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Brooks Cascadia 12 GTX Trail Running Shoes

In 2017 I finally came across a hike where my running shoes were not optimal footwear: Table Mountain hike from the Artist Point parking lot. Problem #1: there was snow pack still which got my feet wet. Problem #2: further down the trail the terrain became very rocky and slippery and my running shoes weren’t grip-tastic enough. The rocks weren’t wet; they were flat, “slidey” rocks that seemed most happy trying to break my neck. My knees got weak and my palms AND feet started to sweat after a couple of slips. I turned around before I got to the top. So disappointing!

After that I bought some hiking shoes. I picked these because they were low-tops (I HATE high-top shoes), water-proof (Gore-Tex), and they felt pretty good on the fake rocks at REI. Unfortunately, I didn’t get to test them out in the 2017 hiking season. The school year started and once again I had no free time to wander through the woods.

This year however, I’ve used them twice. It’s not a lot yet but it was enough to see how they felt in the real world.

The first time I wore them while walking around on the rocks at Larabee State Park. It wasn’t super successful because I bought them with the idea of wearing thicker socks and that day I wore super thin low-rise socks. My feet slipped around in them. However, they had amazing grip on the rocks so I think they’ll work well on the same rocks with better socks next time.

But the second time I used them they were spectacular! We went to Mt. St. Helen’s and while there was a heat wave that made the idea of a serious hike unthinkable, they worked wonderfully for the 2+ mile hike we did on one of the little trails by Johnston Lookout. The trail was sandy in part, rocky in others, or just packed dirt. These shoes were amazing! I did stumble once and my ankle went all wobbly – I was fine – but I could see the benefit of high-tops at that moment. But I’ve just not found the right pair yet (seriously, high-tops feel like ankle prisons).

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