Our verdict

The Brooks Divide 3 stands out as one of our top picks for door-to-trail shoes. With its complete makeover and budget-friendly price, we found it capable of tackling almost any situation—trails or roads alike. We were really surprised by its stability and build quality, though the ride felt incredibly firm and lacks enough cushion for longer distances.

Pros

  • Exceptionally comfortable
  • Versatile for roads and trails
  • Smooth, predictable ride
  • Super stable
  • Amazing value at £110
  • Secure overall fit
  • Good durability

Cons

  • Could use more cushioning
  • Not for technical trails
  • DNA Loft feels too firm

Audience verdict

89
Great!

Who should buy

We believe the Brooks Divide 3 is a solid choice for:

  • Trail runners on a budget who want a versatile shoe equally at home on occasional road runs.
  • Those who prefer a firm ride and need a hybrid shoe capable of tackling a variety of surfaces.
  • Brooks fans who sometimes venture onto easy trails with their road shoes and want something with a bit more grip.

Brooks Divide 3

Who should NOT buy

The Brooks Divide 3 does a decent job in the versatile trail category, but if you're a runner who favours flexibility in running shoes, it might feel a bit too stiff underfoot even while walking. We think the ASICS Gel Venture 9 offers similar features and price with a much more flexible feel.

We also found the DNA Loft foam to be surprisingly firm. If a plush, soft ride is what you're after, we think the Divide 3 likely won't hit the mark. We know from our lab tests that there are softer midsoles in the road-to-trail category, like the Hoka Challenger 7 or the Nike Pegasus Trail 4.

Brooks Divide 3 pieces

Breathability

Right out of the box, it's obvious that the Divide 3's upper draws inspiration from road running shoes, giving us high hopes for better-than-average airflow.

And our smoke-pumping test proved these hopes right! The Divide 3 delivered a nice 4/5 rating, which is seriously impressive for a trail shoe.

To understand the mechanics behind this breathability, we held the upper up to a light. This instantly revealed ventilation holes and the shoe's strategic structure. It boasts sturdy support from the midfoot to the heel, yet maintains a remarkably ventilated toebox with countless tiny air holes.

Brooks Divide 3 microscope

Next, we brought out our trusty lab microscope to zoom in on those holes.

Brooks Divide 3 holes

The images were fascinating, clearly highlighting Brooks' commitment to crafting a mesh with great breathability.

Finally, we examined the cut-in-half upper. The engineered mesh offers a touch of stretch and generous padding for enhanced comfort.

Test results
Divide 3 4
Average 3.3
Compared to 76 trail running shoes
Number of shoes
1
Breathability
5

Durability

Toebox durability

Just like we mentioned earlier, the Brooks Divide 3's upper feels more like a slightly-tweaked road shoe than a real trail beast. So we honestly weren't expecting much before putting it under the Dremel.

Unfortunately, the results were worse than we thought and earned it a rock-bottom 1/5 rating. The damage was pretty bad, and frankly, this shoe is likely to struggle on tough, rocky trails.

Brooks Divide 3 Toebox durability
Test results
Divide 3 1
Average 3.1
Compared to 56 trail running shoes
Number of shoes
1
Toebox durability
5

Heel padding durability

After the disappointing toebox durability test, we crossed our fingers for a stronger heel performance under the Dremel.

But, that hope quickly shattered. The Divide 3 delivered another bad performance, earning yet another rock-bottom 1/5 rating. If you're the type of runner who tends to blow out heels thanks to your Achilles, this shoe definitely isn't for you.

Brooks Divide 3 Heel padding durability
Test results
Divide 3 1
Average 2.9
Compared to 54 trail running shoes
Number of shoes
1
Heel padding durability
5

Outsole hardness

Turning the shoe over to check out the outsole, we first used our Shore C durometer to test the Trailtack rubber.

Brooks Divide 3 trailtack

It clocked in at 84.1 HC, which is right around average. This suggests a solid balance between good grip and decent durability. Let's see!

Brooks Divide 3 Outsole hardness
Test results
Divide 3 84.1 HC
Average 85.3 HC
We use an average of four tests. The photo shows one of those tests.
Compared to 99 trail running shoes
Number of shoes
72.5 HC
Outsole hardness
95.0 HC

Outsole durability

Considering its £110 price tag, the Brooks Divide 3 really shines with its outsole. After our final round of Dremel testing, we measured a mere 0.8-mm indentation.

That's seriously impressive, especially when you realize that plenty of pricier shoes with similar—or even worse—grip showed far more wear and tear in our tests.

Brooks Divide 3 Outsole durability
Test results
Divide 3 0.8 mm
Average 0.9 mm
Compared to 49 trail running shoes
Number of shoes
0.0 mm
Outsole wear
2.0 mm

Outsole thickness

The outsole measures in at a solid 2.2 mm, which we think is the perfect sweet spot for this shoe.

