Review: Brooks Cascadia 9

I pretty much don’t do reviews, because I throw serious side-eye when others do, as it’s usually to shill crap that they are an ‘ambassador’ for.  I get it; they want to earn a little money from their hobby, with the hopes of one day giving up the day job.  But zero percent of my brain is going to trust a review of something you didn’t spend your hard-earned money on.

Last week, in an attempt to cheer myself up because I couldn’t work out, I went shopping.  I knew that I would need to buy a pair of trail shoes that didn’t massacre my feet after 10 miles for the Highland Fling in April, and I had heard good things about the Saucony Peregrines.  Without even having tried on a pair (I’m impulsive like that), I had made up my mind that I was going to walk into the running shop, try a pair on, and buy the shit out of them.

It was unusually busy in the shop when I went in, so I had to wait to be seen.  I decided that I might as well scope out the competition as I waited, and my eyes were drawn to a pair of bright purple shoes.  They.  Were.  Beautiful.

Transfixed, I almost didn’t notice the store guy come over.  When he asked how he could help I told him I was looking for “the least trail-y trail shoes.”

I have a pair of Solomon trail shoes (which I bought because they were purple, and looked pretty, and despite my outwardly unfeminine persona, sometimes my X chromosomes dominate my brain functions), but they are uncomfortable to run in after a few short miles.  I am pretty much a sucker for cushioning.  I mentioned to the sales guy that I’d heard good things about the Peregrines, which he nodded at, but to my delight he picked up the purple shoes and told me they would likely be my best bet, because they were like a cross between a road and a trail shoe.

“Excellent, because I think they’re the prettiest!”  Dude looked a bit confused, but got my size.  I never even tried on the Peregrines.

In the store, the Brooks Cascadias (HEADS UP: affiliate link) felt nearly as comfortable as my road shoes (also Brooks, but I alternate between the Ghosts and Vapours).  Usually you’re expected to go up a size for trail shoes, but the 7’s fit me fine and left plenty of room in the toe box.  They weren’t suffocatingly narrow for my increasingly wide feet.  They felt bouncy.  They matched my dress.  I was sold.

A Brooks orgy.  And some beautiful sequined ankle boots.

A Brooks orgy. And some beautiful sequined ankle boots.

Now, I know it’s widely accepted that you’re meant to gradually break in new shoes, but they were so comfortable that I opted to wear them for Saturday’s long run.  Within the first 30 seconds of running, I was horrified that the back of my socks seemed to be pulled down underneath the lip of the heel part, and I anticipated blisters aplenty, but happily that was the last I noticed my heels, my socks stayed put, and – most importantly – no blisters!

We covered over 25 miles, and my feet were drenched (thank you boggy conditions and river crossings) for about 95% of the run, but I still walked home without any pain in my feet whatsoever.  Even the brief sections on roads, which I was dreading, because in my Solomons road running is highly unpleasant, were run comfortably thanks to the bounciness.

Basically, I love these shoes.  They were comfortable for 7+ hours on my (wet) feet, they were comfortable enough to run on the road in, they had enough room so as not to crush my toes and batter my toenails, and I only slipped once (downhill, in a mudslide – I’d have needed crampons to avoid that).  Oh, and they’re beautiful.  Or at least they were, before I took them out for a test run.

Brooks Cascadia 9's

Brooks Cascadia 9’s

18 thoughts on “Review: Brooks Cascadia 9

  1. I approve! The Cascadia are the only trail shoes I’ve tried, but they are in fact my trail shoe of choice. And WOW. That is quite the running shoe collection!

    • Yeah, Ian seems to think I have too many shoes, but he doesn’t seem to understand the complexity of my collection. I have ‘good’ pairs for races, older pairs for training/muddy days/ trail shoes, shoes that have been retired to ‘gym shoes’, and ones that are only comfortable for certain activities (ie cycling). Justified…… right?

      • I tried to use that same argument when discussing my extensive shoe collection with RWR…it fell on deaf ears, so I had to chuck some out. Ah well – still got plenty! (road shoes, trail shoes, old shoes for the likes of Saturday’s run/Ythan Challenge-type runs, trainers for the garden…)

    • I love the look of some Nike shoes, but they are just not made for my feet. They seem to pinch uncomfortably – I think my once narrow feet are now just too fat!

  2. Great review!
    i’ve never tried brooks shoes so far (i usually wear asics & salomon) but i defo want to try the cascadias after having read so many good reviews about them. My only problem is that i live in Greece (europe) and so far no shop has got them (and i mean that literally!!!). only one shop brings brooks shoes in the whole country and they haven’t got the cascadias 😦 Anyway… That means i have to buy them online. Some help about sizing would be really valuable! I wear salomon 7 (european 38.6) in xt wings and speedcross. Do you think i would probably be ok with ordering a 7 in cascadias??
    Thanks so much!

    • Hmm, had a look at size conversion charts, and a UK7 isn’t really a EUR 38.6, so I’d make sure you’re definitely ordering the size you want. I wear the same size in Salomons and Brooks, though, if that’s any help!

      • Yes that’s really helpful! When you say that you wear the same size in Salomons and Brooks are you referring to US or UK sizing?
        As if ordering online without having tried the shoes wasn’t bad enough, there it this whole confusion with uk/us/european sizing 🙂
        Anyway thanks again and i wish you all the best with the medal collecting!!!

      • In UK sizing, I wear a size 7 for Brooks and Salomon shoes (though I wear a size 6 for any non-running shoes). I know that Brooks UK7 is a US9, but not sure how that equates to EUR sizes, as all the online conversion charts seem to be different… I hope you end up with the right size!

  3. Great review! Love the shoe collection!! I get gyp for having far fewer running shoes than that. I have Cascadia 8s, and I loved them from the off; if I had to choose one pair of running shoes to do everthing, from fell running, through road, trails, and ultras – the Cascadias would be it. Looking at some 9s now.

  4. Great review! I have a question, though: do you buy into the whole “dead shoe” theory? Specifically, I have a pair of Cascadia 8’s, which I love, that have between 250 and 300 miles in them. Mix of road and trail. I have a trail half marathon coming up I’d love to wear them in, but my question is how do you personally know when to retire shoes? Even if they look good? Thanks!

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