If you’re a regular reader of this blog, it’s likely you’re okay with spending a few extra dollars to make sure that you have yourself a quality wardrobe and gear set that not only looks sharp but PERFORMS when you need it to.
Alas, no matter who you are, building up a collection of quality goods gets expensive. In the realm of shoes, I gravitate toward prior seasons’ designs to save a few dollars. While Brooks Running’s Cascadia 12 is the most current style, today I’m focusing on the Cascadia 11 GTX, which you can now find around los interwebs marked down about 20% from their original $150 price point.
Note: the Cascadia 12‘s retail for $130, but they don’t feature Gore-Tex, which generally sends a price tag about $20-30 higher.
Brooks Cascadia 11 GTX ($119.95) in Anthracite/Teaberry/Raspberry Radiance
I’ve owned these for a few months now, but didn’t feel all that comfortable writing a review for you all until I actually RAN these shoes through some dirt and water, as opposed to taking a few satisfactorily snowy and muddy walks.
One of the main reasons I opted for these shoes is what you wouldn’t expect from my otherwise bright collection… they don’t stand out all that much. No crazy colors (aka dirt magnets), I’ve got the Mazamas for that. Still afraid to wear those on a trail.
I often times find myself on my feet at work for hours on end, in dirt, gravel and whatever other kind of surface you can think of for a parking lot or loading dock. That said, I’ve found that trail running shoes are just rugged enough to withstand the crap without weighing my feet down, whether I’m out for a run or hustling around at work.
The soles are pretty thick, but have enough give so that you don’t feel like you’re walking around with planks affixed to the bottom of your feet. Having run these around in a bunch of loose gravel (featuring the occasional rock), I’m happy to report that the soles absorb the variance in the ground well.
Two weeks ago, it was a misty day, but after CrossFit I had a 3mi HR <145 run programmed as part of my Seawheeze training. The last place I wanted to be was the treadmill, so I tossed these in the car, thinking the Gore-Tex wouldn’t hurt in case a few drops fell from the sky.
Welp, MORE than a few drops fell. They sky opened up and rained steadily on me for 2 of my 3 miles. The only parts of me that weren’t wet at the end of that jaunt outside were my feet. Thank you, Brooks!
Despite the low ankle openings, I did that run on gravel and didn’t have a single pebble kick up into the back of my shoes. Always a plus.
Don’t have an epic forest near your house? That doesn’t mean trail running shoes aren’t for you. I first got turned onto trail running shoes after having run an obstacle race in sneakers and feeling like regular trainers just didn’t hold their own in the grass. (Maybe that’s the soccer snob in me missing my high school & college glory days in cleats.)
If you spend a lot of time on your feet, I recommend trail runners, because they aren’t as squishy as some other traditional running sneakers. The stiffer foam can hold up to constant pressure a bit more, and (at least in my case) they last a lot longer.
I’ve found Brooks to be a very solid and durable brand, especially after the paces that I put my prior trail running shoes through. The Cascadia 11’s step in for my previous pair of Adrenaline GTX’s, which lasted me 4 years.