When it comes to running shoes, it’s tough to beat a pair of Brooks. Founded over 100 years ago and based in Seattle, Washington; Brooks is arguably the top company when it comes to producing running shoes. They do running shoes the right way, and if you’re looking for your first pair of shoes to start running, Brooks is a safe choice that is highly recommended. The Brooks Cascadia 11 is marketed as “an SUV for your feet” and is deigned to give you a well-cushioned and balanced ride on your trail run.
For any trail shoe to succeed, having a strong a supportive outsole is a must. Luckily, Brooks achieves just that with the Cascadia 11. Brooks uses HPR Green to construct the outsole, which means that the entire outsole is made from environmentally friendly elements. The outsole is made up of two separate areas.
The forefoot area contains multiple cushioning pods that helps the foot perform well through the gait cycle. These pods provide great traction on just about any surface and reduce the chances of you slipping and sliding while running. The heel part of the outsole is more of a bumpy tread that receives the impact and absorbs the shock while you run. The outsole is made up of hard rubber, which provides extreme durability.
Brooks uses their BioMoGo DNA cushioning technology that provides a soft and comfortable feel. It keeps your foot stable and even molds a bit to your underfoot, which helps give you a little extra support and comfortability. There is also a Heel and Forefoot Pivot System, which uses posts to balance your foot as your run. This is a big deal for trail shoes as you’re running on unpredictable surfaces. Knowing that your foot will remain stable under tough conditions is peace of mind that can’t be beat.
Next is the Ballistic Rock Shield, made from thermoplastic EVA sheath, is between the midsole and outsole. It protects your foot from any sharp or jagged rocks
that you may come across while running on the trail. Finally, the Caterpillar Crash Pad is a segmented part of the midsole that provides the shoe with a little bit of flexibility along with comfort and stability. Brooks put a lot of thought into the midsole of the Cascadia 11 and it all works together to give your foot a stable and comfortable ride along with high-quality protection.
The Brooks Cascadia 11 features an element mesh upper. Brooks uses their Conformable Saddle Construction technology to help conform the upper to your foot, giving you a comfortable and customizable fit.
There’s also an element lining that helps with any moisture, whether they be from the conditions or from your foot itself. Brooks added a medial strip on the toebox to give the shoe extra protection and durability. This is also great for runners who point their toes up and into the upper while running. Finally, the sock liner gives the upper and extra layer of cushioning. Like the rest of the upper, the sock liner molds to your foot. The upper is designed to give the runner a comfortable fit with breathable material.
These shoes weigh 11.8 oz. for men, and 9.6oz for women
. A high weight shoe is to be expected when it comes to tough and durable trail running shoes. The hard blown rubber on the outsole and the protective midsole are the reason for the extra weight. Even the extra padding on the upper lends itself to more weight on the shoe.
When it comes to breathability, the Brooks Cascadia 11 gets a lot of things right. The upper mesh is an extremely breathable material. While the medial strips take away some aspects of the breathability, it’s not enough to make a noticeable difference. Furthermore, the elemental lining on the inner sleeve of the shoe and the sock liner help absorb any moisture and keep your foot dry. With the conforming features of the upper and midsole, the shoe doesn’t fit too tight and gives your foot plenty of room to breath.
If you’re advertising your shoe as “an SUV for your feet” then it’s pretty important to deliver comfort considering that SUVs are designed to give the driver and passengers optimal leg room and plush seating. The Brooks Cascadia 11 may not be at an SUV level with their comfort, but they’re still a really comfortable shoe. The conforming upper and midsole ensures that the shoe will wrap nicely around your foot. There is a think padded heel counter that helps add to the comfort of the back part of the shoe. The shock absorption of the midsole and outsole ensure that your foot feels good throughout the run
The rock shield and thick outsole go a long way in protecting your foot from rocks and loose sediment. Protection and comfort sort of go hand in hand here. If your foot isn’t protected from the potential unknown elements of the trail, then your foot won’t feel comfortable. Brooks does a great job in protecting the bottom of your foot from not feeling rocks and such, which only boosts the overall comfort of the shoe. The lacing system is your standard lacing system, with an extra hole up top if you want to give things a slightly tighter fit.
The one complaint runners did have was that the tongue of the shoe rubbed against their ankle a little too much. This wasn’t a common complaint, but it’s something worth keeping an eye on if you do purchases these shoes.
