When I was asked to review a pair of “Trail Shoes” for Ransacker, I felt a mixture of excitement and fear. Excitement because hey – its kit and runners love kit and fear because to be quite honest as a road runner I thought I was going to have a torrid time finding positives about a style of shoe I thought was nothing more than a marketing gimic. Why not just wear a normal pair of running shoes to run in the mud – I’ve had no problems with grip, so what’s the point in manufacturing trail shoes?
First of all here are my vitals:
Shoe under review: Brooks Cascadia 5
Describe yourself: Keen runner and author.
Size: Men’s 10
Sizing: Feels true to size
Width: Feels true to width
Arch type: Average Arch
Well, after slipping the Brooks Cascadia 5 on and embarking on the dirtiest off road track I could find in rural Gloucestershire, I am more than happy to eat my words and eat a man sized slice of humble pie.
The Brooks Cascadia 5 are a superb trail running shoe and they pose the serious question of whether anyone who mixes their training runs between the road and cross country actually need any other running shoe. My initial thought was that the sturdy nature of a trail shoe would make road running hard going on the feet and not a particularly pleasant experience but on the 2 mile tarmac stretch before I got to my muddy route was surprisingly enjoyable and my feet didn’t grumble once.
The sole of the Brooks Cascadia 5 has the perfect balance of give for the road and firmness for cross country running, making the entire 8 mile run, most of which found me shin deep in mud and treading on tree roots, thoroughly enjoyable – albeit a testing workout for the heart and lungs.
Would I run the marathon in the Cascadia 5’s? No, but that’s not what they are designed for. These trainers are made for off roaders, but whether through luck or sheer genius, Brooks have come up with a shoe that is more than happy to do both road and trail running and I’m guessing that was the very reason why the Brooks Cascadia 5 has recently won a Runners World Choice Award.
Whether you class yourself as a regular off roader or even a part timer, you’ll struggle to go wrong with a pair of Cascadia 5’s. Enjoy the mud!
Ransacker Rated: Brooks Cascadia 5
And if my review is not enough to persuade you here is an interview with the legendary ultra runner, Scott Jurek from Brooks.com:
What updates do you think people will notice the most in the Brooks Cascadia 5?
Cascadia 5 users can expect the same ride and feel in previous versions of the Cascadia, as we kept the same award winning midsole and outsole. The Cascadia 5 update story is in the upper where we improved the midfoot wrap to create a better connection between the foot and the midsole-outsole complex. This will make for greater stability and a feeling that the shoe is a part of the foot. Cascadia 5 users will notice greater stability where it matters most: downhills and technical trail sections.
Are there any features people won’t notice at first but you’d like to call out?
A lot of runners ask about waterproof uppers, and an often missed feature of the Cascadia 5 is its ability to drain water and dry quickly. Because trail users often encounter above-ankle deep water (creek crossings) or water enters above the collar (because of puddles), waterproof shoes are not a solution to the problem. It is inevitable that trail shoes will get water inside them. And if you are in a hot dry environment, moisture from sweat and heat retention are the issues. It’s not a matter IF the feet will get wet, it’s WHEN. We designed the Brooks Cascadia 5 upper with hydrophobic microfibers and meshes that allow optimal water escape, maximum breathability, and quick dry time.
Most importantly, the Brooks Cascadia 5 is not only performance driven, it is making strides towards being “lighter” on the earth. The HPR green rubber outsole and BioMoGo midsole are key components that are “lighter” on the earth during production and post consumer. I feel it is important that our gear we use to enjoy the trail is produced with the least impact so we and our future generations can enjoy it as much as we do. I am excited that Brooks is taking strides towards this goal.