Reviews You Can Rely On

Brooks Cascadia 15 - Women's Review

This old-time favorite continues to boast excellent protection with updates that amp up stability and overall performance
Brooks Cascadia 15 - Women's
Photo: Brooks
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
Price:  $130 List | Check Price at REI
Compare prices at 3 resellers
Pros:  Protective, stable design, quick drying upper, comfortable, wide toe box
Cons:  Poor on sloppy surfaces, fit isn't precise, heavier design
Manufacturer:   Brooks
By Amber King ⋅ Senior Review Editor  ⋅  May 28, 2021
  • Share this article:
Our Editors independently research, test, and rate the best products. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and we never accept free products from manufacturers. Learn more
70
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#10 of 16
  • Foot Protection - 25% 8
  • Traction - 20% 7
  • Sensitivity - 15% 6
  • Stability - 15% 8
  • Comfort and Fit - 15% 6
  • Weight - 10% 6

Our Verdict

The Brooks Cascadia 15 is a stable and protective shoe built for all-day comfort. We tested it on an array of trails from county roads to steep single tracks. The newest iteration features a wider toe box that improves its stability. While many of our testers fawned over it, we are still unimpressed with the less precise fit that struggles to lock into place. It does well on most surfaces including rocky and steep terrain, but it slips in heavier mud. If you're seeking a ride that's stable with lots of underfoot cushioning, look no further. The durable construction should last you for many miles.

Compare to Similar Products

 
Awards  Editors' Choice Award Top Pick Award Best Buy Award Best Buy Award 
Price Check Price at REI
Compare at 3 sellers
$129.95 at AmazonCheck Price at Backcountry
Compare at 2 sellers
Check Price at REI
Compare at 2 sellers
Check Price at REI
Compare at 2 sellers
Overall Score Sort Icon
70
79
76
71
68
Star Rating
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
Pros Protective, stable design, quick drying upper, comfortable, wide toe boxLight, very protective, excellent mud shed, superior traction, surprisingly stableLightweight and streamlined, durable elements, very sensitive, precise fit, protective upper, stable on technical terrain, fun color optionsProtective, comfortable, wider toe box, excellent beefy traction for soft surfaces, huge valueSticky traction, protective, rainbow design is fun, great value, all surface capabilities
Cons Poor on sloppy surfaces, fit isn't precise, heavier designNarrow fit, runs small, rigid construction takes time to break-inExpensive, no extra room in the toe box, tongue requires readjustment, zero drop design is best for only someNot ideal for roads, huge sizingLess stable than most, harder midsole is less comfortable, narrower fit
Bottom Line This old-time favorite continues to boast excellent protection with updates that amp up stability and overall performanceStable and deliciously sticky, this contender is just a crusher all the way around, built for training runs and long distances alikeOur favorite for its low profile and zero-drop design that feels like an extension of the body, ready to tackle technical terrainA great all-around trail shoe with high value that's superb traction on soft surfacesThis rainbow contender has the ability to tackle all kinds of trail with excellent protection and sticky traction
Rating Categories Brooks Cascadia 15... Dynafit Feline SL -... Inov-8 Terraultra G270 Supercross Blast Merrell Antora 2
Foot Protection (25%)
8.0
8.0
6.0
8.0
7.0
Traction (20%)
7.0
9.0
8.0
8.0
7.0
Sensitivity (15%)
6.0
9.0
9.0
7.0
7.0
Stability (15%)
8.0
8.0
9.0
8.0
7.0
Comfort And Fit (15%)
6.0
6.0
6.0
5.0
6.0
Weight (10%)
6.0
6.0
9.0
5.0
6.0
Specs Brooks Cascadia 15... Dynafit Feline SL -... Inov-8 Terraultra G270 Supercross Blast Merrell Antora 2
Measured Weight (per shoe, size 9) 10 oz 9.8 oz 8.3 oz 10.5 oz 9.6 oz
Heel-to-Toe Drop 8 mm 8 mm 0 mm 10 mm 8.5 mm
Stack Height (Heel, Forefoot) 26 mm, 18 mm Not disclosed 12 mm, 12 mm 29.3 mm, 19.3 mm 28.5 mm, 20 mm
Upper Synthetic mesh Mesh, continuous nylon Mesh and TPU Continuous ripstop nylon Mesh and TPU
Midsole EVA Feline SL midsole Powerflow Max EVA Foam EVA
Outsole TrailTack Rubber Sticky Pomoco Outer Graphene Grip Contragrip TD Vibram TC5+ rubber sole
Rock Plate? Yes Not disclosed Not disclosed N/A Yes
Wide Version Available? Yes No No No Yes
Sizes Available 5 - 12 5 - 11 5.5 - 11 5 - 12 5 - 11

Our Analysis and Test Results

What's New With the Cascadia 15

?
The complete overhaul of the Cascadia comes with some welcome changes which include:
  • An updated toe box with more volume and width
  • A newly engineered mono loop mesh for quick drying and enhanced wicking power
  • Updated lacing eyelets
  • Lower weight

The Brooks Cascadia 15 (right) sees another overhaul which fixes...
The Brooks Cascadia 15 (right) sees another overhaul which fixes most of the problems we had with the Cascadia 14 (left).
Photo: Amber King

The Brooks Cascadia 15 is a durable and comfortable trail shoe boasting an 8mm heel-to-toe drop with ample cushioning underfoot. It's an excellent choice for those that long for a protective and comfortable ride, with built-in stability elements. We only wish the fit could be locked for a more precise ride.

