A great off-road shoe offers cushioning, responsiveness in a stable and grippy package. Highly recommended.
The next evolution of the Brooks Cascadia shows improvements throughout the shoe.
As trail shoes go, the Cascadia has always been a smoother riding shoe for trail running rather than an out and out lower-profiled adventure shoe. The Cascadia 13 hasn’t detracted from this with a 10mm heel drop so it rides as high as most road running shoes. That said, it is without doubt, built for off-road.
The upper is cleaner than the Cascadia 12 and is seamless so the inside is smooth and feels good when you slide the shoe on. There are wider straps on the new model around the midfoot, obviously added to give this area more support and they really feel that they keep your feet locked down. The heel area is comfortable and although the shoe didn’t slip at all at the heel, you wouldn’t want the heel to be any lower than it is. The shoe comes with an insole which, although is made from Brook’s BioMoGo material, seems very thin and flimsy.
The BioMoGo DNA foam gives you protective cushioning and is smooth riding. On the underside of the midsole between the midsole and the outsole sits a protective ballistic rock shield. Made from a thermoplastic material, it’s been designed to stop stones and sharp objects digging up and in to your foot. It worked very well but given this additional layer in the shoe, the Cascadia felt responsive.
The outsole offered very good grip. There is a multi-grip pattern all over the outsole; large rectangular lugs straight through the middle of the shoe, hexagonal lugs around the outside and a kind of backward facing grip configuration at the heel to give you grip on slippery descents. The shoe felt extremely self-assured to us on a variety of off-road elements – wet grass, mud, rocky paths.
Your feet will bed in to the BioMoGo DNA midsole which will give you a very smooth responsive ride. What is smart about the midsole though is the inclusion of strategically placed denser areas of foam built within the softer BioMoGo foam. This is called a pivot system by Brooks but it is essentially a system which tries to guide your foot centrally within the shoe when you are running across uneven terrain. The denser areas will help you through your gait when your foot wants to roll too far over either medially or laterally. In short, it helps to keep you balanced.
I’ve mentioned the rock shield benefits but this is a nice additional touch from Brooks.
The upper on the Cascadia also carries a lot of tech and features. The tight mesh upper works well and while it won’t be as breathable as a more open mesh design, this tighter mesh will be stronger and more resilient to the elements and resistant to water.
The midfoot has a saddle construction to lock your foot in place. There are strategically placed overlays at stress points for strength as well a stronger synthetic toe bumper that runs right back to the midfoot area. The outsole wraps up at the front to add to this toe bumper area and it also wraps up and around at the heel to give this area some additional support and strength.
The different lug configuration offered assured grip but the outsole also carries a segmented crash pad. This is the area you would typically land on but being segmented enables the shoe to offer more cushioning upon landing and helps keep the foot stable throughout the transition cycle.
The Brooks Cascadia 12 is a great trail running shoe. It will offer very good grip on a wide variety of surfaces and looks to be a tough and durable shoe whilst retaining some breathability. It rode really well for a trail shoe offering good levels of cushioning and responsiveness. The shoe also felt stable thanks to its smart pivot system midsole.
Although colours are a personal thing, we also liked the bold shoe design.
One thought though; as the shoe rides at one would term a normal height for a running shoe, you might want to consider a lower-profile shoe if running or racing on rocky mountain tracks or fell running. That said, the Cascadia 12 would be a great choice for almost all of our off-road needs.
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|Weight||11.4oz. / 323g|
|Off Road Use|