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A New Trail Favorite: The Brooks Catamount Trail Shoe

I have fallen madly in love. In August, I had the privilege of heading to Snoqualamie, WA for the 1st Annual Brooks Trail Summit and that’s where it happened. I approached the Brooks tent to check out the trail shoes, and there they were – the Brooks Catamount.

These trail shoes looked different than any other pair of trail shoes I’d ever had in my closet. They were lightweight, with no heavy-duty “monster teeth” on the soles like many trail shoes employ to hug the roots and rocks. No huge, thick tread and hefty-looking turnover. And dare I say they were – well, cute. That’s not the thing I look for or need in functional trail shoes, but it certainly is an added bonus. Here are all of the reasons you, also, can fall in love with the Catamounts.

Looks

First off, the colors of these shoes are amazing. I received mine in the color combo called “Blue/Nightlife/Biscuit” though the original ones I tried on at the Trail Summit were the “Deep Cobalt/Diva Pink/Oyster Mushroom.” These kicks look as much like a fashionable pair of street shoes as anything you’d wear on the trails. They come in 6 color combos in all and if you pay close attention, you’ll see the outline of the Western States 100 profile weaved into the Brooks logo on the side as well as on the bottom tucked into the tread. What a fantastic tribute to a monumental race!!

brooks catamount

Function

These shoes are considered best for trail racing, especially “Ultra” trail, as they have ultralight cushioning. These are also considered a “speed” shoe for similar reasons, as you’ll never feel more like you’re gliding over trails than you will with these on your feet. The tread is excellent for traction control and protection against roots and rocks and any of the typical things you’ll find in a trail scramble.  One of the features listed for these on the website is “sticky traction” which is always a good thing when you’re climbing a mountain.

I also learned at the trail summit that there’s a little tab on the heel on these trail shoes that velcros over so you can attach foot gaiters to them. I don’t know if all trail shoes have these, but I will certainly be more aware of this feature from now on.

brooks catamount7Construction

This is again maybe because these trail shoes are a bit lighter than most, but they offer flexible protection. The Catamount are meant to feel like an extension of your own feet, which means gripping the ground through all the twists and turns of your journey. Though I wouldn’t go so far as to recommend the “barefoot running” movement to anyone without warning them against injury, there are definite benefits in feeling what you’re up against out in the woods and using your feet to follow the natural flow of the ground. Though these will definitely protect your feet, they won’t feel stiff and rigid, which could translate to less tripping hazards.

brooks catamount3

Fit

These are a neutral support shoe. In my opinion, the fit is a pretty standard one for most types, but of course there is no one shoe that is perfect for everyone every time. I always recommend people try out a shoe on roads or trails for a short distance before committing to a longer run, and I would do the same with these. Since these are marketed to be more of a “speed” trail shoe, they may not be the best option for everyone. That being said, I am certainly NOT a speedy runner, ESPECIALLY on trails, and I personally still love the fit and feel of these.

Overall/For Consideration

The Catamount is the fastest trail shoe Brooks makes, and that’s evident the first time you see this beautiful pair. Despite being lighter than many other trail shoes, the cushioning is responsive and springy, and the durability is evident. So feel free to take these out for 10 miles or 100 miles and you’ll be covered. In style.

 

Brooks Running

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Products & Price:
  • Catamount | $160
    • Weight: 8.8 oz
    • Ultralight cushioning
    • Sticky traction
    • Flexible protection

Thank you to Brooks for providing us with test trail shoes. Please read our transparency page for info on how we do our reviews.

About Author

I'm the owner of Healthy Girl Fitness and I'm a personal trainer, certified AFAA group exercise instructor, and an RRCA certified running coach in SW Portland. I am also the mother of two young boys and am on the board at my youngest son's school. I led a relatively inactive life throughout my 20's until I discovered the world of fitness and running. I ran my first marathon in 2006 and haven't looked back since.

1 Comment

  • Deb B.
    November 6, 2022 at 1:16 AM

    Hey Nikki, Altra brand trail shoes have a similar covered Velcro tab on the back which they call the “gaiter trap.”

    Reply

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