Performance Comparison


The Brooks Cascadia 15 is a time-tested trail shoe that is durable...
The Brooks Cascadia 15 is a time-tested trail shoe that is durable and stable with excellent protection. This is a great all-terrain shoe that has a few limitations. Wear it on technical trails or training runs.
Photo: Amber King

Foot Protection


The Cascadia is renowned for its protective elements including a ballistic rock plate and thick underfoot cushioning. The midsole has 18mm of cushioning in the forefoot, with 26mm in the heel. The toe cap is hard, protecting against unsuspecting stubs on the trail. We also appreciate the upper mesh designed to keep out pesky debris. It doesn't have a water drainage system, but the mesh does squish out water decently on the trail after running through a rogue stream. Overall, this is a protective shoe and earns a higher score in this category.

The upper is debris-proof and dries quickly. The toe cap is...
The upper is debris-proof and dries quickly. The toe cap is reinforced, protecting against unsuspected stubs on the trail.
Photo: Amber King

Traction


The outsole on the Cascadia 15 is made from Trail Track rubber which is sticky and soft with 4mm lugs. It offers a moderate level of traction across surfaces. We tested it while running on a single track littered with rocks, gravel, and pine needles. We also tried it while scrambling on rocky ridges. In all conditions, the outsole performed well. However, it doesn't earn top marks because the lugs aren't spaced far enough apart to shed mud and it struggles in colder winter weather.

This outsole features softer rubber that sticks to rocks and...
This outsole features softer rubber that sticks to rocks and slippery surfaces. It offers a nice and smooth transition, with the ability to cross over to the pavement.
Photo: Amber King

Sensitivity


Since this contender is protective, it has a sensitivity that is less than average. However, you can still detect what is underfoot, allowing you to adjust positioning as need. It doesn't earn top marks in this metric but will still help you feel confident on most types of terrain.

This shoe has lots of responsive cushioning that does take away from...
This shoe has lots of responsive cushioning that does take away from sensitivity, but you can still feel the trail.
Photo: Amber King

Stability


We appreciate the stable ride of the Cascadia 15. This is in part due to the new wider forefoot that offers nice balance while you head down the trail. The pivot post system offers four points of rigidity on the shoe that is said to enhance stability overall.

We love the stability of this update. The wider toe box and posts...
We love the stability of this update. The wider toe box and posts will help to keep your treading safely down the trail.
Photo: Amber King

While it earns a pretty excellent score in this category, it doesn't deserve the very highest marks. This is mostly related to the lack of a precise fit, allowing the foot to move around in the shoe. Though the stability elements and design mostly counteract this, it's something to pay attention to.

Jump, explore, and take on technical trails with this stable...
Jump, explore, and take on technical trails with this stable contender.
Photo: Amber King

Comfort and Fit


We love the new design of the 15. This overhaul touts a more comfortable fit that doesn't have any pinch points or places of discomfort, as we noted in the previous version. It has a wider toe box with lots of wiggle room and a larger volume in the toe box. It touts a neutral fit without any arch support with an EVA-infused midsole that is reactive on the trail.

A look at the fit of this trail runner. It has a wider toe box but...
A look at the fit of this trail runner. It has a wider toe box but tapers towards the front. Our main tester with a regular width foot thought it was comfortable.
Photo: Amber King

The cushioning is a little more rigid than other contenders, which takes away from its comfort rating. Additionally, we couldn't find a way to get a precise fit. The wider fit in the body and heel cup can't be locked down in position, no matter what lacing style was tried. Still, the ample cushioning underfoot is comfortable for the long haul, especially if you like the fit and want a harder and more reactive midsole.

Stream crossings aren't a problem, with a quick-drying mesh that...
Stream crossings aren't a problem, with a quick-drying mesh that makes the ride more comfortable.
Photo: Amber King

Weight


While the 15 is a little lighter than it's been in the past, it still feels heavier on the trail and isn't very streamlined. A size 9 weighs in at 10 oz per shoe. The undercarriage feels like a heavier brick with an ultralight upper, so the weight distribution was, for us, a little off.

This is a midweight shoe that leans to the heavier side, with a...
This is a midweight shoe that leans to the heavier side, with a weight distribution that's centered on the midsole.
Photo: Amber King

Value


The Cascadia model is renowned for its durable elements that will last for a few hundred miles before needing retirement. If you are looking for a stable and protective trail runner, and don't need it to be ultralight, this durable contender is a great value. That said, other options perform better for the same price. So while it has its niche purpose, there are better deals out there.

Conclusion


The Brooks Cascadia 15 saw another overhaul during this iteration with updates that we like. It's a protective and durable trail shoe that boasts comfort and stability. The toe box is much wider, offering a more stable ride for long days on the trail. Just know that getting a precise fit can be tough.

Amber enjoys the Brooks Cascadia 15 while on a trail run on the...
Amber enjoys the Brooks Cascadia 15 while on a trail run on the pine-laden trails of Ouray, Colorado.
Photo: Amber King

Amber King