Topo Terraventure 4 Review

An in-depth review of the Topo Terraventure 4 trail running shoe.

By on September 21, 2023 | Comments

Topo created something outstanding in the Topo Terraventure trail running shoe, and thankfully it has stayed the course with the most recent iteration, the Topo Terraventure 4 ($135). Topo fans will be relieved to know that the Terraventure 4 is fundamentally the same shoe with a subtle new look, more protection, and wider toebox. It delivers durability, breathability, and mountain tackling nimbleness in an unassuming yet dependable package.

I have worn these shoes during late winter rains and snow and through rushing streams and over technical terrain flanked by wildflowers in some early season heat. The Terraventure 4 provides a perfect balance of protection and quickness — high turnover and apt responsiveness. The Terraventure 4 and I have logged nearly 250 miles together, and I am confident we could keep going for another 250 miles, or as per usual I will pass them along to my neighbor who loves the Terraveture for long wildflower hikes with her pup.

The Terraventure 4 is designed with a forefoot thermoplastic polyurethane (TPU) rock plate, has a 3-millimeter drop and claimed 25-millimeter heel and 22-millimeter forefoot stack heights, and are considered a balanced cushion and neutral support trail shoe. It is relatively lightweight given the durability of the Terraventure 4 package — an actual weight of 10.4 ounces (295 grams) for a men’s U.S. size 9 — allowing for agile and faster technical running.

Shop the Women's Topo Terraventure 4Shop the Men's Topo Terraventure 4

Topo Terraventure 4

The Topo Terraventure 4. All photos: iRunFar/Bryon Powell

Topo Terraventure 4 Upper

The Topo Terraventure 4 upper comes with more upgrades, streamlining the simple aesthetic while increasing its functionality. The shoe still proudly wears its durable and abrasion resistant split mesh upper around the forefoot, transitioning to a more open mesh at the base of the midfoot to the rearfoot. The latter is ideal for drainage and optimal air circulation, while the former provides more protection and acts as a dust and debris barrier. Both mesh systems work optimally — the shoe breathes, keeps debris out, and drains. During my recent 50-kilometer race, I crossed several rushing spring melt streams and experienced zero issues, with quick drainage and rapid drying. I was undeniably impressed with the mesh. Even though I was impressed with the Terraventure 4’s drainage, I’m also keen to try the new waterproof Topo Terraventure 4 WP, available now for $150.

For every Topo shoe I review, it is important to note that my toes are always happy because they have ample room to wiggle and function. A wide toebox allows for the toes to move, to gain strength, and to function efficiently, especially in combination with Topo’s ability to ensure the heel and midfoot lockdown security.

The new Terraventure 4 comes with an even wider toebox and a more fortified toe bumper medially and laterally, and nearly an inch of protection on top. The overlays and inlays are now remarkably unobtrusive and subtle. After 250-plus miles, the upper doesn’t look beat, snagged, or bothered by the trail or brush. Additionally, the new lacing system is a huge bonus because it not only helps to keep dirt and debris out of the inner sanctum of the shoe, it also provides a solid midfoot lockdown, as the tongue stays in place through a wide variety of movement. The tongue is partially gusseted and lightly padded with more mirror stitched eyelet protectors. It also now comes with two brilliant lace eyelets near the top, which maintains a snug top of the foot fit and again less tongue movement for a comfortable upper feel.

If you are new to Topo trail shoes, they have integrated a unique gaiter attachment design for their proprietary performance gaiters. Although, I have not used this feature or their gaiters, the two attachments on the rear of the shoe and the one at the base of the tongue are unobtrusive and provide a quick release system.

Topo Terraventure 4 - lateral view

A lateral view of the Topo Terraventure 4.

