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Product Review: Brooks Cascadia 13 GTX

Sean Kiffe is a Runner’s Edge Ambassador for the 2018/19 season. He is very visible around town as he runs just about every Runner’s Edge race and Run Wild Missoula event each year. As an avid trail runner, we asked Sean to review one of our waterproof shoes, the Brooks Cascadia GTX. You can also follow Sean’s adventures on instagram@seankiffe.

Brooks Cascadia 13 GTX

Wt.: 12.3oz

Drop: 10mm

Category: Trail

 

As the daylight fades and temperatures start to drop, many of us are forced inside to the treadmill. While the treadmill is not an all-bad, the allure of a shoe that is aimed at keeping you running outside no matter what the conditions is very enticing. The Brooks Cascadia has always received high praise as a trail running shoe and the Gore-Tex version is a nice adaptation to an already solid shoe. I was excited to test a pair of these this month, in what promises to be apt conditions for testing a waterproof shoe.

Fit:

After lacing up the Cascadia 13 GTX my feet felt completely at home. The cascadia hugs the heel very snug and tightly. The lace cage compresses evenly, distributing the pressure of the tongue super comfortably on the top of the foot. The super tight weave of the mesh upper is pliable yet durable and allows the foot to move where and when it needs to. The toe box is on the narrow side but it did not feel cramped at all. The sizing is true to fit. The shoe felt a little rigid at first but after three runs in the sloppy Missoula conditions they have begun to loosen up nicely.

Performance:

While a lot of Gore-Tex running shoes carry weight like a tank, the Brooks Cascadia is pretty light (12.3 oz) compared to other Gore-Tex trail runners I have experienced. Other leading brands weigh in between 14 and 20 ounces. Advances in Gore-Tex fabric technology make it lighter and less rigid than older versions. These shoes are light and nimble and sit right in the weight range of other non-GTX trail runners. While some waterproof trail runners look more like hiking shoes, the Cascadia presents like a true running shoe with the added waterproof bonus. The Gore-Tex fabric is remarkably breathable. Not once did I feel as if my feet were dampened by their own sweat.

My first run out in these shoes saw some of Missoula’s classic “not sure if it is fall or winter” weather. The messy mix of slush, water and snow was a perfect test for a Gore-Tex shoe. The Cascadia 13 was impressive in these conditions. The waterproofing and breathability of the shoe performed flawlessly. My feet were dry and happy the entire time. The Cascadia shed water nicely and did not hold on the water like some shoes might.

The sole of the Cascadia is burly to say the least. The sole provides a nice wide base for added stability on slippery surfaces. The outer hexagonal studs offer an excellent lateral cleat on both sides of the forefoot.

Brooks uses its proprietary BioMoGo DNA technology in the midsole and it’s both responsive on the trail and cushioned enough to make the longer efforts less impactful. On the first few runs that I did in these shoes I felt very connected to the road and trail surface but cushioned enough to push as hard and as long as I wanted to.

The rugged 3D rubberized mud guard that extends from the toe box to the heel is nothing short of armor. It is tough and pliable at the same time. While protecting your foot from the lashing of ice and other trail debris, the mud guard does not sacrifice the flexibility of the shoe one bit.

 

Brooks uses what they call a rock shield guard to improve stability and disperse the impact of those more pointed encounters  your sole might have on the run. This combined with the cushion of the DNA midsole make for smooth and confident ride. The triangular Pivot technology allows for targeted flex in just the right spots on the sole of the shoe.

 

The Cascadia 13 GTX has the added bonus of a gaiter attachment on the heel of the shoe which will be nice for really sloppy spring conditions or deep snow. There is also a well thought out small pouch on the tongue of the shoe that you can tuck your laces up into.

           

Overall:

The Brooks Cascadia 13 GTX is a great choice for the runner who is not willing to move things indoors when it gets cold and sloppy. Gore-Tex, the industry standard in waterproof technology performs just as promised with the Cascadia, waterproof and breathable. The comfort and quality of the Brooks brand really comes through in this shoe. It’s light, responsive, waterproof and solidly constructed. At an MSRP of $160.00 the Cascadia is worth every penny. The Cascadia 13 GTX is certain to keep you running outside regardless of what the seasons throw your way.

