Lighter and less expensive than the iconic Brooks Cascadia, the Brooks Divide provides an excellent, traditional stack height, entry-level daily trainer for casual trail runners with neutral gaits looking for a comfortable and dependable everyday trainer.
Who is the Divide right for?
The Divide is a new entry-level trail shoe from Brooks. It’s a good shoe throughout.
It has a moderate level of cushioning; has a roomy, accommodating upper; an average stack height from a moderate amount of cushioning; a moderate heel-toe drop at 8mm; a grippy yet not-too-aggressively-lugged outsole; and a moderate weight at 10.3 oz for a men’s size 9.
All this moderation is a good thing for the Divide’s target audience. These design choices make it a well-balanced trail shoe that’ll work well for a vast range of trail runners of different sizes, foot shapes, running gaits, and trail environments.
Brooks has provided a safe bet for a diversity of runners looking to put in a few casual miles on anything but the most technical, gnarly, and demanding trails.
The biggest appeal is the shoe’s price. At $100, the Divide is a full price point below most of its competition that run $120 and up.
This includes another trail shoe from Brooks, the iconic Cascadia, which has a very similar design and feel, same 8mm heel-toe drop, and an almost identical midsole, but is a smidgen heavier than the Divide at 10.7 oz for a men’s size 9.
The Cascadia is a go-to trail option you’ll find in almost every running store. But, while I was out running along some rainy trails in the Divide enjoying the shoe’s fit, feel, and thoroughly impressed with its nice grippy outsole, I caught myself thinking.
Why would anyone pay more for the Cascadia? And, why Brooks put out a lighter, less expensive competitor to outperform its flagship trail shoe.
I don’t know, but if choosing between these two models, I can say the Divide is such a good entry-level trail shoe. The only reason I can think of why someone would pay more for the Cascadia is if they have fairly narrow feet (see “The competition” section below).
But, on every other count, save your money for energy gels and go with the Divide.
In short, the Divide will be a terrific option for casual or beginner trail runners with neutral gaits (meaning, to oversimplify, your medial arch does not collapse and thereby disrupt your running gait – the Divide does not have medial arch support features).
For more experienced runners or those looking to compete in races, it may be worth investing a few more dollars for a pair of lighter, more pliable, more cushioned, or more precisely fitted trail shoes (see “The competition” section below).
For a detailed review of the Brooks Divide from top to bottom, keep reading.
In-depth review, from top to bottom
The upper on the Divide is excellent. It has minimal use of overlays, letting the shoe smoothly wrap the foot and allowing it to accommodate a wide range of foot shapes.
The only overlays are at the toe box to give a bit of added protection from obstructions on the trails, and in the hindfoot wrapping around a rigid heel shank.
This heel shank and overlay combo do a good job keeping the heel secure and locked down while running over uneven trails. The upper also has some strategically placed padding along the heel and the tongue, so the Divide feels relatively plush for a trail shoe.
However, most of the upper is an overlay-free, soft mesh that breathes well while remaining durable. It’s a small detail, but the eyelets on the Divide are a nice touch—they’re a reinforced material that adds durability while keeping the laces locked down even as the foot flexes from running on patchy terrain.
The Divide’s midsole is average, about what you’d expect from an entry-level trail shoe. Like most trail shoes, it is a bit firmer than comparable road shoes.
I’m sure this firmness is from Brooks anticipating runners will not be needing quite as much cushioning for soft trails as they would on hard concrete; I found it was the right amount of padding for dirt, crushed gravel, and any terrain softer than pavement.
Running on roads in the Divide is fine but does get a bit jarring after a few miles. The midsole’s average amount of cushioning will keep most runners comfortable up to around a half marathon distance, at which point you might need a slightly more plush, cushioned shoe (see “The competition” section below).
The midsole’s moderate stack height is fairly stiff, so although it has a slight curving shape that allows for a smooth heel- or midfoot-toe transition, fans of more minimalist, natural feeling running shoes will find the Divide to be too rigid.
However, that rigidity has its benefits: the rock plate in the midsole plus the shoe’s ample amount of “DNA” foam mean feet feel perfectly well protected from rocks and other jarring obstacles you might step on out on the trails.
Finally, the moderate 8mm heel-toe drop of the midsole will work for a wide range of runners with a diversity of lower leg ranges of motion and gaits—all but the hardcore minimalist crowd should feel comfortable.
