Brooks Cascadia 13 Performance Review
By Jarrett Weisberg
Brooks hit a home run with their newest iteration of the Cascadia trail shoe. They took what worked with 12s and built upon its success. New to the Cascadia 13 are a 3D Rubber Print Mud Guard, a new Ariaprene tongue, and even more cushioning. Plus, Brooks decided to make the new Cascadia 13 with an option for 2E wide!
I’m not going to even pretend to know what Brooks means when they say the “BioMoGo DNA midsole cushioning dynamically adapts to your stride.” However, I do know that the Cascadia 13 are some of the best cushioned/most comfortable shoes I have ever worn, which is especially impressive because they are trail shoes. Every time I have put these shoes on, my feet feel great. I love that!
I also appreciate how much the Cascadia 13 protect my feet. A constant fear I have is stepping on that one sharp rock and bruising my foot. This isn’t an irrational fear as I’ve done just that and couldn’t run for about a week. Brooks put in not only a great rock plate as in the previous model but now added a new 3D Rubber Printed Mud Guard to the base of the upper. I never once had an issue with stepping on or kicking rocks and sticks. Don’t worry though; the upper is very breathable. It’s like I have newfound confidence out there in the woods.
The outsole is similar in design to the previous Cascadia 12s. Brooks must have had the mentality of “if it’s not broke, don’t fix it.” I agree. These shoes run great on just about any surface (except one: see below) you are going to encounter in the woods: gravel, hard and soft dirt, wet grass, and even hopping over rocks to avoid getting wet in streams. I was delighted to find a good amount of flexibility, even with the heavy duty outsole and aggressive lugs.
Did I mention these also come in 2E wide? THANK YOU, BROOKS! The toe box is roomy, providing for excellent toe splay. The lacing and Ariaprene tongue help keep my feet locked in while providing comfort without pressure points. I didn’t encounter much heel slippage. During a trail race, I thought I was running through a shallow mud puddle. It wasn’t shallow. Both of my feet were engulfed by mud above my ankles. These bad boys didn’t fall off. Not even close.
Lastly, I love the color: orange and black. Halloween. Fall! All the things that make me happy.Shop Cascadia 13
Even though the Cascadia 13 cut .2oz from this years model, there is no denying that it’s a heavy shoe coming in at 11.9oz. Now add a few river crossings and mud puddles, and you have some fucking heavy clogs on. If warm sunlight isn’t around to dry things out, your legs are going to get tired.
Even though the shoes drained well after completely submerging, I found that the padding around the ankle would retain some water. When removing the shoes after a long trail run, I usually could squeeze the heel padding and get some water and/or sweat out. This never caused issues with blisters though.
I noted above that there was one area that I had issues regarding traction. During a run, I encountered a few muddy areas where I was slipping and sliding around.
The crazy and slightly awkward looking loops in the back are for a gaiter connection point. I’ve never run trails with a gaiter. These may be good for some people, but for me, they stick out and look out of place on the back of the shoes.Shop Cascadia 13
Brooks Cascadia 13 Conclusion
It may sound I like I had a lot of gripes with the Cascadia 13s, but that’s not the case. I don’t expect trail shoes with lots of cushioning, a rock plate, and aggressive lugs to be lightweight. These shoes are fantastic. Whether you are running a few short miles in the woods or going long distance, the Cascadia 13s will be your foots new best friend. Brooks, if you’re listening to me, I have something to say: you keep making these in wide, and I’ll keep wearing them!
Weight 11.9 oz./341 grams, Size 9