Brooks has been cranking out some really solid trail shoes lately. The updates to the Cascadia lineup this year were so solid, the new low-cost Divide is hitting the market, and now we get the Caldera 4 update. Boasting more cushion than the others and a bit wider stance, this update appears to continue the trend… the question now is how do you choose just one.
Quick Details, Specs, and Availability
- Innocent looking, but a potential trail game changer for Brooks
- Weigh in at 10oz or 283g for a US Men’s 9
- Has plenty of cushion and a 4mm heel/toe drop
- Retails at $140.00 USD and comes in 2 colors for Men and Women
The Caldera 4 is, in a word, unassuming. It looks really innocuous when you first put it on from Brooks’ color choices to the overall styling. Right away we can safely say you should not let this full you. These are highly capable trail shoes, no question about it, and will give the Cascadia a run for the money when it comes to distance.
The first thing one will notice is that midsole, the full-length BioMoGo DNA is ultra-plush, and the nice stack height they have provided means it will eat up debris on the trail and go easy on the legs at distance. You cannot expect a high level of responsive performance from this however as they are designed to just be cushioned and are not about acceleration. The stance feels a bit wider than before as well which means increased stability during your run.
View this post on Instagram
The upper is also highly durable with that mesh providing breathability and support across the mid of the foot. They have included nice little features as well like a gaiter tab and a lace keeper as well. So far it has held up well to most of the debris we have taken it through.
For us, this is an easy choice for distance trail runs and the Caldera is definitely our pick over the Cascadia. The Cascadia has always been designed for quickness and nimbleness, but this has made them a little more stiff and less flexible. For shorter runs that works great, but for longer, we will take the Caldera.
The Caldera 4 uses a highly durable engineered mesh with some protective overlays across the toe box and then additional support overlays along the midfoot and heel provide side to side stability and prevent sloppiness. They also feature an integrated gaiter tab on the heel as well as a heel pull and have a simple lace keeper that sits at the center of the lace box.
The midsole on the Caldera 4 uses their BioMoGo DNA and a ton of it. If we didn’t know this was a Brooks shoe, we might think it was a Hoka honestly. This additional cushion absorbs more of what the trail can throw at it while also providing a plush experience for longer runs. It also works directly with the redesigned outsole grooves to supposedly adapt to varying terrain.
The outsole on the Caldera 4 uses their TrailTack sticky rubber outsole which really grips in both wet and dry weather. The multi-directional lugs and wider base do a great job on ascents and designs.
Style & Aesthetics
Again, the Caldera 4 feels remarkably innocent. The 2 male colors are muted and the 3 women’s options are the same with one exception and that one just crushes. So if we make any plea with Brooks, it would be to bring some of those colorways from the Cascadia and apply them here. Even the Caldera 3 had a little more pop.
The Brooks Caldera 4 is yet another solid update across the Brooks lineup this year. While the Cascadia has always been successful, all other models have been hit or miss, but the Caldera 4 firmly plants a foothold boasting more cushion, wider toebox, and solid traction at distance. The little extra features like a gaiter attachment or the lace keeper are just icing on the cake. So here is your answer to the question of which one… get the Cascadia for speed and the Caldera for distance. We are finding ourselves leaning more and more to the Caldera though.
Check Out Other Reviewers Thoughts
As always, we gather together some of our favorite reviewers so you can get a well-rounded view of the shoe. Here are our favorites.