One note for online shoppers: the Divide’s midsole is neutral, meaning it does not have any special features designed to provide medial arch support or otherwise mitigate overpronation.
For most runners, this shouldn’t be a problem. But for runners with low, collapsing medial arches who have histories with shin splints, plantar fasciitis, or other related symptoms, look for a more supportive trail shoe (like the La Sportiva Bushido). Or, get yourself a supportive insert like a pair of Superfeet to replace the Divide’s neutral sock liner.
All in all, the midsole is perfectly adequate for any casual runners looking to do around 13-mile runs or less out on the trails.
The outsole of the Divide may be the most impressive feature of the shoe; it is as grippy on a wide range of surfaces as much higher priced shoes like the Salomon Sense Pro.
The lugs are deep enough to grip a diversity of surfaces—from wet leaves to dirt to crushed gravel to snow—and let me run confidently on everything but super deep sloshy mud and solid ice.
At the same time, the lugs are shallow and flat enough that you can still run comfortably on hard surfaces like sidewalks or large rocks.
Further, the outsole is highly durable, showing very few signs of wear after grinding it down over some rough trail conditions. I anticipate the outsole will far outlive the midsole.
The Divide’s main competition might be another Brooks trail shoe, the iconic Cascadia. But, the Cascadia is a half a notch heavier than the Divide (10.7 oz versus 10.3 oz for a men’s size 9, respectively), $20 more expensive, and otherwise identical in virtually every other way.
Why would Brooks out-compete its flagship trail shoe with a more affordable option? I don’t know, but trail runners out there should celebrate: your wallets just got a bit thicker.
The only reason I can think someone would go with the more expensive Cascadia over the Divide is if they have relatively narrow feet and prefer a snugger fit.
The Divide has a slightly more accommodating upper than the Cascadia, so if you like a snug, secure fit, the latter shoe may be worth the extra $20. Other than that, though, the Divide seems like a better buy for your running shoe dollar.
Other trail runners at the fringes of the minimalist/maximalist cushioning spectrum will want to find a shoe other than the Divide.
The Divide has a relatively moderate amount of cushioning and moderate heel-toe drop (8mm), so it’ll work well for a wide range of runners. Still, those who prefer lightweight, minimalist, natural-feeling running shoes should look elsewhere, possibly the Inov-8 Trailtalon 235.
On the other end of the spectrum, those putting in long trail runs over around 13 miles will find the Divide’s cushioning to be inadequate; this crowd might consider looking at more maximalist options like the Hoka Speedgoat 4 or the Salomon Ultra.
Another category of runners who might look for a shoe other than the Divide are those who need a little bit of extra medial arch support and have a history with shin splints, plantar fasciitis, or related injuries.
As noted in the “Midsole” section, the Divide is a neutral shoe, and won’t offer extra supportive features. For most runners, this is no problem.
But, if you have a history with the injuries listed above, head to a speciality running store to get properly fitted, consider a more supportive trail running shoe (like the La Sportiva Bushido), or get yourself a pair of supportive inserts like Superfeet to swap out for the Divide’s neutral sock liners.
Finally, while the Divide will work well on a wide range of trails, it won’t be enough protection for, particularly gnarly conditions.
The shoe isn’t waterproof, has minimal use of protective overlays, and doesn’t have a particularly snug fit to keep feet locked in while running over technical terrain.
Running on groomed trails will be a breeze in the Divide but running a ridgeline in the Rockies will probably need something a bit more robust.
For more waterproofing and protective overlays, trail runners might consider the Brooks Cascadia GTX or the Scott Supertrac Ultra RC.
Both have similar fits and feels, but offer fully waterproof (in the Cascadia GTX) or water-resistant (in the Supertrac Ultra RC) uppers that’ll hold up better in rough, wet conditions than the Divide.
For a more tailored fit for keeping feet secure on technical terrain, trail runners may look to the Salomon Sense Pro or the La Sportiva Bushido, which have similar moderate-levels of cushioning, but offer a bit more form-fitting design that lock in feet better.
That said, each of these competing shoes is a price point higher and sell for $120 and up, so unless you need the extra bells and whistles, the Divide will do just fine.
If you’re a casual trail runner looking for a low-cost daily trainer, the Brooks Divide is a perfect option.
It has a comfortable, protective upper that will accommodate a wide range of foot shapes. It also has a midsole with enough cushioning to keep feet and joints happy up to about a half marathon distance.
