Gear Review: Topo Athletic Women's Santé Functional Fitness Training Shoes

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A training shoe is a training shoe is a training shoe, right? Not necessarily. Sure, a shoe that fits
well is important, but depending on the activity, you might want a more specialized pair of kicks designed to help you move the way you need to move.

For CrossFit workouts, I've worn everything from minimalist flat soled shoes to beefy trail shoes, from traditional running shoes to shoes designed specifically for training, and everything in between. I've found that minimalist flat-soled kicks don't protect my feet enough when I'm doing things like box jumps or jumping rope. Beefy trail shoes are too heavy for me to be agile. Traditional running shoes with padding and an elevated heel make it hard to lift heavy weight. And the majority of the training-specific shoes I've tried just don't fit well. After receiving a pair of Topo Athletic Women's Santé shoes to try, it was immediately clear they were unlike any training shoe I'd tried. 


Topo Athletics's shoes take three specific principals in mind with respect to fit: shape, platform, and weight. With respect to shape, the shoes are designed to give your toes enough room to spread out while allowing you to maintain a secure fit through the heel and mid-foot. I find the Santé shoes run true to size, though Topo advises wearers to go a size up. The toe box is the perfect width for my relatively narrow feet, and the mid-foot support strap helps me cinch them tight enough.

Olympic lifting in the Santés at CrossFit Love.
The platform, which is neutral, provides just enough cushioning for normal motion and natural support. The Santés are cushy enough for running and jumping, but I'm also comfortable doing things like lighter Olympic weighlifting movements in them. The stack height is 14mm while the heel-to-toe drop is 0mm, which makes them ideal for training.

The materials and seam-reducing construction keep Topo's shoes light; the Santé shoes weigh in at 8.4 ounces. That's light enough, in fact, that I was skeptical they would stand up to multiple months of CrossFit workouts. But stand up they have. Aside from dirt and scuff marks, they're in great shape after almost daily wear for four months. The Santés also dry quickly and allow for plenty of air movement while I'm working out.

But the most noticeable difference between the Sante shoes and traditional training shoes isn't the fit, the weight, or the durability; it's the lacing system. Topo Athletics designed the Santés without laces at all; the shoes have a Boa closure system. Prior to trying the shoes out, I'd only seen Boa closures on snowboard boots and snowshoes. I wasn't sure how they'd work on training shoes, but after a few months of wear, I'm sold. My feet don't slide around inside, I can get a precise, even fit, and the shoes are easy it is to slip on and off. Being able to change shoes quickly is a must when I'm at my CrossFit gym; we frequently transition between lifting shoes and training shoes during workouts. Take a look at how easy it is to get them on here.

Bottom line? The Topo Athletic Santé is an ideal fitness training shoe, but can also come in handy for light running and other activities. I'll keep them in the gym and use running-specific shoes for running, but as far as my gym workouts go, the Santé shoes are my new go-to favorite. Take a look at a vice from Topo Athletic for tips and tricks related to the Boa closure here.


Huge thanks to Trek Tech for hooking me up with a pair of Santé shoes to try out! What do you think of the idea of using a Boa closure system on training shoes? What are your favorite training shoes? We'd love to hear from you!

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