The Brooks Cascadia is back this year with version 11. The Cascadia is an icon in the world of lightwieght hiking, and can be seen on the feet of countless hikers enjoying the miles of the Pacific Crest Trail, the John Muir Trail, the Appalachian Trail, and the Continental Divide Trail. For years, the Cascadia has been know as a durable ATV of a shoe that can handle anything a hiker or runner is capable of throwing their way. The Cascadia really seemed to hit their peak when Brooks released versions 8 and 9. While hiking sections of the PCT in years past, it seemed that more than half of the hikers I met on the trail were wearing v8 or v9. This all changed last year with the release of v10. Brooks added a newly redesigned upper on the v10 that looked great, but had serious problems with durability. Many hikers and runners reported a crease on the toe box that would begin to disintegrate at around 100 miles of use. Brooks has a brand new upper on v11 which looks to remedy the problems found in the v10. Will this be the shoe that once again makes the Cascadia king of the trails? Maybe so. Below you’ll find my preview with a more in-depth look.
Fit and Feel:
Brooks lists the Cascadia at 11.6 oz, and it feels about as light on the foot as other Cascadia models. If you liked the fit of the v9 and v10, you should feel right at home with the v11. The last of the Cascadia is a bit too narrow for my taste, but I know there are many hikers and runner how love the feeling of precision, especially those with narrow feet. The heel of the v11 feels very snug and secure, and the heel counter provides a nice amount of later stability. Like the narrow last, the toebox is a little narrow for my taste. I would wear a 12 in the Cascadia if not for the narrow toe box. For this reason, I wear a size 12.5. This is true to size for me, more or less. The inside of the upper for the v11 is very comfortable and did not provide an discomfort or hot-spots upon first wear.
As I mentioned in the introduction, the v11 of the Cascadia has a completely new upper that looks to fix the durability issues many wearers had with the v10. Brooks uses a breathable and durable mesh on the upper that they call ‘Element Mesh’. For foot security and stability, Brooks added microfiber and synthetic overlays. This ties in with the added lace loop (yellow) to provide a very nice ‘dialed-in’ fit. There is also an overlay rand that runs alongside the midsole on the medial and lateral side of the Cascadia to keep water and mud out of the shoe. Finally, Brooks used a sturdy and protective heel counter and toe guard to provide protection for both the front and back of the foot. The tongue on the Cascadia 11 is not fully gusseted. It is attached to the shoe, but there are gaps that can allow dirt and debris to enter.
Brooks is once again using the beloved 4-pivot system on the Cascadia midsole. There aren’t a lot of changes in the midsole from previous years, and that’s probably a good thing. Brooks states the “BioMoGo DNA fuses BioMoGo midsole and DNA cushioning technology for a fully custom responsive ride that adapts to the needs of each and every runner.” Brooks also brings back the beloved Ballistic Rock Shield for forefoot protection.
The outsole on the Cascadia v11 is the same as the outsole from v10. The outsole of the Cascadia is what has made it such a popular choice for thru hikers. Brooks uses a very resilient rubber compound that lasts well past 400 miles, even through the tough Sierra granite here in California. The lug pattern is nice and aggressive, offering traction in all environments. To get the durability, Brooks uses a very hard outsole compound. The trade off here is that traction on slick surfaces isn’t the best. It’s a fair trade off though.
The Cascaida 11 looks to be a nice update to the v10, and one that Cascadia fans are sure to love. If you have a narrow foot and like a shoe that fits with precision, this could be a great choice for you.