Lastly, it has an impressively grippy and durable outsole that will let you run confidently over a wide range of different trail surfaces (everything but the most technical, rough conditions).
If you’re on a budget and want a dependable shoe for the trails, the Divide is a solid choice.
The Brooks Divide is advertised as a door-to-trail shoe, and it serves that purpose nicely. That said, I’d describe it as a legit trail shoe that feels like a road shoe.
Sizing is accurate. The fit feels very standard for a road shoe, somewhat different from most trail shoes.
There’s a little extra wiggle room in the forefoot without feeling like a clown shoe. Everywhere else, the shoe feels snug enough, but not tight.
At first glance, the upper looks like it’s a knit material, but that’s an illusion of the coloring pattern.
Instead, the upper is a synthetic mesh — quite thin and very breathable. Where the upper meets the midsole, there’s plenty of rubberized material to provide protection and perhaps a little bit of structure to the shoe.
The heel fits snug enough, and the arches are sufficiently supportive. Nearly everything about the fit is as you’d expect from something more comparable to an everyday road trainer.
About the only trail-first characteristic of the Divide is the tread, but it’s enough to place the shoe firmly in the trail category.
The tread pattern has widely-spaced lugs. It's large enough to be on par with most trail shoes, and the outsole is made of durable and grippy rubber.
Other parts of the shoe are more road-oriented, like the midsole and upper, but the outsole is for the trail through and through.
Overall, the midsole feels soft and well-cushioned, less firm than some trail shoes that aim to connect your feet to the ground, but it’s not a maximalist shoe either.
The road-oriented fit, standard midsole material, and lack of a rock plate make for a ride that feels closer to that of a road shoe, even if the tread is most definitely trail.
The Divide is more flexible than you might expect, especially considering the outsole is essentially one continuous slab of a firm, tough rubber. While the outsole provides plenty of grip on unpaved surfaces, the Divide is more than capable of keeping up with road trainers on the pavement.
These are perhaps the best double-duty shoes I’ve ever worn.
It’s hard to put a finger on it, but it still feels as if the components of the Divide are working together, but aren’t quite joined at the hip. The Divide isn’t more than the sum of its parts, at least not yet.
Since this is the first iteration of the Divide, this is certainly forgivable at this stage. I expect later iterations of the Divide will put it all together.
The overall design and color options for the Divide look fine, especially for a trail shoe. Dark colors are good, aside from pure black, which easily shows dirt. The Divide’s colorways all look as if they’re meant to get dirty. Good choice.
Bonus points for a dark-colored outsole. Points off for no reflectivity. C’mon, guys...
- Overall feel needs a little more cohesion
- Lack of reflectivity
If your training involves running on roads/sidewalks in your neighborhood and also hitting the trails in the park, this is your shoe.
I’ve always found road shoes to be more comfortable than trail shoes, but trail shoes to be more versatile and capable than road shoes.
The Divide combines the best of both worlds and gives you a shoe that can do everything a trail shoe can, while feeling as good as a road shoe. There should be more shoes like the Divide.
If I could change anything about the Divide, I’d consider using a midsole that gives more energy return, and I’d add plenty of reflective elements. I’d also add a few more color options (dark green, brick red, burnt orange). That’s about it.
The upper, midsole, and tread could work together better, but that’s not a problem with any one component, but rather is a matter of engineering of the shoe to make what’s already there perform its best. No change is necessary, only refinement.
For $100 MSRP, the Divide is one of the best-value shoes out there.
Brooks Divide is advertised as an entry-level trail running shoe. This shoe is well built, and it works great for trail running
The traction of the shoe can really give you control on the trail. So if you are looking for a trail shoe, consider running with Brooks Divide.
Right out of the box, these shoes looked very well built with a lot of traction. The shoes were not heavy, but heavier than some road racing shoes.
It is what I was expecting for a typical trail shoe. I tried them on, and they fit comfortably. I had picked the correct size, and then I was ready to hit the trails. It fits as expected.
The upper part of the shoe is comfortable, and there are no pressure points. The toe box is wide enough to move your toes around.
The shoes seem very breathable and should be just fine for running on hot days. On cold days, however, your feet can get cold, but once you start running, your feet should warm up.
The upper part may not be the best for wet, muddy days on the trail. The fabric just soaks in the water, and it can make your feet cold.
These are not waterproof shoes. Most running shoes are like this unless you go for some Gore-Tex shoes, which are not as comfortable.
