Sunday, May 30, 2021

Brooks Cascadia 16 and 16 GTX Multi Tester Review: Reimagined & Improved in Every Way. True to its Roots.

Article by Canice Harte, Jeff Valliere, Jeff Beck, and Canice Harte

Brooks Cascadia 16 ($130, $160 GTX)


Jeff V: I have a long history with the Cascadia, enjoying early versions, but they slowly crept up in weight, became stiff and rigid, wet traction was a little dicey and eventually got to the point where I viewed them as a good through hiker shoe, but not necessarily a good option for trail running.  The Cascadia 14 and 15 were a huge improvement, with a weight drop, slightly more flexible, better response and softer cushioning, improved outsole and a new upper.  In fact, the Cascadia 15 was one of my top shoes for 2020 for all around, day to day use.  The Cascadia 16 is yet another complete re-work from the ground  up, with a new outsole, new midsole featuring Brooks DNA Loft V2 said to be 5% softer and 20% lighter , as well as with 2 mm more stack height.  Additionally, the upper has also been completely reconstructed, with more room in the toe box and a very, very sharp and modern look (the 14 looked pretty plain and the 15 was slightly better).


Jeff V:  Roomy and accommodating yet secure fit, comfort, soft all day cushioning, protection, traction, response

Canice: I agree with Jeff’s pro’s and will add that the styling has been greatly improved too.

Jeff B: ^^^^ Agreed - fit is great, cushioning and protection are both top notch, toebox is great, upper is Goldilocks level of hold/build up.

Jacob: Comfortable, roomy, secure, protective, performant, easygoing.


Jeff V / Canice: maybe weight, but you are getting so much for the weight, I am stretching a bit

Jacob: Fit is a bit boxy 

Jeff B: Traction is really good, not quite great. That’s the biggest fault I can find. Seriously.

Jacob: Heavy, fit is a bit boxy, lace bite on the top lace


Official Weight: men's 10.5 oz / 298g (US9)  women's 9.5 oz  / 269g 

  Samples: men's US10 11.6 oz / 330 g; US10.5 11.95 oz / 339g

men's GTX: US9 11 oz/ 340g, US12 13.9 oz / 395 g

Cascadia 15 US10: 11.25oz /318g

Stack Height: midsole 29/21, full stack height 33/25. 8mm drop

Available 8/1/2021. $130 regular, $160 GTX

Tester Profiles

Canice is a 2 x finisher of the Wasatch 100, the Bear 100, Moab 100, Western States 100, and Leadman as well as many other ultras. He regularly competes in Expedition Length Adventure races with his longest race to date 600 miles as well as in traditional road races and triathlons.

Jeff V. runs mostly on very steep technical terrain above Boulder often challenging well known local FKT's. 

Jeff the token slow runner of the RTR lineup, and as such his viewpoints on shoe and gear can differ from those who routinely finish marathons in three hours or less. Jeff runs 30 miles per week on roads and trails around Denver, CO (and sometimes on the treadmill when the weather gets too much for a Phoenix native). Jeff only got into running in his 30s, as a result his career PR's are 4:07 for the marathon and 5K at 23:39. Jeff has finished several ultra marathons, from 50K up to 50 miles, and is still debating if he wants to go down that road again.

Jacob is a runner and general endurance sports enthusiast. He runs a mix of roads and trails in the Portland, Maine area. He has been running every day for the past 3 years and averages around 50 miles per week. Jacob races on road and trail at a variety of distances. In the past two race seasons has done several marathons and shorter (≤ 50km) ultras and mountain races. He has a PR of 2:51 in the marathon and a recent half TT PR of 1:18. In addition to running, he does hiking, biking (mountain/gravel/road), surfing, and nordic skiing. He is 26 years old, 6 ft / 182 cm tall and 155 lbs / 70 kg. You can check out Jacob’s recent activities on Strava here.

First Impressions and Fit

Canice: I get the Cascadia and how it fits into the world of trail running shoes but I must admit it has not been my jam. So when I opened the box and saw a very cool looking bright yellow pair of Brooks Cascadia 16’s looking back at me, I was immediately impressed. For the first time I held a pair of Cascadia’s and thought to myself that I want to run in these, and now. So I did. I quickly laced up my shoes and headed out the door to grab a quick 8 mile trail run here in Park City, UT. They put a smile on my face! 

My sample is a men’s 10, which is my usual size, and the fit is spot on.

Jeff V:  Since I really liked the Cascadia 15, I expected that I would like the 16, but was caught off guard completely here.  Out of the box I am immediately struck by the bright yellow colorway, contrasting with the black midsole and sharp orange accents, complete with pinstriping around the midsole.  

Jeff V:  I also like the printing of the name of the shoe on the heel, with outdoor icons beneath and on the opposite side, the “Explore Any Trail” statement, which is fitting for this shoe.  

Jeff V:  Upon sliding my foot in, it is clear that there have been some big changes, for the better.  Fit is true to size, with a very secure heel, secure midfoot and an even more roomy toe box, just slightly wider than the 15, but with a little more ceiling and volume, making it feel somewhat spacious.

