The eagerly awaited Brooks Catamount trail shoe is finally here.
Taking inspiration from races such as UTMB and Western States, Brooks set out to design a shoe that can help runners cover long distances off-road at speed and endure the toughest tests. A catamount is a wild mountain cat and it seems a fitting name for a shoe that is designed to take on such feats.
Let’s talk about the elephant in the room first – a white trail shoe? It would be natural to think that making a trail shoe white is nothing but sheer madness. However, the thought process behind this is inspired and one which challenges the normal concept of upper design.
Most runners first concern and comments will be that the upper will get dirty. This is in fact the whole point. Discolouration will show off where you have run and what adventures you have been on. A very nice detail on the upper includes a section called “My Crew”. Runners can write the names of their support crew on the upper.
Community, comradery and a sense of accomplishment play an important part in trail running and ultras. It’s great to see Brooks embracing this culture with a design inspired by the key factors that make so many people participate in the sport.
For those who do want to keep the shoe looking fresh, the Brooks logo can be wiped clean.
What key features does the Brooks Catamount have?
Light, responsive cushioning
Designed to help runners who want to go fast and far, new DNA FLASH cushioning is created by infusing their signature cushioning with nitrogen. This creates an incredibly lightweight midsole that is very springy. The increased energy return from the cushioning should help make running up and down hills easier. A key athlete request was to have cushioning which is lightweight and responsive for longer distances. They also wanted good forefoot cushioning and rock protection.
To increase protection and dampen the effects of harsh rocky terrain, a Ballistic Rock Shield is incorporated into the midsole. This stops any sharp objects like rocks and tree roots sticking into the foot. The thin warpknit mesh upper has a thin TPU mudguard that wraps around it to add more protection.
Design that considers every detail
Everything about the upper and fit have been carefully considered to accommodate the needs of long-distance trail runners. The midfoot is designed to hold the foot to add support and improve stability on uneven terrain. A half-bootie tongue construction has synthetic suede internal reinforcement to further enhance comfort and support. The forefoot has been left more specious to help improve performance when feet swell over long distances. Drainage slits have also been incorporated to prevent the shoe from becoming water-logged.
Traction you can trust
Traction that you can trust comes in the form of Brooks’ TrailTack sticky rubber outsole. This sticky rubber is combined with high surface area lugs to provide great grip on a wide variety of terrain, including wet rock. There isn’t a single off-road shoe that is supreme on every surface. However, some can perform better on a wider range than others. The Brooks Catamount is a trail shoe suited to a lot of terrain changes and is designed to cope with the demands of ultra-races which usually cover multiple surface types.
When and where would you use the Brooks Catamount?
The Brooks Catamount is perfect for trail runners who want to take their performance to the next level in trail races, no matter the distance. We’ve seen the significant evolution of high-performance road shoes with energy saving midsoles and carbon plates. Off-road racing is getting more competitive every season and the speed that athletes are covering huge distances on demanding terrain is staggering. It’s only right that the off-road offering starts to match that of the road shoes. Runners should be confident that they can tackle races ranging from 50km to 100+miles without worrying if their shoes can stand up to the test, the Catamount is designed to disperse everything.
The high-energy returning DNA FLASH midsole means this should be used for races and trail runs when speed is the focus. When races such as UTMB have played a part in the design inspiration, you know it’s going to stand up to the most extreme tests. DNA FLASH cushioning provides great comfort for long days out.
Running on hard-packed trails and even sections of road are well within the realms of what this shoe is capable of covering as a result of the cushioning and versatile outsole design. The high-surface area lugs will prevent slipping on flatter surfaces, like wet rock, and will also provide traction on loose and steeper terrain. It really is designed to be used on all types of trail.
The men’s weigh 272g and the women’s weigh 249g. This is light for a trail shoe that has this level of cushioning. Trail outsoles are heavier than road ones and rock plates add additional weight.
A 26mm heel and 20mm forefoot means the Catamount has a 6mm drop. The stack height and drop have been carefully considered to optimise performance over long distances and tough terrain. Athletes fed back that this height of drop was needed.
In terms of durability, the Catamount is designed to deliver race day performance and this means it should be used when you’re looking for an edge. It’s not an everyday training shoe. It won’t provide the same level of durability as something like a Brooks Cascadia which is more suitable for daily training. The Catamount will last around 300+ miles or for 1x100mile race.
Conquer the toughest tests in the Brooks Catamount
Every aspect of the Catamount has been designed with exceptional attention to detail. Brooks have created a high-performance trail shoe that’s perfectly constructed to help ambitious trail runners accomplish the toughest tests in comfort and at speed.
Everyone loves wearing a race finishers t-shirt, why not wear your race on your shoes too?