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Topo Cyclone 2 Review (2023): Quite the Surprise!

Topo Cyclone 2 review

Published on: 09/04/2023

The Topo Cyclone 2 is a surprisingly lightweight and fast running shoe to have fun on your speed days.


8.6Overall Score

A bouncy, super fun trainer for speedy days that will delight neutral runners looking for a wide toe box.

Don’t have time to read the full review? Here’s what you need to know.

Some reviewers call the Topo Cyclone 2 “the best shoe you’ve never heard of.” This lightweight trainer is ideal for those who are looking to step up their workouts. It delivers an enjoyable wide toe box, decent cushioning, and good performance in all weather conditions. Topo Athletic launched it as a significant upgrade to the original Cyclone. Surprisingly, it managed to strike the right balance of cushion and responsiveness. Not something most runners associate the manufacturer with!

The PEBAX midsole is the biggest change in the Cyclone 2. It’s springy and fun, while allowing for excellent ground feel. The outsole is light and flexible and a new, much better fitting upper supports the foot with good lockdown. The anatomical fit and nicely padded heel collar and tongue contribute to the comfort levels. As for the outsole, it provides optimal traction even in wet conditions.

Overall, this is a great daily trainer for runners looking for a decent stack height, with a 5 mm drop and fun, energetic ride. Put through its paces, it excels in faster workouts, especially at 5k pace and below, thanks to the flexible and responsive design.

Please read our full review of the Topo Cyclone 2 for more information.

Foot lockdown and protection


  • Lightweight
  • Good energy return
  • Flexible
  • Anatomical toe box


  • Awkward to get the sizing right if you have a somewhat narrow foot
  • Questionable durability


Topo Cyclone 2 reviews

“Fast” and “fun” aren’t usually words associated with Topo Athletic. This relatively niche brand has made a name for itself with sturdy, wide-fitting shoes. This configuration aligns your toes in their natural position and encourage a midfoot strike, allowing you to move naturally through the gait cycle. Different from all the narrow brands on the market, they’re most closely associated to an Altra with a drop. For most, they’re not the brand they’d expect to deliver speedy performance.

The brand is mostly known for mountain runner shoes like the MTN Racer, designed for sloppy terrain and technical trails. We wouldn’t expect their road shoe for speedwork to be as good as the Cyclone 2 has turned out to be. And yet, Topo created the Cyclone 2 as a lightweight and fun shoe by using a PEBAX midsole used mostly in super shoes.

Find out why this new Cyclone has stolen the hearts of so many road runners by reading our complete review.


Topo Cyclone 2 shock-absorbing foam

Compared to the first version of the Cyclone, this new version uses PEBAX foam instead of a TPU/EVA ZipFoam midsole. The result is comfort, ground feel, and responsiveness. Coupled with a decent stack height and drop, it makes the Cyclone 2 fun and fast, with all the cushy benefits of soft foam.

Stack height, drop and underfoot feel

The Cyclone 2 features a decent stack height: 28 mm under the heel and 23 mm in the forefoot. The ensuing 5 mm drop is great for fast workouts and comfortable enough at slower paces, too. Overall, the PEBAX midsole is bouncy and feels lightweight. This is one of the biggest improvements from the first Cyclone according to reviewers.

Thanks to a bit of rigidity in the outsole, the Cyclone 2 also gives a little rocker feel. This helps propel you forward and doesn’t let the shoe become too flexible, to the detriment of responsiveness. It’s a great combination with the PEBAX foam.

Topo shoe on a runner

Finally, the shock absorption: while you wouldn’t run in the Cyclone 2 on fairly technical or off-road terrain, it holds its own on the road and feels wonderfully springy. It’s a great shoe for fast training, but it will also serve you well up to a half marathon distance if you wanted to race in it.

Energy return

The rocker design in the Cyclone 2 aids forward transitions, together with the PEBAX core midsole. This is Topo’s lightest and fastest shoe yet, which is a pleasant surprise from the generally sturdy and less exciting brand.

For a plateless shoe, it offers high energy return rates to help you run fast during tempos and interval workouts. Thanks to enough cushioning to back that up, it can perform really well on long runs or just for logging daily miles.

Support and gait type

The Cyclone 2 is designed for neutral runners and doesn’t give much support, except for light guidance during transitions from the heel bevel and toe spring. There are medial and lateral sole flares that run down the length of the shoe, but this doesn’t impact the running gait much at all.

Although there is a good foot lockdown from the new upper and a few stability features, the consensus is that this is a shoe for those not needing any support.

Foot Lockdown

Cyclone v2 engineered mesh upper

Another area where Topo has improved the Cyclone is the light upper, which fits much better than in the previous model. Reviewers agree that the design effectively wraps around the top part of the foot, making it impossible to slip around.

The Cyclone 2 is also really breathable, since the upper features a thin mesh that doesn’t really feel like you’re wearing anything at all. The tongue isn’t gusseted and the laces loop around and on top of it without problems.

Fit and sizing

With not much material in the upper, you may be wondering if the Topo Cyclone 2 is uncomfortable when needing to tighten it, especially if you have narrow feet. Actually, the airy mesh doesn’t cause rubbing or soreness from the laces at all. The shoe fits perfect for wide feet, while also adapting comfortably to narrower anatomies.

There is only mild stretch in the upper, which is enough to accommodate for feet swelling. Otherwise, runners find that the Cyclone 2 runs true to size. There are no wide versions since it’s naturally a wider design.

