Brooks Cascadia 11 Review Facts
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 as an introductory pair in which to start running, Brooks is a highly recommended choice. The Brooks Cascadia 11 has been marketed as “an SUV for your feet” and is designed to provide a well-cushioned, balanced ride on the trail.
The trail-specific technologies built into the Cascadia 11 provide balance and protection while a runner is navigating the unpredictable terrain. Its suspension system balances the foot on the uneven ground while its ballistic rock shield protects the foot from hazards found on the trail. Its midsole unit conforms to the shape of the foot for superior comfort, while its responsive cushioning is attuned to the specific needs of each individual runner. The outsole of the Cascadia 11 provides reliable protection that stands up to wear and abrasion that delivers great traction even on wet and slippery surfaces. For the runner looking for a durable and dependable trail shoe, the Brooks Cascadia 11 is a great place to start—or even finish.
For any trail shoe to succeed, having a strong, supportive outsole is a must. Luckily, Brooks achieves just that with the Cascadia 11. Brooks uses HPR Green in constructing the outsole, which means that the entire outsole is made from environmentally friendly elements. 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 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 of impact during a run.
Brooks uses their proprietary BioMoGo DNA cushioning technology that provides a soft and comfortable feel in the midsole. It keeps the foot stable and even molds to the individual runner’s underfoot, which provides a little extra support and comfortability. There is also a Heel and Forefoot Pivot System, which uses posts to balance the foot during a run. This is a big deal for trail shoes as runners are constantly coming up against unpredictable surfaces and uneven topographies. Knowing that the foot will remain stable under tough conditions is peace of mind that can’t be beaten.
Next is the Ballistic Rock Shield, made from thermoplastic EVA sheath, which is placed between the midsole and outsole. This protects the foot from any sharp or jagged rocks
that one 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 provide 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 the foot, providing the runner with a comfortable and customizable fit.
There’s also an element lining that helps with any moisture, whether it comes from external conditions or from the foot itself. Brooks added a median strip at the toe box 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 Cascadia 11’s sock liner gives the upper an extra layer of cushioning. Like the rest of the upper, the sock liner molds to the runner’s foot. Overall, the upper is designed to give the runner a comfortable fit with breathable material.
These shoes weigh 11.8 ounces/335 grams for men, and 9.6 ounces/272 grams for women
. This high weight is to be expected when it comes to a tough and durable trail running shoe. The hard, blown rubber of the outsole and the protective midsole are mainly the elements responsible for the extra weight, and 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. For example, the upper mesh is made of an extremely breathable material. While the medial strips take away some aspects of the breathability, but 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 helps keep the foot dry. With the conforming features of the upper and midsole, the shoe doesn’t fit too tight and gives the foot plenty of room to breathe.
If you’re advertising your shoe as “an SUV for your feet” then it’s important to deliver comfort, considering that SUVs are designed to give the driver and passengers optimal legroom and plush seating. The Brooks Cascadia 11 may not be at an SUV level with their comfort, but they’re still a very comfortable shoe. The conforming upper and midsole ensure that the shoe will wrap nicely around the foot after lace-up. There is also a thickly 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 the foot feels good throughout the run
The rock shield and thick outsole go a long way in protecting the foot from rocks and loose sediment. Protection and comfort go hand in hand here: if the foot isn’t protected from the potential unknown elements of the trail, then it won’t feel comfortable. Brooks does a great job in protecting the bottom of the foot from not feeling rocks and other debris, which in turn boosts the overall comfort of the shoe. The lacing system is a standard one, with an extra hole up top for a slightly tighter fit. One complaint runners did have was that the tongue of the shoe rubbed against their ankle a little too much. However, this wasn’t a common complaint.
The shoes are available in five different colors on the Brooks website, and they’re very busy in their assembled elements. It’s not a smooth or sleek design, but then again, most trail shoes have a lot more going in their construction on due to all of the layers, which takes away from surface style. The Cascadia 11 definitely has a trail running look to it, with colors that are mainly dark. No bright, flashy colors on these shoes: they are meant for the serious business of navigating tricky terrains and topographies, not walking down the catwalk.
The Cascadia 11 is a trail shoe, which by nature means it has to be durable and be able to hold up under tough conditions and terrain. The shoe as a whole works in concert to provide outstanding durability, but this durability really starts with the outsole. The hard rubber on the outsole and the tracks on the edge combine 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 runners use the shoe not just as a trainer but for hiking as well. While Brooks has tried to steer customers away from using it for pack hiking--especially heavy packers--its popularity in this activity further goes to show the durability of this shoe. If one is going for a casual hike with little to no packing, the Cascadia 11 is a great choice, as well.
