Shoe Drop Transitioning and More with Tony Post of Topo Athletic
This week we introduce to you Tony Post, Founder of Topo Athletic, an innovative running shoe company that launched in 2013.
Tony harnessed over 30 years of industry knowledge and competitive running experience to create a company with a range of shoes to work efficiently with a runner’s mechanics.
A lot of research and empirical data (not to mention a certain book by a certain author about a certain indigenous people who run hundreds of miles seemingly effortlessly) has made a strong argument for a more natural running shoe. But the sudden transition from a traditional shoe to a minimalist shoe often causes injuries rather than prevents them.
Imagine that there’s a company that makes shoes that feel great AND offers models with differing amounts of drop to ease the transition.
SPOILER ALERT: You actually don’t have to imagine it, because that company really exists.
After a collegiate career at Tulsa University, Tony continued to run competitively and worked for Rockport Shoes where he learned the craftsmanship of shoemaking from the first casual shoe company to use athletic shoe technology in footwear. He then went on to become President of Vibram, USA where he helped create sole platforms for many premium brands as well as the U.S. Military. Tony also helped spark the natural running movement with the revolutionary Vibram FiveFingers.
Different shoes during training and racing
In this episode, Tony goes into detail about his history with the running shoe industry as a runner and a long term participant in the shoe business. Topo Athletics is his most recent endeavor in this ever-evolving industry. He also shares with us his philosophy on the personal nature of running shoes and even why you may want to wear different shoes during training and / or racing.
Critically acclaimed footwear
Topo Athletic is one of the fastest growing and most critically acclaimed running footwear brands in the industry.
Oh, and by the way: If you’re planning on buying a pair of Topo Shoes, use the code: RUNNERSCONNECT15 for a 15% discount at checkout on
. And be sure to enter a drawing for a FREE pair of Topo Athletic UltraFly shoes at:
*Offer good for one week only from published date of podcast interview.
Questions Tony is asked:
2:37 First Four:
- How old are you?
- Where were you born?
- Where do you live now?
- What is your favorite race distance?
6:07 What were some of your early experiences with running?
7:09 How old were you when you walked onto the track team?
7:51 What kind of shoes did you use at that time?
8:23 Did you wear spikes when running track events?
8:58 What was your experience with Rockport Shoes?
10:56 What did you do at Rockport Shoes?
11:57 Did Rockport make running shoes or just casual shoes?
12:50 And after Rockport, you moved to Vibram?
13:28 What sparked you to move to Vibram USA and what did you learn and do there?
14:45 Weren’t Vibram mostly making hiking shoes?
16:57 How did FiveFingers come about?
19:23 When did you start marketing natural / minimalist shoes with Vibram and where is that market now?
23:15 How does Topo’s line help runners safely transition from traditional drop to minimalist?
29:39 What can you tell us about the different kind of drop shoes Topo offers?
31:55 Is the lightest weight running shoe not necessarily the best shoe for everyone?
33:24 What Topo shoe would be best for a competitive 5k?
36:19 Are there benefits to using different shoes for different races and workouts?
37:45 What experiences have had the biggest impact on your life and where you are at this time?
39:31 Topo is giving a listener a free pair of UltraFly shoes; what can you tell us about this model?
43:27 Final Kick Round:
- What is your favorite local training run (location, starting point, parking, distance, terrain and safety issues)?
- Favorite running book(s)?
- Advice for new runners?
- Favorite Quote?
Quotes by Tony:
“Around 1990, when Rockport was launching their dress shoes, I was using them for lunchtime runs and I said, ‘These are so comfortable, I think I could run a marathon in them.’ And I ended up running the 1990 NYC Marathon as well as the 1992 London Marathon in Rockport dress shoes and ran a 2:49.”
“My gym wouldn’t let me train barefoot, but I saw this product (FiveFingers) Vibram had acquired the rights to and I thought, ‘This would be a great product to use in the gym.’”
“We found in our research and experiences that [the buildup of cushioning over the years] hadn’t really done anything to make us healthier or stronger. IN some ways, because you are casting the foot so much that the muscles begin to atrophy and you lose range of motion.”
“As much as we loved FiveFingers, we knew that it didn’t work for everybody and a lot of people probably got injured trying to make the shift.”
“Having these different models that have some (drop) choices allow the runner to find the shoe that’s really the best for them.”
“When you have a shoe company, you get to spend a lot of time talking to people about what they like or what they need and then you go back and create that kind of stuff.”
Take a Listen on Your Next Run
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