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Brooks Divide 3: $100 Trail Shoe!
By Matthew Klein

Everything about footwear is increasing. Price, complexity, specificity, stack height, stiffness and so on. One of the more challenging endeavors for runners is to find something simple that can handle a little of everything at a solid price. This is especially important for new runners who are just getting into the sport and want to experience a variety of things without killing their bank accounts. While several road trail hybrids exist on the market, their prices are on the higher side. Enter the Brooks Divide 3, a simple, affordable, hybrid shoe that despite being an entry-level shoe, comes in with a surprising level of performance. 

Brooks Divide 3
Price: $100 at Brooks Running
Weight: 10.1 oz, 286 g (men's size 9), 9.0 oz, 255 g  (women's size 8)
Stack Height: Not Provided, but runs lower to the ground
Drop: 8 mm
Classification: Road Trail Hybrid


The Brooks Divide 3 is an entry-level road/trail hybrid shoe. Featuring a lower-to-the-ground midsole, the ride is firm and surprisingly snappy in a lighter 10.1 oz package. The fit is slightly wider, with enough room for the toes and a little extra volume for foot swelling. Despite coming in at an entry-level price, the Brooks Divide 3 performs at a higher level, making it an excellent shoe for newer runners or those who want simple, firmer and lighter trail shoe for a variety of surfaces. 

Reebok Floatride Energy 4 Adventure


The Brooks Divide 3 fits me true to size if slightly long in my normal men's US size 10. The width is slightly wider, especially in the forefoot. Although there is a tongue guard and overlays surrounding the front of the shoe, there is plenty of room up front without being sloppy. The slightly longer fit was fine and fit perfectly on moderate to longer efforts where foot swelling became an issue. The midfoot fits normal and features a thicker gusseted tongue. The laces are fairly average but stay secure. The heel fits a little wider but I did not have any heel slippage. There is a stiff and large heel counter in the rearfoot. This has bothered me during the first few miles of runs, so those sensitive to those will likely not do well in this shoe. Those who like stiff heel counter will really enjoy this shoe as it does do a solid job of locking in the heel despite the wider fit. The slightly wider fit does provide extra room and comfort, but does not make this the most secure shoe for tight corners and twisting. I did experience some sliding side to side on aggressive terrain, but with pace changes going in mostly straight lines it was fine. 


The Brooks Divide 3 is a hybrid road/trail shoe. The stack height is more traditional/lower to the ground and the ride is firmer underfoot, especially on road. The midsole is made of DNA Loft, which runs firmer and is surprisingly snappy on all surfaces. The weight is on the lighter side for a trail shoe, making it easy to pick up the pace in this shoe when necessary. There is an 8mm drop listed, but this shoe feels lower than that thanks to the firmer ride. The heel transition is fair on road, with a slightly clunky transition thanks to a small beveled and rounded heel. This bevel works better on trail as softer surfaces compress underfoot, making the rearfoot transition feel smooth and low to the ground. The forefoot is moderately flexible with some mild toe spring and sits even lower to the ground than the heel. The moderate flexibility and low ride up front further adds to the firmer and snappy ride.

The snappy and lighter feel underfoot makes the Brooks Divide 3 a solid choice for those who want a simple close to ground hybrid shoe or a trail shoe that can pick up the pace on short to moderate distance trail runs. I have used the Divide 3 for everything from steep scrambling to trail fartleks and it is done well with all of them. It is not the lightest or fastest trail shoe and there are more expensive shoes I would choose for higher-level racing. However, for someone just getting into trail running and racing, this would be an excellent choice. It feels at home with easier efforts when you want a closer to the ground ride or if you want to hit some uptempo efforts. Despite being a hybrid shoe, the lugs grip surprisingly well. Like most trail shoes it does not do well on soggy mud, but on a variety of dirt surfaces it grips well. I have several step climbs and descents where I live and despite some recent rain, I had complete confidence bombing down hills with the TrailTack outsole. On rocky terrain it can be difficult to use due to the lack of a rock guard that will leave your feet sore unless you are nimble.

The Brooks Divide 3 is technically a road/trail hybrid, but it is a better trail than road shoe. The outsole has been plenty durable, but even with small amount of road use I have begun chewed through some of the rearfoot lugs at 35 miles (5-6 miles of road use). It should last for an average number of trail miles given the already firmer midsole. So while this shoe is durable, I would suggest keeping it more for trail than road.


The Brooks Divide 3 is a neutral hybrid shoe. There are no traditional elements of stability. However, there are few guidance methods used that make it a solid choice for those that have mild stability/guidance needs. The rearfoot has sidewalls on both the medial and lateral sides that transition into the midfoot. These are not major, but definitely have contributed to me being able to use this shoe for longer distances than I expected. The midsole is also wider for a shoe that runs lower to the ground, especially in the midfoot. The forefoot has some mild sole flare, which with the firmer ride adds to the inherent stability. So while the Brooks Divide 3 is a neutral shoe, there are some mild guidance methods in the rearfoot and part of the midfoot that shoe work well for those with neutral or mild stability needs.

