Brooks Cascadia 17: Tech Specs and Performance

Brooks Cascadia 17 on feet

The Brooks Cascadia 17 continues the tradition of reliable and adaptable trail shoes. Finding a shoe that offers exceptional value, robustness, aesthetic appeal, and affordability is no easy task. Without a doubt, this shoe deserves serious consideration from dedicated trail runners.

This shoe is perfect for those who enjoy hiking, are new to trail running, or participate in marathons. If you're looking for a dependable and adaptable shoe for your trail running journey, then this is the one for you.

Those seeking to test their speed on trails will find themselves let down by the heaviness of this shoe. It does not possess the desired lightness and agility.

The very first pair of trail shoes I owned were the Brooks Cascadia 12. Two memories of those shoes remain vivid in my mind:

  • They possessed an invincibility against bullets.
  • It was never quite as comfortable as I wished they could be.

When Brooks Cascadia 17 arrived in 2023. These magnificent shoes remain bulletproof and surpass their predecessor in terms of comfort by lightyears.

The Brooks Cascadia 17 is an exceptional trail running shoe that comes with a budget-friendly price tag of $140. With a weight of 11oz, it provides a decent level of cushioning and neutral support.

Introducing the latest addition to our collection: the TrailTack Green Rubber outsoles. Crafted with a blend of 25% recycled materials, these innovative soles are a sustainable choice for the environmentally conscious.

Brooks Caldera 6 and Brooks Catamount 2 are two other options instead of the Cascadia 17s. The Caldera 6 is designed for long-distance trail running with maximum cushioning, while the Catamount 2 is a lightweight shoe built for speed.

Brooks Cascadia 17 midsole

When it comes to shoes, the colors catch my attention first. A great mix of colors can really enhance the shoes, and Brooks provides some excellent options in the Cascadia 17.

I purchased the 'Sharp Green/Navy/Firecracker' color version. If you want to explore the other choices, take a look at Brook's official website or the table we listed at the end of this article.

For my initial outing, I chose to explore a nearby network of paths that provide a range of landscapes and differences in height. The starting part was a narrow path close to the ground, made up of a mixture of dirt and fallen foliage. As predicted, they effortlessly maneuvered through this part.

The lug patterns in the previous and most recent Cascadias differ in several notable ways. Firstly, in the 17s, the lugs are evenly distributed across the entire outsole, whereas in the past, they were not present in the arch and midfoot area of the shoe. Furthermore, the lugs on the 17s are tapered and less prominent compared to the 16s. This particular design aids in efficiently removing mud and prevents it from becoming trapped, thus reducing the risk of losing traction.

As I made my way up to the peak, the path swiftly changed, becoming strewn with bigger rocks. I experienced a firm grip in the heel area, with no movement or slipping, thanks to the secure heel counter. This aspect brings relief, knowing that there is one less thing to be concerned about when tackling uphill sections. Additionally, the shoe's stability is enhanced by the outsole pods. These six separate sections flex accordingly on uneven terrain, ensuring that your feet remain steady and safe.

Brooks Cascadia 17 sole units

Lastly, I should mention the presence of a lengthy and gradual decline that was scattered with various obstacles such as rocks, fallen trees, branches, and piles of leaves. Going downhill can be quite tough on your feet, especially your toes, unless you have the appropriate footwear. I was pleasantly surprised by the spaciousness of the toebox in the Cascadia 17 shoes. Despite their appearance, they are wider than expected and do not hinder the movement of my feet in any way.

I found this shoe to be quite impressive when running distances ranging from 5 to 20 miles at a consistent pace. While it may not be the most lightweight and agile option for faster running, it performs admirably at slower to moderate speeds.

If you're a runner who enjoys sensing the trails beneath your feet, the Cascadia 17s may not be the ideal choice. These shoes prioritize stability and protection, resulting in a reduced connection to the running surface.

Although these shoes aren't the most comfortable I've worn, their durability is so impressive that I'm willing to sacrifice a bit of comfort in exchange for their long-lasting performance.

Brooks Cascadia 17 toebox/mudguard

Right from the beginning, there is a rock plate integrated into the design, making it perfect for runners who often encounter rocky terrain. I quickly observed this feature while running on trails that I regularly frequent. The sensation of rocks and debris was significantly reduced, thanks to the rock plate playing a major role in achieving this.

Instead of being concentrated in one spot, the impact was evenly spread throughout the shoe. The rock plate is covered with a thick layer of DNA LOFT v2 cushioning.

