Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Brooks Cascadia 8 review


I've been getting tired of bruised, sore feeling feet. So, recently I've been looking for more and more cushioning and protection in my shoes which is why I decided to take the Brooks Cascadia 8 for a spin.
I haven't run in a pair of Cascadia's since the Cascadia 5, so I'm not going to get into comparisons of the various updates from previous generations of the shoe. This review is coming from a person who's running in a brand new model: The Cascadia 8. 




UPPER
The mesh upper is tightly woven and keeps even the smallest debris out, but it is still breathable without a doubt. The overlays are made of suede and placed geometrically to provide a secure and stable fit that wraps around the foot comfortably.
The Cascadia 8 also features an asymmetrical lacing system. Brooks offset the laces towards the lateral side of the shoe reducing the chance of irritation on the top of the foot. I found it does a great job. I am able to cinch the laces down and lock my foot in place without causing irritation, something that's been a major problem for me with other shoes in the past.




MIDSOLE
Brooks says they swapped out the midsole of the Cascadia 8 with BioMoGo DNA which is essentially a blend of their DNA cushioning technology combined with BioMoGo EVA (Brooks claims DNA is a material that provides 30% more cushioning than standard gels and EVA's by responding to each runners individual weight and stride and dispersing impact forces accordingly, while BioMoGo is an EVA with an additive that is said to break down 50% faster than standard EVA's once in an enclosed landfill).
The ballistic rock shield protects the foot from sharp rocks and hard forefoot impacts while remaining flexible. The rock shield is visible through the lugs on the Cascadia 8, which doesn't make the shoe perform any better, but does provide a nice aesthetic touch and possibly a mental boost of confidence.
The four point pivot system? They say it acts like a suspension system for your foot by providing stability on uneven surfaces, but I can't feel it doing anything specifically and suspect I wouldn't notice a difference if it wasn't there.
For all I care the midsole could “feature” a blend of fairy dust and dog crap; I don't really care as long as it feels good. Well, the Cascadia 8 does just that: it feels good. I've taken them on plenty of rocky mountain runs and have been thrilled to return without a rock bruise, legs feeling as fresh as ever. There is a good balance of cushioning and firmness throughout the midsole (I suppose that's the DNA doing it's job) which provides great return on every foot strike and lots of protection.



OUTSOLE
The outsole features a blend of high density multi directional arrow head shaped carbon and recycled rubber lugs that provide superior traction on a variety of terrain. I found the aggressive lug patterned performed seamlessly on creek crossings, slick rock, mud, loose rock, sand and pretty much anything else I traveled over.
The outsole also features a caterpillar crash pad on the heel that offers superb cushioning and a smooth heel to toe transition when hammering down hills. Let me tell you, heel striking on descents is one of my fortes, so it's nice to have some extra features to absorb that shock.



OVERALL THOUGHTS

The Cascadia 8 is a great all around package: 10mm drop, average weight (11.9oz), ample cushioning, secure upper and aggressive tread. You will obviously sacrifice some ground feel in a shoe like this, but in my opinion all the other features make it well worth the trade off. It's nice to put my feet in a pair of shoes that provide a smooth ride on fire roads as well as great stability and protection on rock strewn technical trails. I am satisfied with this shoe and as far as I'm concerned it's money well spent. It's no wonder Brooks Cascadia remains one of the most popular trail shoes on the market.

What are your thoughts on the Cascadia 8?

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