Thursday, July 20, 2023

Brooks Cascadia 17 Multi Tester Review: Adapts to Terrain! 10 Comparisons

Article by Dominique Winebaum, Renee Krusemark, Jeff and Allison Valliere and Sam Winebaum

Cascadia 17 ($140, $170 GTX Invisible Fit)

  • Versatile trail runner/hiker: any surface from roughest trails to even some road

  • Highly effective and adaptive integration of midsole, protection/propulsion plate, and outsole


Sam: When a shoe gets up into the high teens in version number you know it's been around and likely for good reasons. The Cascadia is such a shoe and has been the heavy duty trail runner to light hiker in the Brooks line up. With the Cascadia 16 (RTR Review) we lost 0.75 oz weight over the 15 and got 2mm more stack height of a new lighter softer DNA Loft v2 midsole foam and a new outsole design.

The Cascadia 17 sees another significant update with 2-3mm more stack height by our measurement of the same DNA Loft v2 foam as the 16. It has completely redesigned midsole outsole system featuring the Trail Adapt combination of plate and midsole outsole integration first seen in Catamount 2 (RTR Review). Trail Adapt was a  big and positive update to Brooks' lighter more agile trail runner, greatly improving propulsion and protection. Trail Adapt in the Cascadia delivers the same albeit in a higher stack, higher weight more cruiser of a shoe. 

As we gain in stack height to about 36 mm at the heel we do also gain about 1 oz in weight over the 16 to about 11.45 oz / 324g in a US men's 9. So where will the Cascadia 17 land? Ultra worthy shoe for heavy duty terrain and/or slower paces?  all around trail and even door to trail runner in the max cushion class?  Back to being more of a “light hiker"?  Or all of the above? Please read on to find out what we discovered. 


Deep protective cushion with welcome plate propulsion and protection clearly felt: Sam/Dominique/Renee/Jeff V/Allison

Trail Adapt is real and works effectively conforming to terrain, adding stability, and giving this big shoe some genuine kick: Sam/Dominique/Renee/Jeff V/Allison

/Jeff V/Allison

Any trail and even road versatility:  Sam/Dominique

Literal trail shoe “cocoon” of smooth and secure support and comfort: Sam/Dominique

Fair pricing for a sophisticated durable shoe that has multiple uses: Sam/Dominique/Renee/Jeff V/Allison

Also an excellent hiker: Sam/Dominique/Renee/Jeff V/Allison

Strong sustainability effort: lower water and energy consuming upper dyeing and greener rubber: Sam/Dominique/Renee/Jeff V/Allison

Dirt resistant in my colorway: navy/purple/violet: Dominique/Allison


Unfortunate weight gain and not the lightest to begin with: Sam/Renee/Dominique/Jeff V/Allison

Please find the testers full run bios at the end of the article after Comparisons.


Approx. Weight: men's 11.45 oz  / 324 g (US9)  /  women's 10 oz / 283g (US8)


   men’s     11.2 oz  /  316g US8.5

women’s 10.43 oz / 295g US9 9.96 oz/ 282g (US8)

Stack Height: men’s 36mm heel (measured) / 28 mm forefoot ( 8mm drop spec) 

$140  Available July 2023, GTX Invisible Fit at $170 available August 2023

First Impressions, Fit and Upper

Dominique  I am very excited for this 17th edition of the Cascadia after running in the Cascadia 16, which I found to be an extremely reliable shoe for running trails in Park City.  With summer in full swing, I am grateful for this regular mesh versus a GTX version, especially as I am planning to wear them on long day hikes in the White Mountains. The colorway of my Cascadia, navy/purple/violet, is quite attractive without being overly loud and dirt resistant.  

The centerpiece of this new edition is the “Trail Adapt System” which consists of 3 elements: an integrated midsole with soft DNA Loft v2 cushioning, a protective and also propulsive rock plate, and a segmented outsole all working together as a system to enhance one’s running experience over any terrain. I took my Cascadia 17 on a smooth trail run mixed with road and they are amazingly runnable on hard surfaces.  

In-depth commentaries about the “Trail Adapt System'' are to follow but my first impressions after 3 trail runs (15 miles total) are extremely positive even as the Trail Adapt and big cushion add weight to the shoe. 

