I’m a long-time user of the Brooks Cascadia line of trail running shoes and have been using both the 7th, 8th and 9th edition (US size 10 1/2). The Brooks Cascadias have always worked great for me: great fit, good traction and durable shoes. When the time came around for me to pick shoes for my 2015 Continental Divide Trail thru-hike the Cascadias were the obvious and natural choice. I started out from the US-Mexican border using the Cascadia 9th edition which held up great. I would only change them out when the tread started to wear out, and I easily got 500-600 miles out of each pair. Except for the tread wearing out the rest of the shoe would still be intact and in good condition. This is the same positive experience that I have previously had with the 7th and 8th editions of the Brooks Cascadias.
When the Cascadia 9 eventually sold out I didn’t think twice about getting the new Brooks Cascadia 10th edition, thinking that they would be just another improved iteration in a great line of shoes. Unfortunately, the Brooks Cascadia 10 turned out to be a huge disappointment. Now, in all fairness the fit and the sole of the Cascadia 10 is still great. I have yet to get a single blister in a pair of Cascadias, and the sole still offers great traction and durability. The upper shoe of the Cascadia 10 however is a complete disaster. At around 100 miles the mesh started to rip on both sides of the toe box, where the shoe bends when you walk. By 200 miles this had developed into gaping holes where dirt and debris would enter the shoe, forcing me to stop every couple of miles to empty out my shoes. Fortunately I was able to get new shoes (Asics GEL-FujiTrabucco 3) before the mesh ripped across the toe box completely.
I’m very disappointed to see how Brooks have managed to ruin the Cascadias with the 10th edition. Needless to say I am not getting another pair. They’re not worth anything close to the $120 that they currently retail for. I can always hope that Brooks will redeem themselves if/when the Cascadia 11th edition is released, but I’m not holding my breath for that. Brooks are obviously willing to compromise on quality. I’ll be looking at other brands instead.