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1 Prospect Court
The Broadway
Farnham Common
Bucks SL2 3QQ
01753 647339
Unit 1, Prospect Court, The Broadway, Farnham Common, Bucks SL2 3QQ - Telephone: 01753 647339

Brooks Caldera Review

I had been looking forward to these shoes arriving with us as I had tried on the sample pair in pre-production and loved the initial feel.
For me these should be an ideal shoe as I am training for a trail ultramarathon in 2017 so for the training, and possibly the race as well, I think I have my shoe for my requirements.
What makes it ideal for me is it is a trail shoe with extra cushioning; Brooks have used BioMogo DNA midsole cushioning, the same used in their road shoes, but a level up for trail shoes: 25mm forefoot, 21mm heel stack height (quite a lot for a trail shoe, especially in the forefoot) for a 4mm heel-to-toe offset for a natural running style, which again suits me. Potentially not good if you suffer with Achilles or calf strains.

It seems to have been modelled on the Hoka, which is a maximal shoe as far as cushioning goes, but for some Hoka runners there is simply too much cushioning (typically 29/24mm), and some reports of instability on uneven surfaces. This Brooks Caldera seems to be a happy medium of offering superior cushioning for a trail shoe, but not as much that you are too far removed off the ground.
Trail shoes often reduce their cushioning levels as you are more than likely running on softer surfaces with a bit of road or firmer trail surfaces at times. This shoe feels like a road shoe cushioning-wise (soft & spongy) but decent enough tread for trails. They feel good enough even for walking long distances and wearing all day if necessary. If your requirements are more aggressive tread for scaling fells up north, then this shoe wouldn’t cope as well as other trail shoes; but for some road, trails, some mud, they cope just fine. The grip would probably wear down quicker if used mostly on roads, so a mixture is ideal.

Despite the extra cushioning I still found the shoe to be sufficiently responsive. Sometimes too much cushioning becomes like running in treacle, but so far am finding this not to be the case. Not done too many long runs in them yet, but as and when I do I expect the extra cushioning to work well and provide superb protection. The sticky rubber outsole and the lugs allow the shoe to flex but still with plenty of ground contact. Some shoes with extra grip don’t have as much rubber contact with the ground, so on roads it can be unstable.
The gusseted tongue does more than help to keep debris out, I found it wrapped nicely around the top of my foot offering a comfortable, snug and supportive fit for my foot. Especially great for uneven surfaces.  Not waterproof but is breathable and will let water out if it gets in. There is a small Velcro tab on the back heel to accommodate a gaiter around the ankle, but depends on your style of gaiter as to whether it can be looped through this tab. Mine can't.
Only done a couple of runs in these shoes but can see these becoming a shoe I use regularly, particularly on longer runs/events. 
I initially found the heel to slip slightly, don’t usually suffer with this, but a tightening of the laces and adopted the Butterfly Lacing technique sorted this out for me. I don’t have wide feet and found these shoes just right for me. Possibly wide enough if a bit of width is needed but maybe not wide enough for seriously wide feet. Sizing seems to be a true size for Brooks.
In short, a comfortable, low drop, all-round cushioned trail shoe and at 280g not overweight relative to the cushioning levels for just about all surfaces.
Pros - Cushioning, Comfort, All-round capabilities
Cons - Slightly loose fitting heel, potentially too low heel drop

UPDATE: Ran the Thames Path 100 mile race using these shoes, worked so well for me I didn't change to other shoes. Read my race report here
Now approaching 1000km in them and still a bit of life in them. Lasting well for me

16th January 2019  Sable
Are there races in November or December 2019 in Europe?
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