Thoughts as a DPT: Simple Shoes for the New Runner
By Matthew Klein

This shoe reminds me of my discussion with Simon Bartold on our podcast some time ago (Episode #13) back in 2020 that revolved around shoes as tools AND shoes for newer runners. We have cautioned newer runners to stay away from super shoes, plated shoes and those that may greatly alter mechanics for several reasons. Newer runners are at a higher risk of injury potentially due to getting used to all the forces associated with running (Videbæk et al., 2015). While walking is a relatively low-impact activity, running involves far higher levels of forces and stresses given that it is a series of single-leg hops (Swain et al,. 2016). With all the new stresses, coordination and strength that new runners need to get used to, adding complex shoes to that process may not be the best idea.

While new runners may benefit from shoes that have a little more cushion for road, trail shoes like the Brooks Divide 3 may be a great option for newer trail runners to get used to the proprioceptive demands of trail running. This shoe is a little firmer, has a wider fit (especially in the forefoot), so runners can get used to learning their footing and getting a better feel for the ground. Super stack height shoes do disconnect your foot from the ground, delaying your body's ability to pick up information from how hard and where it lands on softer surfaces. Thus, a firmer shoe like this may be a great choice for the newer runner to learn the ins and outs of trail running. The grip is solid, it is on the lighter side and it is easy on the wallet/purse/whatever you hold money in. As runners progress in their experience, strength and proprioceptive abilities, other more advanced shoes may be warranted as their goals change from just running to racing, competing, etc. When they are just getting started, a simple shoe like the Brooks Divide 3 will more than suffice if they like a firmer, closer-to-the-ground ride with a little more room.


Swain, D. P., Kelleran, K. J., Graves, M. S., & Morrison, S. (2016). Impact forces of walking and running at the same intensity. The Journal of Strength & Conditioning Research, 30(4), 1042-1049.

Videbæk, S., Bueno, A. M., Nielsen, R. O., & Rasmussen, S. (2015). Incidence of running-related injuries per 1000 h of running in different types of runners: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Sports Medicine, 45(7), 1017-1026.


I have enjoyed the Brooks Divide 3 far more than I expected. The slightly wider fit has been comfortable to allow some toe splay without being too sloppy and the lower to the ground/firmer ride works well for a grounded feel and ability to pick up the pace. The only thing that is giving me some trouble is the stiff heel counter. I completely understand that a solid heel counter can be a great way to add security for the rearfoot. I would encourage Brooks to think about evolving their design of this. I have referenced this many times but I love split-heel counters. These continue to provide rearfoot security while taking pressure off the back most portion of the calcaneus, which is sensitive in many people (where the Achilles inserts). This may be more work than necessary for an entry-level shoe, but may actually save material in the long run. 


The Brooks Divide 3 is for those who want a lower-to-the-ground, firmer, lighter, simple and slightly wider-fitting trail/road hybrid at an entry level price. The slightly wider and protective fit up top provides some room for foot swelling and spreading out the toes. Those with wider feet will enjoy the upper with the little extra room. The ride is firmer, closer to the ground and moderately flexible. This provide solid ground feel and combined with the lighter weight allows for pace pickups. While the Brooks Divide 3 makes an excellent trail/road option for the newer runner looking to explore off-road surfaces to see if they like it, it also may work as a lower to the ground, simple performance shoe for experienced runners who want a slightly wider fit in a lighter package.


Fit: A- (Slightly wider, comfortable fit. Solid heel security, but has mild sliding with uneven terrain)
Performance: B+
 (Lower to the ground, firmer ride. Best for those who want a moderate to low stack height in a shoe that can pick up the pace over short to moderate distance trail efforts)
Stability: B+ [Neutral] (Sidewalls in rearfoot into midfoot with wider base)
DPT/Footwear Science: B+ (Well designed, simple shoe. Still needs to consider posterior lateral heel bevel)
Personal: B+/A- (Simple and affordable hybrid shoe with surprisingly good grip. More trail shoe than road)
Overall: B+ 


Brooks Divide 3
Price: $100 at Brooks Running

*Using the following links to purchase helps support Doctors of Running. Thanks so much!

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goodr Sunglases: Run in style with goodr's super fun sunglasses.
Feetures Socks: Massively grippy socks that will make you feel more one with the shoe
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On Cloudvista
Reebok Floatride Energy 4 Adventure

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Editor's Note: As always, the views presented on this website belong to myself or the selected few who contribute to these posts. This website should not and does not serve as a replacement for seeking medical care. If you are currently injured or concerned about an injury, please see your
local running physical therapist. If you are in the Los Angeles area, I am currently taking clients for running evaluations.

***Disclaimer: These shoes were provided free of charge in exchange for a review.  We thank the people at Brooks Running and Running Warehouse for sending us a pair.  This in no way affected the honesty of this review. We systematically put each type of shoe through certain runs prior to review. For trainers and performance trainers, we take them on daily runs, workouts, recovery runs and a long run prior to review (often accumulating anywhere from 20-50 miles in the process). For racing flats we ensure that we have completed intervals, a tempo or steady state run as well as a warm-up and cool down in each pair prior to review. This systematic process is to ensure that we have experience with each shoe in a large variety of conditions to provide expansive and thorough reviews for the public and for companies. Our views are based on our extensive history in the footwear industry and years testing and developing footwear. If you are a footwear rep looking for footwear reviews or consultations on development, we are currently looking to partner with companies to assist, discuss and promote footwear models. Partnership will not affect the honesty of our reviews.

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