Brooks Caldera 2 trail running review by Mayayo. Long distance trail running shoes, by Brooks Running.
Brooks Caldera 2 moves on as a comfortable long distance trail runing shos. The Caldera shoe came out last year as a new addition among the Brooks Running trail catalogue, coming together with Brooks Cascadia, Brooks Mazama and Brooks Pure Grit. These brand new Brooks Caldera 2 comes with just a few changes on the upper, yet keeping up the arguably weak sole from the first version
They were designed as easy rollers for non-technical long distance trail, thus logically completing the range, with the Cascadia as brand choice for technical terrain, the Pure Grit for rolling light and agile with good technique, plus the Mazama to run light and fast in just about any conditions. Here we see Brooks Caldera technical analysis and differences with his sisters.
BROOKS CALDERA 2 REVIEW BY MAYAYO @moxigeno
The Brooks Cascadia saga was for years the flagship for Brooks trail running, but nowadays the brand´s catalogue is far wider. Since the birth of the first Cascadia in a now classic case of joint development with Scott Jurek until the recent Brooks Cascadia 12 for 2017, iis role went through an expansion and progressive redesign of its range.
Brooks trail extension: Cascadia, Pure Grit, Mazama and Caldera. After the Brooks Cascadia achieved great success on the trails, there followed a “minimalist” Pure Grit that is nowadays on its sixth version. Nice and logical addition to the Cascadia it was, which where then progresively aimed that at long distance running onr more delicate terrain, whereas the Puregrit were the brand´s choice to roll light and agile in the easy ones. Then came in 2016 the Brooks Mazama, born to race fast on somewhat more technical ground. And now on 2017 we complete the picture with these new Brooks Caldera who want to be that soft and comfortable sneaker to savour any smooth rolling ultra trail, something similar to what in its time was the first Cascadia. Here you can see the four sisters face to face, as their respectives roles may not be that clearly understood for one without the others.
Main technical elements Brooks Caldera: The key numbers reveal a logical design for the above mentioned purpose, with solid development work behind from the beginning and just a few monit tweaks on the upper for this second version. It weighs only 290 grams, with a 4mm drop on top of a sole width of 11.3cm at the forrefoot and 8.5 at the heel. As we see, same drop and (almost) weight as the Pure Grit, lighter and closer to the ground than the Cascadia, while wider ahead than Mazama to give more cushioning and stability.
¿How does it manage rocky descents or technical trails? Well enough, thank you. Over our first 100k together, we took them out on the granite and snowy trails, from the central spain Guadarrama mountains to the Pyreneees. Grip is reliable enough, except on wet rock. Protection is good. Therefore, you feel inclined to let go on rocky, dry descents, just as if you were running with more technical shoes as you may see below.
All together this is, a versatile shoe for the middle of the pack “ultrero” that does not thrive among ridges, marshes, snow fields or otherwise highly technical terrain and the high mountains. If we go into the details of each piece, we see a combination of usual elements of Brooks trail running used in the same way, while alternating with new developments looking for that different point that makes the Caldera a convenient solution among the Brooks catalogue to races such as Leadville 100 Miles, Western Staates, 101k Ronda, Oxfam Trail Walker. Hong Kong 100… You may even consider it as the shoe of choice, provided you have a nice balance and technique, together with dry weather conditions to tackle a bit more technical ultras like Transgrancanaria, Ultra Trail Mont Blanc, Transvulcania and so on.
CONCLUSION: This second iteraction is still good news for the brand, from a technical rview side, yet it might have been better. Sure it consolidates Caldera as solid option to choose from, yet the issue with the sole durability in the first version does not seem to have been adressed. At New Balance they went for Vibram soles, thus ensuring top grip and durability on their Hierro V2. Hope Brooks may consider such a move as well in the future for a well rounded shoe in just about any other aspects that may b far btter for the third iteraction. Meanwhile, we will keep you posted right here as w take them on long runs to validate the Caldera 2 over the long run.
BROOKS CALDERA ALTERNATIVES.
ALTRA LONE PEAK: Similar weight, cushioning and comfy feeling, yet with the zerop drop and wide toe box as key differences.
BROOKS ADRENALINE GTS 18: Great choice f you run long distance on road and easy trails both, and are in need of some stability support. The “trail” version by Brooks does not really add much, rather than a bit more weight.
NEW BALANCE FRESH FOAM HIERRO V2: Great all round trail shoes, comfy yet realiable on technical streches. Biggest advantage lies on its Vibram sole, way superior to Brooks rubber.
TRAIL RUNNING SHOES BY BROOKS, PHOTOGALLERY 2010-2017
Evolution and present models by Mayayo @moxigeno
MORE TRAIL RUNNING REVIEWS AND INFO ON SPAIN RUNNERS & RACES.
- Our best trail running reviews for selected gear.
- Our video collection with runners interviews, races and more.
- More about trail running in Spain 2015 here.