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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.

 

Tim Mosbacher is a staple in the Missoula running community. He is currently trying to run a marathon in every state and has experience with a variety of running products. Tim does a majority of his running outside most of the year so we asked him how he stays on his feet. You can follow more of Tim’s adventures here.

Reviewing running accessories is always interesting because it is such a departure from my running background.  When I was young and broke, I would simply run out the door wearing shorts, a cotton shirt, and whatever shoes I could rummage up.  Many days I was miserable but I considered that part of the sport.  I did not worry about headlamps, visibility, technical shirts, traction, etc.  As I have gotten older, wiser, and have a little more money, I buy more accessories, which make running more enjoyable and definitely safer. A prime example of my newfound respect for accessories as a necessity would be on a dark and cold night last year.  The workout for the night was a tempo run on the Riverfront Trail with a couple of people from Run Wild Missoula’s spring marathon training group.  I showed up not wanting to run with spikes, just like the good old days.  Everyone else had brought spikes, but seeing me without them, they hesitated and put them back in their cars.  We made it one block from the Runner’s Edge before the first person fell.  It got icier and icier as we made our way to the Riverfront Trail, and not one member of the group made it fifty yards on the trail before falling. We gingerly made our way back to the store.  Everyone grabbed their spikes, and Meg Brooker outfitted me with a new pair of Due North’s Everyday Pro shoe traction aids.  We again left the store, but this time, we had a great run, with zero slippage.  That is how much of a difference using spikes can make. 

 A few years back I had purchased the Due North Everyday spike.  They worked well when they stayed on, but they would slip off in deeper snow.  I would also mistakenly (like an idiot) put them on upside down and have to reinstall.   So, even though I appreciated them when they worked, they did not work as well as I would have liked.

The Everyday Pro version is similar to the simple Everday model, but it has more extensive webbing to fit over the front of the shoe.  I have never had the Pro version come off.  Because of this webbing there is no mistaking which way to put the spikes on.  A majority of the time, I am unaware that I even have on a traction device.  The exception to this is when I hit dry pavement and hear the clanking of the spikes.  On dry surfaces, I may start to feel the spike under the ball of my foot if the device is not centered correctly.

The carbide spikes are replaceable but last for a good number of uses.  I tend to not want to take the spikes off and on during a run, so I will sometimes wear them on areas of dry pavement. When I hear that clanking sound, I find myself looking for ice and snow! 

The Due North Everyday Pro shoe traction aids are a must have for Missoula winter running.  You know you cannot go wrong with a winter product whose headquarters are in North Dakota.