This site is created to inspire, motivate and to promote a healthy lifestyle by sharing my passion in cycling and running. Advice, training and product reviews to help you achieve your goal in crossing that finish line.
If you haven’t tried trail
running yet, then I suggest that you give it a try. I never realized how much
fun it was until I tried it last year and I have to say that after my first
trail race last October, I was hooked! Within just few months of training on
trails, I did my first Ultra Marathon couple of monthsago and that really got me interested
in reviewing trail shoes. Brooksis no stranger to trail running but I never had the chance to test any of
their trail shoes, so I reached out and they sent me one of their top notch
shoes, the Caldera.
The Caldera is Brook’s newest addition
to their trail running line up that was launched early December of 2016. It is
taunted as the “diet” version of the Cascadia11. The Caldera is more responsive, stable and cushier than the Cascadia 11.
It seems that the Cascadia 11
became a launching pad for the Caldera. Brooks built the Caldera to fill in the
gap that was left by their trail shoes line up. I’m training again for my second
Ultra Marathon this coming May and the timing was just perfect to test this
shoe. I racked some good mileage and boy did it perform better than I expected.
It’s a well-balanced shoe that offers great stability and moderate cushion.
Interestingly, the shoe looks
beefy in plain sight but you’ll be surprise that it only weighs 9.9 ounces for men size 9 and 9.0 ounces for women size 7. Remarkably
lightweight for a trail running shoe. The heel and forefoot drop measures 4mm for both men and women for greater
stability and balance. The shoe I tested was a size 10 and it really feels true
to size, something that Brooks is very consistent with when it comes to sizing
There are five key features that
these shoes are known for:
1.)BioMogo DNA Midsole Cushioning
3.)Integrated Gaiter Tab
4.)Double Mesh Upper
The upper is very well
constructed with a durable material that is made to protect the entire perimeter
of your feet. It has a double mesh construction but breathable enough and still
lets air thru to circulate for better ventilation. It has a seamless
construction which prevents the foot from any unwanted rubbing that could
potentially create the unwanted hot spots. Brooks also put some rubber along
the medial side of the shoe to provide added protection from mud and accidental
brushing from sharp objects and rocks.
At the very top of the shoe is a
toe cap that is solidly built to protect your toes. Brooks went on using a “flat
and wide shoelace” that has enough stretch to give you a better hold and
constant pressure on top. It has a gusseted tongue which prevents any debris
from getting inside the shoe, this is really beneficial when you’re not wearing
a gaiter. Also, at the top of the tongue is a lace pocket (lace garage) where
you can stuff the remains of the shoelace so it won’t be flying around as you
cruise the trails and prevents it from getting snag.
Brooks added some thin rubber
material that wraps around the perimeter of the heel cup to give you a better
hold of the heel and locks the foot in place. That thin rubber is extended and
connected to the last three eyelets. You’ll definitely feel that secure hold
when you start pulling the lace. It has decent amount of padding as well along
the collar for a comfortable feel. One great aspect that Brooks put into this
shoe is the built in Velcro gaiter trap. Most gaiters in the market today have
Velcro attachment, this way you can easily snap them together and securely hold
the gaiter in place.
If you’re a minimalist type
runner, then this shoe might not work for you…otherwise keep on reading. The
outsole has some beef and muscle on it. The heel height measures 25mm and
forefoot is 21mm, giving you a 4mm drop which I found to be a good balance when
running on trails. You’ll definitely feel an inch taller with this shoe but
stable enough to keep your feet planted on the ground. Brooks still
incorporates their BioMogo DNA, which is a combination of plush and firm which gives
you the “return energy” upon take-off.
Despite the lack of rock plates,
the thickness of the sole is enough to give you the protection you need against
sharp objects and protruding rocks. The multi-directional lugs which measures
around 3 – 3.5mm performs great on variety of terrains and soil conditions.
Testing and putting this to the
grind is the most rewarding part for me. The lugs may not be aggressive as the
Salomon Speedcross 4 but it works great even on the steep downhill with loose
soil. The lugs just dig into the ground providing a good braking power and grip
when ascending a steep section, no slipping and sliding at all. On hard pack
soil is where I found the cushiness of the sole. Be advised that each shoe
company has their own ways of measuring the cushiness level of
their shoes. Brooks level of cushion tends to be firmer in comparison with
other shoes like the Hoka. It may not be a cushy as the Hoka Challenger ATR 3
but it’s decent enough to give my feet some TLC it need especially for long
distance running like the Ultra.
Trails offer a lot of varieties
when it comes to terrains and you may find yourself crossing a mile-long gravel
section or pavement. This is where some shoes tend not to be so great because
of the stiffness of the sole and the aggressiveness of the lugs make it hard to
balance and you get the feeling of “running on bricks”...well, not with the
Caldera. Their BioMogo DNA sole helps absorb the uneven landscape of the trails
you’re running into so you feel more upright and stable.
I have tested quite a few trail
shoes from Salomon, North Face, Hoka and I have to admit that Caldera is equally
good and better in some aspects. The Caldera is a very well rounded shoe that
really performs well on varieties of soil and terrain conditions. It’s very
supportive, responsive to every twist and turns and superb cushioning that your
feet will surely appreciate.
Trail shoes could really get
expensive sometimes because it is built differently from road shoes. The price
tag of $140 is very reasonable in my opinion especially for trail shoe this
great and will not set you back. Negatives? Honestly I couldn’t find any. Even
the color and design scheme looks great and pleasing to the eyes.