|Rating:||8.6 / 10|
|Comfort||1.7 / 2|
|Durability||1.8 / 2|
|Support Stability||1.8 / 2|
|Weight||1.6 / 2|
|Value for Money||1.7 / 2|
While Brooks is well known in running circles for many hikers its a brand that hasn’t had much traction (pardon the pun) in hiking circles. When I got a hold of a pair of the Brooks Cascadia 16s (the current model) in my size all I could think of was the phrase ‘Back to the future’. Around 8-10 years ago this was the go-to shoe on the US long distance trails. For the past six years I have been trying to get a pair of the Brooks Cascadia in my size. Recently the manufacturer has been making larger, wider options and the Australian supplier had them for sale so I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to try them out.
Let’s start with the appearance first. In the 2E sizing these are more of a ‘traditional’ trail running shoe not having an aggressive appearance like so many brands on the market. And I know this is purely a cosmetic thing but when you buy the 2E-wide fit your colour choice moves from ‘bright and cheery’ to ‘mushroom’. First world problem I know. Having said that if you opt for the standard version of these shoes the colour choice is broader and more to my taste
Now let’s move on to fit. In just about any brand on the market I’m a size 15 US. These shoes are a more traditional shape as opposed to my usual wider forefoot choices so I potentially could have gone down a size but after wearing them for over 200 km, I have come to love the size. Still on size this model is available in a standard width and for those with an average width foot. I opted for the 2E width which I find are slightly narrow compared to Altra shoes. In the case of the Brooks Cascadia 16’s the the shoe is wide from front to back unlike Altra’s or Topo’s which are a medium width in the back and wide at the front. After wearing the 2E for a number of weeks I became more and more comfortable with the width (and just a heads up; I prefer a 3E shoe fitting).
This shoe is a standard trail runner in that it has a 8mm drop from back to front. I found this to be a strange experience coming from a few years of wearing zero drop or low drop shoes. The 8 mm drop makes me feel I’m leaning forward and it took me about a week to get comfortable. If you don’t wear zero drop shoes then you’ll feel right at home in the Cascadias. Construction wise these are a relatively lightweight but very burly shoe. They will take anything that you throw at them and provide ample protection if you happen to kick the occasional rock. These shoes also have a gaiter trap system designed to wear with lycra gaiters.
Not all trail runners have rock plates in them and if you’ve never worn shoes with rock plates you don’t know what you’re missing. They provide excellent protection particularly if carrying heavy loads or trail running which is what they’ve been designed for. The sole on this shoe is aggressive and grips well in both dry and wet conditions. In addition the sole is also durable lasting well and even after more than 200 km, there is no wear and the cushioning is still supportive.
All up I came to love these shoes – they have great cushioning, great protection and are durable. Coming in both a standard width (for medium width feet) or a wide fit (2E) for all but the widest feet. The Brooks Cascadias have been around for many years and the current version, the Cascadia 16’s, are a great shoe for those into trail running and hiking alike.
Yes I would, although I prefer a shoe with a wider forefoot
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AUD $249.90 RRP
Brooks Cascadia 16 – Oyster-Mushroom-Orange colour
Brooks Cascadia 16 sole view
Brooks Cascadia 16 velcro front and rear view
Brooks Cascadia 16 velcro gaiter trap
Brooks Cascadia 16 side views
Tim in his US size 15 Cascadia 16s
This review was done with product purchased from a retail store by Australian Hiker