Brooks Cascadia 12 Review Facts
Brooks has been around in the running shoe market since 1914, making it one of the longest lasting American athletic wear companies on the market today. They have always been ahead of the curve, offering consumers the newest technological advances in not only road running shoes, but trail options as well.
The Brooks Cascadia line has been around for a while too, as indicated by this being the twelfth iteration of this shoe. The Cascadia is one of the most popular trail shoe lines available on the market today and for good reason. Not only is this particular shoe, the Cascadia 12, a stylish looking trail running option, especially for folks who like their footwear to pop with a bit (or a lot) of color, but they’re incredibly versatile, supportive and protective as well. Let’s take a deeper dive into the Cascadia 12 and see if it lives up to the hype of its predecessors.
The outsole of these shoes is made with the company’s HPR Green material. This environmentally-friend unit uses a silica-reinforcing agent that helps to reduce the need for fillers that are known to be harmful to the environment. The silica bonds are more durable and elastic in nature, which helps to boost the overall traction properties of the shoe, though we will get into this more in the Traction section of our review. The sole of the shoe features multi-directional lugs that provide extra grip
and the Ballistic Rock Shield boasts a thermoplastic EVA shield that helps to provide protection for your feet from rocks, debris and other terrains that can be difficult. The full-length and segmented crash pad in the outsole of the Cascadia 12 helps to accommodate any foot landing while encouraging a smoother heel-toe transfer.
The Cascadia 12 features Brooks’ popular BioMoGo DNA cushioning system in the midsole. This is a foam material that helps to provide runners with a responsive and well-cushioned ride for all-day comfort. This special foam ensures that the shoe will adapt to your individual stride. This material also makes up the sockliner of this shoe, helping to provide contoured support for the bottom of your feet. The S-257 Cushsole is a gel-like compound that adds to the cushioning experience, providing unparalleled flexibility that encourages natural movement of the foot. The Cascadia 12 also features Brooks’ Pivot Post System that is comprised of a set of points to help add stability and balance when you’re traversing over difficult terrain.
The main material used in the upper of this shoe is Brooks’ Element Mesh. This breathable material ensures feet stay cool and dry during any length of run. Underneath this mesh fabric is another moisture-wicking fabric that really aids in the breathability of this shoe. The Conformable Saddle Construction of the upper provides a secure wrapped feeling
in the midfoot area for a snug and precise fit. Connected to the lacing system of this shoe is a mixture of microfiber and synthetic overlays that move with your foot as you run, providing a customized feeling fit.
The men’s version of this shoe weighs in at around 343 grams (12 ounces), while the women’s version is 298 grams (10.5 ounces). Some reviewers found that these shoes are a little heavier than they prefer for a trail running shoe. The extra weight is due in part to the thick fabric on the upper as well as the BioMoGo DNA cushioned midsole. While they may be a bit heavier than other options on the market, the Cascadia 12 is still a great trail shoe, but may be one you want to leave at home if you’re setting out for a longer distance run.
The Cascadia 12 features a breathable mesh upper that is meant to provide a dry and comfortable in-shoe environment. There is a waterproof layer around the bottom section of the upper that is present to ensure water and mud won’t enter the shoe. There is a moisture-managing material underneath the main fabric in the upper that is supposed to help keep the foot dry and at a comfortable temperature. That said, through reading some of the online reviews for this product, we learned that some folks found the mesh fabric to be too thick on the Cascadia 12, making them an uncomfortably hot shoe to be wearing during the humid summer months.
If there is anything we learned in doing our research for these shoes it’s that they have been heavily praised in terms of their comfort level. Nearly every review we researched mentioned how comfortable these are. Thanks to Brooks’ patented cushioning in the midsole, the Cascadia 12 felt like a dream to run in, providing all-day comfort on terrain that usually gives runners a beating. Some reviewers mentioned they might not be the best shoe to take on extremely long excursions, but for most trail runners, they will provide more than enough comfort. Whether it’s the breathable mesh upper keeping your feet dry and comfortable or the cozy toe box, you’re more than likely going to find the Cascadia 12 really performing well in terms of comfort. It should be noted here, however, that most of our research pointed to needing to order up half a size in order to find the perfect fit.
The Cascadia 12 is a rugged looking shoe, which is perfect because it’s constructed to be that way as well. The men’s version is available in four different colorways like green/orange/black and black/blue/green, meanwhile the women’s style is available in five different bright color options like blue/pink, red/purple/yellow or blue/mint. No matter what color option you choose, you’re sure to stand out with these shoes. They don’t offer many ‘classic’ colorways like black on black, so these may not be the most appealing shoe choice if you like something a little less ‘out there’ in terms of style.
