Thursday, July 3, 2008

Gear Review: Brooks Shoes

Taking care of your feet is by far the #1 rule of ultra-marathon running. It goes beyond socks, lubricants and types of mole skin applicators. It all starts with the shoes. I've been through many shoes in my short lived running career. I started with a pair of Loco Bandito's, "The shoe that feels like the box." No.. REALLY. Then I ran in Asic Gels. Then I switched to trail shoes and was tortured with The North Face XCR Trail Runners. I moved on to Salomon XA Pro 3D XCR's.. a great shoe that later tortured my heels and easily fell apart before I got $125 of use out of them. I moved on to Montrail Hard Rocks, which I LOVE.. however, these days I have to tell you about my current shoe of choice; The Brooks Cascadia 3's and the Brooks Adrenaline ASR 4's.

The Brooks Cascadia 3 Trail Runner
"Sweet! Runner's World awarded the new Cascadia 3 "Editor's Choice" in its Spring Trail Shoe Review published April, 2008.

The Cascadia 3 is 100-percent pure trail running shoe, with no artificial ingredients. Its groundbreaking Pivot Posting System is configured to enhance balance on uneven surfaces, helping prevent ankle sprains. Ballistic rock shield technology helps protect feet from rocks and blisters. Durable and long-wearing outsole compound results in premium wet-dry traction for excellent skid-resistance. Smart shoe upper keeps you comfortable in wet conditions: Breathable shoe mesh flushes water and dries quickly; hydrophobic foam in the shoe tongue and collar lining doesn't absorb water when wet. Full-length MoGo midsole provides a soft cushy feel without sacrificing stability. A great fit for neutral runners and mild overpronators, this off-road roamer is tough enough to take on any terrain--no matter how rough, wet, or steep."

The Pros: The shoe drains really well and dries fast. They feel like a racing flat but are just rugged enough for varied terrain.

The Cons: Suede in the upper seems to wear easily. Soles have HORRIBLE traction, they need either stickier rubber or a better design. I run on rocks not golf courses! Lacing seems to be pretty tight on the upper area of my foot/ankle.

Overall an excellent shoe that I highly recommend for any trail runner, especially one who anticipates getting their feet wet. It doesn't get the BEST grade, but I'll continue to wear the shoes and support Brooks efforts in hoping to design a better shoe for the rock hoppers out east. This shoe was designed by Scott Jurek himself and I often times wonder what the trails he runs on are like... must be soft fluffy dirt single-track. ; )

Durability: 3/5
Comfort: 4/5
Usability: 3/5
Cost: 5/5
Craftsmanship: 4/5
Total: 19/25 C+

Brooks Adrenaline ASR 4
"Engineered to provide miles of options, this adventurous shoe goes from the road to the trail and back again, with the smooth support synonymous with the word “Adrenaline.” A rugged, ready-for-anything outsole and water-repellent, moisture-transfer upper equip you for any running condition. Now endowed with a new MoGo midsole, this go-to trail shoe will provide super-soft, long-lasting cushioning wherever you may roam. It is beyond versatile, empowering you to be the same."

This shoe is super comfortable, durable and affordable. Everything a runner looks for in a shoe. With the amount of miles I put in on the roads and trails, this shoe is the perfect compliment to my entourage of shoes which include the Cascadias. When I'm not too worried about getting my feet wet and I'm looking for a shoe with plenty of protection, the ASR's are my choice.

Pros: Durable, light weight, affordable, super soles, comfy, solid all around shoe in terms of fit and comfort.

Cons: Not very breathable, virtually no drainage.

Durability: 5/5
Comfort: 5/5
Usability: 5/5
Cost: 5/5
Craftsmanship: 5/5
Total: 25/25 A+