The A-Z of ultramarahon culture. Cyclists Don't Count as Road, Users, Argues Transport Secretary. Oh settle down, it's not the incoming US administration. New podcast! Check out the latest episode with Mike Wardian where we discuss his plan to run 7 ...
New podcast! Check out the latest episode with Mike Wardian where we discuss his plan to run 7 marathons on 7 continents in 7 days. We talk logistics, nutrition, sleep, airlines, and the cost of such a race. In the episode I also ask questions about Mike’s sponsors–how he gets them, what he does for them–and then we discuss what his plans are for 2017. The epic mega painful slam is just getting started!
The UROY awards are voted on subjectively by a group of runners and writers, while Jay Friedman uses an objective formula to determine the best ultrarunners in the country. What do you think of his findings for 2016? More or less accurate than ultrarunning magazine’s list?
I haven’t been to these slot canyons in Arizona, but this photo gallery has me looking at flights already.
The thing about races is that keeping going is hard, and while there’s no real reward for those of us who keep going, if anything, we earn the peace of mind that is linked to finishing something that we started.
Hey, you, reader! If you like what you’re reading, have learned anything from these pages and podcasts, and appreciate the time and work this takes, consider checking out my Patreon page. (Just started yesterday, so I’ve got A LOT of room for growth!) For as little as $1/month you’ll have access to a special area where we consider guest/topic ideas. Kick in a little bit more and be eligible for gear giveaways and an extra episode each month. Trying to get your race/product/site on these pages? There’s an option for you too. I put a lot of time into this site but am limited by finances…please consider becoming a Patron so I can bring more races and information to these pages. Thanks!
And looking for a thorough shoe review? Ben gives the Brooks Caldera trail shoe a good look and delves into details and comparisons that real shoe geeks will appreciate. Got a trail shoe you’d like to see him review? Let me know.
Mike Wardian has been on the show before and he’s always one of my favorite guests. This latest show is no exception as he fills us in with the details of his latest adventure, talks about the logistics of getting sponsors to support him, how he recovers, and what an appropriate name for the Barkley/Hardrock/UTMB slam would be.
Mike’s latest challenge has him running seven marathons in seven days on seven different continents. Aside from the running–that’s a 189 mile week–the details and logistics of travel, gear, and nutrition are daunting! Mike lays it all out for us.
We talk about sponsors and how in the heck he has so many. Who does he call? What does he do to provide value to them? What makes a good fit? And wait, how much does this race cost to run?!?
I also lay the responsibility at his feet for getting Ryan Hall to run an ultra this year. Ryan will be on the 7/7/7 trip, and it’s up to Iron Mike to get him signed up for a race!
And how in the heck do you simultaneously train for marathons, Barkley, and Hardrock? The epic-painful-mega slam is just getting started!
Here’s the URP Patreon page. Thanks for supporting my work and allowing me to create more content! I very much appreciate all the help and am looking forward to special podcasts and on-site interviews!
That looks like a beefy shoe! I bet it’s too heavy. The build quality looks good though. Eh, that colorway is OK but they could have done better…then I picked the shoe up and examined it closer…What’s the deal with the Brooks Caldera?
Wow! The shoe weighs less than I was expecting (men’s size 9 = 9.9oz) with the weight well distributed throughout. This shoe has a well-cushioned looking midsole and the quality is on point upon closer examination. Is this going to be my new favorite daily trail shoe?
Now for more details. In this review we’ll break things down in to five areas:
What’s good: the new, differentiating, or simply well designed or built features or aspects of the shoe
What’s decent: the features or aspects that are OK but not particularly new or differentiating
What could be improved: tweaks or improvements that could be made to make the shoe better
When to use it: the situations or scenarios where the shoe excels
How it compares: my current go-to shoes and how this compares
I’ll try to be as succinct as possible. After all, you’ve probably got more running you can do today!
What’s good about the Brooks Caldera?
The protection / cushion to weight ratio. I hope whoever designed this shoe received a big, fat Christmas bonus this year and did not get Clark W. Griswolded. They deserved it for really nailing it on this one.
Even the overlays and the grey rubber thingy on the instep provides extra protection from pointy stuff!
Not advisable but you could kick a big rock with this toe bumper if you’re in to that sort of thing.
Step-in fit. The first trail shoe I ever purchased was the Brooks Cascadia 3. I have fond memories of stepping in to it for the first time. I remember thinking, bring it on Mountain Mist! It was also the last Brooks trail shoe I ever purchased. This shoe brings me back and gives me good vibes. The midfoot wrap is secure with plenty of room in the forefoot for the toes to splay. Overall, it’s pretty much a ‘normal’ or ‘medium’ fit throughout.
Overall build quality. It’s really good. The material choices are great. Simple as that.
Nifty features: Lace garage? Check. Gusseted tongue (seriously, all shoes should have this by now)? Check. Gaiter-attachment? Check.
Lace garage = thanks Brooks!
Do you use gaiters? You’re good.
The grip. It’s decent (i.e., it’s fine in most situations). The lugs are not super deep but are made of fairly sticky rubber so in most situations it grips well. Are they going to grip the really wet or the slippery stuff like a more specific soft ground shoe? No, of course not. But the Caldera is not meant to be that kind of shoe either. The overall grip on moderate terrain or even wet rocks or roots is good though and is confidence-inspiring in most situations you will likely face in spring, summer, and fall.