Jeff B: Jeff is right, the visuals out of the box are shocking, brightest bright yellow, but it works. Historically I’ve always thought (purely my opinion - I may be wrong) that the Cascadia has been Brooks’ trail daily trainer that seemed to be “pretty good” at everything, but not cushioned enough for me to be a big mileage shoe, not enough traction to be a go-to technical terrain shoe for me, and not light enough to be a fast/short shoe - so this is my first Cascadia. And what a place to start, and Canice nails it “I want to run in these, and now”. I had to wait a little bit before I could rack up any mileage (stupid achilles tendonitis) on the dirt, but once things started clearing up these were the top of the list. Fit is spot on true-to-size, and the fit is what I would term as “accommodating”. Wide, but not sloppy, protective but not overbuilt, cushioned but not ponderous - I could probably give you about 15 more “superlative but not extreme superlative” statements about the Cascadia 16. It’s that well designed and executed.

Gore-Tex Invisible Fit Upper on the Cascadia 16 GTX

Jacob (GTX model): I tested the Gore-Tex version, the Cascade 16 GTX. The Cascadia is only the second trail shoe from Brooks that I have run, after the Divide, where I liked the traction and protection but did not like the fit or ride. I recently tested the Revel 5 and really liked the relatively traditional, solid, consistent, no-nonsense midsole. 

Out of the box the Cascadia seems like a tank. High quality, a thick slab of foam, dense, full coverage outsole, and a clean aesthetic. On foot it is very roomy and a bit boxy. There is no pressure on the sides of the toes and the toe box is very high and open, maybe more so than any trail shoe I’ve tested before. It isn’t overly wide but it is cavernous. This actually leads to a good balance of fit being secure but also comfortable. I have the Hoka Speedgoat 4 GTX which is my comparison point for a waterproof, high-cushion, tank cruiser, and the Cascadia 16 GTX is notably wider and more comfortable in the toe box as  well less contoured around the foot and firmer underfoot. I like the more relaxed but still performant fit of the Cascadia for slower running or less technical terrain in comparison to the snugger and more dialed Speedgoat.


Cascadia 15 (left)   Cascadia 16 (right)

Canice: True to Cascadia’s reputation the shoe has plenty of protection built in around the toes, heel and outside of your foot where one typically scrapes the sides of rocks. The toe box is wide and relaxed yet the Cascadia 16 has good midfoot hold. I now have a little over 200 miles in them and the mesh upper has proved to be both breathable and durable. The laces are soft and the heel pocket held my heel comfortably in place. A cool feature is a velcro tab on the back of the heel used to secure your gaiters in place.

Jeff V:  The mesh upper is improved over the previous version, as it is slightly more flexible, for sure more breathable, yet still feels very high quality, durable and supportive.

Jeff V: The toe bumper has been expanded, as well as the wrap around rand and both integrate nicely, adding a lot of protection and abrasion resistance when running off trail or in rocky, technical terrain.

Jeff V:  The heel collar/counter is similar to the previous version, same height, padding and overall make up, but has a slightly different shape at the top center of the heel collar.  

Cascadia 15 (left)   Cascadia 16 (right)

Both versions do an excellent job at providing security, stability, lock down and comfort.

Jeff V:  The tongue is gusseted, well padded and very comfortable, with no lace bite.  

Jeff V:  The stretch woven laces are the absolute best and integrate perfectly with the eyelets, making it very easy to lace, one and done, set and forget.  I really appreciate a shoe where I do not have to fight with the lacing, those shoes where you snug them and they go loose when going to the next or to tie, often getting rope burn on the back of my knuckles.  These laces keep tension, yet have that perfect amount of stretch that just locks in without feeling tight or confining.  Note to Brooks, keep doing this.  Note to everyone else, start mimicking this.

Jeff V:  As mentioned, breathability has been improved over the 15 and I find it to be very good thus far, but have not run in temperatures much over 75 degrees F (though with the airflow I am feeling, I am certain they will be good as the temperatures rise.

Jeff V:  Even with the roomy toe box, I find security to be very good no matter the terrain or speed and have never felt my foot waver.  I have complete confidence in technical terrain.

Well worn Cascadia 15 (left)   Cascadia 16 (right)

Jeff B: I really don’t know how to expand past everything Jeff V just wrote, and I agree with everything. I believe my foot is wider, and I’m a bigger toebox snob, but there’s solid width throughout the shoe, including the toebox. 

He’s spot on about the laces, they are truly ideal (and I like the little elastic strap that goes over the middle for you to tuck the laces into), and even though I have zero need for them, I like the two extra sets of eyelets near the top so you can finesse the lacing however you want to get an ideal fit. It took zero finesse for me to dial it in, they really felt like they were custom made for me right out of the box.

