Topo ambassador, Dahn, shares his experience in one pair of Terraventure 2s to be one of the first people to hike the Peace Trail
In the early spring of 2019, I set out to walk a connection of trails that had never been linked up before. After walking the length of two countries and two national scenic trails, I became one of the first people to walk the Peace Trail.
An ambitious hike from its inception, the Peace Trail is a continuous 2,000 km (1,250 mile) mile footpath and, apart from a 2-mile international border, a nearly perfect loop.
Throughout the two months I spent walking the Peace Trail, there was one constant: my shoes.
Through some sort of sorcery, the whole trail only necessitated one pair of shoes: the Topo Athletic Terraventure 2. While my hiking partners switched out shoes, sometimes up to four times from the relentless beating the topography provided, my Terraventure 2s held strong, regardless of the conditions.
As anyone who has walked a long trail can attest, foot health is the most important aspect of a successful thru-hike. To ensure my feet stayed happy and healthy I set out to find the perfect trail shoe.
From the rough terrain, unforgiving weather and lack of trail, to the route-finding, fourth and fifth class scrambling, backtracking, bushwhacking, and scree skiing, my Terraventure 2 handled everything the trail, or lack thereof, threw at them.
I’m no stranger to Topo Athletic. I used the original Terraventure and MT-2 while on the Pacific Crest Trail the previous summer, as well as on training runs and hikes, but I was astounded by the second iteration of the Terraventure.
Boasting a form-fitting heel and upper, the Terraventure 2 offers a roomy toe box for the inevitable pancaking of toes that comes with millions of individual footsteps. The Terraventure 2 also gave me a more natural gait with its low heel-to-toe drop of 3 mm. I prefer not having a zero drop platform as I feel it sometimes extends and aggravates my Achilles tendon, however having a near zero drop allows me to have a more uniform and consistent foot strike.
Terraventure 2s also have a rock plate, which helped keep bruising at bay from the unforgiving surfaces that would have otherwise been a torturous daily obstacle. The new feature and major difference from the first series of Terraventures is the Vibram outsole, allowing for long lasting and well-spaced lugs to better grip and provide optimal traction. I found this especially useful for the rocky descents on routes that were nonexistent. Being sure-footed is so important in avoiding injury and the Terraventure 2s gave me the confidence to walk uninhibited, regardless of what the path threw my way.
Since the Peace Trail had never been hiked, no precedent existed in terms of logistics. Navigation, food and water resupply, international border crossing, and unpredictable weather were but a few of the considerations. Lack of access to the creature comforts of civilization, at least in the remote reaches of the deserts of Jordan and Israel, necessitated I choose gear carefully.
There would be no in-field opt out or equipment switches possible, or even backup kits, much less plans. I had to rely on the gear I brought and trust in its performance over an extended period of time and distance. To say the Terraventure 2s outperformed my expectations would be an understatement. They blew away what I thought was possible with a trail runner.
The Peace Trail challenged me in so many ways and so many times on a daily basis. Flash flooded rivers, sand and hail storms (sometimes simultaneously), 50 mile waterless stretches, technical rock climbing, knife’s edge ridge walks, and other navigational, topographical, and geo-political hazards were but a few of the daily impediments towards achieving my lofty goal. Luckily, the one worry that never surfaced was my choice of shoes.
Dahn is an avid thru-hiker that is on a mission to chase summer around the world by hiking 10,000 miles. He is 6,000 miles into his goal and going strong. Follow his adventures around the world via Instagram @dahnhikes.