The toe box has some protection all around. This should help with the durability of the shoe. To me, it looks like the shoe has protection to last a long time.
The back is comfortable and keeps your heel from moving side to side. The heel support feels soft, and there can be a little movement up and down, but that is only noticeable on a steep uphill.
The back of the shoe also has a little strap to hang up the shoes or tie together, a nice added feature. The laces loop through the shoe nicely and tie easily.
From the looks of the shoe, it seems like it has a lot of cushion. However, there is not as much cushion as it looks.
You do not bounce wearing the shoe, like some shoes with a lot of cushion. In fact, it can feel a little flat.
Running on the road can really make the shoe feel like there is not much cushion with very little responsiveness. Keep the shoes for trail running.
There is no big arch support; it is a pretty neutral shoe. The shoes feel stable.
How flexible are the Brooks Divide? Well, they seem very stiff up until the toe box area. This brought me to look up more information on the shoes, and I found out there is a rock plate in them.
This rock plate is very noticeable while running on the road, but it felt great and not very noticeable while trail running. The shoes just feel more firm than expected.
From the first look at the bottom of the shoe, it looked like the shoe would have good traction.
After running 50 miles on trails and a few miles on the roads, the bottom still has all the traction. In the pictures, you can see the bottom over 50 miles.
I did run with these shoes in the mud. These shoes do show their traction.
These shoes, however, can pick up some mud, especially in deep mud. This may not cause too much concern because I think most shoes do.
- Great traction for trails
- Not a lot of cushion
- Noticeable difference on roads
I think I could run many trail miles in these shoes. However, I think they are best for trail runs under 10 miles at a time.
I think my feet would start hurting after about 10 miles at one time in these shoes. This could be due to the rock plate. I am sure these shoes could last a long time, though.
Overall, I would recommend these shoes for short trial runs, or someone getting into trail running. For something like ultramarathons, which are usually on the trail, I would recommend something else.
I was excited to try out this new model by Brooks which is a simple and relatively inexpensive trail shoe. I have tried many trail shoes over the past few years and I have not found one that I have loved as of yet.
Because I really love Brooks running shoes, I gave it a try. The brand markets this trail shoe as an entry-level but I feel it could be a great shoe for any level experience.
The shoe has a mesh upper with lots of breathability, even with a tighter woven area compared to road shoes as well as a rubber toe area. Because of such makeup, I feel this area will hold up better than the reinforced areas of a regular Brooks road running shoes.
I do believe in a trail shoe, you really do need some room for your toes to expand from the extreme pounding, jumping, etc.
The toe box in the Divide gives you the perfect amount of room for your toes to splay while also providing some rubber support at the top. Many times, you don’t realize how important that rubber support is until you hit a rock just at that spot.
Although minor, the laces could be longer. Halfway through my second trail run, I stopped to use the extra hole for the laces to hug my ankle more. The adjustment was just what I needed, but then the laces were too short.
Brooks continued to utilize their BioMoGo DNA for the midsole which provides a good bit of cushion just where it is needed.
This shoe also has a lightweight rock plate which is in between the outsole and midsole to help protect the foot from bruises.
I was a little hesitant at first about the rock plate because I do like feeling the ground but this did not seem to make the shoe feel too stiff and I was able to navigate the trail just fine.
Brooks TrailTack technology gives a good bit of traction without making this shoe feel too heavy. I felt the traction was enough to help through slippery rocks or roots with some ability to still feel the trail.
There was some flexibility as I did find them to be comfortable on the road. I wouldn’t want to run all road with these, but from the road to trail, they were just fine.
My initial impression as soon as I slipped them on, pure comfort and roomy. The fit is just right and true to Brooks's sizing. They feel comfortable right out of the box and onto the trail.
I did need to adjust the shoelaces to make them a tighter feel when on the trail which is not unusual. They also fit my custom orthotics without making any changes.
They are not the lightest Brooks trail shoe, but at 9.2 oz., they did not feel heavy at all. The Brooks Cascadia is 9.5 oz. and the Brooks Caldera is 8.5 oz. I have only used them thus far in summer weather so not sure how they will do in the winter on snowy or icy covered trails.
My first run was a local short run to my very small park where there are short hilly trails. I liked that I was able to run on the street with comfort to get to the trail. This is a real plus since I found that many trail shoes are rough on the road.