Jacob (GTX model): The GTX upper uses a laminated Gore-Tex layer (Invisible Fit) for waterproofing that is a bit stiff but breathes well. The Invisible Fit waterproofing technique has become common in the past few years, leading to lower weight and a thinner upper than the traditional separate inner Gore-Tex bootie construction. The waterproofing does not cover much of the tongue (it’s not a bootie construction), and though I did not do a standing water test, I ran in the rain twice and my sock did get a bit damp, likely from water coming in the top. The construction overall is a bit rigid but durable and performant.


Canice: My first sensation when I slipped into my Cascadia 16’s was that it has a firm midsole but as soon as I began running in them they felt soft and pliable. Brooks added 2mm more cushioning to the midsole and having run previous versions of the Cascadia I really appreciated this.

Canice: The midsole is now said to be  5% softer and 20% lighter than previous versions thanks to the updated DNA LOFT v2 technology. The rockshield has also been updated and I found it to be much more pliable. In truth I think Brooks could ditch this and save some weight. With the additional 2mm of midsole material I would guess the Cascadia 16’s should still have plenty of protection.

Jeff V:  The DNA Loft 2 midsole is a joy, as it is very soft, but not overly so, providing very forgiving and cushy landings, no matter the speed or surface beneath your feet, yet all the while feeling supportive, stable and predictable.  

Jeff V:  Response is also really good in a subtle sort of way, where I don’t put on the Cascadia 16 and think speed, but I have put in some fast hard miles in them on a mix of terrain and they really rise to the occasion, to the point where I forget entirely that I am running in an 11.5+ oz. shoe.  I can easily imagine running any distance in the Cascadia 16, no matter the running surface.

Jeff B: DNA Loft v2 really is good, and while I raved about the DNA Loft v3 in the Aurora a few weeks ago, I think v2 is the right material for this shoe. Compared to the v1 (specifically the DNA Loft v1 in the Glycerin 19) v2 is a bit firmer on initially landing, but considering the Cascadia is a trail shoe, supreme squish isn’t really ideal on the dirt - especially if you are dealing with a versatile trail shoe like this is. 

The firmer feel makes the shoe feel at home when the trail smooths out and the pace picks up, but it isn’t a true firm, this isn’t a Mizuno from 2011. There’s still plenty of cushioning for runners to go long in them, and the protection from the rock plate is really top notch. I will disagree with Canice, I’m very glad they didn’t scrap the rock plate (heavy runners bottom out midsoles easier!) but the combination of the midsole and the rock plate is a masterclass in rock/root protection without numbing the trail. This isn’t exclusively a smooth dirt trail cruiser like the Hoka Stinson, this do-it-all shoe really can walk the walk.

Jacob: The Cascade 16 GTX midsole is a thick, wide slab of a fairly plain feeling foam (DNA Loft v2) with a rock plate. I believe it is the same as the non-GTX version, so all the above comments apply. It has bomber protection and is high stack but not overly soft and is very stable. I really like that it isn’t too soft and has some ground feel (somehow) along with top notch protection. The midsole leads to a ride that is smooth and easygoing, conducive to easy or endurance running as well as walking and hiking.


Cascadia 15 (bottom)   Cascadia 16 (top)

Canice: The outsole has been updated to allow it to flex more and I found it adapted to rocks very well. 

I ran the Cascadia 16’s on my home trails here in Park City, UT which can be dry and rocky as well as the soft trails of Bend, OR. I also took the Brooks Cascadia 16’s off trail and in all cases the outsole worked great.

Jeff V:  The outsole again uses Brooks TrailTack rubber, yet the lugs have been re-designed into a pattern with a sharper directional bite and are more widely spaced, allowing for much better mud shedding.  Of note however, is the lack of lugs under the midfoot (where previous versions were continuous lugs throughout the length of the shoe).  While I am most always an advocate for continuous lugs throughout, I have not yet noticed their absence.

Jeff V:  Traction is overall outstanding on a wide range of surfaces and over the test period this Spring, as we have had a lot of snow and rain, which have made for challenging trail conditions, ideal for testing.  The Cascadia 16 has shined in the wet, wet rocks, wet slab, packed snow, slush, dry slab, scruffy off trail, hard packed trails, pavement, you name it, I have not had any surprises or trepidation.

Jeff V:  Protection is excellent, with the improved Ballistic Rock Shield which features independent movements as it now has vertical grooves for better side to side adaptability and greater flexibility, while working in conjunction with the outsole.

Jeff V:  Durability thus far is very good. With about 50 miles of rough use, I am only seeing a little bit of lug wear where I toe off and expect them to last a very long time.

Jeff B: There’s tons of rubber, but it isn’t so thick that it adversely affects the performance of the shoe. There’s plenty of flex, and the lugs do their job well. This outsole reminds me of a slightly beefed up Catamount outsole, but I feel like the Cascadia has better grip. That said, I’ve put a lot of miles in the various Saucony trail shoes (Xodus 10 and Peregrine 11 primarily) that both have borderline extreme outsoles, and in comparison this outsole seems lacking - but on various dirt/mud surfaces in and around Denver I haven’t been wanting for more traction, so I can’t knock it too much.