The superior net effectively blocked tiny particles such as dirt and sand, thanks to its dense and layered composition. I couldn't detect any objects managing to penetrate it and reach my foot.

The toebox, forefoot, and heel cup of this shoe are shielded with strategically positioned rubber overlays. While many trail shoes offer some level of toe box protection, few actually safeguard the entire foot. This shoe, however, stands apart. The heavy-duty sections are so resilient that it is difficult to make an indentation by pressing your finger against them. Imagine the kind of protection you would find in steel toe boots.

While it may not offer complete protection, I appreciated the extra volume in this specific region. It served to safeguard my foot during challenging and rocky terrains, where there was a potential risk of encountering hard objects.

Brooks Cascadia 17 upper/overlay

I've brought up this point multiple times, but the shoe's durability is truly exceptional.

Despite the lighter hues displaying dirt and a few marks on the overlays, the shoe maintains its appearance of novelty and continues to provide a sensation of newness. The shoe's overall structure remains unharmed and possesses the capability to endure further mistreatment.

In terms of durability, I believe this shoe is suitable for every kind of terrain. It is versatile enough to handle challenging paths and is also a great choice for those new to trail running or who prefer a more relaxed approach.

The shoe is durable enough to withstand the demands of a long distance trail race, possibly even an ultra marathon. However, it may not be my top pick for extended races because of the sturdiness of the midsole.

The Cascadia 17s have many impressive qualities, although their responsiveness could benefit from some improvement.

In my opinion, Brooks' description of the midsole technology as "super soft, but never too squishy" is completely off base. Personally, I find this midsole material to be anything but soft when compared to other trail shoes with moderate cushioning that I have used in the past.

I observed a minimal amount of flexibility in the midsole as I took my strides. It felt quite rigid and lacking in forgiveness, potentially leading to increased discomfort and tiredness during longer runs. This, coupled with the shoes' weightier design, gives them a somewhat clumsy feel when attempting to increase speed.

Maintaining a quick pace proved to be challenging, as I found myself exerting considerable effort and feeling an unnatural stride. While it is not a flaw of the shoe, it is important to acknowledge that it was not designed for speed.

For those who love to run or hike on trails, this is the ultimate shoe choice.

The grip on the lugs is not as intense as it was on the 16s, but I don't believe there is a notable decrease in traction. I felt assured on various surfaces, including gravel, dirt, rocks, and even when it was wet.

The TrailTack Green rubber outsole provided a solid grip, enhancing the shoe's stability and keeping my feet firmly in place.

Brooks Cascadia 17 quarter

As previously mentioned, when I first wore the Cascadia 17s, I experienced a clear adjustment period. It took several runs for the reinforced and protected areas of the shoe to become more comfortable and less restrictive. This was intentional, as one of the main characteristics of this shoe is its ability to provide stability on all types of terrain.

The toe box, forefoot, and heel of the shoes have rubber reinforcements. These reinforcements offer protection but limit movement. If you're accustomed to less protective shoes, it may take some time to adjust to these limitations.

I was pleasantly surprised by the perfect fit of the shoe, as it matched my size exactly. The shoe also had a surprisingly spacious toe area, which was unexpected considering its style.

There was sufficient room for my foot to adapt to barriers in my sprint training. Ultimately, there was ample breadth.

The shoe's fit was just right, not too tight or loose. Like all Brooks shoes, I didn't have any problems with the fit.

Brooks has taken the initiative to revamp the Cascadia 17s, enhancing an already exceptional off-road footwear.

Although these shoes aren't the most comfortable I've ever experienced, their other advantages easily compensate for this lack of comfort.

This particular shoe is ideal for various running distances, including marathons.

It's difficult for me to find a better choice under $140 because they are sturdy, resilient, and adaptable.

  • Price: $140 (Brooksrunning)
  • Colors:
    • Chateau Grey/Forged Iron
    • Blue/Navy/Firecracker
    • Lemon Chrome/Sedona Sage
    • Primer/Ebony/Oriole (Limited edition)
    • Black/Ebony/Oyster (Limited edition)
    • Sharp Green/Navy/Firecracker
    • Blue/Surf the Web/Sulphur
  • Usage:
    • trail
    • hiking
    • marathon
  • Constructions & Features:
    • All-terrain stability
    • Enhanced traction
    • Soft cushioning
    • Protective toe cap
    • Heel drop: 8mm
    • Weight: 11.0oz / 311.8g
Brooks Cascadia 17 heel