Gear Pick: Brooks Cascadia 7

by Curtis Wackerle, Time Out Staff Writer
The foot is not symmetrical, so why are so many shoes designed that way?

Seriously, having the laces running in a straight line down the middle of an undulating and double-fall-line foot makes no sense. This is especially the case for distance or trail running shoes, which of all styles of footwear, we ask the most out of.

The Brooks Cascadia 7 has nailed the concept of the asymmetrical foot, with a curved alignment to the laces and off-kilter loops. The shoe's "upper" — referring to the top section with the laces — wraps the foot like a wet towel in lightweight, breathable mesh. It's got strong construction in the toepiece to protect your little piglets in rough terrain and body armor around the heel to keep you in place. It all ads up to foot security and a more comfortable ride than the Cascadia 6s I upgraded from.

The Brooks marketing department is touting this as the ultimate trail running shoe, which it may be, but of course the name of the game in Aspen jogging (or is it “yogging?”) is versatility. You need something that feels light and fast on the Garmisch Street pavement, but can transition seamlessly to the Ajax Trail, keeping you on track through lose gravel and rock hopping. The Cascadia strikes the balance well — not too heavy, not too light.

A word about replacing running shoes. My last pair was the first I had ever put serious mileage on. I had heard that running shoes should be replaced as often as every six months, which sounds ridiculous. I kept 'em for two years. By the end, I couldn't make it to the Aspen Club without painful rubbing on the side of my pinky toe. What is truly the right amount of time to keep a shoe is still a mystery to me, but I can say with confidence that the toe rubbing is gone with the new pair.

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Brooks Cascadia 7