Brooks Cascadia 8, $120
11.9 oz.; 9.8oz
Fit: A medium fit throughout can be cinched down for more narrow feet and the toe box is roomy enough, with a little extra width from the first metatarsal across to the little toe so feet have space to spread.
Feel: Brooks nails it in updating this popular trail shoe. It feels like home the moment you lace it up, with an ample amount of semi-soft cushioning (Brooks added their BioMoGo DNA to the midsole), a padded heel cup and welded upper overlays to hold your foot tight. Surprisingly, this is one of the heavier trail shoes you’ll find at stores and it has a more traditional 10mm heel-toe drop, but it runs with more agility than previous incarnations.
Ride: The eighth iteration of this all-purpose trail runner is lighter, lower to the ground (the heel was dropped 2mm over the Cascadia 7) and has smaller lugs, without sacrificing underfoot protection, for a faithful ride on smooth trails, over technical rocks and roots, and even on frozen, mud-rutted paths. The heel-to-toe transition is super smooth and the enhanced lateral crash pad gave good push off return.
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