Two of Brooks best selling trail running shoes. There are a lot of good reasons to be comparing the Brooks Cascadia vs Caldera. One is a heavily armored rock monster built to handle even the most technical of trails. While the other is a high stack, cushioned runner. Built to take the shock off your legs when running long miles. And below we’ll break down the key differences, specs, compare images and more. Giving you the insight needed to make the right choice for your needs.
Brooks Cascadia vs Caldera
- Both the Brooks Cascadia and Caldera are neutral trail running shoes. And are not designed for road or track running.
- The Brooks Caldea are the slightly heavier of the two shoes. Weighing 11 oz compared to the Cascadia weighing 10.5 oz.
- The Caldera also has more cushion, being listed as “max” cushion by the brand. Compared to the Cascadia which is listed as “extra” cushioned.
- Stack height on the Cascadia, sits just a few mm lower at 29 mm. While the Caldera has a stack height of 31mm.
- There is a larger, 8mm drop on the Brooks Cascadia. The drop on the Caldera is 6 mm, just slightly less but noticeable.
- The Cascadia features more overall foot protection with rock guard and toe protection. And has larger, more aggressive lugs listed at 5 mm.
- Based on my experience and other reviews, both models have a standard fit and do not run wide. But both offer wide versions of the standard models.
MSRP Price: $130
Men’s – Click Here
Women’s – Click Here
Surface: Trail Running & Hiking
Weight Men: 10.5 oz / 297.7 g
Weight Women: 9.5 oz / 269.3 g
Men’s Drop: 8 mm
Women’s Drop: 8 mm
Offset: 29 mm / 21 mm
Stack Height: 29 mm
Foot Protection: High
Lug Size: 5mm
MSRP Price: $150
Men’s Link: Click Here
Women’s Link: Click Here
Surface: Trail Running & Hiking
Weight Men: 11 oz / 311.8 g
Weight Women: 9.8 oz / 277.8 g
Men’s Drop: 6 mm
Women’s Drop: 6 mm
Offset: 31 mm / 25 mm
Stack Height: 31 mm
Foot Protection: Medium
Lug Size: Not Listed
Founded in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in 1914. Brooks Sports has been making running shoes for well over 100 years. And has become one of the most trusted names in the running industry. Typically associated with road running shoes, today we’ll be looking at two of their most popular trail running shoes. Comparing the Brooks Cascadia vs Caldera. One is their OG in its 15+ iteration. While the other is a newer, more cushioned design intended for the big miles of ultra running. Below I’ll break down each shoe in more detail.
The Brooks Cascadia is one the brand’s oldest trail running models. And has been proven over the years to be one of the more capable tough trail runners on the market. When I first got my hands on the Cascadia I was impressed with the design. They are tough (aggressive lugs) but stylish trail runners. With a bunch of good looking color options. When holding them, I wouldn’t say they feel heavy, but they do feel solid.
On the feet the Brooks Cascadia feels sturdy but comfortable. They feel like they wrap the foot well, and I’d say they fit pretty true to size. If you have a wider foot, you probably want to half size up. Hitting the trail the shoes don’t feel heavy, but they aren’t light. And while they have just enough cushion. Although the turnover doesn’t feel exceptionally quick. In fact, I wouldn’t call theme an overall fast shoe.
For what the Cascadia lacks in top end speed, they make up for with incredible protection throughout the shoe. With a rock guard around and under the soles. On technical, methodical, rocky trails are where these really shine. And if you tend to hit you toes or have sore feet after a hike, these might be the right model for you.
Getting my hands on the Caldera for the first time, the first thing I noticed was the thick soles. Definitely on trend for ultra running, with high cushioned shoes becoming incredibly popular over the last few years. I’m a fan of the overall design. With a mild lug size, and unique curves they look fast before ever putting them on.
Lacing up the Brooks Caldera the fit feels very true to size. Something fairly typical for the brand. Which is ok for me but if you have a wider feel, you may want to half size up. Hitting the trails, the first thing that stands out to me is the cushion. There is a ton. Taking away the majority of the trail shock, and delivering an effective rebound and turnover in return.
Overall the Caldera is an impressive, high cushioned, big mile running shoe. Perfect for runners looking to hit the trails while moving fast. The fast feel does come at the sacrifice of some of the foot protection you may be looking for in a hiking shoe. To me this is more of a trail runner through and through.
Next we’ll do an image comparison of the Brooks Cascadia vs Caldera. Including side by side, soles, and top view.
Brooks Cascadia Profile
Brooks Caldera Profile
From the top view you can see some of the added cushion around the heal of the Caldera.
Cascadia Top View
Caldera Top View
While both have trail lugs. You can see the Cascadia has a more aggressive patter and built in sole rock guard plate.
Brooks Cascadia Sole
Brooks Caldera Sole
Conclusion – Brooks Cascadia vs Caldera
There are a lot of great reasons to be looking at the Brooks Cascadia vs Caldera. From a brand that’s known for quality running shoes, these two are both winners for their intended purpose. The Cascadia is a rough trail monster meant to handle a punishing trail. Providing some padding but a lot of rock protection. While the Caldera is a trail runner through and through. All the extra weight has gone into thick cushioning for running ultra distances.
Which road running shoe to buy?
Like with most shoes, I think this choice comes down to the intended purpose. With both the Cascadia and Caldera excelling in what they are designed for. So if you are looking for something you can hike, backpack, or run in. That has a ton of protection for your feet no matter the terrain. Then the aggressive design of the Cascadia will be perfect for you. They are also a great OCR / Spartan Race shoe.
Now if you are looking for a more pure trail runner. With a lot of cushion, quick rebound, and are perfect for racking up big training and racing miles. Then the tall cushioned design of Caldera will probably be your better choice. To me this is really Brooks best true ultra running trail shoe.
If you have tried the Cascadia or Caldera? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below!