Brooks Caldera 2 Review Facts
Brooks Running has been a go-to brand for all types of running gear after the brand cut down its line by 50% in 2001. Though their simple yet stylish apparel is loved by runners of all levels, it’s their trail running shoes that have earned them continuous praise. Their models are able to strike the perfect balance between durable protection and breathable comfort that athletes search for in their footwear. Their original Caldera model achieved this quite well in more ways than one. Its trail-optimized rubber outsole featured hexagon shaped gripping lugs which held tightly onto even the most rugged terrains yet weren’t too bulky for use on paved roads. Its midsole provided durable cushioning while safeguarding the runner from potential hazards. And its brightly colored upper provided proper ventilation as well as protection from the elements. The Caldera 2 retains all of the features that runners loved in the original version while providing a number of much-needed updates.
The Caldera 2 kept the exact same outsole as its predecessor, much to the delight of Brooks fans. Both are constructed using the same sticky rubber
compound, which ensures a longer-lasting wear. Reviewers state that they are especially happy that these shoes also share the same 3D hex-shaped gripping lugs. These work to provide the strongest grip possible, even in snowy conditions, and also safeguard the foot from potential hazards found on trails. As a result, runners feel completely stabilized and protected no matter what.
As the name suggests, the Caldera 2’s BioMoGO DNA midsole features two of Brooks’ trademarked technologies: BioMoGo and DNA. BioMoGo is a non-toxic and biodegradable material that adapts to the runner’s individual foot shape. DNA technology consists of a super viscous fluid
that becomes stiffer as more force is applied to it. This results in greater flexibility and more durable comfort. The combination of these two features results in long-lasting, cushiony support that completely adapts to the runner’s movements and unique form. Reviewers have taken note of how comfortable they feel even after running long distances and through difficult trails. And, when compared to the original version, the added height in its platform allows for even further cushioning and protective measures.
A significant change from its predecessor, the Caldera 2’s upper features Ariaprene mesh paired with Brooks’ trademarked Condura knit mesh. Ariaprene gives this model the advantage of being more breathable and durable than the original version. Those who are environmentally conscious also appreciate this material, as it is created using recycled and non-toxic rubber. Condura is laid over it to provide additional warmth and sturdiness. The rest of the upper remains the same as before. Its laces
are still made of the same stretchy woven material, the protective toe bumper is still in place, and the overlays still feature the exact same designs as the first Caldera model.
The Caldera 2 is a standard weight for a trail running shoe, with men’s sizes coming in at 9.9 oz and women’s averaging around 9 oz. Most consumers expect this type of shoe to have at least some weight to it as an indication of its sturdy and protective features. Yet they also do not want their footwear to be cumbersome and impede in their difficult, long-distance runs. Thankfully, this model manages to strike that balance perfectly, offering a secure fit without feeling bulky or weighed down.
As with the previous model, runners are extremely grateful for how well ventilated
the Caldera 2 is. Brooks has swapped out the original shoe’s Neoprene upper for lighter Ariaprene, which reviewers note is considerably more breathable. They also feel more at ease knowing that this material is made from recycled rubber and is decomposable when tossed away. Runners enjoy knowing that they don’t have to sacrifice durable protection for breathable comfort when wearing this shoe during difficult runs.
Reviewers are split when it comes to the amount of comfort the Caldera 2 offers. They enjoy the adaptive and long-lasting cushioning brought on by its midsole. And they are grateful for the breathable protection of its upper. Runners who have successfully broken this shoe in say that they feel completely comfortable and supported no matter what terrain they run through. Unfortunately, those with wider feet haven’t been able to enjoy this feature. Reviewers have noted that this version fits narrower than the previous model. And no matter how long they tried to break it in, they were left with blisters and foot pain after each run.
The Caldera 2 maintains the same style that was featured in the previous model. Though newer technologies have been put in place, this model still retains the first version’s silhouette, tread pattern, and dark-hued upper material. However, the overlay designs have now changed from diagonal stripes to an X-shaped pattern, with the brand’s logo placed over it in a contrasting color. Another major change is this model’s new color
patterns. Brooks swapped out the gradient effect for a more multi-colored design. The only downside is that men and women are now limited to one color each. Black/Blue/Yellow is available for men, while Navy/Plum/Icy Blue is featured in women’s sizes.
Brooks has gained a solid reputation for creating incredibly long-lasting running shoes, and the Caldera 2 definitely works to maintain this. The sticky rubber compound that constructs its upper is optimized to withstand constant use on rocky trails. Aside from providing flexible support, its BioMoGo DNA midsole is able to adapt to the runner's individual shape and safeguard the foot from impact while still retaining initial form. Its upper relies primarily on Ariaprene, a lightweight and breathable form of rubber that can withstand greater usage than typical knit materials. When paired with a strong Condura knit mesh for added durability, buyers know that they have a shoe that can hold up to their rugged activities
Runners have stated that they feel completely protected from trailing hazards while wearing the Caldera 2. Though it does not include the Rock Protection Plate that was featured in the previous model, the outsole’s sticky rubber compound and 3D hex-shaped gripping lugs have proved to be more than adept at safeguarding the runner. This is aided even further by it BioMoGo DNA midsole, which adapts not only to the wearer's foot but also to the terrains underneath. Reviewers state that they felt perfectly cushioned as they run for long distances. Its double-layered mesh upper performs the extraordinary task of keeping the foot cooler in the summer and warm during wintertime runs. This is thanks to the lightweight breathability of the Ariaprene and the durable warmth of the Condura knit. Further protection is given via the shoe’s toe bumper, which safeguards from potential injuries and accidents.
