As the daylight fades and temperatures start to drop, or the slop and mess of spring melt-off starts to happen, many of us are forced inside to the treadmill. While the treadmill is not an all-bad, the allure of a shoe that is aimed at keeping you running outside no matter what the conditions are very enticing.
The Brooks Cascadia has always received high praise as a trail running shoe and the Gore-Tex version is a nice adaptation to an already solid shoe. I began testing these shoes at the beginning of winter in what promised to be apt conditions for testing a waterproof shoe.
Now, at the end of winter, these shoes are a welcome piece of footwear for the slop of spring meltdown that western Montana is currently enveloped in.
After lacing up the Cascadia 13 GTX my feet felt completely at home. The Cascadia hugs the heel very snug and tightly.
The lace cage compresses evenly, distributing the pressure of the tongue super comfortably on the top of the foot. The super tight weave of the mesh upper is pliable yet durable and allows the foot to move where and when it needs to.
The toe box is on the narrow side but it did not feel cramped at all. The sizing is true to fit. The shoe felt a little rigid at first but after three runs in the sloppy Missoula conditions, they have begun to loosen up nicely. So, while some breaking in is required in my opinion, it was very minimal at best.
While a lot of Gore-Tex running shoes carry weight like a tank, the Brooks Cascadia is pretty light (12.3 oz) compared to other Gore-Tex trail runners I have experienced. Other leading brands weigh in between 14 and 20 ounces.
Advances in Gore-Tex fabric technology make it lighter and less rigid than older versions. These shoes are light and nimble and sit right in the weight range of other non-GTX trail runners.
While some waterproof trail runners look more like hiking shoes, the Cascadia presents like a true running shoe with the added waterproof bonus. The Gore-Tex fabric is remarkably breathable. Not once did I feel as if my feet were excessively dampened by sweat. The breathability of the shoe is remarkable.
My first run out in these shoes saw some of Montana’s classic “not sure if it is fall, winter or spring” weather. The messy mix of slush, water and snow was a perfect test for a Gore-Tex shoe. The Cascadia 13 was impressive in these conditions. The waterproofing and breathability of the shoe performed flawlessly. My feet were dry and happy the entire time.
The Cascadia shed water nicely and did not hold onto the water like some shoe might. Currently, I find myself pushing into the higher elevations and the Cascadia is perfect on these runs since there is still a good deal of snow left up high. While the Cascadia would be overkill down low right now, it’s finding lots of use in the wet high country.
The sole of the Cascadia is burly, to say the least. The sole provides a nice wide base for added stability on slippery surfaces.
The outer hexagonal studs offer an excellent lateral cleat on both sides of the forefoot.
Brooks uses its proprietary BioMoGo DNA technology in the midsole and it’s both responsive on the trail and cushioned enough to make the longer efforts less impactful. On the first few runs that I did in these shoes I felt very connected to the road and trail surface but cushioned enough to push as hard and as long as I wanted to.
To be clear, the shoe is not plush or maximally cushioned, but it does have enough cushioning to forgive the impact of those unintended rocks or roots in the wrong place on the foot.
The rugged 3D rubberized mudguard that extends from the toe box to the heel is nothing short of armor. It is tough and pliable at the same time. While protecting your foot from the lashing of ice and other trail debris, the mudguard does not sacrifice the flexibility of the shoe one bit.
Brooks uses what they call a rock shield guard to improve stability and disperse the impact of those more pointed encounters your sole might have on the run. This combined with the cushion of the DNA midsole makes for a smooth and confident ride. The triangular Pivot technology allows for targeted flex in just the right spots on the sole of the shoe.
The Cascadia 13 GTX has the added bonus of a gaiter attachment on the heel of the shoe which is nice for really sloppy spring conditions or deep snow.
There is also a well thought out small pouch on the tongue of the shoe that you can tuck your laces up into. This is a convenient addition for a clean look and to keep yourself free of the annoyance of getting hung up on brush and bramble.
