Brooks Cascadia 7 Review

It’s been a long, hard year for me. I received the Brooks Cascadia 6 last autumn, logged many a late winter and spring trail mile in them, but couldn’t favorably review them. Why not, if I managed to run so many miles in them? Because they didn’t live up to the trail shoe perfection I’d previously found in the Cascadia 4. How relieved was I went it only took one run in the Brooks Cascadia 7 for me to know that the Cascadia was back and better than ever

Seriously, it’d be a crime to call this a hybrid shoe. It’s all all-purpose running shoe. I logged my first run in the Cascadia 7s in the toughest circumstance I could – I hadn’t had a descent run in over two weeks. I threw these on and easily climbed the snow-covered trail behind my house. A minute later I was cruising the half mile of pavement to singletrack and loving it. When you run in any Cascadia, you know you’re running in a shoe made by a company that’s sold tens of millions of running shoes. The roll and feel of the Cascadia 7 is best tested on pavement and these masterpieces roll more beautifully than a 16 pound ball in a Big Lebowski dream sequence.

Brooks Cascadia 7

On the trails, the Cascadia 7 are even more in their element. These are the kind of shoes for the 99%… of trail runners (or at least those trail runners who still like substantial shoes). I remember running the Leadville 100 in 2009 in the Cascadia 4 and never having to worry about the finer points of foot placement. Heading out in the Cascadia 7, I felt the very same way. These are shoes you can put on and forget about as well as forget about the trail at the same time. Let’s get to the how.

Midsole
First off, there’s plenty of protection here. While not bombproof like the Montrail Hardrocks of yore, you can run moderately rocky trails not having to worry a bit about rocks other than avoiding tripping. Maybe you’d want a more significant rockplate for a day of running the rock gardens of the Massanutten 100, but these will do the trick for nearly everything else.

The same applies when bringing  the Cascadia 7 onto smooth-faced hard surfaces such as slickrock… as well as pavement and concrete. The cushioning in the form of BioMoGo EVA is plush, but never too much. It’s the bowl of porridge you want to eat seconds of because it’s just right. I don’t know or care what exactly BioMoGo is so long as it’s comfy on both road and trail, which it is.

Outsole
The outsole is a generalist outsole that’s plenty smooth on the roads and offers sufficient traction for a non-mud-specific trail shoe. In my own testing, it gave plenty of traction on mud alongside recent snow melt as well as on packed sugary snow up to a couple inches deep. It didn’t provide much traction in the occasional mountain bike wallows with inch deep mud. In my mind that’s acceptable, as no shoe outside the realm of specialists shoes like the Salomon Speedcross, La Sportiva Crosslite, or Inov-8’s grippier models would have done any better.

Brooks Cascadia 7 - outsole

This result is an improvement. There were two major design changes that had negative repercussions going from the Cascadia 5 to the 6. The first was the change from the shoe’s traditional triangular-lugged outsoles to a circular saw lugs in the central forefoot and heel-strike areas. Aside from reduced traction, others complained of reduced useful lifespan of these lugs. Well, Brooks has reversed course and returned triangular lugs to the core of its outsole.

Upper
I mentioned that, in my opinion, Brooks made two backward steps between the Cascadia 5 and 6, the second of which was creating what some described as a “sloppy” or “loosey goosey” upper. I felt that issue immediately, but it took me a few runs to figure out the cause – the second and third uppermost medial (instep-side) eyelets were “floating,” meaning that they were attached to the rest of the upper with an elastic band. This was a well-intended change meant to reduce discomfort atop the foot during runs with a ton of descent. It did that, but at the cost of feeling insecure when making steep or technical descents. The upper on the Cascadia 6 was great otherwise, which is why I ran in it a ton.

Brooks Cascadia 7 - lateral upper

Brooks Cascadia 7 - lacesOnward to the Cascadia 7 and the glorious removal of the floating eyelets! Seriously, I see many dozens of trail shoes a year and there’s never been such a small year-over-year modification to a trail model that’s made me happier. We are back to a secure, breathable, and all-around wonderful Cascadia upper.

While the Brooks design team was at it, they made a few improvements… and they’re actually improvements this time. To begin, they doubled the extent of the mid-foot overlay, moving it back to the middle of the ankle and forward to nearly the ball of the foot. This further enhances the Cascadia 7’s improved midfoot lockdown.

There’s also a nice asymmetric lacing (right) that should help reduce the top-of-foot pain the previous model’s floating eyelets were supposed to address.

Next, it seems to me that the microfiber overlay material is slightly thinner and, therefore, slightly less rigid in the 7 as opposed to the 6, which should slightly reduce the possibility of localized irritation at the edge of those overlays

Finally, Brooks has moved the superfluous heel pull. Does anyone every use those and, if not, can trail shoemakers keep sending them the way of the dinosaur?

