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Brooks Cascadia 14 - Women's Review

A versatile trail runner that does well on less technical surfaces.
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Price:  $130 List | $129.95 at Backcountry
Compare prices at 3 resellers
Pros:  Comfortable construction, versatile use, great for cross-over and road surfaces
Cons:  Not great for sloppy surfaces, lacks some stability
Manufacturer:   Brooks
By Amber King ⋅ Senior Review Editor  ⋅  Dec 2, 2019
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65
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#17 of 19
  • Foot protection - 20% 7
  • Sensitivity - 20% 6
  • Traction - 15% 7
  • Stability - 15% 7
  • Comfort and Fit - 15% 7
  • Weight - 15% 5

Our Verdict

If you're seeking a versatile trail shoe built to take on most surfaces, the Brooks Cascadia 14 should be considered. Built with ample cushioning in the midsole, it uses a rockplate to enhance its protection, with 8mm of extra cushioning in the heel. The outsole uses a super sticky rubber that does good work of glomping onto dry surfaces and an easy, breezy single track. Unfortunately, this shoe isn't the most stable, nor does it do well in super-soft stuff, given its tightly spaced lugs that aren't very long. This newest version is also best for those with a narrow to regular foot, losing the wider fit that it's renowned for. This shoe is best if you're looking for a well-built shoe that can perform on less technical surfaces. However, there are better options that perform better for the same or lesser of the cost.

Update
The New Brooks Cascadia 14 features:
  • A more narrow fit in the toe box
  • Less breathable upper
  • Less aggressive outsole with closer lugs


Compare to Similar Products

 
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Price $129.95 at Backcountry
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Overall Score Sort Icon
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Star Rating
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Pros Comfortable construction, versatile use, great for cross-over and road surfacesWonderful traction, balance of sensitive and protection, durable outsole and upper, unisex designExcellent traction, great balance of foot protection and sensitivity, specific fit, durable outsoleComfortable, versatile fit, great responsiveness, fantastic value, durableInexpensive, super lightweight, light cushioning, comfortable, zero-drop, wide toe box yet narrow profile
Cons Not great for sloppy surfaces, lacks some stabilityLaces are short and stupid, expensive, potential midsole durability issues, zero drop may not be for everybodyHigher heel is less stable, lugs wear down on pavementDoesn't shed mud well, some midsole compaction over timePotential durability issues, less aggressive outsole not meant for muddy surfaces
Bottom Line A versatile trail runner that does well on less technical surfaces.A unisex trail runner that offers amazing all-around performance on all surfaces.An aggressive trail shoe that is built for the steepest and most technical trails out there.A superior performer that offers exceptional value on all types of terrain.A zero-drop shoe boasting lightweight cushioning and a super wide toe box.
Rating Categories Brooks Cascadia 14 - Women's Inov-8 TerraUltra G260 Speedcross 5 Peregrine ISO Altra Superior 4.0 - Women's
Foot Protection (20%)
10
0
7
10
0
8
10
0
9
10
0
8
10
0
5
Sensitivity (20%)
10
0
6
10
0
10
10
0
8
10
0
8
10
0
9
Traction (15%)
10
0
7
10
0
9
10
0
10
10
0
9
10
0
5
Stability (15%)
10
0
7
10
0
9
10
0
7
10
0
8
10
0
9
Comfort And Fit (15%)
10
0
7
10
0
7
10
0
9
10
0
8
10
0
8
Weight (15%)
10
0
5
10
0
9
10
0
4
10
0
6
10
0
10
Specs Brooks Cascadia 14... Inov-8 TerraUltra... Speedcross 5 Peregrine ISO Altra Superior 4.0...
Measured Weight 10.3 oz 8.45 oz 10.7 oz 9.8 oz 7.9 oz
Ideal Terrain Non-technical trails, cross-over All terrain Soft surfaces, technical terrain All terrain All terrain
Width Options Regular Regular Regular and Wide Regular and Wide Regular
Heel-to-Toe Drop 8 mm 0 mm 10 mm 4 mm 0 mm
Stack Height from toe to heel (mm) n/a 9/9 10/20 18.5/22.5 21/21
Upper Synthetic mesh Kevlar Mesh Nylon mesh, sythetic overlays IsoFit Engineered knit
Midsole BioMoGo DNA EXTERFLOW Injected EVA PWRFOAM Altra Quantic
Outsole TrailTack Rubber Graphene Grip Contragrip PWRTRAC MaxTrac/TrailClaw
Rock Plate? Yes Yes Yes None Yes
Sizes Available 5 - 12 4 - 15 5 - 12 5 - 12 6 - 11

Our Analysis and Test Results

The Brooks Cascadia is a good cross-over shoe that can take on most trails. While it offers great protection and sensitivity, the outsole is limited to trails that are less technical and dry. While it can perform in sloppy weather, it's performance is lackluster in comparison to other contenders.

