Ransacker Rated: Brooks Cascadia 5

February 9th, 2010 by Graeme Hilditch | 10 Comments

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.

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Rating: 5.9/10 (18 votes cast)
Ransacker Rated: Brooks Cascadia 5, 5.9 out of 10 based on 18 ratings


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Other Recommended Reading

  1. Brooks Cascadia 4 Wins “Editor’s Choice” Award from Runner’s World USA
  2. Brooks Adrenaline GTX Review
  3. Ransacker Rated: UK Gear PT-1000
  4. Ransacker Rated: New Balance Minimus Road
  5. Brooks Glycerin 8 Review

About the author

With over a decade of experience as a Personal Trainer, Graeme's light hearted and articulate approach to health and fitness has won him recognition from several UK and US magazines and newspapers, as well as two major publishing houses.

Read more from Graeme Hilditch and follow Graeme Hilditch on Twitter and subscribe with RSS .

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10 Responses to “Ransacker Rated: Brooks Cascadia 5”

  1. Jane Simpson says:

    Really nice to see someone not pretending to be a trail running expert and write an honest review. Personally I love the Cascadia, they must be the most under rated trail running shoe around. Like Graeme says they are perfect for the transition between road and trail. They may not look the greates but they provide a nice wide base and never loose their grip.

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    Rating: 5.0/5 (1 vote cast)
  2. Justin Phillips says:

    Hi Graeme,

    It’s good to read about your 1st impressions as I’m looking for a new pair of shoes. Now in the name of runners across the web we’re counting on you to get out onto the trails and rack up 150+ miles to see how they perform.

    Did they go moldy? Have you managed to break them? Have you experienced any aches, pains or blisters after a few longer runs? What is the ankle support like? How easy is it to lace them tightly enough so they don’t come off in thick mud. What about the grip?

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    Rating: 3.0/5 (2 votes cast)
  3. Graeme says:

    Well they had to endure an 8 miler in thick Cotswold muck today and they are still withstanding everything i throw at them.No blisters or joint pain and the ankles feel very nicely supported  – even after an hour of hills and muck.The grip is fantastic and they even kept me steady after a late sidestep to avoid a tree trunk – the first real grip test i have had and they passed with flying colours.I think you’d struggle to find a better pair of trail shoes on the market. Brooks are to running what Katie price is at Publicity – they are experts, so you can’t really go wrong.

    VA:F [1.9.7_1111]
    Rating: 5.0/5 (1 vote cast)
  4. Bannahan says:

    I agree with Justin. Nice “initial” impressions but how did they really perform? Have you been out again in them?

    VA:F [1.9.7_1111]
    Rating: 4.0/5 (1 vote cast)
  5. Graeme says:

    Well i’ve ony had them just over a week so i;’m afraid you’ll have to wait a few weeks before i clock up some serious filthy miles in them. Inital signs are promising , but i promise to check back in again once i’ve run 100+ in them and i’ll let you know how the Cascadia’s are performing.

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    Rating: 4.0/5 (1 vote cast)
  6. Hi Graeme, I’m not usually bothered by what a shoe looks like but from the photo above and to steal your analogy it looks about as stylish as Charlie Dimmock!!! Would it survive the post run cheeky pint in the pub test)?

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    Rating: 0.0/5 (0 votes cast)
  7. Graeme says:

    Great question Justin and i can only apologise for not addressing the “are they suitable to have a pint in” question.It goes without saying that a classy guy like me (i think i can hear the wife chuckle) would prefer to wear my loafers in the pub but the Cascadia’s really aren’t too bad. In the flesh, i’d say they have alot more class than Charlie Dimmock – but as ttrail shoes, by definition they aren’t going to reach the style heights of the Sex in the City girls.In my opinion, they pass the post run pint test in the boozer  – but lets be honest if you’ve been on a proper trail run, the style of shoes you’re wearing should barely be recognisable through the mud.

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    Rating: 0.0/5 (0 votes cast)
  8. pauloboy says:

    Well, i’d been waiting for ages to get a pair of Trail shoes and although i ummed and arred for a while, i figured that seeing that Graham  had had a pretty good time with them – and they passed the post run pint test, i thought i’d invest in a pair. Gotta be honest, i think finding a better pair of off roaders would be diffcult. They do the job really well and although i wouldn’t wear them with a pair of jeans to have a pint in the pub, they certainly look good enough after a run.

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    Rating: 0.0/5 (0 votes cast)
  9. elektronik says:

    Hi,very informative article. I found you blog from Bing. Keep it up and I’ll visit more often

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    Rating: 0.0/5 (0 votes cast)
  10. fabu says:

    I did’t have the same feel like in Cascadia 4. The 4 fitted really well but I got awful blisters in the Cascadia 5 after a run of not even 1h. So be careful and try them well. I regret I didn’t do so!

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    Rating: 0.0/5 (0 votes cast)

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