Brooks is back at it again trying to bring a trail shoe to the lower end of the market with the updated Divide 2. The initial Divide was a cost-effective decently cushioned trail shoe that became a real entry point for many runners who had debated having a trail specific shoe. The Divide 2 builds on that offering even more updates, while still staying low priced and entry-level. For us, the big question is why not just make the financial jump and be in a better trail shoe like the Caldera or Cascadia, but read on to find out if the Divide 2 actually is about more than just a low cost.
Quick Details, Specs, and Availability
- Lower cost entry-level road to trail shoe with solid cushion, protection, and runability.
- Weighs in at 10.3oz or 292g for a US Men’s 9, 9.2oz or 261g for a US Women’s 7.
- Features 25mm of cushion, a lightweight rock plate, and has an 8mm heel/toe drop.
- Retails at $100.00 USD and comes in 2 colors for Men and Women.
The initial Divide was one of the first cost-effective yet still well-cushioned trail shoes you could find. It was a perfect way for traditional road runners to add a trail shoe to their lineup for a minimal cost and still see a decent level of performance. It was not meant for huge long runs but was an easy throw-on shoe with limited frills. For lack of a better word, it was practical. The Divide 2 gets a few upgrades and starts to feel more like the Caldera 4 from last year but still stays true to its roots as a low cost trail runner.
The way Brooks goes about keeping the Divide 2 cost-effective is by treating it more like a road shoe and that is especially noticeable in the upper. It features a breathable mesh and fits very much like a road shoe, but of course, has additional overlays for protection. The heel does a very good job locking you in and they have also added stability elements at the mid-foot for side to side which is obviously more important on trails when you’re navigating difficult terrain. The midsole uses their BioMoGo DNA as well as a rock plate which does a good job of eating up most of what you will find on the trail and honestly feels a lot like the Caldera 4 in terms of general cushioning. It finishes with the exact same outsole as their other trail shoes using their patented Trail Tack sticky rubber which grips phenomenally well on almost all terrain.
As we mentioned above, the easiest word to describe the Divide 2 is “practical”. It is a very simple shoe in many ways that has been made to be accessible for the road market. When you put it on your foot, it feels like other road shoes you have worn before, but and then there is that little extra which allows you to get out on the trails and this combination makes it a great transitional runner as well. You can easily wear these on the road and transition straight into the trails with limited difficulty. And it all works well and that lightweight rock plate does a good job of keeping you fully protected. It is not the nimblest of shoes so it is not meant to be worn in highly technical environments and the lugs, on the whole, are not super aggressive so when it starts to get really messy out there, there’s going to be better choices and this is something we saw on the Caldera 5 as well.
The real question of the hour is why not just go with the Caldera or maybe even the Cascadia instead of the Divide 2 and the answer to that lies really in cost and cushioning. The Divide 2 actually sits between the other two shoes from a cushioning perspective so while it is cost-effective it fits neatly between the two. Personally, our love for the Caldera 5 when it came to distance will outweigh any of that and we would step up if the cost is not an issue for you. Similarly, if you wanted something more technical, then we would drop down to the Cascadia as it will allow for a faster firmer experience. If you just want something to throw on and the cost is an issue, then the Divide 2 is a great gateway shoe to introduce you to trail running.
Brooks intentionally designed the upper of the Divide 2 to act as a road shoe. It features a breathable air mesh with some protective overlays. It has a nice secure heel that is moderately padded and a fairly rigid heel counter. They have also done a good job with stability elements at the midfoot which does help with any over-rotation when trails get a little more technical.
The Divide 2 uses Brooks BioMoGo DNA which as we have said before sits on the softer side and there is a decent amount of it here. Brooks has also added a light rock plate which will go further in protecting your foot from anything that does make it through that midsole material. They did flare the forefoot a bit which allows for a slightly wider landing area and also goes further in helping with stability on the trail. Definitely note this should not be viewed as a performance shoe as you won’t get that level of responsiveness from it.
Brooks has done a solid job with the outsole using their same Trail Tack sticky rubber which does have a ton of grip. There are multi-directional lugs as well as a heel channel for dispersing water and debris. The lugs aren’t huge, but ample for normal trail conditions.
Style & Aesthetics
Styling on here really fits the word we have used repeatedly, “practical”. The men’s versions come in white or black iterations and the women’s is very similar, but they get a nice splash of color (yes pink). Would have loved to see more diversity here in the color options, the Cascadias for instance have always been really successful in this regard.
The Brooks Divide 2 is a solid entry-level shoe for those interested in tackling the trails for the first time. It is not necessarily a super fun or responsive shoe, but for first-timers to the trail it will offer a welcome variation from their traditional road shoe without deviating too far from what they are used to. At the $100 price point it is hard to beat, but if you have the cash then the Caldera 5 is definitely a better shoe overall in terms of comfort and the Cascadia is better for firmer faster runners. If you are just getting into trails, then it’s worth a look.
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.