By Sean Meehan
I wanted to drop a quick review of the Brooks Cascadia 8’s off to you Spahtens. I know that there are a large number of racers out there that believe minimal shoes are the only way to go; but I beg to differ. I am a “traditional” runner and run and race in more supportive shoes then Inov8s or Vibram Five Fingers. The Cascadia is one of Brook’s more popular shoe lines and may be the most popular non-minimalist trail shoe out there. It is often highly touted and widely loved by the trail racing community.
First let’s cover some shoe metrics for the Cascadia 8: It is considered a neutral shoe, weighs in on the heavier side of modern shoes at 11.9 oz for a size 9, has a stack height of 27mm in the heel and 17mm in the toe, giving it a heel to toe drop of 10mm, fit is fairly true to size, and is constructed for a medium volume foot. For cushioning Brooks uses BioMoGo DNA a form of cushioning that adapts to a runners stride, and impact stress. This supposedly gives you cushioning and support when and where you need it based upon stride and terrain. It contains a rock shield to protect against stone to foot destruction. The upper is constructed of a durable and breathable microfiber with welded overlays and a strong synthetic toe guard. The overlays reach the not overly padded tongue and create an asymmetrical lacing system, which creates a secure and comfortable feel for the foot. The sole of the shoe has a fairly aggressive lug pattern to add in climbing and braking on decent. The lugs are not overly pronounced and seem to have little problem shedding mud or running on flat hard terrain.
I’ve logged lots of miles in my 8’s and I’ve grown to love them. These shoes helped get me through Death Race. I’ll say that my initial impression out of the box was that they were heavy and a bit sloppy. Had I stuck with my initial impression I would have missed out on an awesome shoe. My first couple of short runs yielded less then great impressions and if the ability to bring them back had still been viable they would have been returned and I would have been wrong. I removed a quick lacing system I installed shortly after purchase and laced the shoes to the last eyelet, something I don’t normally do; presto, my heel was locked in, the shoe fit perfect. I’ve run these babies through mud, streams, up mountains, scrambled over scree, and even done some extreme gardening in them. They’ve taken it all and begged for more. In fact, it there appears to be minimal wear on these things, they are super durable. The only gripe that I have in regards to them is the weight. They are noticeably heavier than my Mizuno Wave Ascends and then the New Balance MT 1210 Leadville; but they appear to be twice as durable. So I guess that appears to be the tradeoff, weight for durability.
These may not be your go to shoe for shorter races or pedestrian terrain; but when the going gets tough and you need a shoe to get tougher, these are it. Pick up a pair and try to destroy them I dare you.