Conclusion

This is great all-around shoe for trail runners. It is not a minimalist shoe nor does it try to be one. My US men’s 9 weighed in a hair under 12 ounces (11.93 oz/338 g) just like the Cascadia 6 (11.97 oz/339 g) and there’s a standard heel-to-drop. You know what, that suits me just fine! Sure, I’d prefer the Cascadia to weigh in at 10 or 11 ounces, but this is a shoe that does everything I want it to do right out of the box. It’s shoe that I could wear for every single run until they meet their end the better part of a 1,000 miles down the trail (and/or road). You can head out in your own pair of Brooks Cascadia 7 ($110) starting February 1, 2012.

Ps. The only change I’d like to see in the Cascadia at this point is a slightly wider toebox. With Drymax Max Pro socks (my socks of choice), it’s a bit snug.

Call for Comments

  • Are you a Cascadia fan and, if so, which was your first version of the Cascadia?
  • Anyone else excited about a shoe that can meet so many runnerly needs?
  • Any features that you’re psyched to see in the Cascadia 7?

There are 88 comments

  1. Alex

    I'm happy and excited to see a broader market being served in the running community, whether I'm in it or not. While the whole minimalist thing has caught on with me, there are those for whom the transition would be too arduous, and perhaps, not even beneficial. I also think it's important to keep our options open, as runners, to different tools for different jobs. And while this isn't a tool I can see myself wanting for, you never know. One blown achilles, and I'll be back with this or a Bajada.

  2. Sniffer

    Love the 5's, skipped the 6's because of all the neg. reviews. MUST have the 7's! My question is I am running in the Pure Grit now which has a 4mm drop. Going back and forth from a 4 to standard(10?) drop is that good or bad or indifferent?

    1. Tom B

      Ha, same here, still wear my 5s now but they are more a casual everything shoe, while the Grit are my new go-to trail shoe and sometimes even road shoe, they feel that good. Haven't noticed going from one to the other in terms of the heel drop but possibly because the 5s are not getting much run time now.

    2. Andy

      Also still run most long or technical runs (and races over 50k) in 5s (didn't like the 6s either), but alternate on regular runs with the Grits which I have also loved. Although I do notice the heel drop differential, I don't find any trouble alternating. I also put in some miles in the Trail Minimus routinely. I think rotating among different shoes with different heel-toe drop, cushioning, etc., at least for me, has been great for strengthening the feet and lower legs. And it also feels great to throw on the Grits the day after a long run in the Cascadias — by comparison you feel light as a feather and like your feet are flying!

  3. Rob Youngren

    When you say "standard heel-to-toe drop" do you mean 10mm? That's not too bad, I run some in the Montrail Rogue Racer which has 10mm drop. The only detractor I'd have with the Cascadia, besides the weight, is the flexibility. For various reasons I've become accustomed to having a shoe that is somewhat flexible in the mid-fore foot. How flexible is the 7? I too have no problem having a bit more shoe around for the long ultras, remember the Montrail Vitesse? That was my weapon of choice until I couldn't find it anymore… :( I even rotated that shoe into my training even after transitioning to more minimal trail shoes. Why? Because I know I needed more shoe when I was going to do a mountain 100; the minimal stuff just wouldn't cut it for me! I think it's good to have a lot of options. There are shoes that are good to train in, to build up strength in our legs and then there are shoes that are better equipped to race in; quite often these are two radically different types of shoes!

  4. Steve Pero

    Rob, I loved the Vitesse and although I've been doing most of my running in La Sportiva Crosslites the past few years, I'm going to take a closer look at these for Hardrock. I think many of us over the years have been looking for a Vitesse replacement with no luck. They should bring those back!

    1. Rob Youngren

      Yes, bring back the Vitesse. Either as it was or perhaps a bit modernized to make it a bit lighter and less clunky and perhaps drop the heel-to-toe height a touch to around ~4mm. There is your perfect mountain 100 mile shoe!