Some runners have claimed that they’ve gotten well over 300 miles out of the shoes. The Cascadia series
is known for their durability, and one runner commented that he had gotten nearly 1,000 miles in his previous pair of Cascadias. It’s claims like these that just go to show how durable the Cascadia series is.
When running on a trail, protection for the runner’s feet is paramount. Out of all the things that the Brooks Cascadia 11 does well, protection from the harsh elements of the trail might be the best. The ballistic rock shield placed between the midsole and the outsole ensures that jagged rocks and pebbles don’t disturb a runner’s feet during a ride. The entire outsole is covered with hard blown rubber that ensures the bottom of the foot isn’t going to feel the elements of the trail.
On the upper, the medial strips protect the top of the foot from any potential problems. The four-point pivot posts keep a runner’s foot locked into place during a run so one doesn’t have to worry about getting off-track. The traction on the outsole also ensures against slipping or sliding while on the trail. Finally, the inner and outer edges of the upper are waterproof. This is very important if running through small puddles, across streams, or across the wet terrain. The water quickly drains out, the foot quickly gets warm again, and the breathability of the upper is still retained.
If there’s one downside to the Brooks Cascadia 11, it’s the shoe’s responsiveness. While it would be unfair to say that the shoe has no responsiveness, there’s definitely less than a runner would desire. The midsole provides ample cushioning and conforms to the foot’s contours, but it doesn’t have much spring. This is mainly due to the rock shield underneath, which stiffens up the midsole.
The shoe also lacks flexibility in the forefoot. This shoe is meant for long runs on the trail, but not any type of speed work. The weight of the shoe reflects that it’s not a flexible or responsive shoe, and its active usage only confirms that. That said, the Cascadia 11 slightly more responsive and flexible than its predecessor.
The Cascadia 11 provides neutral arch support and is supported throughout. The BioBoGo DNA in the midsole conforms to the contours of the foot to give a nice supportive and natural ride. The same goes for the upper, which also conforms to the shape of the foot. The Cascadia 11 provides medium grade support and most neutral runners will appreciate the support it provides. Given the solid cushioning of the shoe, it would be easy for Brooks to slack in the support department, but they’ve found a strong balance within this shoe.
The Brooks Cascadia 11 handles well on just about any terrain. Being a trail shoe, it’s designed to traverse mud, dirt, rocks, sand, and just about any other unexpected terrain, one may find on the trail. The outside tread on the outsole performs ably on multiple terrains, while the pods on the forefoot provide excellent grip, and the tread on the heel prevents any kind of potential slipping.
Trail shoes tend to run a little higher in price than the average running shoe, and the Brooks Cascadia 11 is no exception. However, with the protection and durability this shoe offers, this slightly elevated price is well worth it. Runners can expect to get at least 300 miles out of these shoes, and it’s possible that mileage could be doubled. With this in mind, the price tag for the Cascadia 11 makes these trail shoes a solid investment.
The traction on the outsole of the Cascadia 11 is a fair standard found on many trail-running shoes
. Its aggressive lugs provide a great deal of traction across difficult terrain, and the company guarantees that whether over rocks, mud, or slippery terrain the Cascadia 11 will perform well.
The flexibility of the Cascadia 11 is not necessarily its best features. After all, the rock plate placed between the midsole and outsole limits its overall flexibility, while its upper—though breathable—is also of sturdy construction. However, the upper also conforms well to the shape of the foot after lace-up, as does its midsole, which will conform to the contours of the runner’s foot over time.
The stability of the Cascadia 11 is best for neutral runners, as there is a 10mm drop, which is standard on most running shoes. That said, there are support posts—specifically the Four Point Pivot Posts--which help balance the shoe to provide extra stability. However, this is not specifically a stability shoe
The heel to toe drop of the Cascadia 11 is 10mm, which is standard for most running shoes. This means that for runners used to the traditional drop found on running shoes, there will be no need for a period of adjustment with this trail runner. However, those with pronation
and stability issues may find this drop slightly too high.
• BioMoGo Midsole Cushioning adapts to the runner’s stride
• Four-Point Pivot Posts encourage stability
• Ballistic Rock Shield on the outsole protects the bottom of the foot
• Mesh upper with medial strips for extra protection
• 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,” as the company suggests. With superior protection and durability, extra weight for hardiness, and supreme comfort, the shoe draws many similarities to an SUV. If a runner is in the market for a top of the line trail shoe, the Cascadia 11 may just be the next trainer that gets you over that hill, further down the trail and conquering that extra mile in comfort and ease.