Brooks Cascadia 15 Review

Join our private, growing community of passionate runners.

Where to Buy
Holabird Sports Link
$109.95See Deal
Backcountry Link
See Deal
rei.com Link
See Deal
Road Runner Sports Link
See Deal
Our Conclusion
Trail runners can get pretty aggressive, but the Brooks Cascadia 15 dials back those heavy and aggressive features to craft one killer neutral trail running shoe. While it’s technically listed as a neutral runner, it offers up some very modest stability features that help you keep your balance on rocky or gravely trailheads. What I love most about this design is that it walks that fine line between neutral running and stability.

The pivot points along the outer edge of the shoe work to gently guide your foot into a nice and even gait cycle when running on uneven terrain, which really helps to take undue pressure off of your knees and joints that can arise when the ground is uneven. It has a great heel counter that locks your feet in place, and a wide toe box that works together to keep your feet locked in while tackling steep uphill climbs or downhill descents. Plus, it comes in sleek and punchy color options that are bound to get you noticed.

Below, I wanted to take a deep dive into all of the advanced features that make the Brooks Cascadia 15 a really great running shoe for newbies or veteran runners.
Where to Buy
Holabird Sports Link
$109.95See Deal
Backcountry Link
See Deal
rei.com Link
See Deal
Road Runner Sports Link
See Deal
Pros & Cons
Pros
Hydrophobic mesh drains very well
Pivot points in the midsole increase stability
Transitions easily from trails to sidewalks
Includes gaiter attachment hooks
Cons
Weak lockdown
Slightly expensive
Heavier than expected
Key Features
Key Features
MIDSOLE

The midsole in this trail runner is composed of a super thick layer of Brooks’ proprietary BioMoGo DNA foam material. When you slip your foot inside of this shoe, you won’t experience that plush and cushioned step-in feel, despite the extra thick layer of foam that adds quite a bit of weight to this shoe. However, this chunky EVA foam really starts to sing as you pick up the pace. As you move through your gait cycle, this midsole offers excellent energy feedback and impact absorption. Plus, the thicker foam protects your feet from jagged rocks and gravel.

Speaking of protection, this midsole is also reinforced with a rock plate along the bottom of the midsole. This rock plate is designed to protect your feet from jagged rocks while helping to stabilize your gait to keep it quick, light, and pain-free. The rock plate offers some protection, but it isn’t too aggressive so that you will still be able to feel the ground under your feet, you just won’t be left with bruises from rocky terrain at the end of your run!

UPPER

One of the biggest changes made to this newest design in the Cascadia lineup is the construction of the upper. This upper is made from hydrophobic mesh materials that really shine out there on the trails. While the knit looks a little bit tighter than previous models, it still maintains the same level of breathability as previous models of this shoe. This knit works to lift hot air up and away from your feet, while also offering excellent drainage. It even boasts drainage panels along the sides of the foot, so you can confidently splash through puddles without feeling like you are wading through a swamp during the rest of your run. This material is also incredibly quick-drying, which works to keep your socks nice and dry to prevent blisters.

The upper also has smaller quality-of-life improvements as well. It has a small elastic band at the base of the laces that allow runners to lock their laces in place so that they are being dragged through the mud, and also increases the chance that they will actually stay laced throughout your run! It has a strong heel pull tab, and gaiter straps for those extra-difficult trailheads.

OUTSOLE

The outsole of the Cascadia 15 is composed of Brooks’ proprietary TrailTack gum rubber outsole that is the real star of this show. It is one of the features that has remained fairly consistent throughout the lifecycle of this trail rubber. It boasts modest multi-directional. While it’s built for the trails, it can easily transition to the sidewalks or even the gym without the lugs feeling too awkward under your feet when off of the trails.

Where this TrailTack outsole really sings is when the weather or trail conditions are a little less than ideal. When running through gravel or rocks, the outsole of this shoe really grips the ground and keeps you stable and upright, even when moving at a speedy pace. The slightly tacky finish to this outsole makes it a great shoe for running on slick leaves, mud, puddles, and even snow.

