The Brooks Cascadia 14 has the makings of a great trail shoe. And we can stand by this because we've tested this shoe out ourselves, and it didn't disappoint. It bites and it bites well! On mud, gravel, uphills, and just about any terrain we threw at it, the Cascadia proved itself a beast! Even better, it's comfortable. And when we went fast (on gravel roads), we did so with confidence!
- Great cushioning
- Superb grip
- Outstanding water dispersion
- Cozy in-shoe feel
- Modern look
- On the heavy side
- Outsole collects mud
Brooks Cascadia 14 review
This model resembles the new iPhone in the sheer amount of trail-applied tech it incorporates.
First encounter with the Cascadia 14
Some say once a road runner, always a road runner, and I must admit I have been away from the trails for a while. In the never-ending chase after speed and endurance and the fact that back in my trail days, I did not really wear trail-specific shoes, I was missing a lot of the picture.
Along came the Brooks Cascadia 14, the latest innovation in the Cascadia line.
In comparison with the previous model, Brooks managed to lose 1.2 pounds, a major improvement. I must admit, coming from road racing, I felt them to be quite heavy in hand. At 10.7oz / 303.3g, they are not light compared to road racing shoes, but in my opinion, weight is not an issue here.
Cascadia's got the grip
The grip is my first love here. The Brooks Cascadia 14 allowed me to tackle mud, gravel, uphill gravel, almost any surface I came across. The TrailTack outsole performed well on all surfaces.
Logically it did not feel great on concrete, but they are not made for that.
Just beware of heavy mud saturation between the lugs, as it erases the grip. The lugs are very well separated for that to be unlikely, but I did get them so muddy that the grip was gone.
Yes, you have more weight, but also more rubber; in trail running, you gotta love the rubber as it means grip.
Nice and comfortable
Comfort is the second thing I love about the Cascadia 14. I ran a 16km trail the first time I wore them, fearing the pains of new shoes. Surprisingly, I ended up feeling pain everywhere but the feet and joints (it was a hard, mixed terrain trail in tropical weather). My feet were fresh and cool.
Cushioning is rather funny here because you only really feel it on uneven surfaces (where this shoe lives, of course). I believe it has something to do with the fact that the rock plate is so close to the outsole (as it should), that the midsole contracts only as considerable force is applied in pressure points.
I found the midsole to be cushioned but not mushy or yielding as Nike’s React Foam or ZoomX, for example. But it is definitely built for purpose and in that purpose performs very well.
Adding to comfort is the fact that the Cordura Mud Guard does its job very well of releasing incoming water from the shoe. The holes in the insoles make sure the water finds it’s way quickly to the sides and the chain-like mesh on the sides protects the feet from rocks and debris entering the shoe.
Also, the construction of the shoe makes for very easy drying after washing the shoes in the washing machine. These reviewed models are the non-GORETEX model, so water does come in but leaves quickly.
Brooks Cascadia 14 keeps you in control
Stability is very welcome here. In trail running, it means control over the terrain and the ability to respond to my commands.
The Cascadia 14 did just that tremendously well, especially on uphills. Downhill the heel lockdown is very noticeable to maintain control.
It can be a speedster
Being the speed junkie that I am, I tried to reach speeds and succeeded in gravel roads. So if you think trails cannot be as fast, think again.