The other noticeable improvement in comfort is that the Topo Athletic Cyclone 2 has a really nice padded heel collar and extra padding all around the ankle. This doesn’t interfere with how lightweight the shoes are: they fit so light and secure, providing a great step up from the first iteration.

Men’s vs. women’s version

Topo Athletic Cyclone 2 men's vs women's version

There’s no particularity to the women’s Cyclone. Both versions provide enough cushion for faster running, weight relief on landing, and a secure fit. Topo’s signature roomy toe box gives athletes better balance since toes can splay naturally, regardless of gender.

With its moderate stack and lightweight midsole foam, the Cyclone 2 weighs in at 6.9 oz/196 g for men and 5.5 oz/156 g for women. Quite an outstanding cushion to weight ratio!

Breathability and protection

The thin upper and well balanced, cushioned heel collar make the Cyclone 2 breathable in all weather conditions. Add to that the anatomical wide toe box allowing toes to splay and leaves room for swelling, and you have a really good shoe for hot weather running. Equally, the breathability is good in the winter, since it allows feet to breathe and not stay sweaty, getting cold.


Topo Athletic Cyclone 2 road shoes

The Cyclone 2 is built for speed, but provides versatility and good comfort levels for all types of runs. Its responsive ride makes it a joy to use at faster paces.


It feels super easy to move fast in the Cyclone 2. The mix of light weight, PEBAX foam, and slight rocker design makes it ideal for tempo runs and speedy sessions. It’s also a great shoe to race in at the half marathon and marathon distances. People compare it to the New Balance FuelCell Rebel — the two shoes are similar in terms of weight and versatility, with the Topo offering more stability.

Other good scenarios

reviewer testing the Cyclone 2

Although the new Cyclone feels ready to race, the midsole featuring springy but soft PEBAX makes it comfortable enough to take on recovery runs and easy runs, too.

The only drawback to using it for a long run is the relatively low drop. Beginners should consider it and get used to gradually.


The new Cyclone’s rubber outsole provides good traction on the roads, like similar trainers designed for city running. It’s worth mentioning that the new model has a thinner outsole than previously, and this raises questions around its durability.

Some athletes have noticed a good amount of wear on the tread under the forefoot after a few longer runs. Therefore, it may be sensible to keep this pair of trainers specifically for speedwork.

Quality and Durability

Cyclone 2 outsole rubber

The lighter weight and not so high stack on the Cyclone 2 makes it a little less durable than we would like, especially considering the fun ride it provides. However, there are good quality elements throughout its design, which make up for the shorter lifespan.

Value and pricing

As we said above, the outsole deteriorates a bit too quickly. Retailing at a moderate price, the Cyclone 2 aren’t all that expensive compared to other similar shoes. Overall, they are relatively good value for money as long as you keep them for speed runs.

Some durability concerns have also been raised regarding the thin mesh upper, which only has limited elasticity, and the exposed PEBAX sole.

Cyclone 2 unboxing

Carbon footprint and animal welfare

The Topo Cyclone 2 doesn’t include any animal products, making them a great vegan pick.

Also, the Topo design team is committed to a “reduce, reuse, recycle” philosophy to reduce carbon footprint and make sustainable, durable products. Quite a vague statement if you ask us.

For the Cyclone 2, its expected shorter lifespan doesn’t score well from a durability and reduced waste perspective. We reached out to the brand for more information and their representative indicated that only the upper contained “some recycled material.” Frankly, it’s a bit misleading as their product description taunts this point as a key feature, while for all we know it could be only 1%.


runner holding the new Cyclones

With a wide, stable base, ample room in the anatomical toe box, improved breathability, and great springiness from the PEBAX midsole, the Topo Cyclone 2 is a huge improvement from the first iteration. Reviewers love how it supports their natural stride, making it suitable for neutral runners using it for tempo and interval sessions.

Like with other faster shoes, the Cyclone 2 doesn’t seem to have a huge lifespan, but comes in at a fair price for its quality. It’s a brilliant fast tempo trainer from a brand we didn’t expect to produce one.


Topo Athletic fast running shoes

Technical Specs

Pronation typeNeutral
Drop5 mm
Heel height28 mm
Forefoot height23 mm
Weight (men)196 g/6.9 oz
Weight (women)156 g/5.5 oz
FeaturesVegan, Wide feet, Recycled materials
Release year2023
PriceCheck prices




MidsolePebax Powered Foam
UpperEngineered Mesh


SpeedModerate, Fast
DistanceShort, 5K, Mid, 10K, Half marathon
WorkoutDaily running, Racing

Reference: Topo Athletic's official site

Comparisons – Topo Cyclone 2 vs.:

Cyclone 1

Excellent breathability, faster under foot feel, bounce, great cushioning, and a highly responsive ride make the Cyclone 2 loads better than the first version and so much fun to wear. It’s not necessarily a race day shoe for less advanced runners, but it offers a fast transition and great rebound for tempo training. After a few runs in this second model, reviewers agree that it’s a huge change from the first Cyclone, which delivered nothing special. Definitely worth the upgrade if you like the anatomical design that Topo is known for.

Alecsa Stewart

Alecsa Stewart

Alecsa is an ultra-trailer, mountain guide, and freelance writer living in the Pyrenees-Orientales (France). She is passionate about the mountains and life in the wilderness and also practices cycling, climbing, and skiing from time to time. Her passion is to share her adventures with others and inspire them to spend more time outdoors. This year, she has her sights set on the Tarawera, Snowdonia, and Lavaredo UTMB ultra-trail races.

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