• Grip 70% 70%
  • Foot Protection 80% 80%
  • Durability 85% 85%
  • Stability 75% 75%
  • Comfort 85% 85%
  • Versatility 80% 80%
  • Value for Your Money 70% 70%

Best Application: Daily Training/Hiking, Long-Distance Hiking/Running

Upper: Mesh Upper, Synthetic Overlays, Lace Catch

Midsole: BioMoGo DNA

Outsole: TrailTack Sticky Traction

Weight: M – 283g, W – 252g

What we like: Plush Cushioning, Breathable, Enhanced Durability, Door-to-trail Ready

What we don’t like: A Bit Expensive, Can Only Handle Moderately Technical Terrain

Price: $140

Fans of the Caldera will appreciate this new iteration. With new tweaks that have improved its forefoot space, cushioning, and durability, it might just be the hiking or running companion you take with you to conquer the trail, especially if you’re looking for a lightweight, speedy, yet moderately protective trail shoe.

We participate in affiliate programs to help us fund Gear Hacker. Some of the links in this website are affiliate links, which means that if you purchase a product using our link, we will earn a small commission. Don’t worry! This comes at no additional cost to you, and we will never base our reviews on whether or not we earn a commission off of a product. With that said, if you find our review helpful and decide to purchase an item we review, we would be very appreciative if you use our links to do so. It will help us bring you more awesome content in the future!

Compare to Similar Products

See Our The Best Trail Shoes of 2020

The Best Trail Shoes: Salomon Speedcross 5 - Gear Hacker

Buy now at Backcountry.com

  • Grip 95% 95%
  • Foot Protection 80% 80%
  • Durability 85% 85%
  • Stability 85% 85%
  • Comfort 90% 90%
  • Versatility 75% 75%
  • Value for Your Money 80% 80%

Pros

Reliable Grip and Traction

Comfortable

Offers A Stable Ride

Has Performance-focused Features

Has Wide-width Option

Cons

Narrower Than Other Trail Shoes

Not Very Versatile

Doesn't Drain Well

Best Application: Running On Soft Ground, Slippery Running Conditions, Highly Technical Terrain

Upper: SensiFit™, Welded Upper, Anti-debris Mesh, Lace Pocket, Quicklace™

Midsole: EnergyCell™+, Molded OrthoLite®

Outsole: Contagrip® TA

Weight: M - 320g, W - 280g

The Best Trail Shoes: Asics GEL-Venture 7 - Gear Hacker

Buy now at Amazon.com

  • Grip 70% 70%
  • Foot Protection 80% 80%
  • Durability 80% 80%
  • Stability 70% 70%
  • Comfort 80% 80%
  • Versatility 80% 80%
  • Value for Your Money 95% 95%

Pros

Sufficient Traction

Comfortable

Budget-friendly

Beginner-friendly

Delivers A Stable Ride

Well-cushioned

Has Wide-width Option

Versatile

Cons

Upper Not As Breathable

Not Suited For Highly Technical Terrain

Best Application:  Casual Hiking or Running

Upper: Mesh Upper

Midsole: GEL® Technology, EVA Midsole, ORTHOLITE™ Sockliner

Outsole: AHAR®

Weight: M - 303g, W - 252g

The Best Trail Shoes: Salomon Supercross - Gear Hacker

Buy now at Backcountry.com

  • Grip 90% 90%
  • Foot Protection 85% 85%
  • Durability 80% 80%
  • Stability 65% 65%
  • Comfort 85% 85%
  • Versatility 85% 85%
  • Value for Your Money 80% 80%

Pros

Speedcross-like Traction

Comfortable

Affordable

Wider Forefoot

Cons

Ride Is Not Very Stable

Best Application: Occasional Trail Running and Hiking

Upper: Ripstop Fabric, Protective Toecap, SensiFit™, Welded Upper, OrthoLite® Diecut

Midsole: EnergyCell

Outsole: Contagrip TD, Chevron Lugs

Weight: M - 310g, W - 260g

The Best Trail Shoes: Altra Lone Peak 4.5 - Gear Hacker

Buy now at Backcountry.com

  • Grip 70% 70%
  • Foot Protection 80% 80%
  • Durability 75% 75%
  • Stability 90% 90%
  • Comfort 75% 75%
  • Versatility 80% 80%
  • Value for Your Money 75% 75%

Pros

Comfortable

Delivers A Stable Ride

Above-average Protection

Responsive

Cons

Not Suited For Highly Technical Terrain

Clunky Shoe Shape

Best Application: Casual Hiking or Running

Upper: Quick-Dry Air Mesh, GaiterTrap, FootShape Toe Box

Midsole: Dual Layer EVA / A-Bound™, StoneGuard™

Outsole: MaxTrac™ Rubber, TrailClaw™

Weight: M - 298g, W - 247g

The Best Trail Shoes: Nike Air Zoom Pegasus 36 Trail - Gear Hacker

Buy now at Backcountry.com

  • Grip 70% 70%
  • Foot Protection 75% 75%
  • Durability 75% 75%
  • Stability 70% 70%
  • Comfort 95% 95%
  • Versatility 90% 90%
  • Value for Your Money 90% 90%

