Try playing a game of word association with a group of trail runners. I bet when you say “Brooks,” they’ll almost immediately say, “Cascadia.” This longstanding trail favorite is the most famous model in the Brooks lineup, and for good reason, as it performs well for a broad spectrum of users under a variety of conditions. The Cascadia will never blow you away with its speed or agility (or for that matter, looks), but the shoe dependably gives you a comfortable, stable ride with more than enough support and durability to handle ultra-distance mileage.
Last year’s Cascadia 14 saw some significant overhauls to the design and construction elements and by comparison, the updates to the 15 are relatively minor. The primary update is a new upper constructed from monoloop mesh, which combines with fewer overlays to improve ventilation and drying time. The new upper incorporates Brooks’ 3D Fit process that uses screen-print technology to help maintain the shoe structure without compromising flexibility or adding weight. Another addition to the upper are gaiter tabs and attachments that are compatible with any gaiter style. Whereas last year’s Cascadia dropped a full ounce of weight from its predecessor, version 15 trends slightly back in the other direction, as both men’s and women’s versions come in about 0.3oz heavier than their predecessors. Both of these will be available in GTX versions this winter, although the initial release currently only includes non-GTX versions.
Almost all of the geometry and construction elements are retained from the Cascadia 14. The midsole utilizes dual density BioMoGo DNA, with firmer posts crossing from the medial and lateral heel to the medial and lateral metatarsal heads. These function to keep the foot cradled in the center of the platform, but they also provide a pivot and shock absorption system like you find on the wheels of a Jeep. In our experience, this midsole configuration is very effective at smoothing out the ride on irregular trails, and this is still the case on the Cascadia 15 – we were particularly impressed during a couple long days of scree-running through the Sierras this summer. The midsole provides a nice balance of cushioning and firmness on technical terrain, although the responsiveness is slightly sluggish if you’re trying to fly downhill on well-groomed trails.
Another carryover from last year’s version is the exceptional TrailTack outsole rubber compound, with substantial, but not crazy, 3mm lugs that provide strong grip in wet and dry conditions. The lugging is perfectly suitable for short road mileage, and particularly exceled in gravel and mud during our testing. With the Cascadia 14, we found the durability to be very impressive after a few hundred miles, and we expect to see the same on the new model.
The Brooks Cascadia 15 is now available in men’s and women’s versions from www.brooksrunning.com.