Sunday, January 12, 2020

Brooks Running Caldera 4 Multi Tester Review: More Turns out Better, Sacrificing Nothing!

Article by Jeff Beck, John Tribbia, Jeff and Allison Valliere

Brooks Caldera 4  ($140)

John: I have never worn previous versions of the Caldera, but I have enjoyed early models of the Brooks Cascadia and Adrenaline. Obviously, this shoe comes with more stack height and is touted to be Brooks’ new ultra marathon shoe. I am really excited to try it out, because of my past positive experiences with other Brooks models. Out of the box and walking around, the shoe is very comfortable and has an impressive “compact” feeling despite it being a bigger cushioned shoe with 3mm more cushion stack than its predecessor. The stack height is anomalously high for Brooks, yet they didn’t lose sight of stability by adding the cushion. My early impressions are that it works really well: the center of gravity is still low and I don’t feel prone to ankle rolls and I feel connected to the ground. The engineered mesh upper is comfortable to bare skin and seems durable. The outsole is Brooks’ sticky TrailTack rubber and is just enough that would allow for road and off-road terrain. 

Jeff B: I’m on the opposite end of the spectrum, I ran in the Caldera 2 and reviewed the 3 - however, I had the same immediate enthusiasm for the shoe that John did. I raved about the 3 last year, and the 4 changed virtually every aspect of the shoe. Normally that’s cause for concern - did Brooks ruin a good thing? Unbelievably, no, but it has really shifted what the Caldera is.

John: well cushioned, stable and smooth ride, comfortable and sturdy/durable upper, secure fit, versatility from road to trail
Jeff B: The extra midsole gives added protection, toe box width grew, entire platform is a little wider, upper breathes well but also has good foothold.
Jeff V:  Cushion, comfort, style, relaxed fit for all day comfort, wide platform, protection, reasonably light for so much shoe.
Allison:  Comfort, fit, cushion style, light, response

John: Traction and toe protection
Jeff B: Toe bumper on medial side is a little obtrusive
Jeff V:  Relaxed fit resulting in lack of security in technical terrain, particularly at higher speeds.  Thin laces, traction limitations
Allison:  Traction

Official Weight:: men's 10 oz / 283 g (US9) :: women's 8.9 oz / 252g  (US8)
Sample Weights:
10.9oz / 309g US men’s 10.5D, 10.5 oz./298g US men’s 10, 9.25 oz./263g US women’s 9
4mm offset
Available Feb 1. 2020. $140

Tester Profiles
Jeff B is the token slow runner of the RTR lineup as such his viewpoints on shoe and gear can differ from those who routinely finish marathons in three hours or less. Jeff runs 40 miles per week, both roads and desert trails in Phoenix, Arizona. He has a PR's of 4:07 marathon and 5K at 23:39. In December he raced his first 50 mile trail ultra. 
John (5' 6", 130lbs) is a former sponsored mountain/trail runner who has run with La Sportiva, Brooks/Fleet Feet, Pearl Izumi, and Salomon. Even though he competes less frequently these days, you can still find John enjoying the daily grind of running on any surface, though his favorite terrain is 30-40% grade climbs. He has won races such as America's Uphill, Imogene Pass Run, and the US Skyrunner Vertical Kilometer Series; and he's held several FKTs on several iconic mountains in Boulder, Colorado and Salt Lake City, Utah. If you follow him on Strava, you'll notice he runs at varying paces between 5 minutes/mile to 12 minutes/mile before the break of dawn almost everyday.
Allison is a 5th generation Coloradan who is passionate about the outdoors and has been hiking, backpacking, skiing, snowshoeing and running in the mountains since she was young.  She has completed all but 5 of the Colorado 14ers (a dozen or so in winter), has many hundreds of year round ascents of 14ers, 13ers and other peaks in Colorado and the West.  Allison has also traveled the world and trekked to over 18,000 feet in the Himalayas, to high altitudes in Ecuador and has worked for the National Park Service mapping plants in the Sierra Nevada mountains of California .  Her almost daily routine involves runs/power hikes in the foothills above Boulder, or 4-5 mile flatter runs at 8-10 minute mile pace if her schedule necessitates. But what really keeps her on her toes is working as a labor and delivery nurse and taking care of her 9 year old twin daughters who are also growing to share her love for the outdoors.
Jeff V. runs mostly on very steep technical terrain above Boulder often challenging well known local FKT's. 