The fit is true to size and very secure with plenty of room in the toe box.  It’s a comfortable shoe with a great hold throughout the foot thanks to a supportive upper and firm heel counter.  New to the upper is the dying process  - PrintDye - which uses approx. ⅔ of the energy and 75% less water than with traditional dying.  Not only the dye in the upper is “going green” but the outsole as well which is made with “green rubber” using recycled silicone via the “TrailTack Green process.”   

The padding around the collar is a bit thinner than with the Cascadia 16, shedding some weight without compromising comfort and hold although the rear collars are definitely on the stiff side.  

The overlays around the toe box and heel counter are rubberized and thicker than in the Cascadia 16, enhancing both protection and durability yet upfront it is quite pliable and not overly stiff.  Likewise, the shoelace system is held together with a rubberized overlay in lieu of individual eyelets, which helps streamline the design and creates a smooth glide of the shoelaces when tying them.

Overall this is a very comfortable and secure upper with a few worthy updates. 

Sam: My pair is a cheery but not overly bright blue with a few hints of yellow at the lace loops and a grayish green midfoot overlays with speckles of yellow. 

An extensive pliable overlay protects and stabilizes the front of the shoe extending back to midfoot with 2 notches in it on the lateral side and 1 on the medial side (shown above) to allow flex with I expect the overlay also providing protection and strain relief from splitting at the shoe flex point, always a weak point in trail shoe as grit can make exposed mesh brittle there.

The toe box is generous in vertical volume and decent in width with wide sizing also available. Front lockdown is superb in its security due to the big overlay yet also allows forward flex as the rugged mesh is pliable and has some give due to not over snugging the top of the foot while also not being stretchable.

The midfoot while pliable to pressing and comfortable without any pressures and is extensively supported. 

Not only do we have the substantial Brooks logo overlay but inside we have 3 stout underlays plus a gusset tongue which while thin is well padded with a soft leatherette material inside and rugged mesh outside.

2 sets of webbing straps (top and bottom) contribute, along with the grippy textured laces and the entire midfoot and heel construction, to a very secure lockdown at midfoot. I do think the final lace hole area could be a touch more rigid.  

The heel area is very rigid if quite low so at least for me no over high stiffness. 

I do think the rear plastic overlay could be shortened a bit in conjunction with a bit more rigid lace up area to relax the heel area a touch and maybe prevent the ankle pressures Renee below found.

Fit is without question a perfect true to size for me.  The overall sensation of the upper is of a super secure cocoon that has no rough stiff under or oversized areas beyond, as stated above, a bit too much heel counter area rigidity. 

Breathablity is good, water draining is excellent as we discovered on our multiple hike stream crossings while drying is relatively slow.

Renee: I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention my first impression was about the weight of the shoe. The Cascadia 17 is a hefty 9.96 oz in my women’s size 8. The big cushion and the Trail Adapt system all contribute to this weight. Does the weight matter in terms of the shoe’s purpose? I don’t think so. The Cascadia 17 is built for trails when speed doesn’t matter. Think of all-day efforts when protection is needed. The midsole took some time to break-in, and once I was able to take the shoe on single track instead of rolling terrain, I liked it more. 

In terms of sizing, it is true-to-size for me as I wear a women’s size 8 in all Brooks shoes. The length in the toebox accounts for distance use, so while the toebox might look angled, it has plenty of room. My low volume feet sat a bit low within the heel area, so the heel counter rubbed slightly on my ankles.

I’m guessing the high heel collar/counter (the plastic overlay in particular) will be an issue only for low volume feet. This was not an issue for slow paces (which is really what the shoe is for), but it did prevent being nimble on downhill efforts because it limited the natural movement of my ankles. 

Jeff V:  I have run in all (or most?) versions of the Cascadia since the 5th iteration I think back in ~2006.  They have generally been a reliably good trail shoe for most of those iterations (except for a few duds thrown in there), offering very good fit, comfort, protection, traction and overall durability. 

As far as trail runners go, they were a competitive weight early on, but as other brands and models have in general dropped some weight, the Cascadia has generally held constant or increased in weight, which can be a pro or a con depending on your use and perspective.  

I was honestly a little surprised to find that the 17 felt a bit heavy out of the box and had to double check the toe to be sure I hadn’t missed some packing material in there.  While they have only gained just under half an ounce, it is noticeable and especially since the 16 had crept up in weight over the 15.  That said, the 17 looks and feels premium, with my review sample color of blue, yellow and orange really standing out and popping, they are sharp!

Fit is true to size and very well held in the heel, midfoot and forefoot, with just enough room to not feel constricting, while providing superb foothold, security and stability.  