Brooks Divide 3 outsole thickness

Any thicker, and running on pavement would feel downright clunky in this road-to-trail hybrid.

Brooks Divide 3 Outsole thickness
Test results
Divide 3 2.2 mm
Average 2.4 mm
Compared to 99 trail running shoes
Number of shoes
0.9 mm
Outsole thickness
6.5 mm

Weight

Let's be honest, the Divide 3 isn't some featherweight speed demon when it comes to how it feels on your foot. But clocking in at 10.25 oz, it's not what we'd call heavy—it sits just in that middle-of-the-road weight for its category.

When you factor in the wallet-friendly price, it's definitely a fair deal!

Brooks Divide 3 Weight
Test results
Divide 3 10.26 oz (291g)
Average 10.34 oz (293g)
Compared to 99 trail running shoes
Number of shoes
7.51 oz (213g)
Weight
13.37 oz (379g)

Cushioning

Heel stack

With a 31.1 mm heel stack, the Divide 3 offers a decently cushioned ride by today's standards. Going any thicker would've just made the shoe feel too bulky and heavy. 

We think it can work for long runs, although preferably on softer trails.

Brooks Divide 3 Heel stack
Test results
Divide 3 31.1 mm
Average 32.2 mm
Compared to 99 trail running shoes
Number of shoes
16.1 mm
Heel stack
42.4 mm

Forefoot stack

Our calipers clocked the forefoot stack at 22.7 mm.

Brooks Divide 3 forefoot

This might feel a bit too thin for forefoot strikers who plan on tackling ultra distances. However, if you enjoy a more grounded feel and stick to shorter runs, the Divide 3 should be just fine!

Brooks Divide 3 Forefoot stack
Test results
Divide 3 22.7 mm
Average 24.4 mm
Compared to 99 trail running shoes
Number of shoes
15.2 mm
Forefoot stack
33.9 mm

Drop

In the lab, we measured the shoe's drop (the difference between heel and forefoot height) and found it to be 8.4 mm.

That's super close to the 8 mm advertised by Brooks, meaning it'll feel comfortable for pretty much any type of footstrike. And we want to give props to Brooks for being accurate with their specs—we often see bigger differences here!

Brooks Divide 3 Drop
Test results
Divide 3 8.4 mm
Average 7.8 mm
Compared to 98 trail running shoes
Number of shoes
-0.1 mm
Drop
17.3 mm

Insole thickness

The insole is about average thickness at 4.2 mm, so we think it'll feel familiar compared to most of your running shoes.

Brooks Divide 3 Insole thickness
Test results
Divide 3 4.2 mm
Average 4.7 mm
Compared to 99 trail running shoes
Number of shoes
2.7 mm
Insole thickness
9.8 mm

Midsole softness

Note: a low durometer measurement equals a soft material, whereas a high measurement means it's firm.

Let's talk about that DNA Loft midsole. Right out of the box, it has a noticeably firm feel—we think this'll really appeal to runners who love a snappy, classic ride.

To back up our initial impression, we whipped out the durometer and got a reading of 33.5 HA. This confirms that Brooks tweaked the DNA Loft in this shoe for extra firmness, likely considering its trail-running focus.

Brooks Divide 3 Midsole softness
Test results
Divide 3 33.5 HA
Average 23.2 HA
We use an average of four tests. The photo shows one of those tests.
Compared to 75 trail running shoes
Number of shoes
9.4 HA
Midsole softness (soft to firm)
39.0 HA

Difference in midsole softness in cold

We were curious to see how the midsole handled the cold, so we put it in our lab freezer for 20 minutes.

After our retest, it clocked in at a firm 40.0 HA (+19.4%), basically a brick underfoot.

Brooks Divide 3 Difference in midsole softness in cold
Test results
Divide 3 19.4%
Average 26.7%
Compared to 75 trail running shoes
Number of shoes
0%
Difference in midsole softness in cold
100%

Stability

Lateral stability test

One awesome perk of a super-firm midsole is that it instantly boosts stability. That's a big part of why the Divide 3 feels so rock-solid on the run, but it's not the only reason.

Torsional rigidity

We tried our best to bend and twist the Divide 3, and it seriously put up a fight—way more rigid than we were expecting at 4/5. While this definitely reinforces its stability, a touch more flexibility would make it a better all-around shoe.

Test results
Divide 3 4
Average 3.5
Compared to 93 trail running shoes
Number of shoes
1
Torsional rigidity
5

Heel counter stiffness

We found the heel counter offers that same tough-as-nails feel—we rated it a 4/5 for rigidity.

Though we think 3/5 would be a better approach, heel strikers are sure to appreciate the locked-in, super-secure feeling it provides.

Test results
Divide 3 4
Average 3.2
Compared to 91 trail running shoes
Number of shoes
1
Heel counter stiffness
5

Midsole width in the forefoot

Our measurements showed the forefoot clocks in at an average 113.6 mm. This width is absolutely perfect for a hybrid shoe like the Divide 3.