First Impressions and Fit
John: Hot take: this could already be my shoe of the year! Brooks focused attention on adding additional stack height and cushion, yet nothing is lost in stability or ride. I put these shoes on and they immediately felt comfortable out of the box. The engineered mesh upper hugs the foot non-abrasively and looks durably constructed, the heel fits snugly (which I have found lacking in the few high stack and cushioned shoes I have tried), it has a relatively fast snap-back and response when running at higher cadences, and it provides that needed softness when bombing downhill. It definitely serves as a road to trail shoe with a semi-aggressive tread, but not one serious enough to even hinder a road cadence. 
Jeff B: It’s not a hot take at all - lots of folks are going to be raving about the Caldera 4, and the step-in feel is great. The upper is a little more robust than last year’s model, but it also got roomier in all the right places without sacrificing anything. The added thickness to the midsole didn’t make it lifeless or mushy, you just stand a little bit higher. The shoe still fits true-to-size, though I could imagine narrow footed runners needing to use a runner’s loop to lock things down. There’s plenty of volume inside, but I think that’s a great thing.

Jeff V:  I have run in and reviewed all versions of the Caldera, with 1,2 and 3 being very similar aside from minor upper refinements.  I have enjoyed all 3 versions, finding them to be great for cruising long distances over mellow to moderate terrain, with primary limitations, at least for my typical mountain running, being lack of traction off trail or in loose dirt/snow due to the very low profile lugs and the upper being not quite as secure as I prefer for technical trails, but generally very good.  

The Caldera 4 has been completely rebuilt from the ground up with some all around great improvements. My first impressions were very positive, as they are quite comfortable, well cushioned, bouncy, reasonably light and look great. Looking down on them from above, the shape looks reminiscent of a Topo shoe, but not quite an Altra. Though the shoe is on the wider end of the spectrum, I don’t find the fit to be as short as many Altras or Topos and is more secure for me.  Midfoot hold and heel hold are both very good.
Allison:  I am a long time Brooks fan, but the Caldera is a new model for me.  I was initially struck with the comfort and fit right out of the box.  Reviewing immediately after the Brooks Divide, an all time favorite, I wasn’t sure anything could come close, yet the Caldera 4 did not disappoint. Fit is true to size and I appreciate the added room in the toe box, which I find to be quite comfortable.

Jeff B: The Caldera 4 uses an engineered mesh upper that’s a vast departure from the Caldera 3. Last year’s shoe was almost shapeless, with minimal overlays, making it comfortable for many foot types, but not the best for technical trails. 
Fast forward a year, and Brooks shored up the overlays, but they aren’t too busy. The texture of them feels very robust - most of them almost feel like a fine grit sandpaper to the touch. The toebox is massively wide, almost indistinguishable from Altra or Topo, and I’m all over that. I ran 13 miles right out of the box, and the upper required zero fiddling to get right. 

