Brooks Divide 2 - Women's Review
Our Analysis and Test Results
We awarded the Brooks Divide 2 our Best Buy award because of its more accessible price point. It provides a supportive and stable ride, though predominantly on mildly technical trails. The Divide boasts an 8mm drop, with the heel standing at 20mm off the ground and the toe side of the shoe at 12mm. These kicks feature Brooks' standard BioMoGo DNA loft, a protective rock plate, and solid breathability. We will be recommending these shoes to our friends who are looking to get into trail running without a huge upfront cost.
Upon first feel, the protective elements of the Divide 2 don't really feel like much, especially compared to some of the ultra-rugged trail shoes we have tested over the years. However, once we put these shoes to the test, they performed better than we expected.
These shoes feature a rock plate and strong outsole design, protecting your feet from rogue rocks and sticks. The toe bumper is the most subtle out of all of the shoes we tested but provides enough protection to make you feel safe when cruising over rock-laden terrain. It is soft enough to not feel cumbersome while in motion but provides adequate coverage in case of an accidental toe stub.
If it starts to rain while you are out on your run, the Divide will do a pretty good job at wicking moisture off the shoe's outer. All bets are off if you stomp through a stream on your run, though, as your foot will end up pretty wet. Despite their breathability, these shoes also didn't dry as well as others. This is one of the multiple reasons why we don't recommend the Divide for epic, rugged terrain. That said, we love the underfoot feel of these shoes while running across sandy beaches, and they did a pretty good job at keeping sand and other small particles out. The synthetic mesh upper has two layers of a tightly woven textile that allows airflow while still preventing dirt from infiltrating.
If you get caught in the rain on a road run, these are the shoes you want strapped to your feet. They provide excellent traction across slippery, wet, flat surfaces. The rectangular lugs are pretty modest, but they are patterned in such a way to create a solid connection with whatever surface is beneath you. We love the way the lugs extend to the very edge of the outsole.
When compared to burlier options, the Divide 2 doesn't quite hold up across granite or scree. This is the main reason why we recommend this shoe for light trails and fire roads, predominately. The Divide holds its own on flowy, well-traveled trails, but it isn't tough enough to be a true mountain running shoe. That said, its DNA loft and modest lugs make it a great crossover shoe.
Because the lugs are flat out of the box, we didn't notice them wearing down like the textured ones on other shoes we tested. Brooks markets the Divide 2 as a shoe built for light trails, and we can agree that it lives up to those expectations. If you want traction that can get you through rock scrambles, this isn't going to be your best bet. But if you are interested in trying out a shoe with enough traction to keep you upright on a gentle trail, we deem the Divide a solid investment.
Despite having a rock plate, the Divide 2 lost us in terms of sensitivity. As we ran over sharp rocks on central California trails, we became intimately acquainted with the sharp rocks we landed on and found that we had to pay really close attention to where each footfall landed.
If you are looking for a trail shoe that allows you to feel every rock and bramble that you run over, you'll like the feeling of this shoe. Our caveat here is that if you are only looking for something to take on hard-packed dirt trails, the Divide will allow you to feel the undulations in the trail more than a traditional trail shoe. In short, the base of the shoe rides like a road shoe, and when it comes to trail sensitivity, it just didn't feel quite right.
In our best women's running shoes review, Brooks shoes reign when it comes to stability. Time after time, Brooks releases shoes with exceptional lateral stability, and this feature is exceptionally valuable for runners who tend to run (or fatigue) into over-pronators or ankle rollers. While the Divide 2 has an 8mm drop, the width of the platform allows for plenty of stability.
The Divide is engineered with reinforced mesh and other elements laterally, which add to its support. Because of these stability features, we could award the Divide a relatively high score in this metric. Though other shoes ultimately beat it, we recommend the Divide for over-pronators looking to take on some smooth trails.
Comfort and Fit
Putting the Divide 2 on is like slipping your foot into your favorite pair of Brooks road running shoes. It is shaped like many of their road runners with a slightly tapered toe and standard-sized toebox.
This shoe feels a bit less plush than other Brooks models that we have come to know and love, but the underfoot and heel cup cushion provide an incredibly comfortable running experience. This might not be the shoe for you if you have a wide foot, even though it isn't quite as narrow as some of the agility-promoting shoes we have tested. Overall, the comfort and fit are pretty standard and way less niche than many of the other shoes in our lineup.
The Divide 2 weighs 8.0 ounces per shoe in size 7 US, which is definitely on the lighter end of the spectrum. This is to be expected since it isn't made to take on super rugged terrain.
The Divide provides a comfortable and evenly-weighted ride. The weight is distributed in such a way that we never felt like we were imbalanced or lugging extra weight around. Though it isn't the most lightweight option out there, its relatively low weight impressed us.
Should You Buy the Brooks Divide 2?
If you are new to trail running and want to dip your toes into trail shoes without breaking the bank, we absolutely recommend giving the Divide 2 a chance. Even if you are a veteran trail runner who is looking for a crossover shoe or a shoe to take on light trails, the Divide holds up. It fits like a road running shoe, which makes it a great gateway shoe for trail running. The affordability and features come together perfectly to make the Divide a choice worth considering.
What Other Trail Running Shoes Should You Consider?
As we have mentioned, the Brooks Divide 2 is not the most aggressive trail running shoe on the market. If you want a shoe that can propel you through rock scrambling and up the techiest trails, look instead at the Salomon Speedcross 6, the Salomon S/Lab Ultra 3, or the HOKA Torrent 3. The Torrent 2 offers a somewhat similar fit to a road shoe but has beefier protective elements and traction than the Divide. But if you want a shoe that does it all for less money than most of the high-scoring options, the Divide is solid. The Salomon Pulsar Trail is a super comfortable shoe that fits similarly to the Divide. The Pulsar Trail is significantly softer, so if you want a spacious shoe with some cushion, we recommend going that route.