I felt like a teenager in these brand new, bright white shoes, treading softly so they wouldn’t get dirty. But they’re trail shoes and Brooks wants you to “paint” your new Catamounts with the earth. The bright white look is short-lived but the more important features of this new trail shoe are worth the stress of some dirty toe boxes.
The new Catamounts feature a nitrogen infused DNA Flash midsole (which can also be found in their Hyperion Tempo road shoes). What does this mean, exactly and why should you care? It’s lightweight and spring-y (i.e. fast!). Indeed, these shoes weigh in at only 8.8 oz for a women’s pair (9.3 oz for men’s) and just feel…light! They aren’t a minimal shoe, though. They have a 6mm drop, 3.5mm lugs, and a Ballistic Rock Shield, so there is plenty of protection underfoot. I’d recommend getting a few runs / some miles in them, as straight out of the box they’ll feel a bit rigid. I found they loosened up and found their flex points; some might conclude that they’re stiff and some might say they’re stable.
These shoes are anything but sloppy. They have a true-to-size fit and feel nice and locked down without feeling tight. I was initially apprehensive about the narrow-looking toebox, as I typically prefer to run in a wider one, but the lightweight materials was flexible and accommodating without feeling constricting or overly giving. With a suede internal reinforcement design and half-bootie tongue construction, your foot is secure. The laces are long enough for whatever your lacing preference and are plenty grippy; it’s always a real bummer to have to stop and re-tie due to slippery laces!
The Catamounts are incredibly breathable and also feature drainage slits for water to drain and feet to dry more quickly, which are paramount for those summer water crossings and fall/winter/spring rainy weather running.
The 3.5 mm lugs and TrailTack outsole felt far more grippy than my go-to trail shoes, which I loved. That is a constant complaint I have about my go-tos and often lack the confidence on quickly descending as a result. Given how lightweight and grippy the Catamounts are, it was a lot of fun to test out some good singletrack and get some speed on them. Because the lugs aren’t particularly big, anything super technical might not be a good fit, but it also means they are a great road-to-trail shoe.
Some miscellaneous features to mention are the toe bumper, Velcro gaiter trap in the back, and some fun graphics all over. One curious item to note is that I use an insole (prescribed by my physical therapist) and when I went to take out the Brooks insole, I found it was glued in and I had to sort of force it / rip it out. It didn’t take much and I didn’t ruin it, but just something to note if you also use anything special.
This is a solid trail shoe and I’m excited Brooks has added a really fast, lightweight option to their trial lineup.
Company: Brooks (Facebook | Instagram)
- Catamount Trail Running Shoes (Women’s | Men’s)
- Color: White with blue
- Price: $160
- Specs (from website):
- Support: Neutral
- Weight: 9.3oz / 263.7g
- Arch: Flat, Medium, High
- Ballistic Rock Shield + Mud Guard
- TrailTack rubber outsole
- DNA FLASH midsole
More about Brooks:
 Brooks begins in a small factory in Philadelphia that makes ballet slippers and bathing shoes. While we can’t take much credit for revolutionizing the ballet or bath shoe industries, we remain just as committed to specialized gear for a specialized activity.
It could be said that Brooks’ focus on running shoes actually began in 1972, when Yale graduate Frank Shorter won the Olympic marathon. Running suddenly captivates the world’s attention. Instead of making anything — from athletic shoes to combat boots — that would keep the factory turning, Brooks starts to think about limiting its focus.
 When you focus on what you do best, you do it even better. Brooks enters the new millennium focused on one thing: running.
We believe the run has the potential to be the most inclusive sport in the world. But there’s work to be done.
We are focused on making our business — which also happens to be our passion — more equitable by ensuring our workplace, our runners, and our outreach reflect the running communities we hope to see in the world.
Thank you to Brooks for providing us with samples. Please read our transparency page for info on how we do our reviews.