Some people like to buy a lot of shoes. It’s a hobby. Buy a pair of sneakers for road running, then go out and shop some more, because they want a different pair for trail running. Before setting out on a hike, they buy a pair of boots. Nothing wrong with that – each shoe does offer particular advantages.
Wouldn’t it be nice to find a shoe that can handle all three activities? One that’s lightweight enough for road running, supportive enough for trail paths and sturdy enough for mountain hikes?
The answer is “Yes.” The Brooks Cascadia 6 is meant for trail running, but it also performs admirably on roads and hiking trails. This shouldn’t be the go-to shoe for serious road runs or aggressive hikes, but knowing it can handle multiple terrains makes packing for active getaways much easier.
The secret to all this versatility is something the company calls Brooks DNA, a midsole technology that somehow provides custom cushioning and stability through a material that disperses the energy created when a foot hits the ground.
Because of this material, the shoe adjusts to the size and running stride of each runner. But even more impressive is that it continuously tweaks the support and cushioning it provides during each run to meet the particular trail or road conditions. So if you are running on a trail and you step on a rock, the Brooks DNA will automatically provide a bit more firmness. If you’re running on the road, it will provide more cushioning.
Brooks sneakers are famous for being comfortable, and the Cascadia 6 does not disappoint. The shoes are a lightweight 10.4 ounces, and boast an exceptionally springy sole that seems to propel the runner forward. An adjustable mid-foot saddle and a new, more adjustable eye row accommodate various arch sizes. All this comfort makes them a fine choice for road runs.
The soles, with lugs around the perimeter, are designed for traction as well as protection from rocks and other stuff you might step on. That’s what makes them good for trail runs and hikes.
Karen Nitkin likes to run, hike, bike, camp and swim. She spends as much time as possible on these activities, while juggling a writing career, family life, and doing errands like laundry and going to the grocery store.
Nitkin lives in Maryland, where the relatively mild climate allows her to run and bike year-round. She also spends at least a few weeks each year in New Hampshire, camping and hiking in the White Mountains. She has set a goal of hiking all 48 New Hampshire peaks that are above 4,000 feet. As of the fall of 2010, she is at number 20, following an epic rain-drenched four-peak overnight in the Pemigewasset wilderness over the summer.
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