Comfort is off the charts, with no hotspots or pressure points, just enough padding in the tongue and heel collar, this is for sure one of the best uppers out there.  I run a lot of rocky, technical trails and off trail, so I really appreciate the rugged protection that the beefy toe box and wrap around rand here offers.  

No matter how rough conditions get, I have not yet gotten banged up and feel confident in them.  While not a race specific shoe, I can push the Cascadia 17 hard in technical terrain with a lot of confidence, much in part due to the secure and stable upper.  Breathability is OK, but they feel a bit warm on hot days and particularly airy.

Allison:  The upper of the Cascadia 17 could not be more perfect.  I find the fit to be true to size, with a very comfortable fit, well padded, no apparent seams, nice snug lacing over the midfoot, great heel hold and just enough room in the forefoot to not feel tight, while providing amazing security and stability.  I have narrow, low volume feet, yet when my feet swell, I appreciate a bit of room, but it is tricky to also maintain a good foothold in many shoes.  
On a recent 20 mile hike/run in Glacier National Park, my feet were swollen, but never did I have to adjust the laces, nor did my feet feel compressed or confined.  Brooks really nails this balance, at least for my feet.  Beyond the fit and comfort, I appreciate the look and styling of the shoe and also the rugged durable protective nature.  I do find that on warm days the upper feels a bit warm, but is a minor footnote.


Dominique The cushioning is improving with each edition of the Cascadia resulting in a very comfortable, protective, and stable midsole. It is the same DNA Loft v2 midsole as in the Cascadia 16, however, as per Sam’s measurements, there has been an increase in the overall stack height by approx. 3 mm.  A significant improvement is the “Trail Adapt System” which incorporates a protective rear stabilizing and front propulsive plate sandwiched in the DNA Loft v2 midsole. 

More protective cushioning with more propulsion from the plate results in a very comfortable midsole that also delivers a pleasant spring when running on harder surfaces.  Notably, this is a very stable shoe even as the midsole is gaining height. 

Sam: The addition of DNA Loft V2 in the Cascadia 16 gave the shoe lighter weight and less of a hiker feel and ride but it was stiff due to the Ballistic Rock Shield and not particularly segmented outsole.

The Cascadia 17 gets not only more cushion stack (and yes a bit more weight) and what I find is a highly effective integration of its rock plate to the midsole and outsole as shown below.

After some break in, they are notably flexible for a rock plated trail shoe and not just behind the usual end of a forefoot rock plate having a long flex from front of the shoe to front of midfoot with flex aided by the new far more segmented outsole.  The midsole is now, if on the firm side as after all we have a big outsole decently forgiving, very stable in an adaptive way to terrain (as called out by Brooks) and relatively smooth flowing on road, mellow trails, very rough rocky mountain steeps. 

Trail Adapt is for real, and not just marketing speak, and we found the same in the Catamount 2. Brooks didn’t just stick a plate in them for rock protection and called it a day as the plate also provides propulsion and targeted stability without over stiffening the shoe.  While DNA Loft v2 is fine and a big reason for the $140 price point, with Brooks it seems investing in the upper, I wished they had used their lighter more resilient DNA Flash as in the Catamount 2 or Loft v3 as in the Caldera 6.

Renee: The midsole took some time to break in. The DNA Loft v2 is not soft or hard, just firm and along with the Trail Adapt plate gets some give after a few runs.


I don’t get a springy landing from the shoe, but I wouldn’t want that for trail efforts when a high cushioned, protective shoe is needed. There is plenty of cushion for ultra efforts or all-day outings. The firm midsole helps with the already stable platform of the shoe. 

Jeff V:  The DNA Loft v2 is steady and reliable, well cushioned, but not plush by any means, and is firm enough for predictable, stable performance in technical terrain.  While not particularly responsive or top end performance oriented, the midsole is spot on for the intent of the Cascadia 17, day to day all terrain training, or long distance hiking/running.  While the Cascadia might never be classified as a go fast shoe, I do find that when I am feeling good and in technical terrain, the overall package of the shoe (secure upper, predictable/protective midsole and very good traction prevents me from having to slow down.  

The Trail Adapt system is really effective, providing a great blend of protection and flexibility, though it did take a few runs for me to break this shoe in and to not feel stiff.