Jacob: The outsole uses Brook’s TrackTack rubber with directional chevron lugs. The lug configuration is tried and true, probably the most common design for an all-around trail shoe. The traction of the TrailTack rubber is great overall with solid traction in dry and wet on rocks, roots, gravel, and dirt. It runs smoothly as well. It is odd that there is no texture on the lugs, but traction is good, so it’s overall a performant outsole.


Canice: I found the ride to be softer and more lively than previous versions. I like a bit more ground feel in a shoe but was happy with the feel I did have as it offered more cushioning and felt as if I could run all day in them. The shoes have good bounce or pop to them and I found myself bounding about with a smile on my face.

Canice: I would characterize the ride as all day comfort with a good ground feel that adapts to the terrain around it.

Jeff V:  Canice nails it, as the ride is soft, lively, flexible yet protective.  I find the response to be very good and the Cascadia 16 is a complete joy to run in.

Jeff B: And this is where I agree and disagree with both of my colleagues. I don’t particularly want more ground feel, but I found the ride great and plenty of cushioning for most of my runs. I say most of my runs because if I ever attempt another 50 mile I’m not sure if this would be enough shoe for me later in the day. But being heavier and much, much slower than both Canice and Jeff my needs are a little different since I’d still be going while they finished and drove home. Maybe even across state lines. But any run of ~8 hours or less, I have zero complaints and have no doubt more svelte runners could go very, very far in this shoe.

Jacob (GTX model): The Cascadia 16 GTX ride is a bit clunky given the large stack and weight but it is smoother than expected and overall easy to move along. It is consistent, stable, and due to the balanced firmness has decent energy return and doesn’t feel sluggish. I like it for slower running over rougher terrain. The bombproof protection and great traction make it fun to jog along and feel secure and smooth. However, it is more shoe than I want or need for smooth terrain.

Conclusions and Recommendations

Canice: The Cascadia 16 is a greatly improved version of the Cascadia series that offers all day comfort and is fun to run in. it’s a bit on the heavy side but you would expect that for a shoe with this much protection built in. I personally love the additional 2mm of midsole and am glad to see that the pivot posts of versions past are gone.

Canice's Score: 9.8/10

Ride: 9.5(30%) Fit:10(30%) Value:10(10%) Style:10(5%) Traction:9.5(15%) Rock Protect:10 (10%)

Jeff V:  With the new Loft v2 cushioning, new upper and new outsole, 2mm more stack, roomy, yet very secure fit, the Cascadia 16 to be a great option for just about any run, from shorter jaunts, door to trail, all day adventures and even a race shoe for rough terrain, and mid to longer distances where a featherweight shoe might be a liability.  The new Loft V2 midsole is light feeling and energetic, with great impact resistance and resilience.  The accommodating toe box I think will satisfy most feet, from very narrow to wider feet, perhaps even  win over some of the Altra crowd.  I have run in some great shoes already this year and there is stiff competition, but the Cascadia 16 is easily in the running for favorite every day, versatile, all around trail trainer.  My only lament is that I do not have a pair in each colorway, as they all look SO sharp!

Jeff’s Score:  9.9/10

Ride: 10 Fit: 10 Value: 10 Style: 10 Traction: 9.5 Rock Protection: 10

Jeff B: No shoe can be all things to all people, but some, like the Cascadia, seem like they can be something to everyone. There are runners who will make this their day-in day-out dirt trainer, there are runners who will make this their all-day epic length trail shoe, and there are even some who will make this their fast get-up-and-go trail shoe. And all of them are right, this shoe is incredibly versatile, and more importantly, it is the rare shoe that literally GETS NOTHING WRONG. I can’t even ding it for the weight. Not for the amount of cushioning in the midsole, a full on rock plate (no segments here), complete rubber coverage, and a series of strategic overlays around the foot. If you think this is a heavy shoe, then you don’t need a real trail shoe, and when you compare its weight on the scale to other trail shoes, the results speak for themselves. 

Brooks didn’t cut any corners and made the Cascadia full featured, and they absolutely nailed it. The toebox has plenty of width and height, and that midsole works incredibly well. I agree with Jeff, this shoe is absolutely in the running for various shoe of the year awards, and more immediately, has earned a spot on my rotation going forward. I’m looking forward to clearing my review backlog just so I can keep running in the Cascadia. And I don’t think that’s something that many Cascadias of the past could inspire.

Jeff B’s Score 9.78/10

Ride:9.5(30%) Fit:10(30%) Value:10(10%) Style:10(5%) Traction:9.5(15%) Rock Protect:10 (10%)

Jacob (GTX model): The Cascadia 16 GTX is a well-designed, all-terrain, waterproof, maximal trail shoe. I have had lots of fun wearing and running in it. It is comfortable with an impressive amount of toebox space and is a tank over all terrain. 

I prefer the firmer, less spongy feel of the Cascadia with its rock plate over softer high stack shoes. It is my top pick for a high-cushion trail shoe for easy running in wet or cold conditions. I have been using it for recovery runs and trail walks with my dog and I really enjoy it for those activities. I think it would be a great hiker as well. 

