Model: Cascadia 9
Overall Rating: 4.3
Why we like it Excellent support, protection, and comfort kept us going and going.
Support We were skeptical about a “shape-shifting” gelatinous liquid in the midsole, located under the big toe, ball, heel, and outside edge of the foot (all key pressure points). Brooks claims that this material automatically reacts to hard impact (such as rocks and roots) like a solid, and to soft impact (dirt) like a liquid. Verdict? “I never felt like the soles’ support bottomed out, whether I landed on uneven rock or jumped down onto pavement during stair workouts,” one marathon runner says. “All I know is that these shoes felt good after 20 miles of really tough terrain.” Shock absorption is also bolstered by the thick sole—27mm under the heel and 17mm under the ball of the foot, the same as the Patagonia Tsali (page 44) but stiffer, thanks to “posts” on the inside and outside edges of the heel and ball. “I wouldn’t hesitate to choose these for a big mileage, ultralight hike,” says one tester.
Traction The Cascadia’s bite never failed on Oregon trail runs in all conditions thanks to scale-like grooves under the midfoot and multi-directional chevron-shaped lugs everywhere else on the outsole.
Eco Feature The midsole includes an organic, non-toxic additive that biodegrades the midsole 50 times faster than traditional EVA when it comes into contact with landfill microbes (so don’t worry, they won’t decompose on your feet).
$120; 1 lb. 7 oz.; m’s 7-15, w’s 6-12; brooksrunning.com