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Brooks Cascadia 17 Review: A Trail Shoe for All
By David Salas

There have been a lot of big changes in the trail running footwear world recently. We have seen changes in foams, geometries, plates, and distance-specific footwear. Despite all of this when I traditionally think of a trail running shoe I think of one word, sturdy. The Brooks Cascadia 17 does not have any major bells or whistles to the package but it brings a very sturdy and predictable ride that I find many will appreciate. 

Brooks Cascadia 17
Price: $139.95 at Running Warehouse
Weight: 11.3oz, 320g (men's size 9), 9.7oz, 275g  (women's size 8)
Stack Height: 33mm heel/25mm forefoot
Drop: 8mm
Classification: Trail Running Shoe


The Brooks Cascadia 17 is a reliable trail shoe that will be able to tackle pretty much anything you throw at it. The shoe comes off very sturdy and reliable from a transition standpoint. The Cascadia shines best at easy paces and can be run for nearly any distance you want. There are a few things that are integrated into this shoe to help make this a pretty solid option for those who need a little extra stability on the trails. 

: Hoka Stinson 7
PAST MODEL: Brooks Cascadia 16


The Brooks Cascadia 17 fits relatively true to size in my Men's 9.5. The length is a little on the long side but the dimensions throughout are pretty sound. The heel, midfoot, and forefoot all are normal width. The mesh upper material is decently comfortable and has a good amount of reinforcement throughout. There is not too much stretch to it and you feel pretty secure. The lacing system has a couple of pieces of material at the bottom and at the top of the tongue to help with getting a more secure lockdown. There is a padded heel counter with some additional reinforcement throughout the heel cup as well. The fit throughout is pretty generous with space without sacrificing lockdown too much. The tongue is padded and lets you tighten the laces without issue.

The big thing I noticed on the Cascadia was the heel collar has some flex to it. The material will scrunch up a tad upon loading and I would get small pebbles or wood chips in my shoe. I had a small amount of heel slippage due to the length but it was not problematic. The lockdown throughout is pretty good and should fit most usages. The only thing I would work on here is getting heel collar on the medial and lateral sides to not flex so much. Otherwise security was quite good and comfort was acceptable. 


The performance of the Cascadia 17 is interesting for me. I think on one hand its performance is really good, though not in the way most people would perceive performance. The shoe is heavy, a little blocky, and not all that responsive. With that said the transitions are quite smooth, predictable, and can take a beating. The shoe feels like a Saucony Ride type shoe for the trails. It is boring in the best way. The shoe has good traction underfoot and the lugs are wide enough to not hold on to mud or debris. The trail adapt system seems to help give a little bit more underfoot stability and rigidity to the platform. The ride experience is definitely on the firmer side with the Cascadia 17. With that said it feels structured and still provides enough cushioning for longer efforts.

The shoe is on the heavier side weighing north of 11 ounces, though the ride is smooth and stable throughout. The forefoot is moderately flexible/stiff. Statically it has some rigidity, but with load there is certainly some flexibility up front. The heel has a small and gradual heel bevel. This is consistent with the toe spring as well. This is not an overly rockered ride by any means. The transitions feel pretty natural throughout and let you use the shoe how you want to. I found that this is a pretty traditional trail shoe that has a pretty neutral geometry that work well for easy running, hiking, walking etc. 


I always find trail shoes to be a little more stable inherently. They usually use firmer midsoles, full contact outsoles, and have more secure uppers. The Cascadia 17 checks all of those boxes. The Cascadia 17 is also using a plate system that they call Trail Adapt to also add some rigidity (with flexibility to it) throughout the platform. I would say this is noticeable, as the shoe does hold its structure well with rotatory torque running on uneven surfaces. The upper security is also good, though I do think the heel collar could be reworked to have less flex medially and laterally. Traction underfoot is good for a large variety of footing as well. The stability experience in the Cascadia is quite good with this year's offering. 

Thoughts as a DPT: Versatility
By David Salas

With so many advances in running shoe technology designs like the Cascadia 17 are becoming less numerous. We are seeing many new generation foams, sharp rocker geometries, and many run specific adaptions in footwear. One of the things that has always brought appeal to shoes like the Brooks Cascadia series was that it was not overly aggressive in these designs and also worked well for standing, walking, hiking, and trail running. 

The shoe has a reliable and predictable construction to it. When we take a look at the Brooks Cascadia 17 we see that the heel bevel and toe spring are very gradual and on the smaller end. This makes things a little more comfortable with standing statically, and also lets the user use the shoe the way they want to. The DNA Loft V2 provides decent cushioning but maintains its structure really well. The full contact outsole with the wide multidirectional lugs provide good traction and decent cross sectional area. This is a shoe I would not hesitate to take on an easy trail run, hike, and little fishing trip in the same day (which was something I would do a lot when I was younger). This is a shoe that has many functional uses to it beyond running and although it doesn't have the lightweight performance frame, new generation midsole, carbon plate, or rocker geometry it still has a solid spot in the usage rotation.

Would I race in it? No I probably wouldn't, but I am happy that this type of shoe is still out here. Knowing how many people hike or walk bluff trails in my area, this is a solid option for those that have some stability needs and don't want anything overly aggressive in geometry.


The Cascadia 17 is a trail running shoe for someone that likes the traditional firm, though steady and structured ride of trail shoes. The shoe does not have a crazy rocker to it and runs decently natural. The shoe also is one of the more stable trail running shoe offerings this year for anybody who has some stability concerns on the trails. The ride is firm and on the heavier end, though structured enough for longer efforts. This is your "screw the pace, let's just go on an adventure" shoe.

The one big thing I kept noticing was that debris would slide into my shoe after a while through the heel collar. The shoe has a pretty thin heel collar along the medial and lateral aspect and this flexes when the shoe is loaded through the rearfoot. If they can clean up the lockdown there that would improve the experience of the shoe. The other thing that is noticeable, though less involved, is the length. It definitely runs a tad long and I had to lace the shoes a little tighter to prevent mild heel slippage. 


Fit: B (Heel collar has flex to it medially and laterally. The shoe also runs long enough to notice.)
Performance: A- 
(A very sturdy and reliable ride. Not rockered, relatively natural. Heel collar lets things in. Weight is still pretty heavy.)
Stability: A- (Good stability throughout. Trail Adapt plate works well, good traction, upper is reliable outside of the heel collar)
DPT/Footwear Science: A- (Simple materials integrated in a way that works well for the shoe experience. Just need to nail the heel.)
Personal: A- (Outside of the heel collar and length issue, this is one of my favorite easy day trail running shoes)
Overall: A- 


Brooks Cascadia 17
Price: $139.95 at Running Warehouse

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Saucony Blaze TR - Surprisingly light trail running for $100
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Find all Shoe Reviews at Doctors of Running here.

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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 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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Hoka Stinson 7

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