      Until then I'm still searching. Right now I really like my new Altra Lone Peak trail shoes. Zero drop, plenty of toe room and with a rock plate and just beefy enough to handle the long rocky run. They are reasonably light, low profile and still fairly flexible. I'm thinking this is the way to go for me. The retro look is pretty cool as well. I just hope Altra doesn't get bought out and their whole look and feel and mission doesn't change! *cough* *cough* *Montrail* *cough* *cough*

  5. Patrick McKenna

    The 5 was my first trail shoe. Loved it. I felt the sloppy upper on the 6 immediately, but have continued to wear it all this year. Looking forward to getting the 7 in the spring. I wear a very thin sock (Balega Pro Pacer?), so the toe box on the 5 and 6 have been wide enough for me (although narrower than my road shoes). I would like a little more cushion (clydesdale), so hopefully that will be an improvement I can detect/enjoy in the 7. I'd like to try another shoe brand/model, but the 5 and 6 have never given me an issue (not even a single blister). So, I guess if it ain't broke…

  6. Nrmrvrk

    I loved the Cascadia 5 and ran my pair into the ground. They were my go-to trail race shoe. I eagerly bought the 6 and they sit in a drawer at work after 35 miles of use. They feel over-built and slippery even on light trails. The shoe feels too tight on my foot with Drymax Socks on and I probably won't wear them again. It doesn't sound like the 7 is that much different other than the lugs. I've moved more toward minimalist shoes (Merrell Trail Gloves) and absolutely love a wide toe box so your report of a narrow toe box for the Cascadia 7 is helpful. Maybe the clown shoes (Green Silence) would be more to my liking. I'm hopeful that the MT110 has a wider toe box than the MT101 does (IMHO, that was the only flaw in the otherwise fantastic MT101).

    I also partially disagree with you about the heel loop. I agree that they're unnecessary for standard / built up shoes like the Cascadia with all of that cushion around the heel cup that I can hold onto with my hand when I push my heel into the shoe. With super minimalist shoes (Trail Gloves) it's harder to grab the back of the shoe and wrangle my heel in. The back of the shoe just collapses in my hand. I like having the heel loop for some extra leverage in that case.

    Great review per usual, thanks for the information.

  7. mtnrunner2

    I ran in the Cascadia for several straight years and loved them, and then did not like the 6 at all (I went out and bought 3 more pairs of the 5 to stock up!), so I'm glad to see they backtracked on some things.

    Main problem was I didn't like the sole changes in the 6 (DNA gel pods feel harsh + sole felt too concave), and judging from the DNA logo on the sole, it doesn't sound like they went back to flat foam.

    Oddly enough I liked the circular lugs better ON SNOW but I usually use Microspikes if necessary on snow anyway.

    One positive point you may not be able to tell from photos is the Cascadia is very stable left to right and is good if you have a wider foot. In years of technical trail use, I've only had a couple of minor ankle rolls. By comparison, a lot of other brands feel unstable to me. It’s good not to break your ankle!

    I too have moved to more minimal shoes with a wide toe box, mainly because my mechanics and legs need remedial work.

    1. Bryon Powell

      Thanks for the suggestion, but I'm comfortable publishing only reviews of shoes I or my reviewers like or find intriguing. It's been that way since iRunFar's outset. We write about what gets us excited. :-)

      Re the Cascadia 6, I liked them well enough to run a few 100 miles in them despite having dozens of other pairs of shoes in my office. All around, it was a well above average shoe… with one hole in its skill set. It was great for nearly all the singlet rack I run and well suited to any double track or pavement.

      Cheers,
      Bryon

      1. GoldenTrailsDave

        Hi Bryon,

        Thanks for the response and clarification.

        Sorry to stay on this but if you're "comfortable publishing only reviews of shoes I or my reviewers like or find intriguing", then shouldn't these be called "product recommendations" rather than "reviews"? I find the term "review" misleading if critical ones never get published.

        Btw, I *love* everything else you guys do. This is just some feedback.

        1. Bryon Powell

          Dave,
          I'm listening and hearing you, but there are two issues here.

          First, we do review some "intriguing" shoes that we'd not "recommend." I won't call them out in here, but they're on iRunFar from time to time.

          Second, "review" is the standard term folks use to find in-depth analysis of products. It's generic. I frequent plenty of websites and blogs that only "review" products they can recommend. There are plenty of bad, mediocre, fine, or merely good products in every industry, and plenty of outlets with focused expertise only cover those products they'd "recommend" to their audiences. They still call these reviews and they are still critical of these products where they have failings. :-)

    2. Bryon Powell

      BTW, you're completely right in the abstract. However, I think folks understand iRunFar's style and respect its credibility because while we're almost always positive in reviews… that's genuine.

      Also, we talk about lots of other shoes in comments, on iRF's Facebook page, and in the iRunFar forum. :-)

  8. John

    I am soooo excited to hear this. I absolutely loved the 5's, but have been very disappointed with the 6's. I got through over 2500 miles of the PCT in just two pairs of 5's…but my 6's are falling apart after just a few hundred miles. I have been seriously considering trying out new styles and brands, but I think i will hold out till February and give the 7's a try.

    Thanks for the review and as always, keep the great posts coming Bryon.