I would recommend it for those looking for top-class protection along with a firmer, smooth, stable ride for any terrain and especially long or easy running.

Jacob’s Score: 9.3/10

Ride: 9 (30%), Fit: 9 (30%), Value: 10 (10%), Style: 9.5 (5%), Traction: 9.5 (15%), Rock Protection: 10 (10%)

10 Comparisons

Index to all RTR reviews: HERE

Brooks Cascadia 15 vs. Brooks Cascadia 16 (RTR Review)

Canice: The Cascadia 16’s have more midsole cushioning, better flexibility and an improved outsole. Not much to say here except if you like the Cascadia’s of the past it’s time to upgrade.

Jeff V:  Agreed with Canice, though will add that the upper is nicer and I think will accommodate even more feet, still with excellent security.

Brooks Caldera 5 vs. Brooks Cascadia 16 (RTR Review)

Jeff V:  Both are amazing shoes!  The Caldera 5 has more cushion and perhaps better for longer distances, though if you need more traction or toe room, the Cascadia 16 might be a better choice.

Jeff B: The Caldera 5 was a one step forward/one step back for me, adding some extra cushioning over the 4 but getting narrow in a few places that really hurt its performance for me. The Caldera vs Cascadia had been trail cruiser (Caldera) vs general dirt use (Cascadia) but the width of the Cascadia and the model gaining some midsole stack, give me the Cascadia for virtually any run.

Brooks Catamount vs. Brooks Cascadia 16 (RTR Review)

Jeff V:  The Catamount is much lighter and more responsive, Brooks’s trail speedster.  The Catamount is ideal for racing and top speed running on less steep/technical trails, as foothold and traction are not cut out for really rough terrain.  If you need better security, protection, softer cushion and traction, the Cascadia 16 is the clear choice.

Jeff B: Mr. Valliere nails it. Catamount is fast and fun, Cascadia is everything else. For a slow runner like me, I’ll take the Cascadia all day.

Brooks Divide 2 vs. Brooks Cascadia 16 (RTR Review)

Jeff V:  The budget shoe in the line at $100, the Divide 2 shares many attributes with the Cascadia:  good cushion, a comfortable upper, good traction, good protection, but the Cascadia 16 does it all better and looks better doing it.

Jacob: The Cascadia and Divide have a similar firmer feel despite high-cushion and great traction, however the Divide feels clunky with a crude fit for me while the Cascadia is more dialed and smoother. The Cascadia is without a doubt my preference for all runs between these two.

Saucony Xodus 11 vs. Brooks Cascadia 16 (RTR Review soon)

 Jeff V:  Both fit into the same class, well cushioned, comfortable, protected, run anywhere all day shoes.  The Cascadia 16 is lighter, a bit more responsive, has a more accommodating toe box and has a more soft and lively midsole.  I find Cascadia 16 traction to be superior, especially if there is mud involved.

Jeff B: I have the 10 (which is very similar to the 11) and largely would agree with Jeff’s sentiments. The Xodus is definitely heavier and the midsole has a much denser feel. On the dirt I found the Saucony traction to be better, but really didn’t have complaints about the Cascadia traction. The Xodus 10 came out of nowhere to impress as an all-purpose one shoe quiver, but the Cascadia has replaced it in my personal lineup. The wider fit and much more fun ride (and even better protection) all combine to give it the win.

Hoka One One Speedgoat 4 vs. Brooks Cascadia 16 (RTR Review)

Canice: While the Cascadia 16 has all day comfort and are fun to run, if I’m headed out for a steep descent and running an ultra I’m reaching for the cushioning of the Speedgoat 4’s. If I am looking for a do everything trail shoe that’s fun to run then I am reaching for the Cascadia 16’s. You need both of these in your quiver. They’re different animals.

Jeff V:  The SG4 has more cushioning, so perhaps better for longer, faster downhills and longer distances, but some have trouble with the more narrow taper of the SG and may appreciate the wider toe box of the Cascadia.  I think both are so well cushioned and protected, with great grip, security and reasonably quick for their class, I think the decision would ultimately come down to fit.

Jeff B: The Cascadia’s rock plate makes a difference for me, and I definitely appreciate the wider fit and toebox of the Brooks, while I’d give the traction edge to the Speedgoat. They’re both great, but if I could only have one, it’d be the Cascadia.

Jacob (GTX versions): The Cascadia is firmer, more rigid, less rockered, and more open in the toebox. It is more comfortable and has less squish and more ground feel than the Speedgoat but feels less agile and is not as performant in highly technical terrain. On smooth terrain the Speedgoat rocker makes it move along faster for me, and it is a bit lighter (0.5 oz / 15 g in my US M12). The Cascadia is more comfortable mostly due to toebox room, but the Speedgoat is my pick for faster running in all terrain.

Topo MTN Racer 2 vs. Brooks Cascadia 16 (RTR Review)

Jeff V:  Very similar fit with the wider toe box, both are well cushioned and relatively quick (though slight edge to the Cascadia).  While both outsoles are superb, an edge to Topo here, especially when wet and rocky.

