Brooks Divide 2 Review | Best Trail Running Shoes 2021 – Runner’s World

Brooks Divide 2 Review | Best Trail Running Shoes 2021  Runner’s World



The RW Takeaway: With basic features, including a rock plate and sticky rubber outsole, the Divide 2 is for runners who want to transition from road to trail at an affordable price.

  • Secure lacing for a locked-in fit
  • Padded, comfy interior
  • Rock guard in the forefoot results in a stiff ride

Price: $100
Type:
Trail
Weight:
10.3 oz (M), 9.2 oz (W)
Drop:
8mm

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As its name implies, the Divide is for runners who split their workouts between the road and trail. It comes at a bargain price ($100) for multi-terrain newbies venturing off smoother surfaces. A rock plate in the forefoot shields your foot from whatever obstacles await you on a less-groomed path.

Our wear-testers deemed the lacing system secure and stable. “I never once had to retie these shoes,” said one. Another standout feature was its BioMoGo DNA midsole, which accrued praise for its abundant cushioning.

Lakota Gambill

Divide 2

Brooks zappos.com

$99.95

A Stiff Ride

Despite the rock plate’s function in adding an extra layer of protection, some testers stated it detracted the Divide’s performance, stiffening their ride. “The best improvement you can make to this shoe is to remove the rock guard!” said a tester who gave Altra’s Superior—a pliable shoe with a removable full-length StoneGuard—high marks.

Perhaps Brooks will modify the midsole and omit the rock plate with the next iteration. We’ve seen this work with the Caldera, a shoe so thickly cushioned that no plate is required.

However, a stiff trainer like the Divide does have its merits. Testers who weren’t thrilled with the shoe’s rigidity were shocked by its responsive push-off, that snappy turnover likely encouraged by its inflexibility.

The cushioning was another feature that softened our rock plate rejecters’ critiques. The BioMoGo DNA midsole provides an adequately soft—but not too soft—platform, lending support over long distances and dense surfaces.

Lakota Gambill

“Compared to Salomon Speedcross (a shoe with more pronounced, chevron-shaped lugs), the Divide has a lot more cushioning in the forefoot and heel.” said a tester. “It was great on the road, the cushioning came in handy to combat the road surface pounding.”

An Entry-Level Hybrid

Those with a penchant for gnarlier routes may desire a trainer with more bite—Brooks’s Catamount with a multidirectional tread pattern comes to mind, as well as Topo Athletic’s toothier Ultraventure. One tester said the Divide’s lugs “are more like raised bars.”

And yet, a less aggressive tread makes the shoe more beginner-friendly, especially when switching from road to trail. Former pavement-only runners will appreciate the nonintrusive lugs underfoot. The sticky TrailTack upper is another plus, especially when those smooth transitions literally turn slick with rain or snow.

Lakota Gambill

More Tester Feedback

Tim B., tester since 2017
Arch: Medium | Gait: Neutral | Footstike: Midfoot
“These would be good minimal trail shoes. They would be most beneficial for easy to moderate trails. They are relatively lightweight and have good traction. The traction is by far the best feature of this shoe. Each step felt secure and very little slippage occurred.”

Diane G., tester since 2012
Arch: Medium | Gait: Neutral | Footstike: Midfoot
“For me, as a technical trail runner, the shoe was unresponsive to the terrain/surface. The main issue for me was the lugs, or lack of. The shoe did not dig and grab to give me the confidence on a steep climb. I would consider the Divide a great transition shoe from the road to beginner trail runner. I think this is a great shoe for tow paths, cinder trails, rails to trail paths. Perfect for the runner who runs an equal mix of roads, and gravel/cinder.”

Test Editor Amanda is a test editor at Runner’s World and was a middle-of-the-pack Emerson College cross country runner; she’s run the Boston Marathon consecutively since 2013.

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