PERFORMANCE

This shoe is built for runners that wish they could take their neutral road runners out on the trails. While it is built like a neutral roadrunner, the subtle stability features such as the pivot points, rock plate, and TrailTack outsole make it really shine out there on the trails. If you are just getting into trail running, I feel like the Cascadia 15 is a great place to start. It performs like a big and blocky stability shoe, but gives you a good deal of movement and flex for running speedy laps or long distances.

Plus, the versatility of this shoe makes it an excellent value. Many trail runners fall a little flat when running on sidewalks or to the gym. The modest and still lugs on the outsole of this shoe combined with the lightweight and breathable upper allows this trail runner to easily transition off of the trails as needed.

FIT

While this shoe fits true to size, there are a few hiccups when it comes to the overall fit of this shoe. As I mentioned before, this shoe has a really stable heel counter that locks your foot in place, as well as a wide toe box. Some runners found that the stiff heel and wide toe box, combined with the not-so-stretchy upper limits lockdown. Some runners found that this shoe loves to shift around on their feet, and those with narrow feet found that downhill descents caused their toes to jam against the toe cap.

Runners with generally average or wide feet didn’t struggle as much with the overall fit of this shoe, however. If you have a wider foot, or don’t mind a trail runner that fits a little looser on your foot (some runners actually prefer a shoe that doesn’t fit so tightly) the fit of this shoe won’t be much of an issue when you hit the trails.

STYLE

What can I say, I love the overall styling of this shoe. Many trail runners have a tendency to look a little too utilitarian. The Cascadia 15 works its hardest to perform like a beefy trail runner with the stylish look of a neutral road running shoe. It boasts a low profile and a modern and sleek silhouette and comes in a wide variety of bright and punchy color options. If you love more neutral colors, or something a little more bright and sporty, the Cascadia 15 offers styling options catered to most tastes.

PRICE

Overall, the price of this shoe is pretty fair. It isn’t exactly a budget-friendly purchase, but it isn’t the most expensive trail runner out there on the market. Sure, it may cost a little bit more, but when you take into consideration the durability and versatile performance of this trail runner, it is a really great value that will hold up over hundreds and hundreds of miles together.
Comparisons to Previous Versions
Many of the performance features have remained largely the same between the Cascadia 15 and previous iterations. It utilizes the same style of TrailTack outsole that is able to transition from trails to sidewalks, and the construction of the BioMoGo DNA midsole is largely the same. However, one of the biggest changes made to the recent iteration of the Cascadia is the construction of the upper.

The use of hydrophobic mesh is new to the Cascadia 15 and makes this shoe well worth the slightly higher price point. What makes this style of mesh so great for trail running is that it is incredibly breathable, and is built to tackle some pretty messy trailheads. The quick-drying material prevents soggy socks, and key draining ports along the side of the shoes allow you to splash through puddles without risking soggy socks rubbing your feet raw.
Verdict
If you are looking to tackle some pretty difficult trails and want a shoe that is lightweight and made for speed, the Brooks Cascadia 15 is a great choice. Basically, it’s a neutral road running shoe that is built with extra protection and stability features to keep your feet protected when running on rocky and uneven terrain. The pivot points in the midsole help to keep your balance on rocky surfaces without limiting your full range of motion.

Plus, the breathable upper does a great job at keeping your feet high and dry in soggy weather conditions. If you are looking to get a little dirty, this shoe is a great option that is well worth the slightly higher price point.
Where to Buy
Holabird Sports Link
$109.95See Deal
Backcountry Link
See Deal
rei.com Link
See Deal
Road Runner Sports Link
See Deal
By Tara Summerville
Last updated:
Ana Nodilo
Where to buy
Best offer on: Jul. 29. 2021

Join our private, growing community of passionate runners

Inside RunnerClick Pro, runners of all strengths come together to meet and support one another, get answers to burning questions, learn from experts, participate in personal challenges, and more.