from Running Warehouse (featuring free 2-day shipping and 90-day returns) using the buttons below.Shop Topo Athletic Magnifly - Men Shop Topo Athletic Magnifly - Women
Kaleb is one of the younger, “both of my knees still work” reviewers on the BITR team. As a high school cross country, track and field, and road racing athlete in Pennsylvania, Kaleb loves hearing about the latest endurance-athletics studies and seeing how everything out there can fit into a well-rounded training program. If you don’t see him drinking a weird health concoction or doing some strange warmup technique, he’s probably already started the race.
All-time favorite shoes: Saucony Ride 14, Nike ZoomX DragonflyMore from Kaleb
An attorney by day, Chad lives in Central Pennsylvania with his wife and three kids. Never much for running growing up, Chad began running as a way to improve his physical health. He went from his first 5k in 2015 to running the Paris Marathon in 2016. Given his larger physical build, Chad is the resident Clydesdale runner, providing shoe and gear insights for those with a bigger build and taller stature.More from Chad