    -John

  9. Tim

    Bryon, thanks for the Cascadia review. Do you still think you will do most of your training in the 7s and race in the Bajada's.

    If there is one major difference between the two what would it be excluding weight?

    Thanks in advance!

  10. Mykl

    Bryon,

    Another great review; however, I like the 'superfluous' heel pull. Is it really that bad? Aside from being useful when putting on the shoe, it's other purpose is served aesthetically. What do your readers think?

  11. BB

    The Cascadia 6 is my main shoe, it sounds like I'm the only one that actually likes it. Running for 10-15 miles per day on a few consecutive days in a minimal shoe, for me, is not healthy for my feet and legs. Even if it means a few more ounces, I find the added protection to be more valuable than the weight advantage. An additional perspective on shoe weight; my own body weight fluxuates more on a day to day basis more than the weight differential of the shoe I'm wearing on that day. A general comparison of the Cascadia 12oz – Minimus 8.5oz, even water intake on an hour to hour basis will be a greater weight flux than the difference between these shoes.

    The '6' has been great to bomb around in on trails, pavement, and gravel roads, from the door to the countryside. They have held up well for 500 miles, showing little signs of wear except for the outsole. Oh well, it will soon be extinct, just like the T-Rex that designed the colors for next year's model.

    1. Scott Keeps Running

      I really like the 6 too, BUT they simply didn't match up to the sweetness of previous models. I think a lot of the negative comments about the 6 simply reflect the disappointment that they didn't wow everyone like the 3, 4, and 5's did.

  12. Kix

    What great timing for Cascadia 7 review! I have been wrestling with the idea of trying Hoka Mafate shoes for the cushioning. Now, all you minimalist people, don't freak out – I have vibram five fingers as well. I had some nagging leg and foot pain after Vulture Bait 50km and nothing would help. I busted out a pair of new shoes from the closet (I buy in bulk!!) and immediately noticed no pain. I was able to run. This got me thinking that maybe my body needs more cushioning in a shoe (yes, I probably need to adjust my running form as well). So, I have been toying with the idea of trying the Hokas – a bit nervous about the height of the shoe for ankle rollovers though. This Cascadia 7 seems like a shoe that I will wait for. I did try on a pair of Cascadia 6's but, did not like the "flat" feel of them. After all of they hype for the 6's I was really quite disappointed. Your review of the Cascadia 7 makes it sound like the shoe for me. Thanks, can't wait to try them.

    Off topic but, what do you think about the Hokas?

    1. Speedgoatkarl

      I can answer this one: The Cascadias do look sweet, and the cushioning will definately help with leg and foot pain. Thing is, about the Hoka, the number one question is just what you mentioned. It's high off the ground, won't I roll my ankle easily? With a wider sole, it compensates for the higher off the ground look, also your foot sits deeper in the Hoka than you might expect. You won't roll you ankle any more in the Hoka, than any other shoe.

      1. David

        True about the Hoka's now rolling over; however, I do find myself clipping more rocks, curbs and other obstacles because I'm not use to the extra clearance needed. It's not a big deal but there small learning curve.

        Having said that, going forward I will alway have a pair of Hoka's in my rotation. They've allowed me to increase my weekly mileage by 25%. I can't wait for the new Evo's!

  13. Andy Hewat

    Thanks Bryon. Look forward to giving the 7's a run. I am a big fan of the 6, but I am not prejudiced by having worn earlier models. I would also like a wider toe-box.

    Hey Steve, I think Larry Hall still has a few pairs of Vitesse in boxes under his bed!

  14. Martin

    I also loved the 5s and held pairs in back-stock after trying on the 6-I couldn't take the small toe box. Will be good to try the 7s. Anybody else thinking that shoe pricing is getting (has become) insane? Especially crazy are the minimalist shoes (with the exception of NB?).

    1. Kix

      Is the sizing issue ironed out for all models? I also heard that the Hokas ran 1/2 size too small. When ordering from Canada it is a bit tricky to send back for another size! Having hard time finding a store that carries Hokas. Currently working with a store in California to send some up.

  15. Jeanni

    Very timely review, as I ran what is my 12th, and sadly last, run in my 6's this morning; cursing them and finally giving up. I began my ultra running career and remember flying down trail in shoes that fit like a glove and gave me support and stability for several 50 mile races in version 2, 3, and 4. I was disappointed with the pairs of 5's I went through but couldn't quite pinpoint the problem I as I was recovering from countless injuries and had trouble getting back to a normal stride on my end of things; but truth be told they never felt right. I've been a Brooks runner for years and bought the 6's without a second thought when I had worn through my old ones. But it's been a horrible year on them. I felt wishy washy constantly, bobbling all over the place on trail that I can generally bomb through; this year brought a few badly sprained, and one likely broken, ankles on them, and I couldn't figure out if it was me or the shoes. After the past month of running in various parts of Utah on them and comparing them to a run in a 6 year old, beat to hell, pair of Salomon XA comps and the Pure Grits, I realized that the 6's were only a trail running shoes for a perfect trail: dry, no slick rock, no dust, nicely groomed, no mud, no snow, no off camber bits… which even if it did exist, I wouldn't want to run on. This morning, with new snow, they pretty much turned to skis, even on the flats. I have had road shoes with better traction.

