Brooks Cascadia 12 Trail Running Shoes
Lindsey N. Dyn
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It had been quite some time since I last bought a pair of trail running shoes. Between the dual foot surgeries and then focusing on getting back in shape for road races, trail shoes were not high on my priority list. The flashbacks of all the trips and stumbles during my ultra had caused me to shy away from the trails for a bit, but the warm summer months and peaceful surroundings of the trail called me back.
Previously I had bounced back and forth between a previous version of the Brooks Cascadia (model 5) and Montrail (which I had used for my ultra). (Yes, from a comparison of the Brooks model numbers, you can see it's been awhile since the trails and I have been going steady.) Knowing the Brooks brand, I elected for the Brooks Cascadia 12 for my re-introduction to trail running. The women’s model at my local running store was only offered in a peacock color, one which I wasn’t particularly fond of, but hey, I’m not buying the shoes for the color. The first few wears were a little disappointing. Some heel slippage over a couple of miles resulted in blisters. I was resolved to give the shoes a few more tries, adjusting the laces, and finally, blister free!
For the most part, the Cascadia are comfortable trail shoes, but with less cushion than the Brooks’ road shoes (as expected from most trail shoes). They provide good traction, and the toe bumpers have saved me from black toenails many a times. The uppers protect you from trail debris and sandy dirt, always a plus, as the smallest bit of grit and/or rocks can derail a good run if not quickly attended to. There was something with the combination of the top laces’ location in conjunction with the tongue positioning that sometimes hit my ankle in the wrong way upon turning. Perhaps moving the laces’ positioning down a length would improve this.
Overall, the Brooks Cascadia continued my faith in the Brooks brand. They have stood up to many, many miles on the trail, including the likes of several multi-hour hikes through the Colorado Rockies and the Appalachian Trail. Fits and personal comfort will always differ for each runner, but if you’re new to trail running, the Brooks Cascadia may be worth a try.