Allison:  Cushioning and protection are very good for long distances on any terrain and are especially good in technical terrain, with much credit to the Trail Adapt system.  While they do not have a bouncy or springy feel, I appreciate how protective and predictable no matter the terrain and conditions.  I have run/hiked up to 20 miles in them and they left my legs feeling relatively fresh afterwards (easily did 20 mile days consecutively).


Dominique Changes to the outsole are significant.  Where to start?  First, the outsole is part of the “Trail Adapt System” so that all the elements: midsole, protective plate, and outsole work together to deliver a softer yet secure landing over any type of terrain.  4.5 mm lugs (versus 5 mm in the C16)  have been strategically placed in 6 groups (as shown below compared to the C16)  so that they compress individually into the midsole for a softer ride and a better grip over any type of terrain.  

Indeed, the Cascadia 17 is very runnable over hard surfaces for a trail shoe and especially so for one with big 4.5mm lugs.  I tend to hike more rugged terrain than run such trails.  I took the Cascadia 17 on a hike in the White Mountains, Mt Liberty, and truly felt the “Trail Adapt System” at work, namely the outsole not being overly rigid, yet extremely protective and secure in its grip. 

The six different groups of 4.5 lugs are divided via the decoupling of the outsole, with one groove running from the heel to the forefront of the shoe and 4 smaller grooves running horizontally.  It is a very effective design in helping create a softer, more flexible platform than the C16 that is also very stable - and adaptable - to any type of terrain. 

Sam: The outsole is just fine. As covered above it is well segmented as part of Trail Adapt and relies on conforming to terrain as opposed to pure stick as say MegaGrip or VJ rubber does and which I found outperformed TrailTack in pure sticking power on wet slick rock although it did well enough. 

Everywhere else the outsole plays nicely with the rest of the shoe and has plenty of grip in combination with its flexibility making it almost silent on firm surfaces such as pavement which in my experience is rarely the case with firmer stickier rubber on more rigid platforms.

The TrailTack Green outsole rubber also has a sustainability component as illustrated below as it uses 25% recycled silica.

Renee: Sam and Dominique cover the details. With the amount of cushion underneath, the shoe is comfortable on packed hard surfaces despite the lugs and plate. 

The outsole won’t hinder a moderate trail surface ride, but it’s best on a true trail. I agree with Dominique that the shoe works great as a hiker too. For all-day efforts, I’m power hiking steep inclines anyway and the shoe works well for a mix of run-hike efforts. 

Jeff V:  Sam and Dominique cover the outsole well.  I have run the Cascadia 17 in Glacier National Park, Grand Teton National Park and all over my local trails and higher mountains of Colorado and find traction to be excellent over any surface or conditions athough I have not really had the opportunity to run in truly wet conditions.  Durability thus far is proving to be average.

Allison:  I do not have much to add to the above, but just can confirm that traction is excellent all the way around and gives me confidence when the conditions are rough, loose and steep.

Ride, Conclusions and Recommendations

Dominique: I have been enjoying the ride of Cascadia whether I am trail running on mellow trails or hiking on more challenging terrain.  When hiking the feel is extremely comfortable and protective along with being very stable for a shoe with a high stack height.  I tend to trail run on easy trails, and at a slow speed with often some road in the mix, so indeed I like a shoe that is highly versatile. I even tested it on a four mile run on the road and I was surprised how well it run and how good it felt on hard surfaces. 

It’s a much better ride than with the Cascadia 16, namely because of the Trail Adapt System. The plate helps protect and propel with deeper cushioning enhancing comfort and protection along with an outsole designed to absorb shocks in a multi-dimensional way – the decoupling with six zones of 4.5 mm lugs made with TrailTack Green Rubber, i.e silica.  I feel the drop of the shoe works well though at 8 mm it is on the higher side.  For sure, I prefer that to the 4mm drop from the Salomon Thundercross which is my next tester. 

I would definitely recommend this 17th edition of the Cascadia to my friends – who are mostly walkers and hikers, but also to those who are looking for a solid trail run trainer and who don’t mind a bit of extra weight.  

After our 7+ mile hike with over 3000 vertical feet of climbing on tough terrain, I am wondering if the “Trail Adapt System” is helping reduce fatigue, during and post effort, but would need to replicate this type of effort with other footwear to make such a claim.  

Yet, it seems my footwear was helping make the hike less strenuous with my post-hike legs feeling not as sore.  

And yes, my colorway is truly dirt resistant as the dirt and mud did not stain the upper after several outings in muddy and wet conditions.  

