Brooks Catamount 2 review

8 expert score
0 user's score
As editorial policy, we do not accept free samples. We purchased this pair at Running Warehouse with our own money.
Review written on 03rd April by Henry Howard Ultra runner and certified running coach.
53 other reviews

Brooks Catamount 2 Verdict

The Brooks Catamount 2 makes wise improvements over the inaugural edition, most notably to its stability and durability without sacrificing its zippiness down the trails. While it is now a decent option for moderate terrain, it won’t help you on challenging trails or climbs.

The pros

  • Fast and responsive
  • Improved fit since first model
  • Provides stability and security
  • Much improved for moderate terrain

The cons

  • Not intended for long runs or marathon or longer distances
  • Narrow toe box

Where to buy

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Rating breakdown

Build quality
Sole unit
Value / Price

Facts / Specs

Catamount 2
Previous model
9.7 oz (275 g)

30 mm.
24 mm.
Heel drop
6 mm.
Carbon plate
Plate in other materials


True to size
Heel fit
Midfoot fit
Toebox fit

Cushioning & ride

Type of cushioning
Amount of cushioning
Medium cushioning
Very stable

Trail specs

Solid protection
Average Traction
Water resitance

Best for these distances

Max cushion
Trail racing  

Best for these terrains

Moderate trails  
Technical trails
Rocky areas
Muddy areas
Through creeks and streams
Through snowy or icy sections
Dirt trails  
Paved trails
Through grassy sections  

Who should buy the Brooks Catamount 2 ?

Runners focused on midweek speed work on easy-to-moderate trails or sub-ultra races will find the Catamounts a good workout partner. The shoe could work for a trail marathon race but it would have to be a flat, fast course.

Who should not buy the Brooks Catamount 2 ?

Runners who spend most of their time traversing challenging trails would be better off with a pair of shoes that can handle such technical terrain. And when it comes to race day, those who are going longer than a marathon should bypass these shoes for another choice.

Brooks Catamount 2 Introduction

Picture of Brooks Catamount 2

The Brooks Catamount 2 ($170) is the company’s first plated trail running shoe with responsive cushioning.

A light and nimble trail shoe built for speed on easy and moderate trails, the Catamount weighs a tad more than its predecessor, 9.7 ounces for men and 8.6 for women.

Brooks Catamount 2 Impressions

Picture of Brooks Catamount 2

With a stack height of 30 mm at the heel and 24 mm at the toe, the Catamount provides an airy, yet secure feeling and an upper with a good amount of cushioning.

I was quite impressed with the multi-layer upper’s design featuring a hydrophobic outer layer that provides structure while repelling moisture, and an inner layer that is recycled polyester. A TPU toecap provides protection against rocks and other trail hazards.

Brooks uses their DNA Flash midsole foam in the Catamount 2. The cushioning resembles that of other popular Brooks models, like the Ghosts that many road runners wear.

The TrailTack rubber outsole features 2mm lugs, which work well for non-technical trails. I would recommend the Catamounts for easy to moderate trails but for more challenging terrain there are better options.

Brooks Catamount 2 Protection

Picture of Brooks Catamount 2

Many who tried out the original Catamounts weren’t satisfied with the upper. Brooks spent a couple of years redesigning and refining the upper. It is still light and breathable, which is a good sign. Perhaps even better, Brooks added a more dense mesh material and a well-protected toe bumper, which provides security and solid protection.

In my rest runs, the new upper did its job when I came in contact with roots, rocks and other trail hazards of the moderate variety. And the toe bumper protected my feet from clanging off hidden rocks and other obstacles.

Additionally, the revised upper provides an overall secure fit, especially in the heel and midfoot. At times, I thought the Catamount 1 missed the mark on the forefoot fit. The new Catamount 2 offers a much more secure fit that inspires confidence over mild to moderate terrain.

Brooks Catamount 2 Durability

Picture of Brooks Catamount 2

When reviewing the original Catamount, after 50 miles, I felt the durability to be average. The majority of my miles were on cross-country courses featuring grassy sections, single-track dirt trail and some crushed gravel sections. The second edition performed better, setting aside those concerns about durability, at least at this stage of the shoes’ life.

Brooks added a Skyvault plate to the Catamounts. The brings protection, durability and subtle stability. The new Skyvault plate is a bridged trident shape and stretches from the midfoot through the toebox.

