Fun Fact: Other than running a Warrior Dash, I’ve never run a trail race. You would also probably figure I would have run Cross Country in high school. I quit the first practice when they made me run 4KM. Trail running is something that I think I would like to try this year and maybe even run in a trail race! Brooks was kind enough to send me a pair of their Cascadia 10’s to try. The Cascadia’s are cushioned trail shoes that provide lots of support for when you want to run on uneven terrain.
Although I am currently not on any trails, Ottawa winter running is basically like running on those uneven, rocky paths that you might encounter on a trail. You might have seen some of my pictures on Instagram detailing the condition of roads/sidewalks around my neighbourhood. Although this winter is mild and not filled with snow, it still can be treachorous! Normally, I’ve avoided winter running on sidewalks that are too icy. I’ve used the Cascadia’s for all my winter runs, except one, and noticed a big difference in the amount of traction I get. Sort of like using winter tires vs. summer tires on my car. The one run where I wore my New Balance shoes, I was slipping around like crazy.
The Cascadia’s have a 4-point pivot system that helps your feet navigate tricky running conditions and is just built a bit more rugged than your typical running shoe. It is noted that when I first started wearing the shoes, they felt a bit more stiff than any other shoe I’ve worn before and might have helped my left leg’s problems appear again. However, slipping around the ice in regular shoes is also not the greatest for me or my left leg.
Another feature I liked about the Cascadias was that I did not get ice cold water on my feet while running. The shoes feature a moisture management system with the mesh and foam that helps keep moisture away. I have to wait for winter to be over, but i really want to see what happens when I test the shoes in muddy conditions. I just hate the squishy mud feeling! My feet were warm and dry through the run. Another feature that cannot be tested yet is the rock shield. Although winter running is mostly about traction/not slipping, trail running can include stepping on rocks and tree roots which could hurt if you are wearing regular running shoes.
The Cascadia’s might also work for light walks on trails or times you might want to wear “running shoes” but might encounter some mud, puddles or uneven surfaces. However, it is stated on the Brook’s website that these shoes have not been tested for hiking with heavy packs. As someone who has hiked several times in Gatineau Park and other places (sometimes with Max on my back), I would agree. But if we were just hitting up the Wolf Trail for a little walk, they would be perfect.
Overall, I have enjoyed wearing the Cascadia’s as my go-to winter shoe. I don’t wear them every time and will probably not wear them for runs over 6K, but they are great for those winter days when there is a nice layer of snow and ice on your running route.
Disclosure: I was given a pair of Brooks Cascadia 10 trail shoes to test and review. I was not compensated for this review and all opinions are my own.