As the race for the top minimal shoe continues, Runventure 2 by Topo Athletics emerges as a worthy contender. This zero-drop, lightly cushioned, highly responsive trailblazer has a lot going for it, including a roomy toe box, protective rock plate and high-traction outsole lugs that never failed me on muddy or snowy trails. To add to the “pros,” the shoe offers a unique, S-hook, three-point attachment system for gaiters to help keep the dirt and debris out. The lightest of Topo’s trail running lineup, it weighs in at 9.2 ounces (men’s size 9) or 7.4 ounces (women’s size 7). The only “con” I found was that the fit along my ankle felt loose despite ankle-locking the laces. Get a half-size down to compensate for this and the wide toe box. The upper material is soft and flexible — hopefully not too flimsy for ultra-distance use. $100.

Author: Shalini Kovach is a regular contributor to Terrain Magazine and the founder of Terrain Trail Runners