 

Product Review: Brooks Cascadia 13

Jenna Lyons is an athlete that does it all. Runs, bikes, skis, you name it. She just graduated from law school and still finds time to represent Runner’s Edge as a 2017-2018 RErun Ambassador while she studies for the bar exams. She recently tested the Brooks Cascadia 13 and gave us her thoughts.

I was asked to review the Brooks Cascadia 13. After running in several iterations of the Cascadia, I was excited to step into them and see how they have changed. It was kind of like running into your best friend from kindergarten.

As always, I have curated a video for you to watch/listen to in a different window while you read this: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fZSiBj4vCiY. I like to think the company was named after Brooks and Dunn…

As usual, I reviewed the shoes for (1) Functionality and Performance; (2) Comfort and Fit; and (3) Looks.

1. Functionality & Performance
The Brooks Cascadia 13 has good tread, which grips well even on gravel. I ran on the new Barmeyer loop and up Mt. Jumbo several times in them, and they performed great and were responsive running downhill. It feels stable and handles mud well. The upper is flexible and the sole is supportive.

2. Comfort & Fit
The Brooks Cascadia 13 offers more cushion than previous generations of the Cascadia. Suffice it to say, running in the Cascadia 13 feels like cascading gently down a waterfall. The arches are supportive and comfortable. The shoe is definitely a neutral trail running shoe. The only
criticism I have as far as fit goes is that the heel doesn’t come up very high and doesn’t feel as stable as other shoes do, especially when hiking/running up steeps. Also, they run ½ size big. They are also more narrow than other shoes, and were too narrow for my feet.

3. Looks
The Cascadia 13 comes in darker colors with bright accents and laces. They look pretty cool. For running, they’re about as good as it gets as far as colors go. I wouldn’t wear them on a hot date, though.

Overall, the Cascadia 13 is like the old versions, but improved, streamlined in the upper, and with more bells and whistles. It works great on Missoula trails. The fit is great, but I’d recommend you head on down to Runner’s Edge and try them on before buying. They’re great shoes and if you liked the previous versions, you’re in for a new and refreshing treat!

Product Review: Brooks FastForward Sports Bra

Rachel Brumfield can be seen racing anything from the Resolution Run to Eleven Miles to Paradise, but also likes to explore and spends time in the mountains during the summer. You can follow her adventures on instagram @rachbrums.

I’ve never been super picky about my sports bra – but thanks to Runner’s Edge, I’m becoming something of a connoisseur. Brooks has always exceeded my expectations with their gear, so I had great hopes for the Brooks FastForward bra. It didn’t disappoint.

Look – The FastForward bra keeps it simple. The design is flattering, but without excess. Thick straps cross once in the back and fasten with a fuss-free hook. A fun mesh accent spices up the front and sides. It comes in a fun geometric pattern or solid black. Though simple, the bra is sleek and feminine. I’d call it a classic.

Fit – This bra fits a little snugger than most of the other sports bras I own. This could because of the fabric, level of support or that it runs a little small. The straps are adjustable, though, making it easy to get the right fit every time. The back closes with a simple hook, which I love (Does anyone else lose precious minutes in the morning trying to get a strappy bra untangled and clasped or removing a clasp-less bra after a sweaty run?!).

Feel – The FastForward bra feels a little stiff at first, but quickly becomes unnoticeable. The fabric seems a little less flexible than a bra with a lower level of support. On the other hand, though, it stays comfy when wet and doesn’t hold much stink. (Both very important for summer running). It has removeable cups, if you prefer a lower impact feel, and doesn’t rub under the arms or along the band.

Overall, the FastForward bra is a solid pick. It’s comfy enough to wear all day and simple enough suit any style. Personally, I prefer the Brooks FineForm for its softer fabric and any-occasion feel – but for a more classic-style running bra, I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend the Fast Forward. It’s cute, comfortable, durable – and definitely a staple item for everyday running.

Product Review: Brooks Sherpa 7″ 2-N-1 Short

Tim Mosbacher is a staple in the Missoula running community. He is currently trying to run a marathon in every state and because of this runs thousands of miles every year. He recently tested out the Brooks Sherpa 7″ 2-N-1 Shorts for us. 