That said, I noticed a little bit of rubbing on the medial size of my big toe (on both feet), right where the toe bumper is the most pronounced. Not a big deal, I probably had another 10-15 miles before that rubbing would become a blister; and realistically I’ll probably just lube up that part of my toe with Squirrel’s Nut Butter beforehand and have zero problems. Even though it is the coldest time of year, that 13 miles was a late morning to early afternoon run on a perfect day in Phoenix, and it was nearly 70° by the time I got back to the car, but I didn’t even think about shoe heat during the run. 
The tongue gets it just right, it’s thin and feels dialed in, but not so much that individual lace pressure comes through. Brooks also refined the various anchor points ts for gaiters. There are still the two in the front and hidden velcro in the back, so if you are a gaiter fan you don’t need to do much, or any, in the way of alterations to make your trail gaiters work. All in all, this upper is fantastic.
John: Like Jeff points out, the engineered mesh upper is new in this version and I think it is top quality. It breathes well and feels good on the foot. In many shoes with a seamless design, those lacking heavy reinforcements or of engineered mesh generally wear through on the outside of my forefoot after 200-300 miles of running. The durability of this engineered mesh means that I’m able to put the additional miles on the shoe without worrying about an upper “blow-out”. With an average width foot, the 9.0 fits true to size and hugs the foot around the midfoot while widening up through the forefoot. I didn’t find it as roomy as an Altra. 
Jeff V:  Jeff B and John describe the upper well.  I had no trouble with any sort of rubbing, blistering or pressure points.  Though it is winter and colder here in Colorado, a recent visit to SoCal and warmer temps (low 70’s), the Caldera 4 felt very well ventilated, yet not at all cold on my daily morning runs at home in low 20’s temps.  While the toe box is wide and roomy, reminiscent of Topo and Altra, I find the fit to work much better for me than in those brands. While I appreciate so much about Altra, the fit just does not really work for me and especially on technical trails.  To a lesser degree, while I am fairly adaptable runner with little concern for drop, the zero drop of Altra has caused me issues at times, so with the Caldera 4, I feel like they hit the sweet spot for accommodating fit, yet still maintaining very good control and security and of course a more sensible 4mm drop.  While foothold is very good considering the width, I do notice that I do get some movement when running fast on rocky technical terrain, steep sidehilling and mostly when cornering fast on sharp switchbacks. Otherwise, foothold is never an issue when running fast on moderate terrain, or going a bit slower on steep/technical terrain.
Allison:  I have a narrow foot and while I need to crank down the laces a bit, I love the fit of the Caldera 4 and find them very comfortable and accommodating for full days on my feet.  Foothold is very good and I have not noticed or had any issues with my foot moving or sliding, no hot spots or anything. Midfoot and heel are very secure and I like the gusseted booty style tongue, padded heel and breathable mesh.  I think the shoe looks great too, especially in the women’s colorway.

Jeff B: I’ll admit it, I’m a sucker for added squish. If I’m going to be on a trail for 2-8 hours, I’ll happily sacrifice light weight for a little more protection - and I don’t think I’m alone on that. Brooks is counting on it, because they’ve definitely added more midsole to the 4, in fact 3mm more. The midsole material is still their BioMoGo DNA EVA. There is always the concern that added stack height will make the midsole less flexible, but the Caldera 3 midsole wasn’t very flexible to begin with, so you aren’t losing much there. 

But you are getting extraordinary foot protection. The 3 gave adequate protection against rock strikes, the 4 gives class-leading protection. I found myself hunting down rocks to land hard on, and I still couldn’t feel them. If you like Hoka trail shoes , you may have found something else to check out, I certainly have. The last thing that sets this midsole apart from its predecessor is the width. I broke out the digital calipers, and measured several different spots on the midsole. At the widest point of the forefoot the 4 is 120mm wide, while the 3 is 115.5mm at the same (or similar) point, and at the narrowest spot of the midfoot, the 4 is 82mm to the 3’s 77.7mm. Not a massive shift, but a few millimeters makes all the difference in the world.

John: Two words -- plush and stable! As Jeff mentioned above, the protection is best in class. I took these down a steep, semi-technical trail to challenge the stability and footbed protection. I felt in complete control laterally and ankle rolls were non-existent. The width of the shoe provides enough counter to the height so that the center of gravity is low to the ground. Not to mention, it was challenging for me to find rocky enough terrain to pierce through the midsole and cause discomfort. I didn’t feel the stiffness that Jeff mentions above and was able to roll pretty efficiently at a 5:45 min/mile clip for several minutes at a time without feeling like I was losing too much efficiency.

Jeff V:  Jeff B and John nail it exactly.  I could not find sharp rocks or roots that could penetrate this shoe with anything more noticeable than me being vaguely aware, yet I never felt as though I was out of touch with the ground beneath me, as I have before with maximal shoes providing so much cushioning and protection.  The added width helps me a good bit to balance the slight movement I feel when pushing really hard and I never really felt any tippyness or instability.
Allison:  I love lots of cushion in a shoe and the Caldera 4 is among the best.  Response is very good on trails and roads and my legs feel fresh after runs or just wearing them all day.  I find them to be equally at home on technical trails as I do on roads and find them to be very smooth, stable and predictable.

