Brooks Caldera 5 Trail Shoe
Brooks Caldera 5
For full disclosure I purchased these shoes back from Brooks for the Rompin Rockwood Trail race, they were not provided free from Brooks.
Reviewer – Garth Millar
Longest Run – 25k
Mileage of Shoes at time of writing – 150k
Stack Height - 33mm (Heel) - 29mm (Forefoot)
Drop – 4mm
Blisters or rubbing caused by shoe – zero
Style – Neutral
Sizing – my size 13 was a true fit
Out of the Box
On first sight these shoes may seem a little ungainly as the upper of the shoe sits on an enormous bed of cushioning and as these were my first ever trail specific shoes, I was eager to see how they performed on the trails. If you like the cushioning in a Hoka you will love these shoes.
It took my feet a few runs to grow accustomed to the shoes due to the nature of my runs on single track. Over rocks and tree roots my feet were moving around in the shoe much more than my usual road shoes, but importantly they didn’t cause any blisters or discomfort.
To give an idea of the terrain that I covered in these shoes I ran a full 25k lap of Rompin Rockwood, all the side trails at the Irving Nature Park, Shady Grove and out and back on the Zoo Trail in Rockwood Park.
These are not speed shoes, I wanted shoes that were built like a tank to absorb all the tree roots, rocks and terrain that Rockwood Park could throw at me and the shoe passed with flying colours. While they look bulky I had no issues picking my feet up in them over 25 tough kms in Rockwood Park.
Grip – Brooks TrailTrak outsole is grippy and sticky and handles anything I threw at them in Rockwood Park including trails such as Rockpile, Skywalker, Moose Trax and others. The lugs on the sole provided excellent traction and I never once slipped or felt like I was going to lose my footing over any type of terrain and there is zero wear on the sole of the shoe.
The Caldera does not have a Rock Plate as the cushioning is so thick, as Brooks correctly felt that it wasn’t needed due to the maximum cushioning and huge stack height of the shoe. I could stand on a tree root and not really feel it through the sole of the shoe.
The only negative thing I have to say is that I did feel that my feet collapsed in a little as I ran so perhaps a stiffer upper for me in the shoe would have been beneficial, or a little more support under my arch, but this is not enough to prevent me from recommending these shoes.
The Brooks Caldera 5 not only is a great trail shoe it will be a fantastic winter shoe in slushy, snowy, wet conditions due to its huge stack height and amazing grip, keeping your foot dry through puddles and standing water. The shoes were still going strong when my legs were trashed.
Would I purchase another pair – Yes, but I think with the tread and cushioning in this pair they will last me a long time.