AHHHH! The Cascadia has returned and to the relief of the devoted it is better than before. There seems to be a lot of debate surrounding the Cascadia over the years from the lack of traction, questionable durability, and floating eyelets. One thing is clear with the new Cascadia 7 is that many of those issues have been put to bed and this all-purpose shoe is back to reclaim its place as one of the best trail shoes of all time.
Brooks Cascadia 7 First impressions:
The Cascadia 7 has a nice feel right out of the Box with no awkward rubbing created by overlays. The mesh upper is nice and flexible with a mossy like appearance that is different from the typical honeycomb or basket weave that one would expect. The first steps reveal a nice smooth roll and my foot felt nice and locked in.
Brooks Cascadia 7 Upper:
The first notable change to the upper of the Cascadia 7 is the lacing system. Gone are the floating eyelets that were found in the 6 that many blamed for the shoes sloppy loose upper. Replacing it is an asymmetric lacing system that does a superb job of reducing pressure and pain to the top of the foot.
Brooks has also changed the overlays in the Cascadia 7 by doubling the amount than they had before. Now the thinner microfiber overlays extend back into the heel and forward to the ball of the foot. I found the overlays locked my foot down really well while keeping it centered in the shoe and provided nice protection overall.
On a personal note I did experience some pressure in my right lateral toes while making step ascents causing them to go numb. The only theory that I could come up with is that it may be due to the position of the overlays.
The open mesh of the upper was nice a breathable, but also bodes well in cooler weather. I found it to be flexible and also drained fairly well when I pushed it through some wetter days.
Brooks Cascadia 7 Midsole:
The midsole of the 7 begins with Brooks BioMogo EVA enhanced with DNA technology in the forefoot and heel. This unification gives the shoe a nice smooth roll that is plush but not overdone. It’s like riding your grandma’s bicycle only you won’t be embarrassed to be seen in public with these.
As with previous versions Brooks has again returned with the four point pivot suspension system. The suspension helped to keep me in excellent contact with the ground while providing solid footing over all types of terrain.
A ballistic rock plate provides ample protection without compromising flexibility.
Brooks Cascadia 7 Outsole:
Gone are the circular lugs that degraded traction with the 6, and the multidirectional triangular lugs have returned. This triangular lug provided abundant traction no matter what I seemed to throw at it. The shoe also transitioned well between road and trail keeping the ride and transition smooth and comfortable.
The outsole is one piece and free of any cut outs, plastic widgets or other superfluous additions that can create issues. The outsole appears to be constructed of a carbon rubber that after 200+ miles seems to be holding up well so durability I don’t think will be an issue with this version.
Brooks Cascadia 7 Opinion:
Winston Churchill once said “All men make mistakes, but only wise men learn from their mistakes.” It seems to me that the R&D folks at Brooks have wised up. The evolution of the Cascadia from the 6 to the 7 is a vast improvement once again making the Cascadia a great all around trail shoe.
It might not be my first choice for a race shoe, but for everything else the Cascadia 7 does what I want it to do. The Cascadia will definitely be one of my go to daily trail shoes capable of handling long hauls for many many miles to come.