Pros

Lightweight

Versatile - Can Be Worn on Trail and Roads

Comfortable

Breathable Upper

Designed for Speed

Cons

Thin Toe Bumper

Not Suited for Technical Trail

Doesn't Lock the Foot Down

Best Application: Road/Trail Running

Upper: Perforated Mesh, Synthetic Upper

Midsole: Zoom Air Units

Outsole: Trail Lugs

Weight: M - 291g, W - 232g

The Best Trail Shoes: Hoka One One Speedgoat 4 - Gear Hacker

Buy now at Backcountry.com

  • Grip 80% 80%
  • Foot Protection 90% 90%
  • Durability 85% 85%
  • Stability 70% 70%
  • Comfort 95% 95%
  • Versatility 70% 70%
  • Value for Your Money 80% 80%

Pros

Generous Cushioning

Improved Grip

Breathable

With Wide-Width Options

Enhanced Durability

Efficient Stride

Cons

Slightly Narrow

Heavier Compared To Other Trail Shoes

Best Application: Long-distance Trail Running/Hiking (50 miles and above), Ultra Distances

Upper: Open Engineered Mesh Construction

Midsole: Reinforced TPU midfoot overlays, Oversize EVA Midsole, CMEVA Foam

Outsole: Vibram® Megagrip

Weight: M - 306g, W - 261g

The Best Trail Shoes: Brooks Caldera 4 - Gear Hacker

Buy now at Backcountry.com

  • Grip 70% 70%
  • Foot Protection 80% 80%
  • Durability 85% 85%
  • Stability 75% 75%
  • Comfort 85% 85%
  • Versatility 80% 80%
  • Value for Your Money 70% 70%

Pros

Plush Cushioning

Breathable

Enhanced Durability

Door-to-trail Ready

Cons

A Bit Expensive

Can Only Handle Moderately Technical Terrain

Best Application: Daily Training/Hiking, Long-Distance Hiking/Running

Upper: Mesh Upper, Synthetic Overlays, Lace Catch

Midsole: BioMoGo DNA

Outsole: TrailTack Sticky Traction

Weight: M - 283g, W - 252g

The Best Trail Shoes: Altra Timp 1.5 - Gear Hacker

Buy now at Moosejaw.com

  • Grip 70% 70%
  • Foot Protection 80% 80%
  • Durability 85% 85%
  • Stability 80% 80%
  • Comfort 85% 85%
  • Versatility 70% 70%
  • Value for Your Money 80% 80%

Pros

Plush Cushioning

Better Traction and Grip

Durable Outsole

Roomy Forefoot

Better Ground Feel

Cons

The Ride Can Be A Bit Unstable

Can Handle Moderately Technical Trail

Takes Awhile For Sweat to Dry After A Run

Best Application: Daily Runs or Hikes on Moderate Terrain

Upper: Footshape, Gaiter Trap

Midsole: Balanced Cushion

Outsole: Trail Claw, DuraTread

Weight: M - 312g, W - 266g

The Best Trail Shoes: Brooks Cascadia 14 - Gear Hacker

Buy now at Backcountry.com

  • Grip 70% 70%
  • Foot Protection 75% 75%
  • Durability 80% 80%
  • Stability 70% 70%
  • Comfort 90% 90%
  • Versatility 90% 90%
  • Value for Your Money 80% 80%

Pros

Comfortable

A Good Crossover Option

More Protective

Cons

Not Very Stable

Grip is Good for Moderate Terrain

Best Application: Daily Trail Running/Hiking

Upper: Internal Saddle System, Cordura Mud Guard

Midsole: BioMoGo DNA, Built-in Rock plate

Outsole: TrailTack Rubber

Weight: M - 303g, W - 269g

The Brooks Caldera 4 was designed for you to discover your inner mountain goat. We consider it a runner up to the Hoke One One Speedgoat 4. It has retained most of the old favorites from its previous iteration, but now the Caldera 4 adds a new midsole design with 3mm more cushioning, a wider toe box, and an upper, which is more resistant to wear and tear.

Grip & Foot Protection

The Brooks Caldera 4 is kinder to your joints, because the Brook’s BioMoGo DNA plush midsole absorbs most of the shock that otherwise would affect your lower limbs. If you’re a runner or hiker who is constantly experiencing pain while on the trail, the joint safety the Caldera 4 brings will appeal to you. You can still go the distance while your joints take it easy

The stack height of this trail shoe is about 27mm. Not only is the plush midsole good for your joints, but it also delivers a sufficient amount of underfoot shielding as there is plenty of material between the ground and your foot. With this much material, you don’t really need a rock plate to protect you from the pain of stepping on sharp objects while hiking or running.

