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Brooks Caldera 7 Review
By David Salas

The Brooks Caldera is the highly cushioned trail running shoe for the company. The shoe has always been characterized by having large amounts of foam, decent traction, and no rock plate. The shoe continues its lineage with a few tweaks in the midsole and fit. 

Brooks Caldera 7
Price: $149.95 at Running Warehouse
Weight: 10.6 oz, 300g (men's size 9), 9.4 oz, 266g  (women's size 8)
Stack Height: 39mm heel // 33mm forefoot
Drop: 6mm
Shoe Purpose: Maximum cushion trail running shoe

Pros: Good stability and cushion underfoot, decent traction
Cons: Low volume forefoot can create pressure when at toe off


The Brooks Caldera 7 is a maximum cushion trail running shoe for a decent variety of trails. The shoe does not have a rock plate, though plenty of foam underfoot to absorb harder objects under you. The shoe uses DNA Loft V3 to give a softer underfoot experience. This will be a workhorse trail running shoe and maybe ultra distance racing shoe, though it is not necessarily intended to go fast. 

: HOKA Stinson 7, Salomon Glide Max TR
PAST MODEL: Brooks Caldera 6

(To learn how a shoe should fit, check out our full podcast on fit by Matt Klein.)

David: The Brooks Caldera 7 fits true to size in my Men's 9.5, though does have an interesting fit. The heel and midfoot are decently wide and accommodating. The forefoot is normal width. The material in the heel collar and midfoot is definitely plush and does give pretty good comfort. The mesh material through the midfoot and forefoot thins out some but still is decently soft for a trail shoe. The volume tells a different story though. As stated before, the heel and midfoot have good accommodation for width and volume, though the forefoot has a pretty low volume relative to the lacing system. It can feel as though you have some pressure on the top of your forefoot and toes when you go to push off. I can certainly see this being an issue for some if they need a little more room in that region.

The lacing system does a pretty good job of locking down and the tongue is padded enough to prevent any biting. There is some reinforcement along the edges of the upper that help hold its structure. The upper is not bad, but the forefoot does feel like a separate entity than the heel. Some more volume in that region would make for a much more pleasurable experience in the Caldera 7.  

David's Typical Size: Men's US Size 9.5
Shoes that have fit David well: Nike Vomero 17, Saucony Ride 16, Puma Velocity Nitro 3

Shoes that have fit snug: HOKA Arahi 7
Shoes that have fit large: Salomon Aero Glide

Doctors of Running Checklist

Is This a Good Shoe for Walking: Yes
Is This a Good Shoe for Standing: Yes
Is the Forefoot Flexible: No
How Flexible is the Shoe: It's not
Is This a Good Heel Bevel: Decent
Recommended for Haglunds: No
Recommended for Sockless: No
Durability Expectation: Above Average


The Brooks Caldera 7 performs pretty well. The shoe is a maximum cushioned trail shoe for crushing easy miles on the trail. I do feel it does this well. The DNA Loft V3 does provide pretty good cushioning underfoot. There are really large sidewalls build into the midsole along the medial and lateral aspects of the heel and forefoot. These are noticeable, so if you are sensitive to big sidewalls, you may want to look at something else. The heel has a decent bevel to it with a gradual rounding through the forefoot.

The shoe does not feel to clunky for how much foam is under it. The transitions are very gradual and feel pretty smooth at easy paces. The only thing that is noticeable in a negative way is the forefoot upper/platform integration. The volume does feel low. The sensation I would get in that region is a creasing type pressure from above into my forefoot when pushing off. I could still get my runs done without blisters, but this is a sensation I would feel pretty much every run at nearly all paces.

Traction underfoot is pretty good and I did not find myself in any situations wishing for more of it. This is a high stack trail running shoe with a very gentle rocker. For the size, the nimbleness of the shoe isn't too bad. The 10.6 oz weight is decently competitive with other max cushion trails shoes as well.

(Learn more about stability in our full guide)

The Brooks Caldera 7 does a pretty good job of incorporating some stability elements into the shoe. The first thing I noticed was the wide platform underfoot. It almost feels clog like at first, but once you start moving that goes away. The midsole has large sidewalls that extend along the exterior of the rearfoot and forefoot. This does give you a good sense of centering and some subjective holding sensations in those regions as well. The upper has decent security, though can put some pressure through the forefoot. The outsole traction is good underfoot and should work for a good majority of trail conditions. 

Thoughts as a DPT: Why Dropping Speed for Comfort and Stability Can Be Good?  
By David Salas

There is a time and place for things. When making a shoe for comfort and stability, some of the sleek and fast components of shoes may get dropped. For a high cushioned trail running shoe you are going to want decent stability underfoot to accompany the increased amount of foam and natural loss of proprioception that comes along with it. Some things that Brooks did well with the Caldera 7 was integrating a platform that feels stable underfoot in both static and dynamic conditions. The wide base underfoot gives you a very familiar platform to stand on. The sole flaring and sidewalls give you a little push back if you sway too far in either direction, being medially or laterally. The rounding of the platform was also not very dramatic. This keeps you from rocking too quickly forwards and backwards. Why would this be a good thing in a shoe when every company is making large rockers? 

Postural stability is the answer. When I wear the Caldera 7, I begin to think beyond the lens of running. The shoe feels good for standing and walking too. When we stand, we naturally will have shifts in our pressure, and maybe even some rocking.  That will create a swaying effect that our musculature usually normalizes through tone, the resting amount of tension in a muscle. Those that have sagittal plane stability difficulties may struggle with highly rockered shoes, finding that they feel a rocking backwards motion. The Caldera 7 has a few components in the shoe that give feedback to the foot if there is too much ancillary movement in any direction. The shoe resists motion medially and laterally, and to some degree forwards and back as well. When standing or running that can be nice for braking motions. This shoe is not intended to go fast, so I actually like that the shoe went the complete other direction and created something that has decent comfort for not just easy running, but long hiking, or even short hikes for those with some postural difficulties. 


The Brooks Caldera 7 is a trail running shoe for someone wanting a plush and decently stable underfoot experience for easy mileage. The shoe has a very wide platform underfoot with large sidewalls. There is no rock plate, though enough foam to where it does not seem like a necessity. There is a very gentle rocker in the heel and forefoot, though not overly rounded. The Caldera 7 is a workhorse for easy trail miles. The Caldera 7 may also have some appeal to those that want a little extra stability for walking and hiking. Those that also have postural instability may find the large amount of sidewalls, sole flaring, and bucket like feel good for some proprioceptive input.

I enjoyed my time in the Brooks Caldera 7. The big thing I would rework is the forefoot fit. I felt the volume was low and I would get a creasing like pressure from above when at the toe off phases of gait both running and walking. More volume in that region would make for a more pleasurable experience.


Fit: B- (Forefoot volume low and not the most comfortable, otherwise decent comfort from material with plush heel and midfoot)
Performance: A- 
(Definitely an easy day shoe. Rhythmic, a little heavy, but can tackle large miles. Forefoot could be more comfortable.)
Stability: A- (Wide base, good traction, large sidewalls. There is a little play in the fit of the heel.)
Value: A- ($150 is pretty competitive for plush premium trail running shoes.)
Personal: B (If it wasn't for the forefoot thing I would be wearing these more often. Solid easy day trail running shoe.)
Overall Design: B+ 


Brooks Caldera 7
Price: $149.95 at Running Warehouse

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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, Santa Barbara, Danbury and Stevens Point areas, we 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 pairs.  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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