    That being said, I miss the Cascadias that made me fall in love with trail running and your review has renewed my faith (and confirmed that I wasn't imagining my troubles with the previous two versions). I am excited to see the 7's and will hold off on switching tough shoes until I can give them a go. I, would also love to see a wider toe box; that feature is one of the reasons I started running in Brooks to begin with, it gives the foot somewhere to go, helps allow a natural stride with those of us who have arches that need to splay a bit. I'm currently running in the Pure Grit, which I love, but isn't really a winter shoe, nor a 100 mile shoe.

    Thanks for the review!

  16. worm

    I agree with Karl. No more likely to roll an ankle in the hokas than in any other shoe. I've run everything from technical mountain trails to 6" of powder snow and fund them suitable for all of it. I have a tendency to roll ankle too due to my mechanics and have actually had LESS of a problem due to the cushioning and stability of the hokas.

  17. Trammy

    I've been running in the Cascadia's since #4 and can say that I have fallen out of love with them. I couldn't figure out why until I read this review and the follow-up comments. Hopefully the 7's will renew my love for them. Now if only they could design the shoes to look cool. I mean, they really are some ugly ugly shoes. I know it doesn't matter when they are covered in mud but it sure would make them more appealing. Perhaps I'm alone with this thought process but geez, just about every other trail shoe looks better than the Cascadia's. Maybe Brooks could hire Salomon's Design team…they'd make these shoes look incredible!

  18. Martin

    I agree on the colors-I had a green pair that I loved but, the only pair of 5s I could find after the green were some crazy combination of "Turmeric" and "Chili Powder" – crazy.

  19. Stephen

    I'm another trail runner who has found the cascadia 6's good for my local trails in Australia (hard packed, technical and fire trails) and been very happy with them. However I also think the 7's look terrible – I'd almost be embarrassed to be seen wearing them. In my view they look like fashionble gym shoes for teenage girls, rather than trail shoes. Leaving aside diverging views on their performance, the cascadia 6's are great looking shoes – sleek and interesting yet still hard core. I wholeheartedly agree that Brooks should look at hiring someone from the Salomon design team. There's no comparison between the look of the xt wings 4 s lab and the cascadia 7's!!

  20. Nicolas

    Bryon,

    Thanks for this review and all others.

    I really want to try this shoes, but I have a question about the sizing ?

    My size is 43.5 for trail shoes. (42.5 for normal shoes)

    Brooks says 9.5US = 43 and 10US = 44.

    So I don't know which size to choose.

    I want to run with on long trail (between 6 and 12 hours)

    Could you please advice me about that ?

    With thanks & Regads

  21. JHUNT

    This is the review I have been waiting for. I did however like the Cascadia 6, I did notice some of the float problems on steep descents, but they did fit my feet perfect. Cascadia is the shoe for me, ran Leadville 3 times, never one blister. I'm going to order a pair today.

  22. Ch

    Just got these in the mail y'day and took them out for a short spin this am on the road to work. these are amazing shoes! They hug my foot perfectly, no slipping at all when i corner or run down steep hills. The heal holds nicely yet doesn't rub and the lacing system works well without causing any pressure points. Looking forward to putting them back on for the run home! Thanks for the spot on review

  23. Nick

    I don't know how it happened, maybe it was my Continental Divides being discontinued or having a computer in the palm of my hand to read reviews and blogs at anytime…but somewhere down the line I found myself running in puffy shoes with crappy uppers, being concerned with heel to toe drop and pretty much drinking whatever "cool aid" the web was throwing at me…never being totally happy with my purchases.

    The other night driving home I was listening to your podcast and when asked " if you could only run in one pair of shoes" question was asked, the Cascadia was one of the two you mentioned, I then went back and read this review.

    I got my first pair of Cascadias ( 7 ) on Monday and have ran in them the last three days on the trails of SLC's never ending Autumn…through mud, snow, ice and even dry dirt.

    Thank you Bryon,

    These are the shoes for me…I have no problems with my mid foot strike the cushioning is fantastic and for the first time in two years I can just run without thinking about my shoes.

    The only bummer is now what am I going to obsess about!