As for your toes, you have the Caldera 4‘s toecap, which is made of TPU (thermoplastic polyurethane). TPU rubber is considered a bridge between rubber and plastic. It’s flexible, smooth to the touch, and, most importantly, abrasion- and wear-resistant. Since it forms the toecap, it does an adequate job of protecting toes from the impact of bumping into rocks, sticks, or stumps on the trail.

The full-length outsole has geometric lugs that face the opposite direction to supply the runner or hiker with a multi-directional grip on different terrain conditions. These lugs are made of a material called TrailTack Sticky, which is a Brooks rubber compound that aims to provide traction on wet or slippery surfaces. Despite its clever design, the traction isn’t as reliable as the traction that you would get from a grip-focused outsole like on the Salomon Supercross 5. The outsole of the Caldera 4 can handle moderately technical terrain, but it most likely won’t prevent you from experiencing slick moments, especially on wet rocks.

Durability

The Best Trail Shoes: Brooks Caldera 4 - Gear Hacker

The main component that received the biggest revamp is the upper of the Brooks Caldera 4. A number of synthetic overlays that were introduced to give the upper some structure and to protect the mesh from early tearing. These overlays are not only tear-resistant, but they also prevent mud or liquid from getting into the shoe.

The lugs on the outsole are not very thick or long. Depending on the trail condition and your frequency of use, it’s possible for the lugs to wear out early. However, because of the quality of the TrailTack rubber that covers the bottom of the shoe, you’ll cover a reasonable amount of miles before you see any signs of breaking down.

Stability

Maximalist shoes don’t typically deliver a very stable ride because of how far the foot is from the ground. With Brooks Caldera 4, however, the thicker midsole has been segmented by large grooves, resulting in a more adaptable ride despite the plushness, thereby improving the runner or hiker’s balance.

Also, some users feel that the midsole is not as cushy as other maximalist trail midsoles. Some stiffness is good to make your runs and hikes more responsive, ensuring that you have a good feel of the ground with every step or stride.

Comfort & Fit

The Best Trail Shoes: Brooks Caldera 4 - Gear Hacker

Although the engineered mesh has been reinforced by several overlays, it did not affect the breathability of the shoe. You can run comfortably without worrying about hot spots. In addition, since mudguards have been added, you don’t have to worry about gunk getting into your shoe and affecting your run or hike.

Compared to its previous version, the toe box is roomier. The fit will definitely depend on how your foot is shaped, but it is not lacking nor restricting. There is enough room for your toes to splay naturally with your midfoot and back foot firmly held into place.

When it comes to comfort, the Brooks Caldera 4 won’t deliver a slipper-like feel unlike the Nike Air Zoom Pegasus 36 Trail. However, it is a moderately comfortable trail companion with all the right features.

Versatility & Value for Your Money

Overall, the Brooks Caldera 4 is a well-rounded trail shoe that works well for training. It can be used as a transition shoe (from road to trail), or the shoe might become your favorite comforting and protective pair for long hikes.

It’s important to keep in mind that the Caldera 4 is more suited for moderately technical terrain. For a lower price, you can get a pair that’s more suited for trail conditions that are more challenging. With all of the features that this shoe is packed with, you need to keep in mind what it is that you want out of your trail shoes to get value for your money.

Additional Features

Those who already have gaiters will be glad to know that there are rear and front attachments on the Caldera 4 that you can connect your gaiters to. The back attachment is easy to spot, but on the front, the attachment is very low-profile. You will find it in the area where the shoelace ends, going towards the tip. 

There’s also a lace keeper that’s right in the middle of the shoelaces. When you have excess slack, you can tuck them under the lace keeper to prevent them from snagging on branches or plants on the trail. The back of the shoe also has a similar catch.

The Bottom Line

In summary, if you’re looking for a well-cushioned, door-to-trail, fairly light trail shoe, the Brooks Caldera 4 ticks all of the boxes. With an adaptable midsole, it’s comfortable and protective enough to take on daily hikes or runs. Though it is packed with different trail-specific features, it’s more appropriate for moderately technical terrain where grip and traction won’t be much of an issue.

Compare Prices From Retailers Below

You help support Gear Hacker by purchasing from our retail partners.

We participate in affiliate programs to help us fund Gear Hacker. Some of the links in this website are affiliate links, which means that if you purchase a product using our link, we will earn a small commission. Don’t worry! This comes at no additional cost to you, and we will never base our reviews on whether or not we earn a commission off of a product. With that said, if you find our review helpful and decide to purchase an item we review, we would be very appreciative if you use our links to do so. It will help us bring you more awesome content in the future!