In a desperate search for the right pair of trail shoes for the Park City Mid-mountain Marathon, I came across a handful of great reviews of the Brooks Cascadia 5 trail runners. After looking them over, I was determined to drop into the Brooks booth while at the Outdoor Retailer show to learn more. With a sample pair in-hand for the past month,  I’ve been dutifully logging my training miles on the Cascadia 5’s and these shoes have performed better than any trail shoe I’ve tested to date. Really? Yup, really.

Brooks Cascadia 5 Features:

  • HydroFlow® ST fluid heel and forefoot cushioning
  • Full-length BioMoGo midsole
  • Pivot rockered posting system
  • Forefoot Ballistic Rock Shield
  • HPR Green outsole
  • Weight: 12 oz./pair
  • Colors: Black/Red, Green/White
  • MSRP: $100

Brooks Cascadia 5 Review

It didn’t take me long to fall in love with these shoes. Slipping them on, my feet were greeted with the most comfortable and natural-feeling running shoes I’ve ever worn. I don’t know what the mojo is that the Cascadia’s have, but all other manufacturers should stand up and check them out because I feel they are the best overall trail runners I’ve owned (yup… they are that good).

The true test has come over the past 6 weeks as I’ve trained and completed my first marathon — the Park City Mid Mountain Marathon. This race is 99% singletrack trail. Most of the trail is smooth, but there are several very rocky and rooted sections with some loose downhill that required stability, traction and protection. The Cascadia 5’s performed so well in my training that I didn’t doubt their marathon performance one lick. As it turned out, they performed extremely-well.

My favorite feature of the Cascadia 5’s is the Pivot rockered sole. While I’ve seen some extremely-rockered shoe designs, the Cascadia 5’s offer a subtle, effective rocker that translates into consistent and smooth forward motion. As a midfoot striker, I feel like I land and roll forward in my stride in a more natural way than any pair of shoes I’ve worn previously.

Traction is superb in soft and loamy conditions and loose/dry terrain. The only time I found the traction to be lacking is in steep, loose/dry terrain where the toe-off traction loses some of its edge. With the comfort provided by the Cascadia 5’s, these can comfortably run on pavement for long trail approaches or mixed-trail running.

I like how well the uppers contour to my feet and appreciate the double tongue retaining loops to keep it securely in place. Breathability is solid, but could be improved slightly with a little less solid material usage. At 12 oz, the Cascadia’s aren’t ultralight, but they don’t feel heavy at all on the trail and on long runs.

Good Cascadia 5

  • Subtle rockered “Pivot” sole provides an ultra-smooth stride
  • Great traction in a variety of conditions
  • Ability to run comfortably on and off road
  • Foot-cradling uppers with double-looped tongue
  • Use of biodegradable midsole and environmentally-friendly outsole construction
  • An excellent value at $100

Bad Cascadia 5

  • Toe-off traction isn’t as tenacious as some
  • Tend to run 1/2 size small (I’m typically a 10/10.5 and I have 11’s, but could go to 11.5’s for extra wiggle room)

Bottom Line: Brooks Cascadia 5 Trail Running Shoes

I can’t praise these shoes enough. They are by far the best trail runners for my feet and running style that I’ve tested to date. I’m not alone in my love affair with these shoes and they are gaining praise from customers and journalists alike. Try them on and you’ll be hooked. The Pivot sole and ultra-comfortable midsole will surround your foot in comfort as you punish the trails.

Buy Now: Find Brooks Trail Runners at REI

About Author

A native of the Pacific Northwest, Jason quickly developed a love for the outdoors and a thing for mountains. That infatuation continues as he founded this site in 1999 -- sharing his love of road biking, mountain biking, trail running and skiing. That passion is channeled into every article or gear review he writes. Utah's Wasatch Mountains are his playground.


  1. I’ve ran Adrenalins for a few years now and these are on my radar. I like a wider toe box and these offer that. The stability of Brooks runners is fantastic. Cheers for the reminder that i have to spend money i don’t have! lol

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  3. I loved the Cascadia 3 so much I bought two pair of these Cascadia 5’s without even trying them on. Too bad they didn’t come in red again… this wasabi green color isn’t my favorite…

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