What makes a good running short? As I prepared to do a review of the Brooks Sherpa 7” 2-in-1 running short, I pondered this question. My preference for length of short has changed over the years as I age and get slower, and it also differs depending on the type of run. 

I used to always buy “short” shorts, believing if you look and feel fast, you run fast. Unfortunately, not everyone shares that opinion. An old running partner from Anaconda joked that he was “uncomfortable” running with me when I wore my “short” shorts. Twenty years later, he still teases me about it. I still wear them if I have a big race and want to have that “fast” mental advantage.  (I last bought a pair because Vicky from Runner’s Edge said they would look cute on me.) I now tend to buy longer shorts, mainly because it seems they chafe a little less.  Something in my stride rubs my thighs together, which makes using an anti-chafing product a must on longer runs.  That was, until I discovered the Brooks Sherpa 7” 2-in-1 running short.  2-in-1 means the inner liner is not the typical mesh brief, but a mesh boxer brief liner. The boxer brief liner is tighter, almost like a compression boxer brief, which provides a tighter material over the upper thighs.

This extra material is light and breathes as well as the traditional mesh brief, but with more chafing protection.  If the run is going to be longer than around 18 miles, I still will put on an anti-chafing product. The Sherpa short fits true to size. It does ride a little lower (shorter inseam). The only problem with this for me has been when I add gels to the pockets. The weight tends to pull the shorts down, when they are already running a little low. But the pockets are one of the short’s strong points.

The shorts have three types of pockets. On the rear outer hips there are pockets or “holsters” on each side. These pockets are not enclosed with zippers or Velcro, but with an elastic band. They are great for gels or other items that don’t really matter if they accidentally fly out. There is an additional zippered back pocket across the middle. This pocket is excellent and is lined on the inner side with a moisture-free lining, so it is a great place to secure money, toilet paper, keys, etc. It is large enough to fit Clif Bloks and smaller cell phones. An additional pocket is located on the right leg of the boxer brief liner. This pocket is held tightly against the leg and is great for larger gels or even a larger phone (fits my Galaxy S8 with a case). The only other disadvantage of this short, besides the short inseam, is the seam that goes across the bottom of the boxer brief liner. At times, especially in the rain, this seam can chafe your perineal area, which makes for a painful run. 

To be honest, I love the shorts so much I always wonder why every other runner is not wearing the Brooks Sherpa 7” 2-in-1 running short. Purchase a pair at the Runner’s Edge and tell them Tim recommended them.

 

Product Review: Brooks Launch 5

Angie Partain is very involved in the Missoula Running Community as both a runner and frequent volunteer despite being a busy mom. You can follow her adventures at @jnapartain. As a RErun Ambassador we asked Angie to try out the brand new Brooks Launch 5 and share her thoughts.

BROOKS Launch 5 

Is there anything more exciting than a new pair of running shoes? It’s like a fresh start…and getting started in them is exciting! I’ve heard the quote: “Money can’t buy you happiness, but it can buy you running shoes—and that’s almost the same thing”. I love it—and it’s so true!   When it’s getting close to time to retire a much-loved-on pair of running shoes, I find myself excitedly dreaming of and even anticipating a trip to The Runner’s Edge for my next pair. What color will they be? Where will they take me? How might they enhance my running experience? 

The LOOK: 

The Launch 5 passes the pretty test with flying colors!  With classic, slim and sleek lines these shoes stood out to me right away. The lightweight and low-profile design combined with a shapely toe give them a petite, feminine and sporty look while hugging close to the ground.  They come in 4 fun and classic colors: Hot Pink/Royal, Black/Teal, Black/Grey/Purple and Silver/Black. With reflective material placed subtly underneath the mesh at the heel and toe, you are sure to be visible and chic at the same time. 

The FEEL: 

I tend to have problems finding shoes that keep the tops of my toes happy. For this reason, I have hopped from shoe to shoe over the years attempting to find a running shoe that will eliminate this nuisance for me. I’ve had best success with minimal drop and sock-like uppers. With a 10mm midsole drop, I expected to have toe issues based on my history. But the Launch’s full “Air Mesh” uppers, kept the tops of my feet and toes happier than they’ve been in a while, which is a HUGE win for me! The cushioning at the heel and ankle is generous and felt great. I did notice that they hit slightly higher on the back of the heel. When wearing tab socks they rubbed just above my sock line a bit. This wasn’t enough friction to cause any blistering, however I did notice a slight callous developing.   