However, it is worth noting that Brooks claims’ that the plate adds propulsion are tough to justify. While there is zip in these shoes, I don’t sense a discernible difference between the original and this new model.

Brooks Catamount 2 Responsiveness & speed

Picture of Brooks Catamount 2

Speaking of zippiness, the new Catamounts are just as responsive, if not more so, than the original. I like them best for cross-country course running. Runners will enjoy the responsiveness around corners or bends in the trail that allow them to keep moving forward without losing speed.

Credit Brooks for its nitrogen-infused DNA Flash midsole, which keys the responsiveness. A foamy heel wedge takes the pressure off downhill running and gives a slight boost going forward. Overall, the midsole offers a good amount of cushioning, stability and enough responsiveness to give you the necessary boost.

Brooks Catamount 2 Comfort and fit

Picture of Brooks Catamount 2

Overall, the Brooks Catamount 2 is a comfortable shoe that fits like it should. In the first iteration, I really liked the mesh in this shoe and Brooks continues its expertise in that area.

Brooks kept that positive trait and improved upon the overall fit in the second version. The secure heel, midfoot and toe box work together well to allow the runner to focus on the trails and not an awkward feeling shoe.

One thing to note for runners (like me) who like to tie their shoes tight. If you lace the shoes too tight, the gusseted tongue may exert pressure on the top of your foot. Not something that would affect performance in runs or races up to an hour. But longer than that, and the constant pressure and pounding may create an issue.

Speaking of the laces, they have also been improved over the original version. Gone are the soft stretchy cloth ones, replaced with higher quality woven laces. The laces also play a role in the security and fit of the upper.

As noted previously, I ran most of the miles in these Catamounts on a local cross-country course. The course is about a mile from my house on roads and sidewalks. This is about all the pounding my feet can take on roads with these shoes. When considering a long run or race in these, keep in mind how many miles or how much time you plan to spend on asphalt or similar surfaces. The less, the better, for these shoes.

Brooks Catamount 2 Conclusions

Picture of Brooks Catamount 2

The Brooks Catamount 2 is an above average trail shoe but it knows its limitations. It will provide an outstanding and fast ride for shorter trail runs and races. It grounds itself inn springiness, responsiveness and comfort. If you are focused on running fast on easy to moderate terrain, consider the Catamount 2.

It complements other Brooks models like the Cascadia and Caldera, which are designed to handle more technical trails.

If you are a Brooks fan, this would round out your collection nicely, giving you a great option for midweek speed work on trails, or a performance shoe for a fast run, race or FKT attempt up to roughly a half marathon distance.

How does the Catamount 2 compare?

Brooks Cascadia 16
Brooks Catamount 2
Altra Lone Peak 7
Expert score
User score
Best price
Retail price
Shoe type
11.1 oz
9.7 oz
11 oz
Heel Drop
8 mm
6 mm
0 mm
Recommended for
Moderate trails, through creeks and streams, dirt trails, through grassy sections
Moderate trails, dirt trails, through grassy sections
Moderate trails, technical trails, rocky areas, muddy areas, through creeks and streams, through snowy or icy sections, dirt trails, paved trails, through grassy sections
Cushioning type
Cushioning amount
Medium cushioning
Medium cushioning
Medium cushioning
very stable
very stable
some stability
true to size
true to size
true to size

Why you can trust us

As editorial policy, we do not accept free samples from companies.
We purchased this pair of Brooks at Running Warehouse  with our own money.

This page contains affiliate links. As an Amazon Associate we earn from qualifying purchases. Read more about our policy.
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Reviewed by Henry

This review was written by Henry Howard on 03rd April.
Henry Howard has come a long way since a teacher called him "molasses" during a fifth-grade track and field event. Now living and running in Indiana, he has completed more than a dozen marathons and is a regular age-grouper in shorter distances.

User feedback (2)

  • avatar-comment-1030639
    10 months ago

    Funny that you say it is not suitable for technical or longer races. I did multiple 50 to 60km races in these including more technical ones and had no issues. Why do you think it is not suitable for those races?

    • avatar-comment-1035489
      3 months ago

      Because people age and cannot run in lighter shoes for long distances anymore. 15 years ago I used to run an ultra trail running race (80k) in the Asics DS Trainer and it worked. Nowadays I need a Hoka Speedgoat. I do have the Brooks Catamount 2 and I agree that with my age, it’s not a long distance shoe.

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