10 April 2010
Shoe Review - Brooks Cascadia
Instead of running with the guys in the frigid air at 7:30am this morning I slept in and am now wasting more time until the temperature gets closer to 60 degrees. Well, it's not really wasting time. Shoe reviews by normal shmucks like myself who pay full price for their shoes can offer an objective perspective, unlike those sponsored folks who always gush about how great their gear is and how they couldn't survive without it. "Oh, I almost fell off that cliff side trail if not for the traction of my [insert brand with complimentary adjective] shoes." Whatever. I may not have a shoe sponsor but at least I can wear and try shoes I honestly like.
This leads us to the Brooks Cascadia, a shoe I've been curious about for two years and just now got around to trying. I think I was cautious about the Cascadia because (especially in its former burgundy color) it resembled my Mizuno Ascends, shoes I abhor and feel like tire tread with fabric loosely sewn onto for the upper. Now that the Cascadia comes in a cool, pea green (they call it "Spy Wasabi"-wow, they pay the guy who came up with that too much) I think they're rather cool looking.
[caption id="attachment_78" align="aligncenter" width="300" caption="Notice the one, level tread from toe to heel with subtle yet effective knobbies"][/caption]
When I tried them on in the store, Forward Motion in the East Bay, it was the day after a 50k race, so my feet may have been a little swollen. Which is fine but my big toe seemed to push on the inner side and over the side of the sole a little. I have heard about this same problem from a friend but chose to get them anyway.
Yesterday, I took them out for a 17 mile voyage on rocky, rolling trails with some muddy spots thrown in. The shoes are light enough as they are but feel even lighter on the trail. I thought about this a lot during the run and decided it must be the responsive cushioning and that springy sensation must add to the light feeling. Another thing I noticed is that the sole is all one level allowing for constant contact during the roll from heel to midfoot to toe. Periodically, I purposely ran from from rock to rock, trying to land on the top of the sharpest ones and was impressed with the protective nature of the soles.
They fit true to size; I wear a 10.5 in just about everything for running and these are the same with a normal width and low volume (not sloppy big). They feel a lot like a road shoe, which is probably due to Brooks (with Scott Jurek's input) making them with a lighter and more breathable upper.
Overall, I am impressed with the Cascadia, to the point where I'm probably going to wear them for my next race (Miwok) instead of my beloved Montrail Streaks - sorry Montrail, too bad, so sad.