Jeff B: Another spot that Brooks completely changed, the Caldera 4’s outsole is made up of only three different pieces of rubber, with a few channels running in between them. 
Compared to the 3’s outsole (left above) which opted for smaller lugs, but many more of them, the 4's lugs gave me a little pause before their first run - there is a lot of flat spaces of rubber between them. But, that pause was for nothing, this shoe has great grip. I’ve run the Caldera 4 on three different trail systems around Phoenix, some fairly technical stuff ranging down to fire roads, and I’ve had zero complaints about the traction. Durability is also good, with minor wear showing on a few of the lugs while the rest look essentially brand new.
John: Brooks uses its sticky TrailTack rubber for the outsole. The shoe has wide, narrow lugs that are really good for smooth and semi-technical trail running. I ran in snow and ice, frozen grass and mud, dry smooth trail, and dry rocky technical trail. The outsole felt secure on all terrain types, with some slipping on the rocky sections. I have also put close to 200 miles on these already and most of the lugs are still only lightly worn.

Jeff V:  Like John, I have run on much of the same terrain/conditions, with the addition of very steep off-trail with lots of loose junk.  The outsole is much improved over the previous versions, as I would have been slipping much more in older versions, but really had very few issues for the most part with the Caldera 4 throughout all of my time spent running in them, although when off trail on steeper gradients, I did notice the lack of tread and had to really dial it back, particularly when descending.  The rubber compound is excellent and sticks on rock and slab, dry or wet. I don’t have nearly the mileage as John, but will confirm that with the rough miles I have run, durability thus far indicates better than average. Oh yeah, we spent a week going to the beaches around San Diego and steep bluffy trails north of La Jolla, where they gripped very well in the sand, running up and down the 300+ feet of vert or along the beaches at or above tide line.
Allison:  The Caldera 4 has surprisingly good traction despite the smaller lugs, which adds to the versatility, be it road, packed trails, rough terrain, some snow use, etc….  My shoes are showing almost no wear. There were times however where I would have preferred a bit more lug for better traction on snow, mud or looser terrain, but this a very small nitpick.

Jeff B: There’s no hiding it, this shoe rides high. Luckily, the extra width keeps it planted very well, but it did take a few runs to break in every so slightly. Once it did, I became enamored with the shoe. It is more cushioned than many runners would consider for a shorter trail race, but it isn’t a trail tank by any means. 
This is a Goldilocks level shoe for me; just cushioned enough to wear for long stuff, but not so cushioned it’s exclusively meant for 20+ miles on tame trails and out of place when the stuff gets hairy. During the initial 13 miles, I ran with my wife who is much faster than I am, and the Caldera 4 felt great as I was pushing pace to match her in a few sections.
John: If you are a heel striker or midfoot striker, this shoe is designed for you! The cushioned midsole and additional width provide a perfect platform for a stable and smooth transitioning ride. Notwithstanding, a forefoot runner will still find a shoe that is relatively responsive and bouncy; it does not lose much energy on the return but don’t expect to use this as a road racing flat.

Jeff V:  The ride is smooth, stable, predictable and reasonably responsive on just about any terrain and any pace.  While not a race shoe, I find they roll along well without much effort.

Allison:  The ride is impressively cushioned and smooth and I find them to be quick when needed, but easily adapt to just about any pace for me.

