Several months ago I sent an e-mail off to the lovely people at Brooks Running volunteering myself as a blog reviewer and now that the shoes have arrived in Kuala Lumpur I find myself finally having to review and test them over the next few weeks.That’s the easy part. The hard part has been trying to find a platform to say what needs to be said and after much wrangling I have settled on tumblr. I didn’t realise how big the internet was and had thought there would be someway to speak to my computer and tell it what I thought of the shoes and it would then dispatch a robot out to take some artful shots. The robot would then return, upload it all to the internet and then shoot off to make me a lovely cup of tea. I would only have to sip gently on the tea whilst casting a creative eye over the finished product and then nip off to watch Homeland. The internet is BIG man, it’s bigger than YOU and It’s bigger than ME.
I sit here now unwashed for three days with a keyboard covered in toast crumbs and kids sweets but at last settled on a design and format of which I hope you not only find soothing to the minds eye but also so absolutely sweetshop that you will treasure the experience like an island. Yes.
Anyway, enough about me and more about the Brooks Cascadia 8 trail running shoes.
I’ve eased my self into wearing these shoes after previous ITBS issues through either hill running or wearing shoes until they have worn right down to the skin of my feet so a sprightly 5km on the roads at the weekend followed by Monday night hill sessions seemed apt enough to get me started. Although made for trail running, I found the Cascadia 8 to be remarkably light and responsive underfoot on the road. The hill sessions at Lake Gardens usually involve running up and down short and sometimes treacherously slippery pathways but the shoes provide a lot of comfort due to the “BioMoGo DNA which is used to create a super cohesive transition and has deluxe-ified the Segmented Crash Pad”. Now, I’m not a huge fan of liberally applying medical terms and buzz word bingo to describe the sole of a shoe so it’s easier just to describe it as a pretty comfy landing be it on tarmac or gravel. I’ve yet to get the shoes out on a trail but plan to do so this weekend to see how they hold up on mud and also how easily they disperse puddle water/stream water/bin juice.
Aesthetically, the shoes are not too bad although I did receive some mild abuse in the gym regarding their size. That could be down to them being extremely shiny and new. That said, they diverted attention away from my running shorts which seem to have developed mysteriously permanent creases down the front. The creases don’t make me run faster but I do tend to find people using me as a slipstream. Personally I like my running shoes to be as inconspicuous as possible so the dark uppers with minimal orange are right up my street. I normally wear Newton Motions which in the first few weeks of wearing found me being chased down the road by street urchins haranguing me as if I was wearing a bright orange crimpolene safari suit.
I have fairly flat feet/low arches so the shoes offer really good support but a lot more drop than I’m typically used to. The ‘Drop’ has nothing to do with The Beastie Boys which is actually ‘MMMM…..Drop!” but refers to the difference in height between your forefoot and your heel. Certain schools of thought propose that if you are going to hit the ground running and hit it with your heel then best to do it with a big wedge of cushioning. The Cascadia 8 has ample cushioning for any heel strikers out there and I’m looking forward to trying them out on the unevenness of a trail run to see how they feel.
So to summarise, as far as road running and hill work are concerned the Cascadia 8 passed with flying colours. Very comfy, very responsive and they work well on very slippery surfaces. I’ll blog again after taking them out on the trail.