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Trail Running Shoes • August 18, 2023

Topo Athletic Terraventure 4 WP Review: All Black Everything

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What You Need To Know


~10.1 oz (286 g) for a US M9,

~8.6 oz (243 g) for a US W7

Stack Height / Drop

25 mm in heel, 22 mm in forefoot (3 mm drop)

Best For

Low-stack trail runs on cool, wet days

Key Features

eVent water membrane, dirt-repellent mesh, Vibram Megagrip outsole

On The Run
Claw-like traction Sleek colorway Like all waterproof shoes, it can get warm


JOHN: Michael and Sam wrote a Ratatouille-themed review of the Terraventure 4 in May. If you have not read their review, take the time to do it. Inspired by that review, I’m going to explain the complicated relationship trail runners have with waterproof shoes using FX’s The Bear, which is full of complicated characters and situations. This shoe gives me a Carmen ‘Carmy’ Berzatto vibe.

The Topo Athletic Terraventure 4 WP is based on the Terraventure 4 (obviously), and it’s slated for release in August. Michael and Sam discussed version four in depth in the previous review, but this version offers extensive water protection utilizing an eVent bootie that encases your foot. The eVent technology is paired with a woven dirt-repellent mesh.

So the question is, how does adding these additional features to the standard Terraventure work? Is Topo trying too hard to make a pit beef sandwich joint a five-star restaurant? I put in significant trail time in wet conditions, so you don’t have to. So let’s knock on the walk-in door and say, “Coming In! Watch it!”

What we like about the Topo Athletic Terraventure 4 WP

JOHN: For a weatherproof shoe, the Terraventure 4 WP feels good to run in. It’s definitely not as clunky as many I’ve used before. For water crossings and wet areas, rain, and bad weather, the shoe does really well, just do not fully submerge it (we’ll get to that in the next section). As long as you keep from submerging your foot, the fit is extremely comfortable. It has a wide toe box, I didn’t feel like the sides were too snug, and the heel is locked in with no slippage. There’s also plenty of room for ankle movement.

I like the all-black design of the shoe — it’s easy to differentiate from my others as it’s all business and because this is a different kind of shoe. I like that it’s a color that allows it to stand out when lined up alongside my others. The upper does not let in debris. I basically went swimming in these things, and I was amazed at how great a job it did keeping out junk. I wasn’t wearing gaiters or anything else, either.

Even though it was July here in Virginia, my feet didn’t get overheated in this shoe. The eVent technology works. I was very impressed.

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What we don’t like about the Topo Athletic Terraventure 4 WP

JOHN: So this is tough. We all know what’s coming here. The heat is on for anyone making a waterproof shoe for it to perform. There’s so much preconception and reluctance to even entertain the idea of a waterproof shoe out there. The knee-jerk reaction to this shoe, or any other weatherproof shoe, is that it’s not worth it and write it off as specialized gear, kind of like your initial reactions to Carmy. It’s easy to write him off as a complete jerk, but there’s more there. He wants excellence, and Topo does as well with this one, so it deserves more than the few reservations you may be harboring.

That being said, if this shoe gets fully submerged, it will slosh around for a while. It did eventually drain fully, but it took a few miles. By that time, your feet are already waterlogged, which could lead to serious problems, especially if this happens continuously in a single outing.

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Topo Athletic Terraventure 4 WP Conclusion

JOHN: The fundamental problem with all-weather shoes is that for many places in the US, it’s simply too much shoe. You may buy it, and it just sits there. Now with that said, all-weather shoes are definitely still useful gear. I wish I had this shoe when I ran Beast of Burden up in Buffalo in 2020, right before COVID. I probably wouldn’t have DNF’d! This shoe would be amazing to use in the snow. I also feel strongly that it would have benefits as a change-up shoe if needed on longer ultras for certain courses where the water doesn’t get too deep.

I feel like having the Topo Athletic Terraventure 4 WP in a rotation as a just-in-case shoe is like that highly dependable sous-chef that offers flexibility but may also be on the bench the majority of the year. You could make the case the Terraventure 4 WP is the Mikey character. Mikey comes back in flashbacks and offers great motivation. Rotations do need this. You need confidence, even if you don’t pull the shoe, but always just knowing it’s there if you need it for that special course or weather condition.

If you plan on doing some heavy winter running, you love the Terraventure and Topo in general, or you’re the type of person that feels more stable and secure having that just-in-case shoe, then definitely check this one out. For doing as many miles as I did in this shoe in July, I enjoyed it, and that means a lot because it’s hot here.

Huge shout out to Michael and Sam for discussing the standard 4 with me. Even though those guys are in the weeds cooking up reviews here, they took the time to discuss it with me anyway. You should definitely go check out the amazing job they did breaking down the Terraventure 4.

You can pick up the Topo Athletic Terraventure 4 WP for $150 in late August directly from Topo Athletic using the buttons below.

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John Calabrese
Habitual Ultrarunner
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An obsessed runner, John has run in most ultra races in the Mid-Atlantic area. Since he’s an ultra runner, it’s no surprise he’s also a lover of food. He’s also a dedicated father, caregiver, and veteran.

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