    1. Bryon Powell

      Nick,
      I'm psyched you're so happy with your Cascadia 7s. They rock as an all-around shoe.

      If you need something new to obsess about, I suggest iRunFar or its forum. ;-)

      See ya on the trails,
      Bryon

  24. JW

    Anyone else sense a bit of heel instability? I am loving 90% of the shoe, but am getting this feeling, especially running downhill, that the heel is a bit too beefy and doesn't have a wide enough base to prevent some lateral tipping… This was true of the 6's, but that's a whole different can on worms. I just feel like the center of gravity is inappropriate or that there is a slight roll to the bottom of the shoe.

    Otherwise the lacing is great, the traction is pretty good for an all around trail shoe and I would venture to say that they did give a bit more room in the toe box.

  25. Jason

    Great review – but one question. How does the toebox room compare to the Cascadia 6? I don't have a wide foot (narrow heel in fact) but need a wide toebox to accomodate my splaying toes. I find most running shoes too tight in that area.

  26. lynn

    Jason, the toebox is definitely bigger on the 7 vs. the 6, happily for me. Wider and maybe taller. The 6 had a spot that would trash the tip of the second toe on my bigger foot, 7 is fine. I wouldn't want it any wider for my narrow feet.

  27. Jason

    Thanks Lynn. Just what I needed to know. I tried on a pair of the Cascadia 6s today and found the fit and feel very good, but based on this review, I am thinking of ordering the 7s instead. As many people have mentioned, I found the 6s fit a half size small and I found a size 11 the best fit (I measure a size 10.5 and rarely need to size up). However, I don't know if I should order an 11 or 10.5. Have people found the 7s also fit a little small?

  28. Bryon Powell

    I comfortably wear a 9 in the Cascadia 7 just like all my other shoes… but then again I wore a 9 in the Cascadia 6 without issue. Still, I don't think it'd be dangerous to go a half size up.

  29. Jason

    I went to my local outdoor store, they just got the Cascadia 7 in stock. I tried both the 6 and 7 on. They fit very similar, and I had to upsize half a size in both. I agree, the 7 has more width in the toes, especially at my fifth toes. But it might be due to the upper being more soft and flexible there, whereas on the 6 there is a solid band right where mypinky toes are. Both fit my wider toes fine, but the 7 is a slightly better fit. It also has better lacing – the assymetric lacing on the 7 is very well done. And I like the upper material better. I found the 7s felt slightly lower to the ground than the 6s, although they don't appear any lower to the eye. The 7s also just had a less clunky feeling to them, more streamlined. I did prefer the more padding on the heel of the 6s though. Overall I prefer the 7s to the 6s, but only by a little bit. However, I haven't run in either, so I can't comment on that difference. If the 6s go on clearance I'll probably buy them instead as they are charging $150 for the 7s here (in Canada – Brooks, like most shoe manufacturers, charge us WAY more. Only Salomon is about the same between USA and Canada).

  30. Rich

    I am so disappointed in these shoes. I've done about 30 road miles and two 3 mile trail runs in them. Today I took them out for a beater, a 12 mile technical romp through dry trail, muddy trail, soft snow, and patches of bulletproof ice. I have weird feet, I will admit that but they are weird in the toe area. Other than that, I'm a normal volume foot and no matter how tight I tied the laces, I couldn't get the support I needed for technical trail. Here's another note, I was hiking (training for my Colorado Trail thru-hike this summer), not running. And I wasn't very impressed with the traction of the outsole. I really, really, really wanted to love these shoes.

    On that note…anyone looking for a pair of not too used Cascadia 7's in the same color as this review? $80 shipped. =) Size 11.

    1. Rich

      One other thing I forgot to mention…having a pretty normal heel width, I felt a lot of movement in these. Bummed. I really am.

  31. Dave

    If you haven't had them for more than 30 days I believe Brooks has a no questions asked returns policy. That is, if no one's taken you up on your $80 offer:)

  32. Jennifer

    Byron,

    Is the size of the toe box on the Cascadia 7's about the same size it was on the 4's. I have a wide foot, but the Cascadia 4 seem to work well for me. Thanks!

  33. Jim

    I have owned all of the cascades models over the years as well as many other makes. I currently switch between the cascadia 6 and the NF Single track for shorter races. I agree that the 6 was maybe a step back but still a great shoe. I ran the UTMB last year with a pair of Cascadia 6's. I had a spare pair to change into half (courmayeur) way but didn't bother I didn't have any feet probs and not one blister! Amazing.

    I have just ordered a pair of 7's. I do like the fact that brooks are not scared to try things out and they don't work they change it.

