Brooks Caldera

Best ride
Caldera
Price $140.00

Our take Maximalist shoes promise uncommon cushion, but some runners avoid the big-soled models because they can have a reputation for being squirmy. Not the Caldera. We felt as confident crossing rooty, rocky, and boarded sections of trail as we would in minimalist shoes. Credit the double layer of mesh in the upper for keeping our feet secure; it’s more structured than a typical trail runner. Nice touch: Brooks’s BioMoGo DNA midsole (28.5mm in the heel) is not only ultracushioned, it’s also better for the environment since it biodegrades 50 times faster than EVA.

The details The proprietary outsole rubber was one of the least sticky in our test, but chevron lugs on the heel helped us brake fast—and it’s remarkably durable. The outsole has shown little to no wear after a hundred miles. The toebox is roomy to accommodate toe splay and foot swell.

Trail cred “When I was loaded with 20 pounds of gear and water, these shoes were very stable, except for one downhill scare on scree,” says a Utah tester who gets around the Wasatch Range.