All-in-all, consumers find the Caldera 2 to be a highly responsive shoe. The durable outsole can easily grip a number of wet or dry terrains, from mountain trails and snow-covered paths to paved roads. The BioMoGo DNA midsole cushions the foot against all of these rough terrains and provides much-needed flexibility. Its upper performs several tasks at once by offering breathable comfort, a durable wear, and protection against dirt and debris. Reviewers do wish that the shoe’s outsole was as flexible as its midsole and upper. It should also be noted that its upper is not waterproof in any way.
The Caldera 2’s supportive nature starts within its rubber compound outsole, providing a secure and durable base on which the runner can safely move. Its midsole takes on the bulk of this feature, providing responsive and flexible cushioning as it adapts to both the runner's movements and the terrains they run across. Though its dual-layered Ariaprene and Condura knit upper are already much sturdier than standard knit mesh, synthetic rubberized overlays provide additional structure to ensure that the shoe maintains its shape. Padding around the collar and tongue are added to support the ankle
and ensure that the foot is in place.
Good trail running shoes don’t just perform well on different terrains. They can also help the runner move safely through different types of weather. The Caldera 2 is able to achieve this for runners of all levels. They feel completely secure running across mud and dirt, through forest trails and up or down mountainous terrains whether these surfaces are wet or dry. Many have even run through snow
without feeling any risk of slipping. Beginners would even find these shoes useful, as they can also perform on paved roads without feeling cumbersome. This allows newer trail runners to slowly work their way up towards handling more difficult trails.
Across all online outlets, from Amazon to Brooks’ own website, the Caldera 2 runs for $140. Though it seems like a great deal of money, especially to first-time runners, this is actually considered an average price
for trail running shoes. Furthermore, when considering the high quality of this model’s features, as well as its overall durability, the amount that buyers will spend will be worth every penny in the long run. Those who are still in need of a cheaper price can find some terrific deals on eBay as long as they check the seller’s reviews beforehand.
Brooks running shoes are known for their incredible traction, and the Caldera 2 definitely does not disappoint in this area. It retains the same 3D hex-shaped gripping lugs as the previous model and therefore provides the same incredible grasp. Runners feel completely secure when running across rugged terrains of all types, whether they were wet or dry. Many have also run across snowy conditions without any issues at all. Yet, the shape and size of its tread pattern allow runners to successfully transition onto paved roads without feeling impeded.
The one feature that many trail running shoes struggle with is providing a flexible wear. Unfortunately, the Caldera 2 seems to have this exact disadvantage. Though its midsole and upper provides ample amounts of flexibility, its outsole doesn’t follow suit and is known to be too stiff for most runners’ preferences. Though some were able to fix this slightly with constant wear, others still found it to be too rigid. And when combined with its smaller than average fit, several reviewers had no choice but to swap these out for another shoe.
Reviewers credit the outsole’s tread pattern with providing a very stable run. Its strong grasp on mud, rock, snow, and paved roads ensured that the runner felt secure and agile no matter what terrains they ran across. The BioMoGo DNA midsole aids this feature with further cushioning and durability, adapting to the runner’s foot shape. Synthetic rubberized overlays help the shoe maintain its shape and keep it better locked into place. Finally, the shoe’s stretchy woven laces provide a secure yet customizable fit.
Just like its predecessor, the Caldera 2 features a low drop platform with a heel-to-toe drop of just 4mm. Its overall platform height has been raised by 3mm, allowing for a subtle yet noticeable increase in the shoe’s level of cushioning. Trail running shoes typically feature low or zero drop platforms to enable better balance and posture and to allow the runner greater control when traveling across rough terrains.
- Sticky rubber compound outsole provides durability and limited flexibility
- BioMoGo DNA midsole for adaptive and durable cushioning
- Double-layered Ariaprene and Condura knit mesh upper
- Rubberized overlays for additional structure
- One color option each for men and women
- Secure traction on many types of wet and dry terrains
- Low drop platform for greater balance
Runners are thrilled to see that the updated version of Brooks' Caldera model is still quite similar to the original version. The same outsole, midsole, and upper silhouette are present, as are its sturdy protection and breathable wear. Some necessary improvements were made as well. The upper is now dual-lined for added durability and greater responsiveness to temperature changes. There is still some room for improvement, however, as the outsole's flexibility is lacking and those with wider feet will find this model uncomfortable. Still, when looking at the overall design and intended purposes of this shoe, it's easy to see why runners have been relying on Brooks for many years.