Conclusions and Recommendations
Jeff B: I always get scared when a shoe I hold in high regard gets a complete overhaul, but the changes made for the 4 were all for the best. Great traction, nearly Altra/Topo levels of toebox width, tons of protection underfoot - I could go on and on about this shoe. If you told me I was only allowed to run in one trail shoe for the rest of the year it’d be a hard choice, but I’m fairly certain the Caldera 4 would be my answer.
Jeff B’s Score 9.5 /10
Ride: 9 (50%) Fit: 10 (30%) Value: 10 (15%) Style: 10 (5%)

John: I would not be surprised if the Caldera 4 is a shoe worn by a podium finisher at a major ultra marathon this year, such as Lake Sonoma, The Canyons, Way Too Cool, and even Speedgoat. But this shoe is not just great for the podium finishers, it is a high performing cushioned choice on the full spectrum of terrain that also fits a full spectrum of feet. Without a doubt, this is my shoe choice for an everyday long or short run.
John’s Score: 9.6 / 10
Ride: 9.75 (plush shoe with stable and smooth ride)
Fit: 9.5 (nearly no break in period for me and my average width foot fits perfectly)
Value: 10 (versatile shoe with durable upper & outsole that can withstand high mileage)
Style: 9.5 
Traction: 9.5 (high performing on a variety of terrain)
Rock Protection: 9.5 (needs toe protection, but cushioning, and width provide ample protection)

Jeff V:  The Caldera 4 is a great all around, well cushioned training shoe, ready for high mileage on all but the most technical and steep terrain.  The fit will accommodate a very wide range of feet and provide all day comfort. I appreciate the versatility.
Jeff V’s Score:  9.3 / 10
Ride: 9.5 Fit: 9  Value: 9 Style: 9  Traction: 8 Rock Protection: 9.5 Weight:  9

Allison:  A jack of all trades shoe with amazing fit, comfort and cushion, a perfect daily trainer, great for door to trail or daily wear.
Allison’s Score:  9.4 / 10
Ride: 10 Fit: 9.5  Value: 8.5 Style: 9.5  Traction: 8 Rock Protection: 10 Weight:  9

Comparisons  Index to all RTR reviews: HERE

Brooks Caldera 3 (RTR Review)
Jeff B: Both shoes fit true-to-size 10.5. Rarely does a shoe gain weight (only .3 ounce, but weight gain is weight gain) and get better for it, but Brooks did exactly that. I loved the 3 last year, but the 4 is a much better shoe. More traction, more protection, better fit; it’s a no-brainer.

Jeff V:  Jeff B said it well and the slight weight gain goes completely unnoticed.

Brooks Cascadia 14  (RTR Review)
Jeff V:  Cascadia has a more narrow race fit, and is more appropriate for technical terrain and faster speeds. It has a bit more response and better all mountain traction.

John: Jeff is spot on about the response and traction features. Having both shoes available to choose from, I would opt for the Caldera if I were going to be spending a lot of time on my feet and needed the extra cushion for a cruise on the Mid Mountain Trail in Park City. By contrast, I would choose the Cascadia for those days where I’m going for faster, possibly more technical ventures like heading up Bear Peak in Boulder. 

Brooks Divide (RTR Review)
Jeff V:  I find overall performance and cushioning to be quite similar, but the Divide has a slightly more aggressive outsole which I often prefer and at $100 is tough to beat.  The fit of the Divide is not as spacious as the Caldera 4, so deciding between the two would likely depend on foot shape or preference.

Allison:  While I like everything about the Caldera 4, I like the Divide better, particularly the more aggressive lugs and secure fit.  I also can’t help but to point out the Divide at $100 is one of the best values I have seen.

Saucony Xodus 10 (RTR Review)
Jeff V:  Xodus 10, while heavier, does not run as such and feels very sporty and more suited for faster running in more technical terrain, with an accommodating, yet more precise fit.

Saucony Peregrine ISO (RTR Review)
Jeff B: Both shoes fit true-to-size 10.5. Two very different shoes, the Peregrine ISO is decently cushioned with so much grip it feels like you are going to alter to rotation of the earth. The Caldera 4 is a firm all-purpose trail shoe with a near genre-defining toe box. No question, it’s the Caldera.

Jeff V:  Peregrine ISO has far superior traction.  Both shoes offer great all day comfort/cushion, but many would prefer the Caldera 4's wider toe box (though the ISO is not particularly narrow or confining to me.

