REVIEW: Brooks Cascadia 16 Trail Running Shoes

REVIEW: Brooks Cascadia 16 Trail Running Shoes

REVIEW: Brooks Cascadia 16 Trail Running Shoes

Written By: SportsShoes

Introducing the new Brooks Cascadia 16. A shoe designed for trail runners, by trail runners. It’s more supportive and adaptive than any of our other trail shoes, giving you the freedom to explore any trail.

Our Trail Running Ambassador, Ben Mounsey, has been busy putting the Brooks Cascadia 16 trail shoes to the test;

Price £120
Weight 298g
Drop 8mm (29mm heel – 21mm toe)
Length True to size
Width Wide
Comfort 4.5/5
Cushioing 4/5
Support 4.5/5
Grip 3/5
Protection 4/5
Overall 4/5

Firstly, let’s talk about the price. Yes, £120 is a lot of money, but the Brooks Cascadia 16 is more reasonably priced than many of its comparable rivals, especially considering its quality and level of all-round performance.

Comfort and stability are clearly the stand out features of this latest release. They feel incredible on your feet, a shoe which I was able to wear straight out of the box and immediately go for a run without feeling any discomfort at all.

I really like the thick, cushioned feel of the upper material which wraps around the heel, as it not only makes these shoes feel comfortable to wear, but also provides plenty of stability and support during exercise. When running across challenging and uneven terrain, the real test for me is how much a trail shoe reduces lateral movement and prevents your ankles from rolling. In this respect, these shoes really impressed and comfortably passed my test.

Anyone familiar with my previous shoe reviews will know that I have very thin feet and would ideally choose a trail shoe with a ‘precision fit’. The Brooks Cascadia 16 is a wide fit, so I have to ensure that it’s laced correctly and that the laces are drawn tight. Also, two extra (wider) eyelets at the top of the shoe on either side really help to pull the sides of the shoe more closely together, ensuring a more secure and personalised fit. In addition to this, the thickness and shape of the tongue allows it to sit comfortably at the top of your foot and soaks up any pressure from tightly drawn laces.

The rest of the upper material offers an excellent balance of protection and breathability. Across the front and sides of the shoe, there is a strong protective mesh which is breathable and speeds up drying time. Around the perimeter of the shoe, directly above the midsole, are thicker panels of tough material which help to protect your feet against loose rocks and debris.

The midsole includes a cushioning technology called DNA Loft v2, which is soft and squidgy to touch, the idea being that it moulds itself to the shape of your foot. In addition to this, the Pivot System helps to balance the foot on uneven surfaces. This midsole technology has been upgraded from previous models and according to Brooks, is 10% softer and 20% lighter than the Cascadia cushioning. Whilst it’s impossible for me to personally confirm these figures, I can conclude that this latest Cascadia release does provide a high level of cushioning for a trail shoe and it’s noticeable from the very first wear. Don’t get me wrong, they’re not as supremely cushioned as a shoe like the Hoka Speedgoat (which I tend to use as a benchmark for trail shoe cushioning), but they do feel great underfoot and this really helps to improve comfort levels on longer trail runs.

The TrailTack outsole is another upgrade from previous models. With a new multi-directional lug pattern, it looks and performs very differently to the Cascadia 15. There is also the addition of a Ballistic Rock Shield, which serves as a protective barrier underfoot against sharp rocks and rough terrain. Having tested them on a variety of different surfaces and in all weather conditions, I would conclude that this new outsole is an improvement in design and certainly another step in the right direction in the quest to create the perfect all-round trail shoe. They’re certainly more suited to dry conditions and comfortably handle almost every type of terrain, with the only exceptions of extreme mud and wet limestone (always a challenge!). However, in these types of conditions I would always opt for a fell running shoe with a much deeper lug and enhanced grip anyway.

This latest Cascadia model has shaved some weight from its predecessor, yet to me it’s still a trail shoe that I would wear for training rather than lightweight racing. It provides comfort, stability and protection over long trail distances and is more suited to hard and dry trail conditions. I have enjoyed wearing it on the rockier terrain close to where I live in the Yorkshire Dales – especially around Threshfield Quarry and hard-packed paths like the infamous Mastilles Lane.

In terms of sizing, I opted for a UK10.5 and they fit and feel great (I’m either a UK10 or UK10.5 depending on the brand). As previously mentioned, this shoe is a wide fit, with a roomy toe box and an 8mm drop – so for most people this information alone is probably enough to either convince you to buy or avoid this shoe. But, one thing I would say, with confidence, is that the Brooks Cascadia 16 will provide you with plenty of comfort, stability, cushioning and support and is therefore an excellent choice for anyone looking for a good all-round trail shoe.


Find out more about off-road running by visiting our trail running hub and make sure you’ve got all the running kit you need for your next adventure.

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