Brooks Cascadia 17 Review (2023): Most Versatile Trail Shoes?
Published on: 09/28/2023
Excellent trail running shoes combining versatility, protection and comfort. An iconic, timeless model!
Don’t have time to read the full review? Here’s what you need to know.
Brooks Running is back in shape with its 17th Cascadia!
The main new feature of this trail running shoe is the integration of the Trail Adapt system, with the following innovations:
- DNA Loft v2 midsole with slightly soft cushioning
- redesigned Green TrailTack outsole for improved flexibility and grip
- protective plate against rock that also helps with propulsion that brings a (relatively) responsive bounce to the assembly
Overall, the ride experience resulting from this combo is pleasant and safe on long runs, with full protection and stability.
For comfort, Brooks has increased the stack height and provided a spacious toe box for wide feet (and others, too). The upper provides good foot lockdown, a waist fit, and a secure heel zone. According to some runners, its durable, airy mesh offers good breathability, except during hot weather.
Finally, the Brooks Cascadia 17 is incredibly versatile. It adapts to all types of surfaces, from the gentlest paths to the rockiest mountainous trails. Whether for trail running or hiking, this is a shoe that deserves its reputation, so you can use it with confidence!
Please read our full review of the Brooks Cascadia 17 for more information.
- Versatile shoe for all conditions
- Excellent traction
- Roomy, comfortable upper provides good foot lockdown
- Sustainable design
- Excellent value for money
- A little too heavy (over 10 oz / 300 g)
- Lack of responsiveness (but that’s not its main purpose)
The release of a new Cascadia is always an event awaited like the Messiah by brand loyalists. It’s an iconic model in Brooks’ trail running series. Now in its 17th year, and there’s a reason for that!
Its vocation has always remained the same: a versatile, comfortable trail shoe for long distances. Over the years, Scott Jurek’s shoes have evolved with varying degrees of success without ever losing out to the competition.
Will the Brooks Cascadia 17 consolidate the wind of reconquest blowing across the trail world in the last few years? Read on to find out!
Look out for big changes in the outsole. Now an integral part of the Trail Adapt system, it works in perfect harmony with the midsole to provide a soft, secure landing. It also includes an effective rock plate.
Cascadia 17 shoes feature a new 6-segment construction for greater flexibility and enhanced all-terrain stability.
Finally, Green TrailTack rubber goes green with 25% recycled silicone while remaining robust and durable. The lugs have been reduced in size from 5 to 4.5 mm, with a new herringbone shape that is narrower and less flat. Also, new strategically placed outsole pods help the shoe adapt to uneven terrain.
Types of terrain
In the general opinion of trail runners, the outsole of the Brooks Cascadia 17 is extremely effective on all types of terrain, including wet, uphill, and downhill. Whether on quiet dirt roads or steep mountain trails, grip and traction remain excellent in all scenarios.
As a result, we can’t really define a preferred terrain for this shoe. All paths are suitable!
The Trail Adapt technology of the Brooks Cascadia 17 is the main evolution of this new edition. This sandwich construction combines the integrated midsole with DNA Loft v2 foam, the layer of protection and propulsion, and the outsole.
The underfoot feel of the new foam is foam with a hint of firmess compensated by a thicker sole (36 mm heel stack height with a heel-to-toe drop of 8 mm), giving good shock absorption.
Runners are unanimous: the new outsole is a complete success and contributes to a pleasant and smooth ride experience.
The propulsion plate provides the responsive bounce that cushioning lacks. In this sense, the TrailAdapt system plays its part perfectly, also providing flexibility and stability. Trailers note, however, that it takes a few outings before all the sole’s qualities become apparent.
The Cascadia 17 has put on a little weight: 11 oz / 312 g for men’s version and 9.8 oz / 278 g for women’s version. Some testers were bothered by this. Overall, this new Cascadia is still nimble, but we hope its a point that will be addressed in upcoming versions.
The Cascadia 17’s upper is very comfortable, with a roomy forefoot suitable for wide feet, and a padded gusseted tongue. Its mesh is robust and airy enough.
It provides a secure lockdown on the trail, with an efficient lacing system and a firm heel zone. Some runners find it a little too stiff, causing annoying rubbing on descents.
The fit is true to size and easy to get right. You can choose your usual size for trail running shoes.
The Brooks Cascadia 17 offers effective protection on varied tough terrain. The stone guard is sturdy and gives confidence on rough trails.
Reviewers note good overall ventilation, though the temperature may rise on hot days.
The Brooks Cascadia 17 follows in the footsteps of its illustrious predecessors: for daily training on easy off-road terrain and for long-distance trail running through to ultramarathon distances.
Its highlights include balanced, effective cushioning, insane comfort, incredible grip, and reliable protection.
Other suitable scenarios
Runners also appreciate the Brooks Cascadia 17 on their hikes. It offers the comfort, protective qualities, and stability needed to take you far on even the most challenging hiking trails (including mountain trails).
To a lesser extent, these trail shoes also work on asphalt, for short outings or cross-country runs.
On the other hand, it leaves performance and speed to other, more suitable models.
Quality and Durability
Initial tests are conclusive: no signs of wear after at least 50 miles. The new Green rubber is tough!
On the upper side, the mesh is durable and reinforced by thick rubber overlays around the toe box and heel, providing extra protection and durability.
Given its sturdiness and supposed longevity, this trail running shoe offers excellent value for money.
Carbon footprint and animal welfare
The Cascadia 17 is a vegan, eco-designed shoe. Particular attention has been paid to the materials used, recycled in varying percentages depending on the part (25% for the rubber, 54% for the upper) and to the production processes (-75% water used for PrintDye dyeing, – 1/3 for energy).
While following in the footsteps of the previous model, the Brooks Cascadia 17 is a significantly successful update with more cushioning, protection, comfort, stability and versatility. It’s THE robust, reliable trail shoe par excellence from the American brand.
It’s aimed at runners looking for a versatile trail shoe to challenge themselves on a wide variety of terrain, whether in trail running or fast-hiking mode. A safe and affordable choice.
|Heel height||36 mm|
|Forefoot height||28 mm|
|Weight (men)||312 g/11 oz|
|Weight (women)||278 g/9.8 oz|
|Features||Available in GTX, Vegan, Recycled materials, Rock plate|
|Outsole||Green Rubber TrailTack, Multidirectional Lugs, Trail Adapt System, Reinforced Wear Zones|
|Midsole||DNA Loft v2, Balistic Shield|
|Upper||Monoloop Mesh, Gusseted Tongue, TPU Tip|
Brooks Cascadia 16
Here is a summary of the main improvements to the Brooks Cascadia 17:
- Trail Adapt, an efficient sandwich linking the midsole and outsole, and the rock plate for protection and propulsion; this is the main innovation in this edition
- the outsole is segmented into 6 sections and redesigned with 4.5 mm lugs (vs. full coverage and 5 mm lugs on the Cascadia 16)
- thicker overlays on the stem
The main objective was to provide greater versatility, flexibility, protection, traction, stability, durability, and riding comfort. The gamble has paid off, and the Cascadia 17 is the clear winner!