Dominique’s Score: 9.5/10 (deduction for weight)


Renee: At $140, the Cascadia 17 is a good buy for long, easy trail efforts when the effort involves hiking, running, or a mix of both. While I typically prefer a lower drop trail shoe, the 8mm feels right for the shoe and helps the ride given the overall weight. The cushion is protective and comfortable, not too soft or hard, and just firm enough for even stable landings. The shoe is a bit heavy, but I don’t think that’s an issue for slow, long efforts. 

Renee’s Score: 8.9/10 (-.90 weight, -.20 heel collar pressures)


Sam: The Cascadia is significantly and successfully updated. It remains the “heavy duty” trail shoe in the Brooks lineup that can easily cross over to hiking but the new Trail Adapt system makes it far more runnable on a greater variety of terrain and even road. It is not as stiff and is a bit more cushioned, is notably smoother flowing and is more “adaptable”. 

It does gain some weight which is my only knock. The weight and weight gain is understandable given the now more cushioned 36mm heel, the stabilizing influence of its plate and its highly supportive yet comfortable cocoon of an upper. I do wish it was lighter by 1 oz as at 11.45 oz we are up there. 

Even so it is highly versatile.  You can trail run and especially long and mellow paces (a solid ultra choice for rough terrain and mid packers), hit some roads miles easy or on the way to trails, walk or day hike. I can also see it becoming a popular choice for thru hikers. At $140 it is an excellent value.

Sam”s Score: 9.3 /10 (deduction for weight at 11.45 oz US9 )

😊😊😊 1/2

Jeff V:  Overall I really like and appreciate the updates to the Cascadia 17, despite the weight gain. They are one of those shoes that are versatile enough to be a top pick for just about any trail run (outside racing or faster uptempo), as they perform equally well at hiking, door to trail, day to day running, long days in the mountains, ultra distances, etc….  Cushioning is great, fit and foothold are superb, protection underfoot and the upper are top notch, traction is very good and they are overall very rugged, durable and high quality.  Not to mention, at $140, that is a very reasonable price for such a versatile and durable shoe.  Recommending a shoe is very tricky depending on use and foot shape, but if the Cascadia fits, this is one of my top recommendations for just about anyone from the new runner, to the seasoned veteran.

Jeff V’s Score: 9.5/10 (deduction for weight)


Allison:  I really like the cushioning, protection, comfort, durability, traction and versatility of the 17 and find it to be a big improvement over the 16 in all regards.  I reach for the 17 for just about any run or hike, be it a few local miles or 20 mile full days in the mountains on rugged trails.  If the fit is right, I would recommend for anyone! 

Allison’s Score: 9.3/10 (deduction for weight and a bit warm in summer conditions)


10 Comparisons

Index to all RTR reviews: HERE

Brooks Cascadia 16 (RTR Review)

Sam: Covered in the review. The C16 improves in every way but for its weight gain. More versatile, more comfortable, smoother running and hiking.

Jeff V: Agreed with Sam, the 17 is more flexible now with the Trail Adapt and overall has a better ride, traction and comfortable feel to it, all improvements on an already great shoe.

Brooks Caldera 5 (RTR Review) and  6 (RTR Review)

Renee: I ran in the Caldera 5, not the v6. The v5 has a softer midsole landing and a bit more pep for me as compared to the ride of Cascadia, which seems to work best on more technical terrain. The forefoot shape/toebox of the Caldera was narrow for me and caused some issues on the medical side of my foot. In contrast, the Cascadia has a roomy, yet secure forefoot and toebox. I wore a women’s size 8 in both shoes. 

Sam: Weighing at bit less than Cascadia at 11.15 oz / 316 g (US9) with about the same heel height at  35 mm heel  but with a slightly higher 29 mm forefoot, the 6mm drop Caldera sits on a broader at the ground platform. It has softer and more resilient supercritical DNA Loft v3 foam in its plateless midsole. It is a more rigid rocker geometry to the Cascadia’s more flexible approach. Its upper is equally as comfortable if not quite as secure.  If your trails are more mellow and you want a plusher, softer, more energetic ride then Caldera . If you want all around versatility with a more technical trails focus then Cascadia. 

Jeff V: Agreed with Sam, the Caldera is softer and better and is for more mellow trails at longer distances and is not nearly as adept in technical terrain as the Cascadia with its firmer more stable midsole, better foothold and superior traction.

