The outsole is composed of durable rubber with modest treads that really stick to the ground under your feet. These treads allow you to run up and down hills with confidence because the responsive midsole doesn’t like to slow down. I also like that it boasts a minimalistic upper that contours to the shape of your foot for excellent lockdown. Whether you are looking for a great daily trainer to zip around the trails, or you need something for race day, the Brooks Catamount is a great option.
Below, I wanted to take a deep dive into all of the advanced features that make this a fantastic trail runner.
The nitrogen-infused midsole is very responsive
TrailTack sticky rubber outsole
Very lightweight and agile
Widely spaced 3.5 mm lugs
TPU toe guard
Ballistic Rock Shield for excellent protection underfoot
Not very cushioned
Minimal color choices
Not ideal for running long distances
One of the very first things that I noticed about this trail runner is that its midsole is composed of Brook’s new DNA FLASH materials. I have become quite familiar with their DNA Loft and BioMoGo DNA midsoles, so the DNA FLASH intrigued me. Overall, this midsole material doesn’t have that same plush step-in feel as previous midsoles. This modest midsole is composed of a responsive compound that is infused with nitrogen to make it more snappy and lightweight. It's responsive, yet not very cushioned.
What it lacks in plush cushioning it makes up for in agility. Other midsoles from Brooks are often quite stiff and don’t allow for a lot of agile movements. The DNA FLASH, on the other hand, is so flexible that you may even forget that you are wearing shoes in the middle of your run. While the midsole material in the midsole is much thinner than other designs in the Brooks lineup, it provides runners with a light and snappy stride that will add an extra spring to your step.
The outsole of this design is built to conquer most trails. It boasts modest lugs on the outsole that grip to the ground under your feet but are spaced wide enough that it doesn’t make this shoe bottom-heavy. What I love most about the widely-spaced lugs is that they don’t pick up every rock and loose twig on the trail. You get added traction, but won’t feel the need to dig pebbles out of your lugs every few miles!
This outsole is composed of TrailTack sticky rubber that is perfect for running over slick surfaces such as muddy trails or wet leaves. What I also love about the construction of this outsole is that the rubber is insanely responsive and springy. Many trail runners are weighed down by thick and clunky outsoles, but the outsole on this design is surprisingly light.
While the outsole is light and nimble, it does a great job of protecting the bottom of your feet from jagged rocks and tree roots. The outsole also contains a Ballistic Rock Shield that is made from a hardened EVA compound that protects your feet without sacrificing agility and movement.
While it is built as a minimalist trail runner, the upper of this design is surprisingly light yet supportive. It provides runners with ample cushioning along the heel collar and tongue, and the lower profile provides ample agility when running on uneven surfaces. It also has a TPU toe guard that runs along the base of the shoe to provide an added layer of protection from rocks and tree roots. It also helps to guard against water when splashing through puddles.
It may provide you with ample cushioning and protection, but it is also incredibly breathable as well. If it is composed of lightweight mesh that stretches and contours to the shape of your foot and helps to lift hot air up and away. It’s important to note that while it has some water-resistant features, the mesh materials are not considered water-resistant, which means your socks may become soggy when running in the rain.
The Brooks Catamount is a trail runner through and through. 3.5 mm lugs along the outsole are made to grip the trails like Spiderman, while the lightweight and flexible frame provides you with a great range of motion. It’s important to note that this shoe is made for runners that want to go fast and are looking for a shoe that is both lightweight and responsive. It’s important to note that the minimal padding and thinner outsole don’t offer that plush step-in feel like other trail runners out there on the market.
Overall, I would recommend this shoe for runners that need a reliable and durable trail runner that won't slow them down. The lightweight design contours to your foot like a glove, and won’t hinder your full range of motion in the slightest. One of the only downsides to this shoe is that it doesn’t offer much at all in terms of padding and cushioning, which could be a deal-breaker for some.
One of the best features of the Brooks Catamount is the overall fit of this shoe. It boasts a super wide toe box that allows your toes to naturally splay inside of the shoe. Whether your feet are a little wide or narrow, there are few runners that run into any issues when it comes to the overall fit of this shoe. The stretchy laces really help to boost lockdown, and the thick and cushioned heel prevents the shoe from shifting around on your foot.
I typically suggest that you pop into your local shoe store to try them on before you buy them, but that isn’t entirely necessary when it comes to this shoe. It runs true to size, so if you are a 10 in previous Brook’s shoes, the same can be said for the Catamount. For runners that are new to Brooks, be sure to take ample measurements of your feet and compare those measurements to their reliable sizing chart offered on their website.
When the Catamount initially rolled out, it was only available in bright white (which is odd for a trail runner that is designed to get dirty). The idea was that you would paint your running story onto the bright white canvas of the shoe. While it was a unique and novel idea, many runners were turned off at the idea of a filthy white running shoe. As time went on, Brooks listened to their runners and rolled out a few darker colors that won’t show as much dirt and mud.
Overall, the style of this shoe is fairly basic. It boasts a low profile and slim design that looks like your basic running shoe. When shopping around for trail runners, many of the designs out there on the market are quite heavy and clunky. What I love most about this design is that it is surprisingly slim for a trail runner, and lighter than expected as well.
The downside of this versatile trail runner is that it is slightly more expensive than similar designs out there on the market. When taking into consideration the minimal support options on this shoe, I feel that the price point is a little too steep. However, this shoe is unlike many of the other trail runners, and there are few shoes to compare it to. It hits that sweet spot between speed and support and is possibly worth the higher price point for runners looking for a very specific trail runner that will help them reach top speeds.
The widely spaced 3.5 mm lugs really grip the ground under your feet without picking up every loose pebble and twig on the trails. The downside to this shoe is that it comes in at a pretty steep price point which may be a little too steep for some.
However, if you are in the market for something that is insanely durable and responsive, the Brooks Catamount is an excellent investment to keep your stride light and bright when the trail ahead is bumpy.