My second try with these shoes was on a pretty technical 10K trail run. I was pleasantly surprised as I felt they gave me enough support and traction without feeling heavy or sluggish at all.
I did like the look and colors of this shoe; however, Brooks are typically not what I would call stylish.
Overall, the Divide is a great shoe for a beginning trail runner or any trail runner who does not want anything fancy or too technical. The price alone will make you want to give this shoe a try.
Good to know
- The Brooks Divide is a lightweight trail running shoe that is crafted with a generous, foot-friendly fit. It features the TrailTack outsole, empowering the runner to easily transition from road to trail.
- Providing comfort and lightweight protection is the rock plate that is incorporated into the shoe. This material protects the foot from roots and rocks.
- For high energizing cushioning, BioMoGo DNA technology is utilized in the shoe. This component adapts to the weight of the user to provide a comfortable and responsive ride.
- This Brooks trail running shoe uses mesh fabric for breathable coverage. This flexible material keeps the foot dry and comfortable for an extended period.
The Brooks Divide uses the standard sizing measurement to accommodate the usual expectations of consumers. However, it is suggested to test the shoe first or check the general feedback about sizing before purchasing to ensure a comfortable fit.
The technical components that directly affect the shoe’s fit include the lacing system. The shoelaces allow the user to easily adjust the tightness around the shoe for a more personalized fit. Other elements are the removable insole and padded tongue that help provide a comfortable in-shoe feel.
The Brooks Divide utilizes the TrailTack rubber, which allows the user to confidently run even on unpredictable terrain. TrailTack technology is a sticky rubber compound that aims to provide an excellent uphill and downhill grip. This outsole material also delivers excellent traction on wet surfaces.
A rock plate is integrated into the shoe for added protection. It is made out of a lightweight, yet durable material that protects the foot from rocks and roots.
In the midsole unit of this neutral running shoe is the BioMoGo DNA foam. It is an adaptive midsole material that provides a soft and responsive ride. This element adapts to each stride and delivers long-lasting cushioning, keeping the foot comfortable all day long. The BioMoGo DNA foam is also featured in the Brooks Cascadia 13.
For added cushioning, a removable foam insole is incorporated into the shoe. Aside from extra cushioning, this component is also meant to give additional underfoot protection and support.
The Brooks Divide utilizes a mesh material that provides optimal structure and breathability. The mesh fabric allows for continuous ventilation to keep the foot dry and comfortable for an extended period. The mesh is coupled with a smooth fabric lining, which offers a great in-shoe feel. TPU overlays are also included in the upper for added structure and durability.
The generous forefoot section and midfoot wrap are designed to give a secure fit without being too restrictive.
The traditional lacing system is featured in this running shoe. The shoelaces provide a secure and personalized fit.
For added comfort, the padded tongue is added in the shoe. The padded tongue protects the foot from getting pinched by the shoelaces. It also prevents small rocks and debris from getting inside the shoe. A padded collar is also used for increased comfort and support.
Just like the Brooks Divide, the Brooks Caldera 3 is also a highly durable trail running shoe designed for runners with neutral gaits. For a comparison of the two models, here are some of their similarities and differences:
For an enhanced grip on wet and uneven surfaces, the TrailTack sticky rubber is featured in both running shoes. Their difference, however, is that the Brooks Divide features a lightweight rock plate material in the forefoot. This component enables the shoe to provide reliable protection against rocks, roots, and other elements.
Another big difference between these trail running shoes is their midsole drop. The Brooks Divide has an 8mm drop, while the Brooks Caldera 3 has only a 4mm drop.
The Brooks Divide is a well-cushioned shoe that utilizes BioMoGo DNA technology. This cushioning material helps deflect the impact away from the body for a soft and comfortable ride.
Brooks Caldera 3 is categorized as an energize shoe that offers higher energy return and more responsive cushioning. Brooks energize shoes are meant for faster training or racing.
The Brooks Caldera 3 utilizes a combination of BioMoGo DNA and DNA Gel materials. The DNA midsole technology offers a firmer cushioning, allowing the runner to run faster.
The Brooks Caldera 3 makes use of the Ariaprene mesh for maximum ventilation. This innovative upper material dries quickly and acts as a second skin. The Brooks Divide, on the other hand, features a lightweight mesh top that offers a more secure fit without crowding the forefoot. The Brooks Divide provides added room in the forefoot section that allows for natural movements.
How Divide compares
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