Brooks Catamount 2 (RTR Review)

Sam: Also with the Trail Adapt system and similar propulsive protective plate, the lighter more agile Cat has a supercritical DNA Flash midsole foam and a more precise fitting upper. It is lower stack and a big 1.7 oz lighter than Cascadia. For any moderate distance faster pace trail run on any terrain it would be my pick over the Cascadia 17. If the terrain is rough and rocky, the days long or multi day or if mellow pace is the order of the day Cascadia.

Jeff V:  For racing or uptempo runs (on up to moderate technical), I would pick the Catamount 2 for it’s better response, faster more sporty build and lighter weight, whereas the Cascadia is ideal for more rugged terrain at slower paces.

Scarpa Spin Infinity (RTR Review)

Sam: This is the closest comparison for me having about the same 36mm heel height and a bigger forefoot stack as it is a 4mm drop shoe. The Infinity has a dual density midsole and due to its drop a less propulsive feel although its somewhat lighter 10.9 oz weight is appreciated.  

Don’t laugh at big shoes for ultras.. as the Infinity took Aurélien Dunand-Pallaz to 2nd place at UTMB in them and may have worn them to win 2023 Hardrock.  

The Infinity has a more aggressive outsole design and as such is not as smooth running on firm smoother as the Cascadia.  Both have very secure uppers with the Cascadia more polished and with a considerably more accommodating toe box. I sized up half a size in the Infinity and needed it and am true to size perfect in fit in the Cascadia 17.  

Jeff V:  Agreed with Sam on all points, although in the long run, find the Cascadia to be a slightly more friendly pick for all around use, whereas the Infinity is a bit more performance oriented and lighter.

Hoka Speedgoat 5 (RTR Review)

Renee: I have the GTX version of the SG5 andt even then it’s a lighter shoe. With the lower drop, I have more control over the ride of the SG5 on steep downhills l. Both have a firm midsole. The rocker of the SG5 isn’t my favorite, so I prefer the traditional drop and roll forward from the Cascadia. For faster efforts and a more nimble ride, I’d go with the SG5. For all-day efforts, I’d choose the Cascadia. I wear a 7.5 in Hoka as compared to an 8 in Brooks, although I think runners who aren’t between half sizes can probably wear the same size in these shoes. 

New Balance Fresh Foam Trail More (RTR Review)

Renee: I have version 1 and 2 of the Trail More. The Cascadia and Trail More both have large stacks with plenty of cushion and protection underneath. The lower drop of the Trail More made the shoe ride heavier than its weight, although it’s a lighter shoe than the Cascadia 17. As an all-day run/hike combo shoe, I’d choose the Cascadia. Shoe preference might depend on a runner’s preference for drop, as the Brooks is an 8mm and the Trail More is 4mm. Sizing is comparable.

Salomon Thundercross  (RTR Review)

Sam: I hiked almost identical White Mountains terrain in both a week apart and the Cascadia was more protective and stable if not quite as agile. The Thundercross has a more comfortable yet toe box of soft fabric but one that is not as supportive and secure. My legs were more sore the next day in the Thundercross than Cascadia as its foam is softer and it has no rock plate and a lower heel stack height at 31 mm heel / 27 mm forefoot ( 4mm drop spec). The Salomon is considerably lighter at 9.69 oz / 274 g US9 and, as intended, is a stronger very soft ground performer than Cascadia due to its outsole pattern but is a less effective firm terrain and wet rock scrambling one.

Jeff V:  I have had the exact same experience as Sam running both shoes back to back on the same rugged mountain route.  I find that I need to be a bit more careful in the Thundercross due to foothold and being less stable overall, whereas I can steamroll technical terrain with confidence in the Cascadia.

Saucony Xodus Ultra 1 (RTR Review) and Xodus Ultra 2 (RTR Review)

Renee: I ran in v1 of the Xodus Ultra (not v2). Both shoes are ultra distance worthy. The midsole of the Xodus has more give and a bit more responsiveness in comparison to the Cascadia which is a heavier shoe. For a mix of running and hiking, the Cascadia might be the better buy. For ultra running, I’d choose the Xodus. Sizing is comparable.

Sam: The Xodus Ultra 1 had a wonderful fast ride but compared to the Cascadia a considerably shakier upper limiting its technical trails utility. It has a slightly lower stack than Cascadia and is 1.6 oz lighter weight and the weight difference was clearly felt.

