Brooks Cascadia 17 Review: Best Overall Trail Running Shoes

A mountain trail-running shoe, that combines the best stability, soft cushioning, excellent grip and foot protection.

By mattv


Key Details

Manufacturer: Brooks

Best for: Mountain trail running

Award: Best overall, best value

Price: $140.00

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Why Trust This Review?

I have thoroughly tested the new Brooks Cascadia 17 trail runners on hikes and trail runs in the Rocky Mountains for 140+ miles and 30,000+ feet of vertical. I have also tested the previous version, the Brooks Cascadia 16s for 160+ miles and 40,000+ feet of elevation gain. Testing was conducted over all types of terrain and trail conditions, including dry sand and dirt, rocky terrain, wet mud, ice, snow, and slush.  

Bottom Line / Conclusion

The Brooks Cascadia 17 is the best overall and best value trail running shoe at only $140. It provides ample protection like a hiking shoe yet is flexible and light enough to be used as an everyday trail runner. After testing 10+ top-quality trail running shoes, we crown the Brooks Cascadia as the best overall and most best value shoe.


Foot protection


Good traction

All-terrain stability

Waterproof version available


Color schemes - not terrible, but could be better

Brooks Cascadia 17 breathable trail running shoes

Testing Results and Analysis

After putting 140+ miles on my Cascadia 17s this August 2023, I feel confident in crowning them the best overall and most versatile trail running shoes for hiking and running.

No other shoe comes close to consistently delivering high scores for the key features we evaluate.

The Brooks Cascadia 17s are the best of the best trail running shoes. This is where they beat the competition:

  • Durability – Most durable trail runners I have tested (which is many)
  • Protection – Rock guard and toe cap keep your feet happy all day long
  • Breathability – Nicer fabric mesh in the updated 17s
  • All-terrain performance – Work in any terrain (mud, dirt, rock)
  • Quick-drying – Drain slits in the outsole prevent a wet squishy feeling and they dry fast
  • Traction – Rubber choice is durable and grippy in all conditions (wet, dry, snow/ice)
  • Stability – Perfect amount of flexibility to keep you grounded
  • Cushion – After 150+ miles they still feel new and supportive

If you want a better quality shoe for a much better price compared to the very popular Hoka Speedgoats, go for the Brooks Cascadia 17s. You will not be disappointed.

Comfort - 9/10

The perfect blend of support and cushion. A nice locked-in feel with just enough room in the toe box.

Foot Protection - 10/10

The rock plate and toe guard have saved my feet over hundreds of miles. Of all trail running shoes, the Brooks Cascadia 17s offer the best foot protection without compromising shoe flexibility.

Stability - 9/10

This shoe has the perfect balance between foot protection and cushion. The outsole and midsole bends just enough so that you can get a firm grip on uneven and diverse terrain.

Cushion - 9/10

The Brooks Cascadia 17 provides supportive cushioning that stays firm and supportive for 200+ miles of hiking or running. For context, I have found that most trail runners feel deflated after 100-150 miles. The combination of cushion and foot protection is best overall and prevents underfoot bruising.

Sensitivity - 10/10

Of all trail running shoes tested, only the Brooks Cascadia 17s and the Salomon S/Lab Ultra 3s demonstrate high sensitivity and control underfoot.

Traction - 10/10

The rubber used in these outsoles is very durable and long-lasting. The treads are super grippy in all conditions and terrain including mud, snow, ice, slush, wet surfaces, dry dirt, and rocks.

Breathability - 9/10

I have worn these in temperatures as high as 95F and have not experienced hot, sweaty feet. The mesh in the forefoot is quite airy. The Cascadia 17s show improvement with fabric mesh vs the Cascadia 16s which had a plastic-like mesh.

Quick-Dry - 8/10

I have completely submerged these trail running shoes on hikes and they drain and dry quite fast.

Durability - 10/10

Of all the premium trail running shoes I have tested, the Brooks Cascadia 17s are the most durable shoe you can get right now.

Value - 10/10

Given that these trail running shoes are top of their class for durability, comfort, stability, and grip in a variety of conditions and terrain, and are fairly priced, make them the winner for overall value.

Overall Score - 9.5/10

Brooks Cascadia 17 outsole treads lugs traction

Who Should Buy

These shoes are perfect for those who hike and run, looking for supportive cushion, the best foot protection, long-lasting durability, and grippy treads for all conditions. A great choice for the toughest and roughest terrain.

Where To Buy

Best Alternatives

The only other shoes that come close to the Brooks Cascadia 17 for quality and value are the Brooks Cascadia 16s, Brooks Catamount 2s, and the Salomon S/Lab Ultra 3s.

The Hoka Speedgoats might be the most popular trail running shoe today, but they do not measure up to the Brooks Cascadia 17s. The cushion and treads of the Speedgoats start to fail after 100 miles and are worn out by the 150-mile mark. This has been true for all three pairs I have tested. The cushion and treads of the Brooks Cascadia 17s look and feel practically new after 150-200 miles.