Nike Terra Kiger 7 vs. Brooks Cascadia 16 (RTR Review)

Canice: Lots more ground feel with the Kiger’s and now with the additional cushioning you can run them all day. With the Cascadia 16’s you have a plush ride but lots more protection. For me, if I want a more precise ride with great ground feel I’ll run the Kigers and for all day adventure running I’ll go with the Cascadia 16’s.

Jeff V:  Agreed with Canice.  I find the Cascadia to be a bit more protective, stable and predictable.

Salomon Sense Ride 4 vs. Brooks Cascadia 16 (RTR Review)

Jeff V:  The SR4 has an accommodating, but slightly more narrow and precise fit than the Cascadia 16.  Traction is comparable, but the Cascadia 16 outshines the SR4 in response, soft cushion and overall protection.

Asics Trabuco Max vs. Brooks Cascadia 16 (RTR Review)

Jeff V:  The Trabuco Max is much stiffer and more rigid, giving it a more propulsive feel, especially on pavement or hard surfaces, but that stiffness really mutes ground feel and agility in technical terrain.  The Cascadia 16 is much more forgiving and has a superior fit.

Jeff B: The ASICS rocker shape is fun and excels in the right conditions (namely tame dirt) but everywhere else the Cascadia runs away with it.

The North Face Vectiv Enduris vs. Brooks Cascadia 16 (RTR Review)

Jeff V:  The Enduris is stiffer due to its Pebax plate, with more of a rockered outsole.  Enduris fit is more narrow and precise and overall is not as stable, nor adept in tech terrain or has as good traction as the Cascadia 16.

Sam's Initial Video Review of the Cascadia 16 GTX

The Cascadia 16 releases August 2021

Tested samples were provided at no charge for review purposes. No other compensation was received by RTR or the authors for this review beyond potential commissions from the shopping links in the article. The opinions herein are entirely the authors'.

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Jeff Valliere said...


Antoine said...

Thanks for the detailed review. Looks like a great shoe! It could fill my needs for these longer runs in the mountains with technical parts but also less technical long descents where my beloved Sense Pro 4 and TerraUltra G270 make me reach my limits. My first attempt was a missed one. The outsole of Xodus 10 turned out terrible when the terrain is not super dry (rare here in Switzerland). I understood that the outsole of Cascadia cannot compete with Megagrip, but is it significantly better grip than Xodus for mountainous terrain? I am investigating Akasha and Dynafit Alpin. But what looks like really exciting in the new VJ Ultra. I am so much fw looking for you review. As I cannot find it here or nearby in France, I have to order them in Finland. As sending back would be problematic, could I have a primer comment on the size of the VJ ultra? I am US9 in most Hoka (like Torrent), 8.5 in Sense Pro 4 and 9.5 in TerraUltra G270.
Thank you so much for your help.

Jeff Valliere said...

Antoine, the Cascadia 16 has excellent grip and I think would certainly fit your criteria, but if you want the most supreme grip, VJ Ultra is absolutely the way to go. Ran in the rain this morning on a rocky, technical mountain route, also with some steep off trail and the VJ Ultra did not slip ever. Review very soon, but fit is true to size.

Fernand said...

Thanks for the review! Do you happen to have a top view image of the toe box?

Sam Winebaum said...

Hi Fernand,
Added top view compared to 15 to review.
Sam, Editor

Anonymous said...

Salomon ultra glide is coming out soon how would you rate it compared to the cascading 16 ? Also is Hoka one one going to release a 5th version of the speedgoat?

Sam Winebaum said...

HI Anonymous,
Unfortunately Salomon has only been able to supply us with one pair of UltraGlide. I tested it but did not the Cascadia. Both have similar stack heights with the Ultraglide weighing about an ounce less. The UltraGlide has no rock plate whereas Cascadia does. My guess at this point is UltraGlide is softer and has a more energetic midsole but no quite as stable and big mountains ready
Sam, Editor

slowK said...

I agree with Antoine on the poor Xodus 10 wet traction. I bought these shoes after the fabulous reviews here. They are a great multipurpose shoe. If I'm going away on holidays and bring one pair of shoes, this is it. Great for hiking, road, trail runs. But the wet traction is very poor. Have taken one big fall on wet rock (mainly sandstone here in Australia), and slipped several other times. I don't think it's the tread pattern, but rather the actual material is not grippy in the wet. I think my next trail shoe may also be the VJ ultra (looking forward to the review) or something with a Vibram sole. Icebug shoes also sounds like they have good traction, but there are very few reviews and limited availability.

I love this site. So useful with invaluable and interesting reviews. Thank you Sam and your team!

Sam Winebaum said...

Hi slowK,
Thanks so much for kind words about RTR and team! Much appreciated!
Sam, Editor

Skidad said...

Not to pile on the poor Xodus (this a Cascadia review after all) but both Antoine and slowK are correct about the lack of grip in an otherwise really great shoe. Tested extensively in the Whites for my Hut To Hut Traverse and I couldn’t trust it on wet rock or slab. Used the Speedgoat for the Traverse.
Cascadia sounds really promising but I’m still leery of traction and prefer full coverage sole (so hard to find but thanks Topo). VJ Ultra is probably going to be my next shoe. I have the Maxx and the grip is insane. It just laughs at technical stuff. Ultra will solve longer distances for my old 63 YO bones.

