After years on the market, Brooks returns with another successful update; the Cascadia 10. If you talk to any knowledgeable salesperson at your local running store, they will tell you the same thing; people LOVE the Cascadia. They will openly acknowledge that it’s not the lightest or the cushiest, when compared to other brands of trail runners. Not every runner has the same taste in shoes, and there are plenty of other successful brands that have proven this point. However, Brooks has managed to find that magical spot somewhere between all the new trends and hype, and have thoughtfully selected the technology that will produce a good quality, trail runner—as evidenced by their massive, loyal following.
Upon receiving the Cascadia 10 from Brooks (pictured on right), I dug into the dark recesses of my closet, and located my Cascadia 5’s (pictured on left); the first pair of Brooks shoes I’ve owned. When set side by side, there are some obvious updates and changes that have been made, but I’d still happily throw on my 5’s and hit the trails today. The weight hasn’t changed much in six years (10 oz. down to 9.6 oz.), but as I mentioned above, no one seems to mind so much.
One of the first updates that stands out, is the mesh upper. While the 5’s provided a wider mesh for more breathability and quick drainage for river crossings, it also allowed in a lot of dust. Six years later, the 10’s are made with a mesh upper engineered to allow for breathability and better foot protection from the dust and grime. The updated inside is now blessed with a moisture managing fabric and hydrophobic foam, that does a great job of contributing to the overall comfort of the runner.
The ballistic rock shield has remained a constant for added protection, but with a slightly lighter, tougher update. Also new this year is a full-length Segmented Crash Pad, designed to allow for a smooth transition from heel-strike to toe-off (not that you would ever heel-strike). In addition, a four-point pivot posting system provides increased flexibility as well as adaptability.
While the popularity of trail runners as hiking shoes seems to be off the charts lately, it’s important to note that Brooks does not recommend using the Cascadia as a fastpacking and thru-hiking shoe. I have seen many people hiking in Brooks trail runners, and I get it—they are such a comfy, sturdy shoe and breathe much better than a hiking boot. I can see the reasoning. I’ve used my Cascadia’s more than once for hiking, and have been very happy with my level of comfort. However, if you’re headed out for more than a day hike, it comes down to a matter of weight. The Cascadia 10, and other Brooks shoes, are engineered for a specific activity that doesn’t involve the extra weight of a pack—whether that includes your overnight gear, or a small child. So until a hiking company finally sees that gigantic hole in the market, I recommend you look for a good, breathable hiking shoe, and leave your Cascadia’s at home. If Cascadia’s are your go-to for your first UltraMarathon, make sure you consider the amount of time it will take for you to finish, and consider swapping out with another pair of Cascadia’s along with your plush new socks. This will help you avoid compromising the benefits of the shoe design.
With all of this in mind, the Cascadia 10 continues to stand out as a fantastic option for trail runners, and I hope it remains as a Brooks standard. The Cascadia 10 is available in men’s (below left) and women’s (below right) sizing, in two color options. Retail $120.