The PERFORMANCE: 

The neutral support soles are flexible but also have a sturdy feel without bulk or rigidity. The cushioning has a nice firmness that absorbs well while remaining  comfy in the foot bed at the same time. Doing single leg squats and jumps I felt stable and balanced as the soles seem to have a bit more stability than other neutral soles.  Only worn on snow and ice, I felt their grip was good–though it was difficult to really put their speed to the test given our super icy conditions. My only chance at a fast workout with non-icy conditions meant turning to the treadmill. Usually treadmill runs leave the bottoms of my feet feeling a bit raw due to the added heat/moisture, but they felt great the entire workout—even energized. Fitting true to size, my feet stayed secure without slipping around inside. Laces are a nice length–plenty for a double knot, not enough to flap around and drive ya nuts.    

Why buy the LAUNCH 5? From EASY run to LONG run to INTERVALS to TREADMILL to  STRENGTH training these Brooks  have won me over. They’ve kept me warm in less than ideal conditions and my happy toes are helping me “RUN HAPPY” (not to be too cliché) and RECOVER happy. Coming in at $100 the Brooks Launch will even keep your finances happy! 

Happy New Year! 

-Angie

Product Review: Brooks FineForm Bra

Rachel Brumfield can been seen racing anything from the Resolution Run to Eleven Miles to Paradise, but also likes to explore and recently spent some time in the mountains around Banff. You can follow her adventures on instagram @rachbrums. As a 2017/2018 RErun she tested the Brooks FineForm Sports Bra and gave us her thoughts.

Brooks FineForm: A Very Versatile Sports Bra

I chose the Brooks FineForm off the shelves of Runner’s Edge because it was different. Unlike most sports bras, it clasps in the back and has convertible straps. It looks like a hybrid between your everyday bra and a sports bra. At first I thought, “This is a little much.” As someone who can (almost) go on a run without any sort of support at all, the security of the Brooks FineForm felt a little excessive. But after wearing it for a couple weeks, I’m sold.

Reasons I thought this sports bra outperforms others:

1. Material: This bra is made out of a magical material that all undergarments should be made
of. According to the tag, it’s called DriLayer® fabric. I wore the bra for hours without
noticing it was there. On particularly sweaty runs, it remained soft, moisture-wicking and
chafe-free.

2. Zero-Chafe: It’s music to the ears of any lady runner. The FineForm’s bonded, seamless
neckline, straps and back prevent friction in all the usual spots – under the straps, band and
underarms. I’m often the victim of a chafing on the inside of my arms after long runs – not
the case here. Huge points in my book.

3. Overall Fit: The FineForm fits snug without being rigid. There are no perceivable cups held
between two layers of fabric, like many other sports bras. This makes the whole thing more
manageable – especially after machine-washing. No digging around trying to straighten the
cups or untangling the straps. Yet, it still has the right amount of coverage and padding to
offer significant support.

Another win are the adjustable straps. Converting between the racer back and open back
styles is easy and comfortable. You choose the length of the straps, ensuring the perfect fit
every time.

4. Style: The dual-option straps make this bra more versatile than any I’ve ever worn. The
strappy racer back style is fun and sleek enough to wear on it’s own. It also works perfectly
with most running tanks. The open back entices you to make this your everyday, go-to bra.
It works well under professional attire (I tested this, too), making an after-work run that
much easier.

As with most sports bras, it comes in a wide variety of fun colors. Even the plain ol’ black
version features stripes to mix it up. I’d give the Brooks FineForm a 10/10 for versatility, comfort and design. It’s great for runs and for the workday. It’s comfortable when hiking with a pack and swimming in the river. The bra’s unique multi-functionality makes the $50 price tag worth every penny. For someone like me, who spends 9+ hours in the office then hits the road or trail, it’s the perfect hybrid.

PS – Here’s a shameless, but very honest plug for Runner’s Edge… If you’re looking to buy the
perfect sports bra, RE is the place to do so. They have handy fit guides, specific to running bras, in their dressing rooms and will help take your measurements. Super helpful.