  34. Jim

    Oh and for what it's worth, I found the Hokas a tad unstable, I seemed to go over on my ankle a bit more than usual if I was on very rough steep off camber ground with lots of tree roots about, (French alps). On smoother trails I loved them.

  35. Simon

    I got a pair of these yesterday…and went out in them today :) Just under 20 miles, very varied terrain, from overgrown paths knee high in weeds, muddy river banks, sand, dirt roads, tarmac…

    I'm seriously impressed. Feet are slightly sore – but then it was the first run, and I probably shouldn't have gone quite so far! Grip is great, padding is perfect, feel fine on roads, feel fine off road… very, very impressed! Only niggle I have is the laces are very slippy, so you do have to double knot them.

    Oh, and if you buy the alternate grey and orange colour scheme it's not QUITE as bright as the green and yellow in the picture!

  36. John Goddard

    I ordered a pair of Cascadia 7's in mid-April,intending to train and then race the Pocatello 50 in them. Initially,the level of cushioning and support were perfect for me, I thought my search for the perfect shoe was over. Fast forward about five weeks and a handful of training runs, rotated with Montrail Rogue Racers and Mountain Masochist, and the Cascadia's developed a dead-spot in the forefoot where the shoe flexes under the ball of my foot just below the big toe. It felt like the cushioning had just worn through or compressed at that particular point. Long story short, I sent them back and had to run the 50 in my Masochists, which definitely did not provide me with enough support or cushioning. I had to pull the plug at the 50k mark due to extreme pain on the outsides of both knees. Has anyone else experienced this problem with the Cascadias or did I maybe get a bad pair and give them another try?

  37. Alex Suchey

    I like the Brooks Pure Cadence. Going to try the pure grit and the cascadia 7 based on comments in here. Presently I've chalked up the last three months of running between Hoka Mafate 2 and the Bondi B. in the American river 50 I used the Bondi B, I was sure footed and fresh legged for the entire run. I've like the 4mm drop presented in both those models and have set several recent PR's even on dual endurance event weekends in these.

    The Bondi B I didn't notice even in the more technical trail areas any sense of roll issues at all. The Mafate 2 however is setup still with the 4mm drop, but you sit higher up on the sole so you're more on top of the shoe making younfar less stable. That shoe has caused me to stumble tons and yesterday I could have sprained ankles in as many as 20+ instances if my reflexes didn't save me everytime. Love them in road marathons though!

    Ok. The main problem I have with the Hoka's are their upper's trim around the toe box. It's shape and cut of exterior support mechanism around the front of the shoe has simply torn up my toes. And it's not the shoe size. There's plenty of room over a thumb width from longest toe to the front of inside of the box. Simply I'd have to go a full size even larger to get away from the leather structure framing the box who's edge has cost me 7.5 toe nails in three months.

    Talk about being addicted. I can run as far and as often as I wish in these, just so long as I don't care about blisters and keeping my toenails. I've been willing to sacrifice the little things for the miles. Just my feet ended up in extra blister heaven during a 50k yesterday that I'm finally realizing my addiction problem and on to find another shoe.

    So I'm looking to go back to my brooks. I once ran in the early cascadias, but honestly I was a low volume trail runner at the time and the shoes were way to big. So I'll give these 7's a shot, particularly since someone mentioned how they were into the 4mm drop which I love as well, and they adapted to the cascadia nicely.

    I do like my pure cadence's for shorter runs, even on the trail. I ran a road marathon once in them, and though I love the mid foot strike stay off your heal-theory, I just couldn't hold this form for the last 10k. It was concrete path for much of that section and my heal, now striking the ground from fatigue, just took a beating and I could feel the shock noticeably through to my hip. Though I did a great time, it was not a great experience and I shied away from longer distances in those shoes ever since favoring the trance or adrenaline on the road.

    Following this road marathon I ran a trail marathon with very steep climbs and descents. Smooth terrain, only a few rocks the entire way. What I noticed was in the steep areas I couldn't hold my mid foot style any longer at all. Can't tip toe down a cliff, right? Well, the pure cadence, on road or trail, simply is tough to run downhill in. It has too little cushion to be comfortable with the varying angle. I have to wonder what the pure grit would behave like in this scenario. Trails have steep ups and downs. No way anyone's going to be able to fully stick to mid foot striking on descents that are runnable yet steel.

    Is there a reason a 4mm drop shoe has to be a giant Hoka marshmallow or in trade only have barely anything on the heal where you can't either take a rest from one form or prrotect yourself in the steeper descents? Would it be so bad to make a version of the grit that took the 4mm but gave it just a little more cusion across the entire sole? Or am i missing a basica fundamnetal?

    So. My eventual questions here…

    Is the pure grit setup with more forgiveness than say the cadence in comparison?