Multi-treads = grips in most situations
The durability of the shoe. After about 60 miles of use I’m predicting it will be average in terms of durability. The upper has very little noticeable wear while the outsole is wearing down as I would expect in little areas common of my stride pattern. Given the somewhat shallow lugs I’m predicting the grip will give way before the upper or midsole does meaning this shoe could potentially transition to a road or casual shoe just fine in the future. Said differently, I would be surprised if the shoe doesn’t hold up for 300-500 miles.
The heel collar and heel lock in. It’s a pretty darn solid heel collar. I suspect they had to design it this way to support the overlays and the other protective features of the shoe to provide enough structure for everything to work together. Similarly, it’s a kind of ‘normal’ or medium heel fit. Personally, I just prefer less of a heel collar combined with a narrow heel fit to lock things down.
What could be improved?
The price. $140 ain’t cheap. But it’s a lot of shoe and when compared to many other shoes nowadays at similar or higher price points so it’s probably comparable, sadly. However, I think a price closer to $120 would really attract a lot more people to this shoe.
When to use it?
Long days on the trails where you will encounter a bit of everything. With a 28mm heel and 24mm forefoot the Brooks Caldera has plenty of cushion and then some for long runs or ultras. It can handle pretty much all types of trails well except very steep ascending or descending or slick rocks or snow/ice where something with a more aggressive tread would be better suited.
Everyday use. As a shoe geek I cannot honestly say all you need is one shoe in your quiver but if you prefer to stick with a single shoe that does mostly everything well this is a great option.
Shoe drop bag. You have a favorite shoe but it can only last part of your race before it beats up your feet too much? Switch in to this shoe.
Recovery days. Remember that cush we talked about?
The Brooks Caldera is a great option in these scenarios.
How the Brooks Caldera compares to other trail shoes:
Nike Zoom Wildhorse 3: Ah, my benchmark shoe of the past year. This has been my long run shoe of choice and race shoe for anything over 50km. The Caldera is similar in a lot of ways and most notably weight, grip, and ride. Except the Caldera has more forefoot cushioning and a lower heel-to-toe drop of 4mm compared to 8mm for the Wildhorse. Also, the Caldera doesn’t hold water quite like the Wildhorse upper. Toss up for me but I think I may reach for the Caldera more often now compared to the Wildhorse 3.
Saucony Peregrine 6: Also, similar in a lot of ways. The Caldera is more plush and thus, more forgiving, but with similar weights, drop, and levels of protection it’s a good comparison. The Peregrine has a rock plate and more aggressive tread but that also makes it not ride quite as smooth on door-to-trail runs, fireroads, or simply smoother trails with fewer obstacles in the way. I like the fit and ride of the Caldera a bit more so will almost always choose it over the Peregrine 6 now.
Nike Zoom Terra Kiger 3: My preferred race shoe for anything 50km and shorter on trails as well as my preferred shoe for trail workout days. The Kiger 3 is built lower to the ground and thus, has less cushioning, but that also makes it more responsive while at the same time less protective. I’m not sure there is a better upper yet though in trail shoes. The Kiger 3 really nails it. Almost as good as some of the best road shoe uppers out there – I’m looking at you On Cloudflow. Tough call but I see these two shoes as apples and oranges. For faster days or 50km races I’ll still usually stick with the Kiger 3 for now. For everything else I’m going with the Caldera.
So the $140 dollar question – should you purchase the Brooks Caldera?
In a word, yes (or you should at least give it shot). The reason I’m saying this is because the Caldera should appeal to a wide variety of trail runners out there due to its generous cushioning without the added weight, forgiving yet responsive ride, sufficient traction in most trail situations, ample protection, and middle-of-the-road fit throughout. It really is a do-everything type of shoe that I suspect will be on the feet of a lot of ultrarunners this year.
Questions, comments, or feedback on this shoe? Please share!
Meet Your Reviewer: Ben Zuehlsdorf
I am an avid running shoe junkie. When I’m not smelling new shoes I’m usually running or racing around the local trails in Marin County, California or talking shop with the San Francisco Running Company community of friends. I was once a road marathoner but now have transitioned almost exclusively to the trails and racing ultras the last few years.
Alicia Vargo has a degree in nutrition from Stanford, she’s a two time NCAA 10k champ, won the Flagstaff Skyrace last year, coaches runners professionally, runs for HOKA, and has some severe dietary restrictions of her own to contend with. Seems like a pretty good source to discuss nutrition and diet, eh?
In this episode, we talk about popular diets right now and how they affect runners. Do they work? Who’s the best fit to start one? What’s the best way to keep on a diet?
We also talk about setting–and keeping–resolutions and goals. What’s the best way to keep a goal, and what are pitfalls people fall into that virtually guarantee they’ll be broken.
I ask her my own questions, as well as pass along some readers questions to her about watching calories on the trails, controlling cravings as we increase mileage, and what types of foods we should always have in the fridge. Alicia knows what she’s talking about and speaks with the confidence of a top fast runner.
We finish up with her relaying she and husband Chris’ race calendar…and yes, I’m jealous! They travel around the world as a couple and race in awesome places! A great mix of domestic and international races that will really play to their strengths.