Topo Terraventure 4 Midsole

The Topo Terraventure 4 midsole is the same dual-density injected ethylene vinyl acetate (EVA) midsole as its predecessor, referred to as ZipFoam. It is simple in construction and it simply gets the job done for this model. The dual-density design provides a soft layer of foam directly underneath the foot with the addition of a firmer foam underneath it, riding above the outsole. The double layer provides a breath of cushion and foot comfort while the second layer confidently tackles the ground — affording the runner protection and stability. The integration of a TPU rock plate at the forefoot bolsters the protective support for runners and hikers seeking more technical adventures. One of the best things about the rock plate is that most runners don’t even know it is there, because the Terraventure 4 midsole still maintains adequate ground feel and flexibility for nimble running. The midsole construction in combination with the low drop and stack height are ideal for trail runners participating in lower mileage training sessions and shorter races — from 10 to 50 kilometers.

Another strong suit of the Terraventure 4 midsole is its ability to navigate a variety of terrains. I am always looking for a decent trail shoe that can transition well from the pavement to the trail and back to the pavement. The Terraventure 4 seems to hold up adequately on these transitions, namely because the midsole still has some flex and comfort, and the shoe isn’t overly built up. Also, and despite the rock plate, the Terraventure 4 can still rock the pavement and public service roads, even though they are in their prime on the dirt and rocks.

Topo Terraventure 4 - medial view

A medial view of the Topo Terraventure 4.

Topo Terraventure 4 Outsole

Topo trail shoes all have their standard and dependable outsole, which you’ll find again on the Topo Terraventure 4. Topo has fully embrace the full-length Vibram Megagrip outsole construction and layout, which allows for exceptional grip and flexibility over technical terrain. The company’s shoe designers discovered something that works well, so they are sticking to it, because it sticks when you need it the most. The Terraventure 4 outsoles are designed with “multi-directional and well-spaced lugs, ideal for quick mud and snow release,” which over time keeps improving with each Topo trail shoe I test. Although, it may add weight, negligibly, the outsole has proven to work in a variety of weather and trail conditions.

Topo Terraventure 4 - outsole

The outsole of the Topo Terraventure 4.

Topo Terraventure 4 Overall Impressions

The Topo Terraventure 4 is a wonderful package deal especially for a runner or experienced hiker who is seeking a trail shoe that offers foundational foot health, durability, breathability, and underfoot protection. These key attributes allow a runner to be more adventurous and/or more aggressive, if they feel emboldened. Topo’s keen awareness of basic foot function prioritizes a wide toebox, secure midfoot, and heel lockdown, permitting the runner to take full advantage of those aforementioned and touted attributes.

Over the last couple of years, the Topo Terraventure is what I grab on 50k race day, running fast technical trails, and for most training days that may include rocks, tree roots, or considerable agility. Overall, the Terraventure line shows up and performs in its unassuming way. As I wrote in my Topo Terraventure 3 review, this shoe doesn’t demand a lot of attention, but function wholly without hesitation and perform with some of the best shoes out on the dirt.

Shop the Women's Topo Terraventure 4Shop the Men's Topo Terraventure 4

Call for Comments

  • Have you tried the Topo Terraventure 4? What were your thoughts?
  • If you have used previous versions of the Terraventure, how does this fourth version compare for you?
  • Like our reviewer, do you appreciate a wider toebox?

[Editor’s Note: If you’re affiliated (i.e., an employee, ambassador, etc.) with a brand, please share your relation in each of your comments on this article. Thanks!]

Our Favorite Trail Running Shoes

Check out our Best Trail Running Shoes article to learn about our current favorite trail running shoes!

Topo Terraventure 4 - top view

A top view of the Topo Terraventure 4.

Molly Schmelzle

Molly Schmelzle is a gear reviewer for iRunFar. She is relatively new to the reviewing scene but is a veteran competitive athlete, ultrarunner, and writer. Molly has authored biology-based research papers and numerous grants for funding opportunities. She has been coaching runners of all abilities with a particular focus on strength and conditioning training over the last 7 years. Together with her partner, a sports chiropractor with a specialty in running and endurance athletes, they are in the beginning stages of building a mobility and strength program for runners. Molly is a dedicated biologist for the state of Oregon and is a strength coach on the side. She enjoys running ultras in remote mountainous areas and will occasionally hop into road half and full marathons.