Antoine said...

For a post-moderna jab slow pace 10K, I grabbed the only max cushioned shoes still runnable in my basement: the EVO Mafate (version 1). I haven't run them for more than one year because focusing on more racy, low stack shoes. I forgot how enjoyable these HOKAs were. Especially the cushioning, that is ample of course but still quite energetic. The fit is not supportive enough for mountain-running though.
How would you compare Cascadia 16 with EVO Mafate cushioning-wise, but not only? I am expecting a slightly more precise and supportive package. Would you say so?
And, as it looks like the hot topic of these days. How would you compare with VJ Ultra?
Thanks a lot again for the invaluable ressource!

Jeff Valliere said...

The EVO Mafate v1 has more plush, soft cushioning, but the Cascadia 16 is still very compliant, firm in a supportive, but not at all harsh manner and I never want for more. Cascadia is much more stable, predictable and more secure upper for technical terrain, where I found the EVO Mafate v1 to be a little tippy when running rocky, steep terrain fast (though improved a lot with the EVO Mafate v1 and the Mafate Speed 3.

VJ Ultra is a completely different shoe. Much more light and flexible, easily good for ultra distances, but fills a different niche in my view, better for faster, super tech stuff, especially in the wet and for full days on my feet, would opt for Cascadia 16.

Antoine said...

Thank you Jeff.
This helps a lot. Much appreciated.

BrendanScotl& said...

Thanks for the review as always. I keep getting lost finding a different shoe that just might be a better fit.
Cascadia seems like a lot of shoe. Is that why you compared it to Xodus and not Peregrine for example?
Is there too much midsole and protection for off trail grass, mud and rocks? Can’t guarantee ‘trails’ in UK fells/highlands so needs to be nimble enough.
Thought Cascadia might work, but VJ ultra, peregrine, terra ultra May suit better. What do you think?
Cheers, Brendan

Jeff Valliere said...

I think the Cascadia would do fine, but would prefer the VJ for the conditions you describe.

BrendanScotl& said...

Thanks Jeff. Appreciate the thought. Can I ask why you didn’t compare VJ vs Cascadia above?

Jeff Valliere said...

So many shoes, hard to get them all in comparisons, but always happy to add or answer any questions as they come. Thanks for reading!

guillet jean jacques said...

I stopped running with the cascadia since model 6, I found my favorite trail shoe with the adidas riot 5, then they changed the model ....... since then I was looking for the model that would suit me, and I'm repeating myself, but it's really in the Nike terra kiger 7 that I found this, even if the catamount brooks are great, for me I lack the additional cushioning of the TK7, even if I find them a little less stable, when a this cascadia 16, I pass my turn, not convinced, and for all that will be above 60 miles, I would take the Hoka speedgoat 4.

A said...

Hi. So pleased to have come across your great site and great review! Thank you.

I run road and trail, and also do some distance hiking with my teens (e.g., TMB in Alps). For road I have run marathons in Brooks Adrenalines for years and am very pleased with the fit (e.g., toebox, support etc.). A few years ago, like so many, I moved from boots to trail runners for hiking and was relatively pleased w Cascade 12s – but not entirely. Now in the market for a new trail runner.

A few questions:
1- Noting Brooks at a time made an Adrenaline ASR trail shoe but stopped. Some say trail runners should not be support and should only neutral due to irregular terrain. Do you agree??

2- Have you come across a trail runner support shoe (pronation, like Adrenaline and not neutral like Cascade)? Bonus if it comes in a wide.

3- My old Cascades were pretty good – but really disappointed me when it came to traction on wet rocks. A few near misses with those and/or forced to slow down considerably. Thoughts on these Cascade 16s on wet rock?

Jeff Valliere said...

Thanks A.

1. Not familiar with the Adrenaline ASR aside from recognizing the name, but think this question is a bit tricky, depending on the shoe. Yes, a neutral shoe seems to be the norm for most trail running shoes and given variable terrain, it is less significantly noticeable than in a road shoe where you are on consistently smooth terrain with more metronomic steps. That said, certain shoes depending on design and midsole materials, benefit from a little added support. At least that is how I have viewed it.

2. Hmmm..., can't think of one of the top of my head, but if it comes to me, I will report back.

3. Cascadia 16 is MUCH better all around, including wet traction. I think you should give them a try, I would be shocked if you were at all disappointed.

Helen said...

I liked the Cascadia 15 a lot, but found the cushion not quite adequate, so I'm pleased to hear that the 16 is more generously cushioned and tempted to give it a go, especially if Brooks do a women's version that doesn't involve pink. I was hoping the Salmon Ultra Glide might be right, but the question mark over durability is enough to rule them out.

Curious to know how the midsole feels when it gets properly cold (by which I mean below about 4 Celsius).

