TRM reviews the tenth iteration of Brooks‘ persistent, consistent performer, the Cascadia. This review appears along with more shoe and gear guides (and plenty more trail porn) in the current edition of Trail Run Mag (17) available for FREE DOWNLOAD, here.
In Nigeria, a tenth birthday is considered an extremely special event. It warrants a huge party and a feast of an entire roasted cow or goat.
Well, bring out the goat! For here’s a tenth birthday worth a herd of them, that of the Brooks Cascadia 10.
Throughout its junior iterations, the Cascadia has always been a solid child of the trail, maturing well with each year. As Brooks found its feet in the trail running world, the Cacadia became stronger, lighter, faster, and grippier but retained the DNA of a consistently high end and, importantly, all-round performer.
It is perhaps also the only trail shoe that has had the confidence to remain true to itself buy hanging on through ten rounds (we know of no other trail shoe that is at iteration number ten!). As noted in past reviews, sometimes that means a shoe that has become mutton dressed up as lamb. Not in this case. Brooks has done the sensible thing and never really waded in with big scale changes, rather it has tinkered, tailored and finessed along the way, meaning the tenth edition is, I believe, the best edition of all to date.
The changes this time around are rooted in a retooling of the outsole and the upper.
Down low, the lugs have been reduced for an ever so refined experience delivering more versatility on different terrains and a more responsive ride.
The Cascadia remains a bit of a bulldozer ride in that it floats over anything you throw at it, with a hefty undercarriage – a 10mm heel-toe drop and thick midsole means it’s no adherent to the minimalist movement. Regardless, the ride is actually quite nimble on the foot, placing this shoe very much in that sweet spot midrange of shoes suitable for most trail runners, from back of pack to the pointy end. I also place this shoe squarely in the zone for ‘adventure runners’ – those who like to run in wild places for the hell of it where the terrain is unknown and you best be prepared for anything and everything.
In general I prefer a 4-6mm drop, yet I still find this shoe an excellent option when I know the terrain is going to get knarly, the run is going to be longer, and I’m feeling like a bit more protection underfoot.
The upper now features an ever-so slightly asymmetrical design in order to lock down the foot better, continuing with the move to a more self-assured ride. The general fit on the inside if comfortable, with an average size toe box that will accommodate all but the heftiest of widths. The arch has more support for those that prefer it. I did suffer a slight hot spot on the front ball, but it quickly disappeared with repeated outings.
For me, the Cascadia is all about delivering a ride superior to most, and the 4-point pivot posts in the outer design is the equivalent of a SUV’s independent suspension system. It is based around a decoupled outsole around the four pivots, maximising impact function and adaptability as your foot strikes on uneven terrain. The result is a more stable landing and assured rebound.
The Cascadias have always been excellent on the protection front, a Ballistic Rock Shield protecting from sharp and nasties, while the Brooks BioMoGo DNA cushioning midsole giving some plushness without getting sloppy.
If one had to pick and niggle at the Cascadia, its only downfall is a slightly heavier and bulkier mass on the foot, which numbs the agility a smidge for the short, go-fast style of running. This is nothing beyond the pale, however, and only noted in the context of the current crop of super-lightweight, super-fast models on market these days, mostly aimed at the elite runners, not the Average Joe dirt raker.
In the long and more brutal mountain runs, the Cascadia’s beef and support will actually assist you.
The grip has been toned down some, but seems to have lost none of its bite, rather just extended the shoe’s range of suitable terrains to pretty much anything.
Essentially this is one of the most versatile trail shoes on the market, able to run smoothly over mild trails and dirt paths but also hold its own over super gnarly terrain. Even extending to landscapes a (mountain) goat would love. On that note, maybe we leave off roasting the poor goat to celebrate this tenth edition, and instead just go for a run with it in the mountains in Nigeria (yes, it has some)? Ten is after all, a special number there and traditions must be upheld in some fashion or other.
TAKEOUTS: Brooks Cascadia 10
Great for: all variety of trails, especially serious mountain and long runs, grip, comfort
Not-so-great for: minimalists, lightweight freaks and short, sharp, speedy runs
Test Conditions: Technical and non technical single track with a smattering of fire road, 94km
Tester: Chris Ord, Trail Run Mag editor
Tester Mechanics: mid foot striker, tends to more technical style running routes, mostly 15-30km range outings.
RRP: AUD $239.95
CHECK OUT MORE GEAR, TRAIL SHOES AND PLENTY OF DIRTY FEATURES IN THE CURRENT EDITION OF TRAIL RUN MAG (17), DOWNLOADABLE FREE. JUST CLICK THE BANNER BELOW! BACK EDITIONS ALSO AVAILABLE FOR DOWNLOAD.