Performance Comparison


The Cascadia 14 is a great option for cross-over and less technical terrain.
The Cascadia 14 is a great option for cross-over and less technical terrain.

Foot Protection


The Cascadia's protection comes in the form of a great underfoot cushioning, and rockplate, and a protective mesh upper. When running on trails littered with rocks and roots, we could hardly feel anything underfoot, proving that it is performing well on most trails.

Most of its protection comes in the form of thick cushioning underfoot and a built-in rock plate.
Most of its protection comes in the form of thick cushioning underfoot and a built-in rock plate.

The upper is also protective. The mesh has two layers that keep out fine particulates, making it a good option for desert running. That said, it's not very breathable, so make sure you wear a super thin sock with it in the summertime.

The double-layer mesh offers protection from dirt and sand  while the toe cap is a little less than bomber.
The double-layer mesh offers protection from dirt and sand, while the toe cap is a little less than bomber.

Sensitivity


Even with good protection, you can feel the trail underfoot. When running in these for miles, we appreciate the even ride that wasn't 100% sensitive, but just enough to respond effectively to trail hazards. While it's not the most sensitive shoe out there, it's exactly what you need for any trail run, whether you're running long or short distances.

The thin construction offers good sensitivity when moving over rocky terrain.
The thin construction offers good sensitivity when moving over rocky terrain.

Traction


This trail shoe is built for smoother, less-technical trails with flowing trails and less underfoot hazards. We appreciate the super sticky rubber that grabs and holds onto most dry surfaces. It also does well on steep switchbacks littered with rocks and holds onto pavement and dirt roads as well. Unfortunately, the newly designed outsole has lugs that are closely spaced together and aren't 100% ideal for super sloppy conditions. They slip and don't shed mud easily. While you can use these shoes for winter running, know that it will slip out.

A look at the updated outsole.
A look at the updated outsole.

Stability


This shoe feels relatively stable in uneven terrain but is tippier than others. The body of the shoe makes you feel like you're sitting higher while the forefoot is more narrow; this is new for this iteration, which doesn't feel as stable as the previous iteration of the Cascadia. The shoe is also a little rigid, which adds to the stability but can feel tippy if in super technical terrain with lots of uneven surfaces. On less-technical surfaces, it transitions really well and feels good underfoot. Overall, stability is decent, but not impeccable.

It moves with the terrain with enough flexibility to keep you upright. Unfortunately because of the narrow forefoot  it feels less stable than it has in the past.
It moves with the terrain with enough flexibility to keep you upright. Unfortunately because of the narrow forefoot, it feels less stable than it has in the past.

Comfort and Fit


Comfortable for all-day wear, we appreciate the responsive nature of this shoe. The upper is thin and relatively breathable, wrapping the foot while embarking on trail missions. The collar fits well without any strange rubbing points and a supported Achilles tendon. The fit is best for those with a regular to narrow foot, offering a supportive fit around the arch. We also appreciate that on the downhill, the foot doesn't slide too badly front to back.

Camping out and chilling is also a great way to enjoy these super comfortable shoes. We just wish the fit wasn't so narrow.
Camping out and chilling is also a great way to enjoy these super comfortable shoes. We just wish the fit wasn't so narrow.

Weight


This shoe feels lightweight on the trail, but in comparison to the rest, it isn't the lightest out there. At 10.3 ounces, it's lighter than the previous version, but still a mid-weight trail shoe. It's still a great option for longer runs or training jaunts.

Not the lightest thing out there  but not heavy either.
Not the lightest thing out there, but not heavy either.

Value


While the price is right up there with the top performers, it doesn't perform as well. It does have relatively good traction for less-technical surfaces and can perform both on the trail and the road. For those seeking a narrow fit, you might find this of value, but there are many other high scoring contenders with similar features for the same or lesser price.

Here we run out country roads in Northern Ontario. This is a perfect place for this less-technical trail runner.
Here we run out country roads in Northern Ontario. This is a perfect place for this less-technical trail runner.

Conclusion


The Brooks Cascadia 14 is the newest renditions of the Cascadia line, and is a trail shoe to consider if you're looking for middle of the road performance in basically every metric. It's versatile but is limited to trails that aren't super technical or sloppy. This new version also has a less aggressive outsole that doesn't shed mud as well with a more narrow fit, that some Cascadia lovers will be disappointed by.

The Cascadia is a less technical trail runner that does well on surfaces that look just like this!
The Cascadia is a less technical trail runner that does well on surfaces that look just like this!


Amber King