If the lacing on the 16 is like it is on the 15 I'm with Jeff B, it just works and it's so nice when lacing up is quick and requires zero thought: right length, that handy, easy-to-use loop for tucking them away and they're not over-stretchy.

Anonymous said...

Great review as always. I've been running the xodus 10 but just about worn them out. Most of my regular local runs have a decent amount of road/pavement. Would these be similarly capable to the xodus as a 'hybrid'?

Jeff Valliere said...

Helen, I found the cushioning to be great warm or cold, but got these in the Spring and despite the snowy photos, was not all that cold, so would need more winter testing to go deeper, but I would highly recommend them!

Anon, I think the Xodus is a little better on the roads, but I don't think you would be disappointed with the Cascadia 16.

Anonymous said...

Hi Jeff, all,
First compliments on your great website!
If I'm correct you have wide feet.
I was wondering what type of the Brooks Cascadia 16 you have tested: the standard (medium) model or the wide model?

Sam Winebaum said...

Hi Anon,
Thanks for your kind words about RoadTrailRun. I believe all testers had regular width as Brooks does not provide (or never so far) provided wide test pairs to RTR.
Sam, Editor

Anonymous said...

Thank you Sam.
This helps a lot. Much appreciated.

mrmike7189 said...

I Love the Cascadia 16's. I have 2 pairs in my closet. The GTX version for winter runs in snow,sleet, rain,(cuz they're Gore Tex.! )
2nd pair is the Mykonos blue/lime colorway (cuz it's so flashy)
The fact that you can get a rockshield, good traction outsole, DNA loft 2 midsole that is firm yet cushiony and supportive, attachment points for gaiters, elastic loop for laces, toe shield material..all of this for $130 is unbelievable. Great comprehensive reviews.

Jeff Valliere said...

Thanks Mike. Cascadia 16 is about the best all around shoe out there, does everything quite well.

Anonymous said...

Hi Jeff,
Thanks for this detailed review and your year in review. I am looking for a new pair of shoes for the next 6 months, where I will be traveling and doing the following: some trail running (California hills) some actual hiking with a backpack, a lot of paved trail running (eg around lakes), and a lot of city walking. I usually trail run in a sense ride 4 which I love and walk about town in an older pair of NB 990. I know its a tall order. But it seems like the C16s are the ticket. Do you have any thoughts on this or other recommendations? Appreciate it!

Jeff Valliere said...

Yeah, I think you could not go wrong with the Cascadia 16, but might even recommend the Caldera 6, they are amazing! I think they would be better for all that you list, except for maybe the backpacking (though I could easily be wrong there).

Anonymous said...

Thank you Jeff for such a quick response :-)

I am such a Solomon-head (I really like the wider toebox) and have never considered Brooks before so I just went down a Brooks rabbit hole based on your site, haha.

Would you say if there will be an even amount of paved walking/running and trail, to go for the Catamount or the Caldera? The Caldera feel too chunky for me (looks-wise) for someone who is used to small profile like the Sense Ride, but looks are obviously secondary to the feel.

Thanks, Rob

Jeff Valliere said...

The Caldera 6 is huge, dwarfing the Speedgoat even, which for me took a run or two to adjust, but they are amazing in that they are so cushioned, so comfortable and so light and responsive, that the size quickly becomes a non factor. I hardly notice it now and whenever I wear them, I am just more and more impressed.

Anonymous said...

Hi Jeff,

I have been using the Cascadia 16 for hiking in New Hampshire white mountains. They are a great shoe, but I am needing something with better durability and more underfoot protection. Also, a similar fit with the wider toe box. Any recommendations?


Jeff Valliere said...

I am not the best one to ask regarding long term durability, given I rarely run a shoe until it is completely shot, so can only speculate. I do have well over 100 miles on the Cascadia 16 and they are holding up really well for me so far. The newer Divide 3 seems very durable and sturdy, with an accommodating toe box. Scarpas seem very rugged, but the toe box is average (if they happen to fit, check out the Spin Infinity). The Topo MTN Racer 2 would be another fine choice, or perhaps the La Sportiva Akasha 2. Good luck!

Anonymous said...


Thanks so much for a great article . I am coming off the 15 GTX which I wore in 9.5 as fairly precise for technical trails I run . I’d probably appreciate a bit more space for descents , but not too much .. any recommendations on size difference with 16?

Also, any recommendations for a companion pair that I can wear on slower and tamer short distance 5mi hikes but heavier backpack. All NorCal , so traction is important, but all dry.

Thank you!

Jeff Valliere said...

I would stick true to size. Cascadia 16 would backpack fine I think.

mrmike7189 said...

2024 qnd I am still in love with the Cascadia 16's...I have the GTX version and they are superb winter trail runners. The traction is like knobby tires on a truck. Ice snow rain streams puddles, Nothing can stop you! I also hike mountains in them. I would not run road races in them. I would not tun cross country races either , They are bulky built like tank all terrain shoes. Built for protection and traction …NOT Built for Speed! I own 2 pairs and use them alot for my off road adventures.