Brooks VS Topo Athletic: Which Is Better?

When it comes to athletic footwear, Brooks and Topo are two brands that often top the list. Both companies have years of experience crafting shoes for runners and fitness enthusiasts alike. However, they each offer unique benefits.

Brooks is known for its soft, supportive cushioning while Topo prides itself on promoting natural foot shape and movement. While both brands make high-quality shoes, choosing the right one has a lot to do with personal factors like foot type, running style and comfort needs. Read on for a detailed comparison of Brooks and Topo.

Comparison Table Between Brooks And Topo:

CategoryBrooksTopo
Founded19142013
Comfort & FitSoft cushioning, variety of sizes/widthsWide toe box, accommodates natural foot shape
Color OptionsClassic & bold colorsNeutral earth tones
DurabilityDurable midsole foam, sturdy upperAverage lifespan
PerformanceDesigned for road running, neutral/stability optionsDesigned for trail running, minimalist style
Design & StyleContemporary athletic styleRetro/minimalist aesthetic
PopularityWell-established brand, popularSmaller following, niche brand
Best Selling ModelAdrenaline GTSTopo Athletic Phantom 2

Brooks Overview:

Brooks running shoes originated in 1914 in Seattle, Washington when the Brooks Shoe Company was founded. Though it started as a specialty shoe brand, Brooks eventually pivoted to focus on athletic and performance footwear in the 1970s.

Some of the long-running iconic features of Brooks shoes include:

  • BioMoGo DNA: An adaptive midsole foam that provides soft landings followed by firm toe-offs for propulsion.
  • GuideRails: An engineered support system around the midsole to limit excess pronation or inward foot rolling.
  • Flextra: Outsole rubber strategically placed for flexibility where the foot needs to move.
  • Ideal Pressure Zones: Designated cushioned zones on the outsole positioned under important areas.
  • Adjustable saddle: A structured component that customizes midfoot support and fit.
  • HydroFlow: Shock-absorbing cushioning units in the midsole for plush softness.

In addition to catering to regular neutral runners, Brooks offers stability, trail, walking, and casual shoes. Some of their most popular models through the years include the Ghost, Adrenaline GTS, Glycerin, and Ravenna.

With over 100 years of experience, Brooks uses proven technologies and innovations to create high-performance shoes suited for runners of all types. Their wide selection and consistent fit keep runners coming back year after year.

Topo Overview:

Topo Athletic was founded in 2013 by Tony Post, former CEO of Vibram USA. His goal was to blend the comfort and feel of a regular fitness shoe with the natural ride of a minimalist shoe. This ethos shines through in Topo’s shoes.

Tony Post

The Ultraventure trail running shoe exemplifies the brand’s strengths. It delivers a roomy toe box to allow natural toe splay and motion while running. This prevents the cramped feeling some get in narrower shoes, providing next-level comfort.

Beyond the toe box, Topo shoes offer an overall customizable fit. The upper material molds comfortably around the foot for adaptive support during movement. Runners praise Topo for accommodating wider feet without compromising performance.

Cushioning is another highlight. Topo Athletic uses responsive cushioning foam in moderation to provide contact and energy return balanced with foot feel and control. This allows excellent ground contact for traction while still absorbing shock and impact.

Other key features include a lower heel drop for natural foot positioning and gait cycle through each stride. The result is a smooth, intuitive run that flows effortlessly.

Topo also uses durable outsole materials with targeted traction zones for grip across different surfaces.

For runners who prioritize fit, natural alignment, and moderate cushioning, Topo Athletic delivers an ideal blend of comfort, support, and road/trail versatility. The brand continues to grow in popularity for good reason.

Major Differences Between the Brands

Now that we’ve covered some basics, let’s compare the major differences between these two popular athletic shoe brands.

1) Comfort and Fit

Both Brooks and Topo make comfortable shoes, but they achieve this in different ways. Brooks uses soft, shock-absorbing cushioning and supportive GUIDERAILS to create a plush feel.

Topo designs its shoes to match the natural shape of the foot with wide toe boxes that allow your feet to relax and splay. For optimal comfort, you’ll want to choose the brand that best matches your foot type.

2) Durability and Performance

When it comes to durability, Brooks wins out with sturdy elements like high-abrasion rubber outsoles and durable cushioning foam. Topo shoes hold up fine for average running, but frequent miles will break them down faster.

In terms of performance, Brooks targets the traditional runner with cushioning and support while Topo goes for the minimalist market. Make sure to match the brand’s technology with your running needs.

3) Price

You’ll spend around the same amount for shoes from Brooks and Topo. Both offer models in the $100 to $150 range.

Topo’s barefoot-style shoes sell for a premium at $150+, while some Brooks styles are priced lower at around $100. For the most value, look for sales on previous season’s models from either brand.

4) Design and Style

Brooks shoes have a classic athletic look with bright pops of color to make you stand out on your runs. Topo shoes use more muted earth tones and retro styling in line with their minimalist approach.

Overall, Brooks has a more modern performance aesthetic while Topo goes for an understated, natural design.

5) Popularity

As one of the biggest names in running, Brooks is by far the more popular brand. They have an established fan base across a wide range of foot types and running styles.

Topo has a smaller but devoted following among trail runners and minimalist shoe fans. Unless you have specific needs Topo addresses, Brooks is the safer choice.

6) Target Market

Brooks has something for everyone but really targets traditional moderate overpronators looking for supportive cushioning.

Topo goes after a niche market of runners with wide feet seeking natural foot movement and zero drop. Determine which brand’s specialty best matches your needs.

Final Verdict:

So should you go with trusted Brooks or upstart Topo? It really comes down to personal preference. Brooks is the better option if you desire soft, stable cushioning in a more traditional athletic shoe.


Topo is ideal if a wide, spacious toe box and low-profile platform help you run free. While both brands deliver great performance and comfort, take your individual needs and running style into account.

And remember to always try shoes on before purchase to ensure the best fit and feel! With the right pair from either Brooks or Topo, you’ll be ready to hit the road or trail with confidence.

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