Xodus 2 dropped the weight another 0.65 oz with the upper now more supportive and approaching the Cascadia’s but cruder and less comfortable for me with my test pair a half size up from normal and fitting true to size. We measured, despite what Saucony stats said, that it had more stack height at about the same as Cascadia.  The weight difference is big and so if your runs are faster paced the Ultra is plenty of shoe for most runs but if you are slower and the terrain is rougher the Cascadia would be a better pick for an ultra or hiking due to its more comfortable upper, stability, and more protective underfoot platform.

Jeff V:  I have run in only the Xodus 1 and agree with Renee and Sam.  They are much lighter and faster in a straight line and on roads, but even on the light side of moderate terrain, you quickly reach the limits with a not so secure, flexible upper mainly.  Cascadia superior for anything technical

The Brooks Cascadia 17 is available at our partners below

Tester Profiles

Sam is the Editor and Founder of Road Trail Run. He is 66 with a 2018 3:40 Boston qualifier. 2022 was Sam’s 50th year of running. He has a decades old 2:28 marathon PR. These days he runs halves in the just sub 1:40 range if he gets very very lucky, training 30-40 miles per week mostly at moderate paces on the roads and trails of New Hampshire and Utah be it on the run or nordic skis. He is 5’9” tall and weighs about 164 lbs, if he is not enjoying too many fine New England IPA’s.

Dominique has run for over 40 years, consistently about 25 miles per week at paces between 10 and 11 minute miles and once a week down in the mid 9 minute miles. She races rarely, but always surprises more hard core runners in her age group when she does. She has a 1985 marathon PR of 3:16 in her second marathon which at the time put her on the top 10 Swiss women’s lists. She is the mother of two grown children, both runners post college, and also enjoys nordic and alpine skiing, tennis, hiking and trekking, and gardening. 

Renee is a former U.S.Marine journalist, which is when her enjoyment of running and writing started. She isn’t that awesome of a runner, but she tries really hard. Most of her weekly 50-60 miles take place on rural country roads in Nebraska, meaning mud, gravel, dirt, hills, and the occasional field. She has PR’s of 1:30:59 for the half marathon and 3:26:45 for the marathon.

Jeff Valliere loves to run and explore the mountains of Colorado, the steeper and more technical the better. He has summited all of the 14ers in the state and can be found on mountain trails daily, no matter the weather, season, conditions or whether there is daylight or not.  On the side he loves to ski (all forms) bike and hike, often with his family, as he introduces his 12 year old daughters to the outdoors. Jeff was born and raised in New Hampshire, but has called Colorado home for over 25 years. He is 5’9” and 145 lbs.

Allison Valliere 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.  But what really keeps her on her toes is working as a nurse and taking care of her 12 year old twin daughters who are also growing to share her love for the outdoors.

Samples were provided at no charge for review purposes. RoadTrail Run has affiliate partnerships and may earn commission on products purchased via shopping links in this article. These partnerships do not influence our editorial content. The opinions herein are entirely the authors'.

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Anonymous said...

Too heavy for todays standards, at least for running

Anonymous said...

Rough spot between Catamount and Caldera. And if one wants tough other options come to mind as well.

aaron said...

Aurelian wore the Spin Planet at Hardrock this year.

Anonymous said...

Compare to the FuelCell SuperComp Trail?

Anonymous said...

The SC Trail is the opposite of the Cascadia 17. One is light and fast, the other is heavy and meant for long, all-day hike/slow efforts.

Ryan said...

For me the Cascadia 17 is a huge improvement over the 16. The toe box on the 17 has significantly more vertical height, with the toe box and forefoot upper being made of a more flexible material. The 16's upper is almost Matryx like; just completely rigid and lacking any type of stretch. I lost both big toe nails while racing a techinal 50 miler that has 14k gain, while wearing the 16's. Thinking that this was due to too small of a shoe, I sized up 1/2 a size, but still ran into significant toe bump issues, despite various lacing and sock options. I already have over 300 miles in the 17's and have experienced zero toe bump!

Sam Winebaum said...

Thanks for your feedback!
Sam, Editor

Astrosnow said...

How does the midfoot fit compare to the Cascadia 16? I found the 16 just a hair too narrow through the midfoot causing some pressure on the outside of my foot

Raf said...

In the part "Breathability is OK, but they feel a bit warm on hot days and particularly airy." - did you guys mean NOT particularly airy? ;)