Brooks have added a brand new trail running shoe to their range – the Caldera. I was asked to put it to the test against the Brooks Cascadia and Pure Grit and compare it to the competition of the Saucony Peregrine.
Energy in every step
The Caldera falls into Brooks’ Energise category of running shoes. The energise range are very responsive, delivering energy return and a springy, fast feeling underfoot. The geometries are designed so the runner feels light on their feet and has the drive/propulsion to run faster, over distance, through any ups and downs.
What Brooks say?
Brooks pitch the Caldera as a responsive trail shoe that provides energy and stability for the duration of your run even as fatigue sets in. The standout features include:
- Its full length BioMoGo DNA midsole that provides a high level of cushioning which adapts to each individual’s step and stride.
- Its sticky rubber outsole featuring 3-3.5mm multi-directional lugs that provides traction and braking power on technical trails.
- An integrated gaiter tab that makes attaching gaiters… Simples! and helps keep your shoes free from dirt on wet, boggy trails.
What we say?
- The Caldera has plenty cushioning and bounce – offering that magic combination of plush and firm comfort that’s more typical of a road running shoe.
- The sticky rubber outsole holds fasts on hard ground and wet rock – yet struggles on softer surfaces.
Pros: I tested the Caldera on different types of terrain, taking them on road, forestry tracks, man-made trails, softer fell paths and rocky terrain. I found they were most comfortable and worked best on the hard-surface trails – providing excellent cushioning and grip over forestry tracks, man-made or well-trodden trails, and the like. The sticky rubber also proved its worth on wet rock!
Cons: On more wild, technical terrain, the Caldera performed less well. It lacked grip on softer surfaces and its high stack height made it feel less stable on loose rocks.
Ideal for: If you’re a runner who likes to go off road and run endurance on hard-surface trails in plenty of comfort, the Caldera is the shoe for you!
Price: It has a very reasonable price of £110.
The Caldera certainly fills a gap in the Brooks trail range, providing a higher level comfort and cushioning than the Cascadia and the barely-there Pure Grit. The Cascadia is the Caldera‘s heavier, sturdier sister – a versatile shoe that’s great for more wild off road adventures. The Pure Grit is your lightweight, agile option, which comes up trumps on rugged, uneven ground – when detecting and protecting yourself from potential hazards underfoot is your first priority!
Caldera vs Peregrine: There’s no doubt the Caldera exceeded the Peregrine for cushioning and comfort on firmer surfaces. On the flatter routes, it felt great as the rocker profile rolled nicely through each step. The fit across the top of the foot also felt better, hugging the foot more securely than the Peregrine. The Peregrine however, felt better when the terrain got more testing. It’s more flexible and has a lower stack height than the Caldera, so felt better running uphill. It’s deeper lugs also gave it better traction on softer terrain.
So there you have it! Plenty of options to consider… To check out our full range of trail running shoes head online to the Off Road/Trail Shoes section or visit your nearest Run4It shop. Remember instore, we have our free +runlab video analysis and shoe fitting service. Just drop in and we’ll find the perfect shoe for you!