    Is There a 4mm drop shoe that's more cushion than brooks but less than Hoka?

    If the grit is a neutral classified shoe, but has the trail application and the lower has split points to flex and provides for a good mid foot design, does it matter so much if I'm a mild probation to dabble in this shoe?

    If I go with the Cascadia, can someone clarify the heel to toe drop in the 7's design? One reviewer here says it works well with his midfield strike, but running with too much drop from my experience striking mid-foot works but if it's not the shoes intended design will pack out the sole or prematurely over wear that area and create more problems eventually.

  38. Julie

    I just have to throw in my 2 cents – I loved the 6's! Just took them on a 21k run last weekend that was pretty much mainly mud, and they were fantastic as always. I've done a couple of 60k events over various terrain and they've been great on everything…except wet rocks around the beach!

    I had the 5's previously and loved them.

    I need new shoes so I'm trying to decide whether to see if I can still get another pair of 6's or just get the 7's. It all sounds really positive for the 7's, though I'm hoping they haven't changed too much from the 6's as they suited me.

    One question – have they put in longer shoe laces yet?? That's the one thing that drives me crazy. I always have to replace the shoe laces as they're too short and keep coming undone!

  39. Rich

    I just got the Cascadia 7's. Never run in a trail shoe before. I've always worn the Brooks Adrenalines. I still needed a stability shoe but wanted something to transistion from road to trail without feeling like I was still wearing my military boots. This shoe so far is amazing. I can definitely feel the rock plate, but why wouldn't I??? It's meant to give that added protection compared to a straight road shoe. I'm anxious to put some miles on these shoes. Thanks for your review.

  40. Shiba

    Just ran the Finger Lakes 50 mile race in these guys. Can't say enough how much I loved them. The rock plate definitely helped me with the gravelly bits on the trails. The generous toe helped me, as my foot tends to expand a lot, and there was plenty of protection. Snagged a lot of roots along the way, and never really felt anything that made me break my stride.

    The asymmetrical lace is really comfortable and helps cinch them down to prevent motion!

    Definitely recommend them.

  41. Morgan Williams

    Bryon

    I am a complete newcomer to the Cascadia story. You and I had an email exchange about the shoe in the aftermath of me suffering some blistering between miles 60 and 70 of the Ultra Trail Serra de Tramuntana in Mallorca in late April. The Cascadia sounded worth a try from my perspective, based on what you told me and what I heard elsewhere; comfy and durable.

    I have not been disappointed by your suggestion. The shoe is, aside of the Pure Grit which I tried on at the same time (but which I didn't think would cope nearly as well with the type of ground I have been training on), the most comfortable trail shoe I have ever worn.

    The extra room over my long-loved S Lab 3s is something of a revelation, and my feet have coped with this better then I ever thought possible. My first run in them was a 26 miler over the classic Yorkshire 3 Peaks course and not a blister in sight, nor even a sign of poor fit or friction.

    In terms of comfort, they have ironed out all the bumps in all the running I have done in them so far. And in terms of downhill running, they are just fantastic. Big toe pain has become a distant memory for me in the Cascadia.

    The lacing system holds the foot as well as I would want. I often start a run a little slack and then tighten up as the potential for wear on the foot increases. Whilst they aren't great contouring (I guess they weren't designed for too much of that type of abuse) they coped last weekend with 35 miles of everything the English Lake District could chuck at them. Still no sign of foot damage.

    Best of all for me is their staggering durability. In Chamonix I logged 117 miles in 5 days with 30,000' of vertical over an 8 day break on some classic gnarly Alpine terrain with plenty of late season snow thrown in and finishing with a 2 day run from Cham to Courmayeur over the UTMB route. Hardly a mark on them. I was amazed. Even after 400 plus miles in my green pair, they still look almost new; no frayed stictching, little wear to the sole, just a few minor cuts in the midsole, little if any diminution in comfort levels. I know what a pair of S Labs would look like after that type of mileage in similar terrain.

    As an English fell runner, low drop shoes are nothing new to me. Walshes have been built that way for the whole of my running career, but like many others, I want more comfort for anything north of 40 miles. I have been able to switch between the different designs with relative impunity over the years, so the traditional drop isn't an issue.

    The S Lab has been my ultra shoe of choice these last 2 years or so. The only areas where they beat the Cascadia for me is grip (where the "hardground" grip that looks so inocuous is frankly incredible) and the overall weight of the shoe. Having said that, at least the Cascadia dries well after a soaking which the Salomon doesn't.

    So UTMB-wise, unless the race starts in bad weather (in which case the S Labs will take me from Cham to Courmayeur), it looks like the Cascadia all the way for me.

    Thanks for the advice!

    Morgan

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