Second Wind

Second Wind
"Run With Purpose!"

Monday, December 22, 2014

Topo Athletic Sante Gym / Crossfit shoe Review

If you’ve never heard of Topo Athletic, don’t feel bad, I hadn’t either, but you probably know more about what they believe than you think!  See, Topo athletic’s founder and CEO is TonyPost (TOny POst = ToPo) and Tony was the president and CEO of Vibram USA for 11 years – specifically the 11 years of the FiveFingers. 
After Vibram, Tony set up his own dream company of Topo and continued his passion for healthy, minimalist shoes built for athletes. 

Today I have the opportunity to review the 2014/2015 ISPO Award God Winning shoe: 


The Sante is a Gym rat shoe specifically catered to the Crossfit style athlete.  The Sante, first and foremost is a Zero drop shoe (you all know how I feel about that!).  Bravo Topo.

The Sante is built low to the ground (14mm total stack height) to give you a nice solid feel through your lifts and they did a great job providing a flat surface for excellent stability in the bottom while giving it Excellent flexibility (and not just in the front third).

One of the first things you’ll notice about this shoe (it was the first thing I saw) was the crazy knob-looking-thingie (that’s the Latin name for it) on the side.  This is the BOA micro adjuster.  What this thing does is eliminates traditional shoe laces and allows you to turn the knob to tighten your shoes (or simply press it in to release the tension and loosen them).  My first reaction to hearing about this cool new idea was “yep… I’ll break that in a week”.  However, I was somewhat relieved when the box arrived with a Lifetime unconditional guarantee on the BOA system (still, a guarantee isn’t worth much if you have to use it over and over).  I’m pleased to say, after using these shoes for a few months, the BOA system not only held up perfectly, it’s probably my favorite part about this shoe. 

Let me explain:
Not having laces to come untied is pretty awesome and the ability to tighten it precisely in very tiny increments is a big bonus.  It doesn’t create tension spots and instead tightens up uniformly throughout.  My favorite thing about the system is how quickly and easily you can tighten and loosen – so I can leave them loose for the running portion of a WOD and then reach down and in ½ a second, with one hand, have cinch them down for deadlifts.

The second part of the securing system of this shoe that I Really like is the hook and loop midfoot strap (directly over the lateral stabilizers).  This strap is a staple in all weightlifting specific shoes but has never been effectively utilized in a WOD shoe – until now!  This thing is really nice and I Love it on OLY days.

Beyond the BOA system, I was really impressed with the shoes flexibility (more on this later); it truly bends and moves like a minimalist road running shoe.
I love the lateral stabilizers:  you don’t feel them at all while you’re running, jumping, etc. but when lifting heavy they give an excellent solid-wall feel while doing it subconsciously, not obtrusively.

The shoes look great, and while this doesn’t help you in a WOD, it IS a nice bonus (don’t lie)

They are fantastically comfortable (the only thing I didn’t care for was there is a bit of an arch – now, understand that I am ridiculously picky about arch shape and while I didn’t care for it, none of the other testers even noticed its existence).

They breathe really well while having the mesh made of excellent and resilient material (something New Balance could learn a thing or two from….)

So between the very low to the ground build, zero drop, unbelievably flexible sole, and the midfoot strap Topo has created a shoe that runs like a running shoe, jumps and allows lateral movement like a crosstrainer, and locks in and stabilizes like an OLY shoe.  It’s pretty awesome.

Now, Everything has to have its draw back and the Topo has 1 Achilles.  Now, let me preface this, when I had an issue Topo was quick to respond, did not make excuses, and handled the replacement quickly.  Topo also assured me that this was a fairly unique issue (more on that in a second), but nonetheless, here’s the issue I had:  For me, I can’t rope climb in them.   Well, not that I can’t, in fact they’re quite comfortable for it and the BOA knob doesn’t get in the way (which I was afraid of), it’s that I shred that nice sole on my descent.  Here are some things to consider with this:  There are a lot of shoes that you can’t climb a rope in.  Then there are shoes (like the Nano’s and a couple of the Inov-8 shoes) that are designed around rope climbing and are Beasts at the rope, but you sacrifice some ground feel and flexibility in the sole.  Topo attempted to go in the middle but decided to focus on that ground feel and flexibility and, therefore, the sole is softer (you just really can’t have both).  So, for me, I like the shoes for everything but rope climbing and on days when I know I’m climbing, I wear something else.
If you don’t climb the rope, climb it few and far between, or know when the rope will come into play and can wear another shoe on those days (like I do) then I think this is truly a fantastic Crossfit/gym/lifting shoe.  I believe it does a better job as a running shoe, jumping shoe, lifting shoe, and lateral movement shoe than most anyone else out there.  But, if you are a heavy climber and you integrate rope climbs into most of your WODs, this is probably not the shoe for you.

Below you'll see the damage to the Sante from the rope climbs.  I'm also including some pictures of the same spots on my (much much older) Nanos just for reference:



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  3. Its a good and informative site. Here i know about the exercise program and exercise equipment. Shoe is one of the most important equipment for the exercise.then need to find out a best croosfit shoe.

  4. a guarantee isn’t worth much if you have to use it over and over). I’m pleased to say, Best shoes for crossfit