- Lightweight for a GTX shoe
- On the expensive side
The Brooks Cascadia 13 GTX is a great choice for the runner who is not willing to move things indoors when it gets cold and sloppy. The shoe finds its home on a variety of trail surfaces and keeps the runner high and dry. Gore-Tex, the industry standard in waterproof technology performs just as promised with the Cascadia, waterproof and breathable.
The comfort and quality of the Brooks brand really come through in this shoe. It’s light, responsive, waterproof and solidly constructed. At an MSRP of $160.00, the Brooks Cascadia GTX seems a bit spendy but it is worth every penny and a must for any serious runner’s arsenal. The Cascadia 13 GTX is certain to keep you running outside regardless of what the seasons throw your way.
Good to know
- The Brooks Cascadia 13 GTX same as with its original counterpart the Cascadia 13 is a trail running shoe that is crafted for those who have neutral foot mechanisms. It utilizes the 3D Rubber Print Mud Guard. The goal of which is to protect the platform against the hazardous trail debris.
- Used in the shoe is the internal saddle system. The primary focus of this feature is to provide a close-to-foot fit.
- Integrated into the Brooks Cascadia 13 GTX is the Ariaprene tongue. This component of the shoe aims to deliver breathability and comfort.
- The Pivot Post System used in the making of the footwear. This is updated to provide an interconnected stabilizing system. The new 5th pivot is utilized at the first metatarsal to improve flexibility and enhance propulsion in the toe-off phase.
- Another update is the slightly increased softness in the underfoot area. As a result, additional comfort is experienced by the user all throughout the activities.
The Brooks Cascadia 13 GTX is larger when compared to the standard measurements. Runners are advised to get a half small size to be able to get a more agreeable coverage. The available width for the women’s version is B – Medium, while the D – Medium for the men’s version.
The HPR Green is integrated into the outsole of the Brooks Cascadia 13 GTX. It makes use of environmentally-friendly materials that are focused on delivering durable and skid-resistant grip on wet and dry surfaces.
Lying between the midsole and outsole section is the Ballistic Rock Shield. This material is described as a thermoplastic EVA sheath that is meant to guard and protect the underside area of the foot against potentially harmful elements and stones that may prod the sole unit of the shoe. As a result, stone-bruising is being prevented.
The presence of the 3D Hex Lug Pattern heightens the traction when facing multiple directions. When transversing downhill treks and uphill climbs, runners will be confident enough to finish their activities without the possibility of any slippage.
The Brooks Cascadia 13 GTX utilizes the BioMoGo DNA. This material is described as the main midsole unit of the shoe that makes use of environment-friendly compounds. Along with the BioMoGo midsole is the DNA cushioning technology. The primary purpose of which is to deliver a cushioning system that is sure to adapt to the user's foot curvature and shape. The perfect combination of the two results in a more responsive ride.
Lying on top of the foam is the S-257 Cushsole. This midsole compound provides additional cushioning to the platform without compromising flexibility.
A BioMoGo Profile Sock Liner is integrated into the footwear. Brooks added this feature to give the underside of the foot a more contoured support. This insole can be replaced or removed with a customized orthotics.
The Pivot Point System is used in the making of the Brooks Cascadia 13 GTX. These steadying structures are located in the heel and forefoot area that is crafted to adapt to varied trails. This is essential in balancing the foot as the runner strides on a wide variety of challenging and uneven terrains.
Featured in the shoe is the Caterpillar Crash Pad. This material is described as a segmented crash pad that has the ability to flex with the foot. It offers stability and customized cushioning to promote a smoother heel-to-toe transition.
The Gore-Tex Mesh upper is integrated into the footwear. It is described to be waterproof and breathable. This component of the shoe aims to promote a drier and more comfortable foot environment.
With the utilization of the Conformable Saddle Construction, it encourages a more individualized fit. As a result, a more secure midfoot fit is experienced by the user.
The shoe utilizes the 3D Rubber Print Mud Guard. The primary focus of this feature is to protect the foot against hazardous debris that can be found on the trail. It provides streamlined durability as well.