Brooks Divide 3 Midsole width in the forefoot
Test results
Divide 3 113.6 mm
Average 111.9 mm
Compared to 99 trail running shoes
Number of shoes
102.1 mm
Midsole width in the forefoot
126.0 mm

Midsole width in the heel

Another big reason for the excellent stability we found is the width of the midsole in the heel area.

Our calipers measured a generous 94.1 mm, offering a wide and solid base for support. Brooks really delivered with this design, creating a shoe apt for beginners that really inspires confidence.

Brooks Divide 3 Midsole width in the heel
Test results
Divide 3 94.1 mm
Average 89.6 mm
Compared to 99 trail running shoes
Number of shoes
77.2 mm
Midsole width in the heel
109.3 mm

Flexibility

Stiffness

The goal of the Divide 3 is ultimate versatility – from trips to the store to long trail adventures. That means it needs to strike a balance and avoid being too stiff, or it'll feel downright uncomfortable.

Brooks Divide 3 outsole

The outsole cutouts definitely help make the shoe flexible.

In our 90-degree bend test, the Divide 3 resisted up to 29.8N of force, placing it squarely in the average flexibility range. While just a touch more flexibility would've been ideal, this result proves it should be comfortable for a variety of activities.

Test results
Divide 3 29.8N
Average 28.6N
We use an average of four tests. The video shows one of those tests.
Compared to 99 trail running shoes
Number of shoes
10.5N
Stiffness
54.5N

Grip / Traction

Lug depth

Since the Divide 3 is designed for both roads and trails, short lugs are key—those big, chunky lugs found on pure trail shoes would feel terrible on pavement.

Brooks Divide 3 lugs

For a hybrid shoe, the lugs deliver seriously impressive grip on the trails!

Luckily, the Divide 3 features 3.1-mm lugs, a thoughtful touch that guarantees a smoother ride on hard surfaces while still offering good grip on the trails.

Brooks Divide 3 Lug depth
Test results
Divide 3 3.1 mm
Average 3.5 mm
Compared to 99 trail running shoes
Number of shoes
1.7 mm
Lug depth
5.8 mm

Size and fit

Toebox width at the widest part

And what about the toebox? Well, it delivers what we think it's a spacious fit, clocking in at 99.1 mm in the widest part.

Brooks Divide 3 Toebox width at the widest part
Test results
Divide 3 99.1 mm
Average 98.7 mm
Compared to 99 trail running shoes
Number of shoes
92.0 mm
Toebox width at the widest part
104.9 mm

Toebox width at the big toe

We took a second measurement specifically around the big toe area—where fit can get tricky for many runners.

Brooks Divide 3 big toe

Here, the Divide 3 measures in at 79.5 mm, providing plenty of room for comfortable toe splay. While it's not a true wide-toebox shoe, we think the Divide 3 strikes a great balance for runners who want a bit more space up front without sacrificing a secure fit.

Brooks Divide 3 Toebox width at the big toe
Test results
Divide 3 79.5 mm
Average 78.9 mm
Compared to 61 trail running shoes
Number of shoes
70.5 mm
Toebox width at the big toe
92.1 mm

Tongue: gusset type

We found that the Divide 3 features a semi-gusseted tongue, a premium touch that we were pleasantly surprised to see in a £110 shoe.

This design adds a snug and secure feel around the midfoot, helping ensure a comfortable and locked-in fit throughout your run.

Brooks Divide 3 Tongue: gusset type
Test results
Divide 3 Both sides (semi)

Comfort

Tongue padding

The tongue on this shoe is seriously plush!

Brooks Divide 3 tongue

There's an elastic strap in case you want to prevent the laces from moving while running

It uses a thick slab of foam closest to your instep, with another layer on top, totaling a whopping 8.0 mm. This design promises ultimate comfort with absolutely no chance of painful lace bite!

Brooks Divide 3 Tongue padding
Test results
Divide 3 8.0 mm
Average 6.4 mm
Compared to 99 trail running shoes
Number of shoes
1.5 mm
Tongue padding
12.2 mm

Heel tab

The heel sports the Brooks logo indented right into the heel counter, giving it a cool look. Yet unfortunately, it's missing a finger-loop heel tab—a feature we think really comes in handy on trail shoes!

Brooks Divide 3 Heel tab
Test results
Divide 3 None

Removable insole

The insole is totally removable as it's not glued. On top of that, it has a pretty standard shape, so we think you can easily swap it out with your favorite aftermarket insole without any issues.

Brooks Divide 3 Removable insole
Test results
Divide 3 Yes

Misc

Reflective elements

Unfortunately, the Divide 3 misses the mark when it comes to reflective details. Still, considering its £110 price tag, we can't really complain about that!

Brooks Divide 3 Reflective elements
Test results
Divide 3 No