Brooks Catamount 3 VS Cascadia 17: What Should I Buy?

If you’re an avid trail runner looking for your next pair of shoes to conquer dirt paths and rocky terrain, the Brooks Catamount 3 and Brooks Cascadia 17 are two of the latest and greatest options on the market.

Both shoes provide cushioning and grip to handle miles on the trails, but they have key differences when it comes to weight, flexibility, cushioning and intended use.

This in-depth comparison breaks down the specs, features and real-world performance of the Catamount 3 versus the Cascadia 17 so you can decide which model is the best fit for your running needs. Read on to see how they stack up!

Similarities And Differences Between Brooks Catamount 3 and Cascadia 17:

FeatureBrooks Catamount 3Brooks Cascadia 17
Launched In20242023
StabilityNeutralVery stable
FlexibilityModerateRigid
SizingStandardStandard
WeightLightweight (8.2oz for men’s size 9)11.3 oz (men’s), 9.9 oz (women’s)
CushioningModerateMedium
OutsoleSustainable rubber formulaTrailTack Green Rubber
MidsoleNitrogen-infused foamDNA LOFT v2
UpperSingle layer meshMesh
Retail Price$170$140

Features Comparison:

Materials:

The Catamount 3 utilizes a nitrogen-infused EVA foam for its full-length midsole, allowing for soft yet responsive cushioning underfoot. The single layer mesh upper creates a lightweight, breathable fit that keeps the foot cool.

It also has a grippy rubber outsole made from environmentally-friendly materials for traction on dirt trails without excessive wear. At only 8.2oz, the Catamount 3’s modern materials provide an agile and fast feel.

BROOKS CATAMOUNT 3
CATAMOUNT 3

BROOKS CASCADIA 17
CASCADIA 17

The Cascadia 17 employs a thick DNA LOFT v2 midsole compound that gives soft cushioning and impressive shock absorption mile after mile. In the upper, a multilayer mesh wraps the foot in ventilation and moderate flexibility.

For the high-wear outsole, durable TrailTack Green Rubber covers high impact zones for wet/dry traction without quick breakdown. The rugged materials make the Cascadia 17 protective and able to withstand extremely rocky, technical trails.

Durability:

The Catamount 3 incorporates long-lasting midsole foams and outsole rubber that maintain their springy and grippy characteristics without packing down over time, as verified through tester experiences of up to 200 miles. The upper mesh also resists tearing or breakdown through extended sweat, dirt and rock exposure during intense trail running.

With trail-specific protection like a reinforced toe bumper and rugged TrailTack rubber coverage in the outsole, the Cascadia 17 is able to resist damage when kicking rocks or roots alongtechnical mountain trails after hundreds of abrasive miles. The DNA LOFT cushioning also retains its lively softness thanks to use of durable foam that avoids midsole breakdown.

Fit:

The Catamount 3 runs true to size for most in a standard medium width according to wear-testers. The foot-hugging upper mesh adapts smoothly to the runner’s foot shape while allowing toes to splay naturally, though high volume feet may find it slightly snug in the forefoot and midfoot zones. The secure midfoot cage locks down over the arch without irritating rubbing.

BROOKS CATAMOUNT 3 TOP VIEW
CATAMOUNT 3 TOP VIEW

BROOKS CASCADIA TOP VIEW
CASCADIA TOP VIEW

The Cascadia 17 fits accurately for the majority of testers at their standard shoe length. Brooks employed a roomier forefoot design that offers enough wiggle space for slight swelling or wider feet while still securing over the midfoot sufficiently, aided by the padded tongue and ankle collar. The multilayer mesh upper molds comfortably around the foot.

Stability:

As a neutral shoe, the Catamount 3 gives just moderate stability for most runners thanks to the balanced midsole design. It lacks features to correct pronation or overpronation.

With its supportive DNA LOFT midsole and structured TrailTack outsole, the Cascadia 17 provides very impressive stability for overpronators or trail runners who need to combat uneven terrain.

Cushioning:

The Catamount 3 gives runners close-to-ground cushioning without feeling overly squishy or dull underfoot. The low-profile midsole and flexible design provide enough comfort for long days.

Runners praise the Cascadia 17’s DNA LOFT foam for providing excellent cushioning, shock absorption and energy return mile after mile. The thick midsole absorbs impact well.