The Cascadia 12 is a long-lasting shoe, thanks in part to the durable and trail-optimized construction of the outsole. Many reviewers mentioned that they took these shoes through some rough terrain and were happy with how well they held up against the elements. That said, one consumer found that while the outsole and midsole of the shoes held up well throughout their trail running regimen, the upper was a little less durable and beginning to fray on the toe box after about 200 miles or so.
When it comes to trail running shoes, protection is definitely one of the features you want to see so as to avoid injury while you’re out on the trails. The Cascadia 12 checks this box in more than one way. The Ballistic Rock Shield is comprised of a thermoplastic EVA material that is found between the out and midsoles of the shoe. This shield helps to provide trail runners with confidence on difficult terrain with rocks, debris, and uneven surfaces. There is a waterproof layer on the bottom half of the upper that will help to protect your feet from water or mud getting in. The grippy lugs found on the outsole are present to help keep your feet stable and ensure you won’t be injured when you’re out traversing the trails.
Thanks to the BioMoGo DNA found in the midsole of the Cascadia 12, these are a fairly responsive trail running shoe option. This technology from Brooks is known for adding high amounts of responsiveness and bounce back for runners. The Caterpillar Crash Pad in the outsole is made of segmented sections that are supposed to help aid in natural movement and add responsiveness on each and every step. That said, some reviewers found that the foam didn’t really live up to its expectations, not providing enough spring on longer runs.
The Brooks Cascadia 12’s provide neutral support for runners. This simply means that they’re not necessarily optimized to provide the most structured environment for folks who are known to over or under pronate. These shoes would suit the needs of people who do not require any extra arch support
. There is some support in the midsole from the sock liner that Brooks has equipped with their BioMoGoFoam. This sock liner will provide some contoured support to the bottom of the foot.
The Cascadia 12’s will be your go-to shoe if you love to take your runs to the trails. The outsole performs very well on a number of different types of terrain – mud
, rocks, gravel, etc. If you prefer to run on roads or cement, you may want to bypass these shoes or else purchase them for use strictly on the trails. Most runners will find that the Cascadia 12 is too heavy to be used consistently on pavement.
The MSRP of the Cascadia 12 is $180. That said, however, you can usually find much better deals on online retailers like Amazon. Depending upon the color and size you require, you can find this shoe as low as $80 online. Even if you’re looking at the higher end of the price point spectrum for the Cascadia 12’s, we still believe you’re getting a great deal. This shoe has been well-received by most reviewers and the Cascadia line from Brooks is one of the most popular trail shoe options on the market today.
Reviewers mostly raved about how well these shoes held up on the trails. There does, however, seem to be one exception. These don’t seem to do very well on wet and slick rocks. The backward-facing lugs are a nice touch as they help to provide traction
on downhill portions of trail. The trail-optimized make of the outsole not only provides runners with durability that will make these shoes long-lasting, but also protection against rocks and other harsh and rugged surfaces.
As mentioned earlier in our review, the midsole features Brooks’ S-257 Cushsole that not only strengthens the cushioning
of the Cascadia 12, but also helps to make it more flexible and adaptable. That said, the rock plate that the Cascadia 12 utilizes does compromise some of the flexibility of the shoe. Of course, the rock plate is an important aspect of the shoe as it adds some necessary protection for rugged trails, but some consumers may find that it takes away from the versatility in the same breath.
Stability is a feature of utmost importance when we’re considering trail running shoes. The Cascadia 12 does a fantastic job providing stability whether you’re traversing up a windy and technical trail or if you’re running straight ahead. The overlays are heat-molded and help to provide a sense of stability in the upper as well. The shoe also features a Pivot Post System which is a set of points that help to balance the foot during particularly difficult and unpredictable terrain.
The drop in both the men’s and women’s version of this shoe is 10mm. This simply means that there is a 10mm difference between the heel and forefoot of the shoe. This is a pretty standard drop for a trail running shoe.
-DNA Midsole cushioning
-Element Mesh material to help repel some degree of water
-Rock plate for added protection from certain terrain types
-Multi-directional lugs in the outsole for stability on uneven terrain
-HPR Green outsole for long-lasting stability
If you are a trail runner, you need to add the Brooks Cascadia 12 to your footwear repertoire. The only exception to this case is if you are a long-distance trail runner. Even then, consider adding this shoe to your closet for shorter runs. The Cascadia 12 provides consumers with a lot of value for a relatively cheap price point especially when you consider all of the premium features you’re getting.