The first time I ran in these Brooks trail shoes, I launched myself over a rock within the first tenth of a mile. No fault of the shoes, just my own clumsiness. So after surveying my bodily damage, I shook it off and set out again.
Shortly, I wasn’t thinking about the onset of swelling, or the stiffness and bruising that would surely greet me later. All I could think about was how very good the Cascadias felt on my foot. Twelve miles and 1,800 feet of ascending later, my love for these shoes was still occupying more headspace than visions of ice packs waiting at home. Seriously, they’re that good.
Designed with input from ultramarathoner Scott Jurek, the Cascadia 7′s utilize a breathable, microfiber upper with an asymmetrical anatomical design and a curved lacing system. This design hugs your foot without feeling tight. They’re snug in a way that feels like the shoe was custom-made just for you. In my case, the curved lacing is an added bonus — it puts less pressure on the top of my foot, where I have bone spurs from years of running in shoes that do the opposite.The cushioning system delivers just as much comfort to the bottom of the foot. There was a softness to every foot strike, and it lived up to Brooks’ claim that the liquid midsole and heel technology responds dynamically to the amount of force placed on the foot, dispersing it accordingly. Each step feels more stable, even on irregular terrain.
Even though there’s a thermoplastic rock plate in the sole, the Cascadias are more flexible than many other trail shoes I’ve tried. During multiple test runs, my foot felt like it was bending and flexing as naturally as it would in a road shoe, but without the undesirable twisting across the foot that happens when you wear road shoes on the trails.
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When the Cascadias arrived, I was actually quite pleased with the look of them. The current trend is all about crazy neons, but these were more muted with a nice pop of accent color. They’re heavier than your average trail shoe — my women’s size 8.5 were a substantial 12 ounces — which is noticeable out of the box. But when you lace them up, the snug fit contributes to them feeling much lighter than the numbers would indicate.
These shoes are truly all about comfort and stability. I recommend them to everyone (men and women) who likes to run off-road. I don’t gush often, but just writing about the Cascadias makes me want to lace them up and head out one more time.
WIRED The asymmetrical anatomical design offers unsurpassed comfort. Fluid-filled cushioning in the heel and sole. Great flexibility, even with the EVA rockplate and the stiff plastic toe protector. You’ll get happy and excited to hit the trails just looking at them.
TIRED Toe box may be narrow for those with wider feet. Heavy, even for trail shoes.
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