The shoes are available in five different colors on the Brooks website. They’re very busy in their style. It’s not a smooth or sleek design, but then again, most trail shoes have more going on due to all of the layers. They definitely have a trail running feel with colors that are mainly dark. No bright, flashy colors on these shoes, they are meant for business.
It’s a trail shoe, so it has to be durable. It has to hold up under tough conditions and terrain. The Brooks Cascadi 11’s do just that. The whole shoe works together to provide outstanding durability, but it really start with the outsole. The hard rubber on the outsole, the two large areas, and the tracks on the edge all combines together to make for a shoe that holds up in any condition. The upper adds to the durability of the shoe. The elemental mesh and medial strips are tough materials that don’t rip and tear, even after high usage.
A few users use the shoe not just as a runner, but as a hiker as well. While Brooks has tried to steer customers away from using it while pack hiking, especially if you’re a heavy packer, it further shows the durability of the shoe. If you’re just going for a casual hike with little to know lacking, I don’t see the harm in using the Cascadia 11’s.
Some runners have said that they’ve gotten well over 300 miles out of the shoes. The Cascadia series is known for their durability. One runner commented that he’d gotten nearly 1,000 miles in a previous pair of Cascadia’s. While I would recommend a change long before you hit that mark, it just goes to show how durable the Cascadia’s are.
When you’re running on a trail, you need protection for your feet. Out of all the things that the Brooks Cascadia 11 does well, protection might be the best. The ballistic rock shield on the outsole ensures that those jagged rocks and pebbles don’t disturb your feet during your run. The entire outsole with the hard blown rubber ensures that the bottom of your foot isn’t going to feel the elements of the trail.
On the upper, the medial strips protect the top of your foot from any potential problems. The four point pivot posts keep your foot locked into place as you run, so you don’t have to worry about getting off track. The traction on the outsole also ensures that you’re not slipping or sliding while on the trail.
This is something that is often overlooked when it comes to protection, but it very important for any trail shoe. Finally, the inner and outer edges of the upper are water proof. This is huge if you’re running over some small puddles, across streams, or other wet areas. The water quickly drains out, your foot quickly gets warm again, and your foot still have the ability to breath.
If there’s one downfall of the Brooks Cascadia 11, it’s the shoes responsiveness. While I wouldn’t say that the shoe has no responsiveness, there’s definitely very little give during your run. The midsole provides strong cushion and conforming ability, but doesn’t have much spring. This is mainly due to the rock shield, which stiffens up the midsole.
The shoe also lacks flexibility in the forefoot. The shoe is meant for long runs on the trail, not any type of speed work. The weight of the shoe pretty much gives things away that it’s not a flexible or responsive shoe, and usage only confirms that. All of that said, if you have the Cascadia 10’s and are unhappy with the unresponsive nature and stiffness of the shoe, you’ll be happy to know that the Cascadia 11’s are slightly more responsive and flexible.
The shoe provides neutral arch support and are supportive throughout. The BioBoGo DNA in the midsole conforms to your foot to give you a nice supportive and natural ride. The same goes for the upper, which also conforms to the shape of your foot. The shoe provides medium grade support and just about every runner loves the support throughout the shoe. Given the cushioning of the shoe, it would be easy from Brooks to slack on the support, but they’ve found a very strong balance with this shoe.
The Brooks Cascadia 11 handles just about any terrain. Being a trail shoe, it’s designed to go across mud, dirt, rocks, sand, etc…. The outside tread on the outsole gives good support on multiple terrains, the pods on the forefoot provides excellent grip, the tread on the heel prevents any kind of potential slipping.
The shoes are available through Brooks website for $120. That’s a little on the high side for a pair of trail running shoes, but with the protection and durability this shoe offers, it’s well worth it. Again, you will get at least 300 miles with these shoes and it’s possible that you’ll be able to get double that. So look at it like you’re getting two pairs of shoes for $120 if you need to put your mind at ease over the price.
• BioMoGo Midsole Cushioning to adapts to your stride.
• Four-Point Pivot Posts that creates stability.
• Ballistic Rock Shield on the outsole that protects the bottom of your foot.
• Mesh upper with medial strips for extra protection and waterproof liners.
• Durable HPR Green outsole that provides great grip and traction on all surfaces.
• Caterpillar crash pad provides the shoe with comfort and stability
The Brooks Cascadia 11 may just be “an SUV for your feet.” With superior protection and durability, extra weight and lack of responsiveness, high price tag, but supreme comfort; the shoe draws many similarities to an SUV. If you’re looking for a top of the line trail shoe, the Cascadia 11 is the running shoe for you.