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Brooks Cascadia 11 GTX trail running shoes review

27-Dec-16

Last updated: 20-Aug-18

By Fiona Outdoors

The Brooks Cascadia 11s feature a Gore-Tex waterproof and breathable membrane. They are meant for trails and offer a neutral fit with a medium width.

Features

  • Gore-Tex upper
  • BIOMOGO DNA midsole “adaptive” cushioning
  • Four-point pivot posts for a stabilising suspension system
  • Full-length segmented crash pad to “accommodate any foot landing and deliver smooth transitions”
  • Ballistic Rock Shield to “protect against potential surface hazards”
  • Rugged outsole for traction on wet surfaces and tricky terrain
  • Midsole drop: 10mm
  • Weight: Women’s average 326g; men’s: Doesn’t say on the website
  • Price: £125.

Pros: What’s good about Brooks Cascadia 11 GTX trail running shoes

The fit is perfect. I have a UK8.5 foot and the woman’s UK8.5 is ideal. The forefoot is quite narrow and with low volume, which I also like.

There is a good level of footbed cushioning and the shoes feel a lot more comfortable on than I had imagined. My feet feel firmly hugged inside the shoes.

The sole looks rather stiff but once you have them on, the shoes are a lot easier to wear than I’d thought they would be. There is some give in the soles but not so much that they do not offer support when running on hard trails.

The uppers feel nicely cushioned, too. I think they feel like the sort of trainers you would wear in winter for warmth and they are nicely padded and, therefore, quite insulated.

The support in the shoes is really good. My feet feel like they are held in a great position while running on both flat and steeper gradients.

Perhaps the support is all to do with the “BIOMOGO DNA midsole adaptive cushioning” and the “four-point pivot posts for a stabilising suspension system”. I am not sure I fully understand what Brooks is saying about the support and cushioning but the shoes do feel good to run in.

The soles tell me the shoes are most useful for trails and some hills. They do not have highly aggressive lugs so they will not be a great choice for very wet and muddy conditions but for more general off-road terrain they offer good grip.

There is enough cushioning to make them a comfortable ride on harder trails but not so much cushioning that you can’t “feel” the ground under the soles.

Perhaps, again, the comfort comes from the “full-length segmented crash pad to accommodate any foot landing and deliver smooth transitions”. I am not entirely sure what a “segmented crash pad” is but the shoes do make easy work of running on trails.

When it’s raining the wet stays out of the shoes thanks to the Gore-Tex liner. But do see my points below for the effectiveness of the waterproofing.

The uppers have the addition of a rubberised protection strip around the base of fabric (where it joins the sole). Brooks call this a “Ballistic Rock Shield”. It does help with the durability of the shoes. So many of my trail shoes are ruined by rocks, heather and general off-road debris wearing out the upper fabric.

The colours are also great. It’s nice to have shoes that look good as well as perform well.


Cons: What’s not so good about Brooks Cascadia 11 GTX trail running shoes

Brooks reckon the fit is “medium width” but I’d say it’s on the narrow side. I don’t mind that but most people will find that a bit of a problem.

The tongue is padded but it could do with being a bit wider to stop it bunching up in the middle of the laces.

In anything other than light rain the Gore-Tex is a bit pointless. Rain gets in the top of the shoes, by the ankles, and in very wet conditions underfoot the same happens.

You could add waterproof gaiters to keep out some of the worst of the wet in the ankle area but, really, you would need to wear walking boots or, better still, Wellington boots to keep out all the wet. Of course, if you run, Wellies are not going to be the most comfortable!

I am not convinced that Gore-Tex is a great idea for running trainers. I prefer to allow water in but also allow the wet to quickly drain out again.

The soles are quite grippy but not amazingly so. On mud, the lugs tend to get a bit clogged up because they are quite close together. I don’t think there is enough heel grip either. In my opinion, these are trail and forest track specific shoes.

I also find that this brand uses a style of language that irritates me. For example, BIOMOGO DNA midsole; four-point pivot posts; segmented crash pad; and Ballistic Rock Shield. The language used does not affect the performance of the shoes but why use phrases that are difficult to understand? It just seems so silly.

Conclusion

I have narrow feet and have found the fit to be really good. The shoes are very comfortable and easy to run in. They are ideal for trails, rather than hills. I do not think it’s important to include Gore-Tex in any trainers so I wouldn’t pay extra for it. I wish Brooks would stop using silly language to describe their shoes.

Score  
Design 8/10
Features 8/10
Performance 8/10
Value 7.5/10
Total 7.8/10


Other running shoes you may want to consider:

Salomon XA Pro 3D GTX
Inov-8 Roclite 305
Merrell All Out Crush
Saucony Xodus 6.0 GTX

About the writer: Fiona is a keen runner, preferring off-road and hilly to flat and road. She lives in Scotland where the weather is fickle so needs to be prepared for all conditions.

All images www.brooksrunning.com.

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“There is enough cushioning to make them a comfortable ride on harder trails but not so much cushioning that you can’t “feel” the ground under the soles”

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