Hoka Speedgoat 3 and 4 (RTR Review)
Jeff B: Both shoes fit true-to-size 10.5. I named the Speedgoat 4 my trail shoe of the year for 2019, so I don’t take this lightly. The Speedgoat 4 has a gripper upper, and a softer, more plush ride. The Caldera 4 upper fits better in every way, and the midsole has a little more pop to it. If you have truly wide feet, the SG4 is out from the get-go unless you get its wide version, but if you have only slightly wide feet (like yours truly), I’d suggest you try the Caldera. Speedgoat wins for technical running, but for everything else, it’s Caldera.

Jeff V:  I find the Speedgoat to be faster, more performance oriented, more secure in technical terrain and with better traction all around.  While the Caldera 4 shares many attributes, it is better suited for more mellow terrain and many will prefer the wider toe box for all day comfort, as the Speedgoat can feel a little confining at times.

Saucony Peregrine 10  (RTR Review)
Jeff B:  Both shoes fit true-to-size 10.5. Incredibly similar to the Peregrine ISO, the 10 gives just a little more squish than the previous version, with buckets of grip. I’d take the Peregrine 10 for a technical run of 4-8 miles, and the Caldera for literally everything else.

John: Biggest difference between the Caldera 4 and Peregrine is cushion. Both provide versatility across terrain types, but you can feel more of the ground in the Peregrine. 

Jeff V:  Peregrine 10 has superior traction, security, low to ground agile feel, so is much more ideal for running fast in technical terrain with the Caldera 4 having better cushion and all day comfort.

Nike Zoom Wildhorse 5 (RTR Review)
Jeff B: Both shoes fit true-to-size 10.5. The Nike has a much lower toe box, less midsole, but adds a solid rock plate. The Caldera’s upper fits better, midsole feels better, and outsole has just as much, if not more traction. No contest, Caldera 4.

Topo Ultraventure (RTR Review)
Jeff B: Both shoes fit true-to-size 10.5. I hoped the Ultraventure would be what the Caldera 4 was - and it is very close. The toebox is incredible, the upper comfortable, the outside grippy and durable, but the midsole just didn’t have enough protection, and the lack of rockplate made the difference. The Ultraventure has a more plush ride, but give me the Caldera 4.

Hoka One One Evo Mafate 2 (RTR Review)
Jeff B: Both shoes fit true-to-size 10.5. The only head-to-head shoe to have more spring in its step than the Caldera, the EM2 has a lot going for it. It has a great upper (but I like the Caldera’s more), lots of grip (but the Caldera’s is more uniform), a solid toebox (compared to Caldera’s amazing one) - and a clearly superior midsole. It also comes in a full $30 more. If you have a narrower forefoot, don’t mind the $170 price tag, and want a bouncier ride, go EM2. Otherwise, Caldera 4.

Jeff V:  EVO Mafate 2 is much faster and more responsive, has much better traction and more cushion, however it is not as stable/predictable and perhaps not as durable as the Caldera 4 and as said many times, the Caldera 4 toe box will decide it for many.

Altra Olympus 3.5 (RTR Review)
Jeff B: Both shoes fit true-to-size 10.5. I haven’t seen official stack height numbers for the Caldera 4, but these two shoes feel very similar. The Olympus ride is a little softer, and the toebox just a hair wider, while the Caldera’s outsole has more grip and durability, with a bouncier ride. Nothing against the Olympus, but give me the Caldera.

Salomon Sense ProPulse
John: remember this shoe? Salomon tested the stack height market with an oversized EVA midsole that provided brand loyalists plenty of cushioning. The ProPulse is comparable to the Caldera 4, but is heavier by 1.4oz and the cushion was not as plush. The only superior feature of the ProPulse is Salomon’s patented quick lacing system. 
Watch Sam's Caldera 4 Initial Impressions Video from Park City

Shoe Reviews YouTube playlist HERE

Read reviewers' full run bios here
The product reviewed was provided at no cost. The opinions herein are the authors'.
Comments and Questions Welcome Below!
Please let us know mileage, paces, race distances, and current preferred shoes

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Dan said...

I recall trying on v1 of this shoe years ago and being pretty impressed but never gave it a real shot. Placing it side by side or above the Speedgoat has me really excited as the SG2 has been my go to long day mountain shoe. I may have to finally give this a go in 2020.

