The Caldera 6 is a great shoe for the runner that loves a door to trail option that provides a responsive and protective ride for long miles.
Runners with a narrower foot or those wanting a maximal shoe that works well on technical terrain.
Take what you know or remember about the Caldera and flush it as version 6 is an entirely new monster from the ground up.
Version 6 has a much wider platform that is built upon a new lively Loft V3 foam with a rocker shape that gives a smooth and lively ride.
The upper also takes on a new shape with more volume and useful extras that cater to long ultra distance efforts.
On my initial outings in the shoe I couldn’t believe how stable yet energetic the shoe was.
Initially I was skeptical how the shoes would respond when I tried to push my pace, and I have to say I was really impressed with how comfortably and quickly the shoe transitioned making it easy to maintain faster paces for extended periods.
This does come with a caveat that this only applies to rolling hard packed or moderate trail as I talk about a little further in the review my experience with the shoe over technical terrain.
I certainly put the shoe through the paces in terms of different trails, elevation changes etc. and found the Caldera 6 at home on moderate and below trails and were excellent keeping me comfortable and legs fatigue free at distances of 10 miles and greater and super fun to be in when when bombing down hill.
The shoes outsole provides excellent traction but its geometry and tackiness make it really adaptable to the road and hands down a great door to trail shoe.
I have certainly noticed an uptick in my mileage since I stared my review of the Caldera 6 as I find myself loving to throw on these shoes and head out for nice long run.
I think it goes without saying that this large amount of midsole foam provides a fantastic layer of protection.
What I found particularly great was the nitrogen infused foam is airy enough that the midsole almost collapses around sharper rocks and pronounced trail debris nearly eliminating sharp jabs from them and then releases that energy quickly propelling my foot off of them.
A welded overlay surrounds the entire shoe which helped protect the side of my foot from rogue sticks or roots that tried to take cheap shots at the side of my foot.
This Overlay covers a full width TPU bumper at the front of the shoe that provided super up front protection to my toes.
Being a shoe that is designed for distance you can tell that durability was certainly woven into the materials used. The upper of the Caldera 6 is a a tightly woven engineered mesh that is strong and highly resistant to abrasion.
Welded overlays help to give structure but further reinforce and protect the upper in critical areas that surround it.
I don’t think that just because a shoe has a massive midsole that it necessarily makes it durable as some can break down faster that’s others. I don’t believe this is the case with Loft V3 as it feels just as lively my last run in the shoe as the first.
So far the midsole shows no signs of compression and continue to provide a stable platform underfoot. The Trailtack outsole is working well so far with no signs of excessive wear or damage after many miles and terrain ranging from pavement to rocky technical trail.
Most certainly an outsole I can see lasting a long time .
Loft V3 is a great foam and I think a real game changer when it comes to maximal cushioning. The foam is very light, airy, and not at dense like other foams that adorn maximal cushioned shoes.
The Caldera 6 is very responsive with a nice springiness to it. This responsive cushioning make it very energetic and a decently fast shoe despite it massive platform.
The springiness coupled with he rocker design give 6th a very smooth ride that propels the shoe forward efficiently especially when I wanted to push my pace.
I really loved the the 6 on moderate trail, gravel paths and especially rolling smooth dirt with some downhill which the shoe would absolutely crush and allowed me run fast with little effort.
This is the area of the Caldera 6 that fell short for me. while the shoe felt true to size lengthwise the midfoot fit was too accommodating. I realize that being a ultra distance shoe that allowing for swelling or expansion is import but it was a bit much for my narrower feet.
A lot of time this can be overcome with getting creative with lacing but this was not the case here as no matter what I did I just couldn’t get the mid-foot lock down that I wanted. I like independent lacing cradle design that Brooks has used but the vertical orientation of the laces fights against it which I believe made it difficult to find that lateral security I was looking for.
For myself this led to a lot of play in the shoe and coupled with the wider platform made navigating technical terrain difficult. If I wasn’t sliding off to one side I was struggling with foot placement due to the large footprint.
Theses two ingredients combined, at least for myself , are a recipe for disaster. Despite these shortfalls they aren’t a deal breaker but certainly limit the Caldera to moderately technical and lower trails which is 100% this shoes wheelhouse.
On a positive note the tall and wide platform, if kept on the right trail, is so smooth and well cushioned that it excels at keeping fatigue at bay especially at higher mileages.
This revamp was definitely a must for the Caldera to break out of the standard formula of making a great upper, retool the outsole, and send it out the door.
With the Caldera 6 Brooks has decently upped its game against many of the max cushioned commanders. The Caldera is a great choice for daily training especially on moderate terrain that is more focused on distance or duration.
While many may argue because of their weight I believe these would be a great 100 mile distance type of shoe. Currently I have not found a maximal shoe that even comes close to the energy, responsiveness, and stability of the Caldera 6 .
While this is a big step in the right direction for the Caldera there is still some room for improvement and I am excited to see where they will evolve from here.