Value for Money:

The Brooks Catamount 3 offers excellent value at its $170 price point. The durable Ballistic Rock Shield technology and responsive DNA LOFT v3 cushioning create a trail shoe that can handle tough terrain while still providing a smooth, well-cushioned ride. For the price, you get a highly capable shoe that strikes an impressive balance of traction, protection, cushioning and lightweight performance.

Similarly, the Brooks Cascadia 17 delivers outstanding value at its $140 price point. The durable materials and rugged traction outsole make the Cascadia an exceptional workhorse shoe that can log hundreds of miles on the trail.

Runners report the Cascadia 17 outlasting other shoes in its class thanks to its sturdy construction. For the price, you get a highly durable, grippy trail running shoe ideal for regular training and high mileage.

In summary, both the Catamount 3 and Cascadia 17 provide excellent value by delivering impressive performance, durability and key running shoe attributes at reasonable price points.

The Catamount 3 justifies its slightly higher price with premium details and a responsive, well-balanced ride. But the Cascadia 17 remains a standout for everyday trail running at an approachable cost.

Performance Comparision:

Walking:

The Catamount 3’s moderate cushioning gives enough responsive softness underfoot to make walking comfortable without feeling overly squishy or unstable.

The full ground contact outsole also ensures secure footing on dirt paths and rocky trails during light hiking, with grip that inspires confidence on downhill sections.

The substantial cushioning of the Cascadia 17 absorbs impact very well during walking, almost giving the plush feeling of a dedicated hiking shoe or casual sneaker.

Yet the TrailTack rubber outsole still provides plenty of trail shoe traction even with the thick cushioning. The stability works well for keeping feet happy when wearing a backpack.

Running:

Exceptionally lightweight at just 8.2oz, the Catamount 3 provides an ideal balance of flexibility, ground-feel and protection to handle ultra trail distances up to 100K, fell running through muddy bogs or regular training on rooty singletrack. The moderate cushioning softens hard rock impacts while the grippy sustainable rubber outsole digs into dirt for traction on rapid ascents or descents.

The Cascadia 17 remains a go-to for many trail runners thanks to its rugged build that can muscle through thick mud, splashy creek crossings and loosely rocky terrain in stride.

The 11oz weight gives a substantial feel but pays dividends by providing excellent lateral stability and multidirectional traction across uneven ground littered with loose scree or tree roots. It’s a burly workhorse.

Plantar Fasciitis:

The Catamount 3’s responsive cushioning gives just enough arch support for preventing plantar fasciitis flares in many wearers by gently supporting the foot, without excessive squishy cushion that could potentially make pain worse during longer multi-hour runs. However, runners with severe or chronic cases may still require more substantial stability features.

The structured sculpted arch support built organically into the Cascadia 17’s midsole works well to ease plantar fasciitis in testers by taking pressure off and limiting the strain on the plantar fascia ligament, even when carrying packs or walking on cambered trails. Deep flex grooves also help flow with the foot’s natural movement.

Standing All Day:

The Catamount 3’s moderate EVA and nitrogen foam cushioning ensures feet stay comfortable when wearing the shoes for extended periods of standing or walking around town, though some wearers report after extremely long multi-hour shifts, the minimalist trail running feel may not provide quite enough continuous underfoot plushness or arch support.

The Cascadia 17’s DNA LOFT cushioning technology and structured midsole give excellent all-day cushioned comfort and support for prolonged standing or walking without excessively fatiguing the feet, even for those with higher arches. Testers praise their performance as nurses’ shoes.

Final Verdict:

The Brooks Catamount 3 takes the lead if you prioritize lightweight comfort for gobbling up trail miles at faster paces across steep, rocky, loose terrain often found in ultramarathon routes.

Weighing over 3 ounces less than the Cascadia, the Catamount provides close-to-ground flexibility to dance over technical trails and just enough responsive cushioning to keep feet happier over 50-100K distances.


But the Brooks Cascadia 17 is preferential if you need maximum stability and durability without sacrificing plush cushioning in order to take on the most rugged mountain terrain confidently during anything from rocky ridgeline trail marathons to daily off-road training over muddy, sliding talus slopes. The Cascadia 17’s half-ounce heavier TrailTack rubber lugs also grip better on wet cobblestone and grass.

Simply put – opt for the Catamount 3 if your top need-to-have is a faster, close-to-ground natural running feel that flows fluidly over uneven topography during ultra distances.

Go with the Cascadia 17 if you primarily want a protective, stabilizing trail tank shoe able to stand up to the rockiest, rootiest terrain day in and day out while still cushioning your feet. Considering your individual running priorities and style can help determine which model is the best fit.

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