Vaad said...

Excellent individual reviews! Any way you can provide an in-depth comparison to Hoka Challenger atr5? I actually put aside the Caldera 3s early for C5s
Thank you

Jeff said...

Dan - If you like the SG, I'd think you'll like the Caldera too - and the fit is so much better.

Vaad - sadly, I don't have my pair of Challenger 5s, I donated them a few months ago, but that's a very good comparison. I hate to compare/contrast without one on each foot, but the Caldera fit is better, especially up front. Traction, comparable, with a slight Caldera edge. Cushioning also comparable, but I think the Challenger is a bit softer, while the Caldera is more responsive. Very similar stack feel, and very similar platform width (from memory).

Vaad said...

Thank you Jeff! The other point I was thinking that may or may not compare to Hoka is the bucket seat tech by Hoka where the foot is recessed in the midsole to provide stability for the high stack. Does C4 compare or just relies on width?
fwiw I did try on new Speedgoat while acceptable on width it's incredibly low on toebox height so much it's a deal breaker.

Jeff said...

Hi Vaad - you are very welcome! The Caldera 4 has a slight bucket feel, the midsole definitely rides up just a bit so you are in the midsole rather than on it, but not as much as many Hokas. It's a similar feel, but more pronounced in Hoka.

DannyT said...

Best reviews as always - Thank you for all the effort.

Really looking forward to trying these out and the Xodus 10.

Any possibility of getting a video review of the Caldera 4 the way we got one for the Xodus 10?

Jeff Valliere said...

Hi Vaad and thanks Jeff for your insight. I have the ATR 5 and Caldera 4 and I agree with all of what Jeff says, however I personally find the ATR 5 to be more responsive. That said, I don't feel I can really utilize that extra response, as the upper is just not as secure for me, particularly in the forefoot and I feel the ATR 5 in comparison rides somewhat high and tippy, more so in technical terrain. Even though the Caldera 4 is wider, the upper is tooled better and more precise, providing better foothold (though still with some limitations running fast on technical terrain, extreme sidehilling off trail and such). The Caldera 4 is more stable and predictable and I will run in it beyond the review period, where I can not say the same for the ATR 5 (collecting dust in my archive bin).

Ante said...

Great review as always! Can you comment on door-to-trail and running on road compared to Saucony Xodus 10? Which is better for long runs in mellow terrain and some asphalt?

Jeff Valliere said...

Xodus 10 would likely be my pick, but couldn’t go wrong with either.

Kevin M said...

Thanks for the review! Sorry I'm late to the comments party. Could the Caldera 4 be my happy place between the Speedgoat 2 and the Ultraventure? Nothing has felt better underfoot than the SG2 but at the cost of toe discomfort and bruised toenails at ultra distances. Tried the UV and while my toes are happy, I get rubbing and blisters at the big toe joint (both feet) beyond 10 miles.. Wondering if I just can't get a good lock down on my midfoot and I'm sliding around in there since I don't have a really wide foot. Plus I don't find the UV midsole to be all that soft. Or would the EVO SG give me the upper comfort I need?

Lewis said...

I currently run in the OG Torrent and Cascadia 14s and enjoy them both for different reasons. I'm now torn between the Torrent 2 and the Caldera 4 as I'm looking for that "Goldilocks" shoe that will get me to at least a 50km in comfort.Living in New Zealand, I usually run single trail, generally non technical, forest trails which quite often incorporate fire break/access roads. What would you recommend out of these two, and are there any other shoes to consider?
Thanks in advance!

Jeff Valliere said...

Hi Lewis, if the Torrent and Cascadia 14 fit you well, I am certain thh Torrent 2 will work for you also. The Torrent and Torrent 2 have plenty of cushion underfoot, along with response, tread and good foothold, while the Caldera has even more cushion, though less responsive, less traction and not quite as agile. I guess it depends on your running style and preferences.

Unknown said...

Thanks for the review. Right balance of tech and feel. Love the way all of you ( as a team ) compare this model with others.