The Brooks Divide: 150 Miles Later

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Back in April I brought the Brooks Divide with the aim of them becoming my go to trail shoe. Not just for running the trails but also for long hikes replacing the Brooks Cascadia which I had used all over the world. At the time of my first impressions review on this shoe I called it my work horse, sadly after only three months and 150 miles I’ve had to send this horse out to pasture and begin my search for my go to trail shoe all over again.

During that initial review I said that the Divide is ;”really the type of shoe you want for any sort of training run or race where you have trail and road, or a lot of dirt or gravel surface to contend with. For example, these shoes would be perfect for a race such as Race to the Stones here in the UK”. So when it came time to do a virtual version of Race to the Stones I of course reached for the Divide to put my money (£100 to be exact) where my mouth is. I decided to walk the distance over three days so assumed the Divide would be the perfect shoe to get me comfortably to the finish line.

Before walking the 112Km over the three days the longest runs/walks the Brooks Divide had done was around 10-15kms of walks/runs. I had throughly enjoyed the comfort from the heavy but incredibly cushioned Brooks’ BioMoGo DNA midsole and the outer while not too aggressive definitely offered grip on the trails. So I felt confident that they would handle the high mileage and trails ahead.

While the Divide felt incredibly cushioned and comfortable I had a concern from the off that the upper material, made of an engineered mesh, wasn’t durable enough to withstand the trails. This worry became justified as by day two of the three day walk the shoes began to feel uncomfortable and there was signs of wear. The first sign of trouble was that I could see my sock through a worn away part of the upper where my big toe was rising up as I walked. I have wide-ish feet and tend to walk with my big toe pointing upward and this does cause some uppers to wear a bit quicker than they would normally. However, and this is a massive; “put your credit card away” shaped however; after only 150 miles these shoes are now unsuitable for future runs. After so short a mileage they now have two large holes where my big toes have burrowed out but also a large gash on the right shoe which must have been caused by my little toe or from a tear from the rocky trail. I should add at this stage that I am not part Tiger, my nails were cut! I simply wore through the upper because it wasn’t durable enough, compounded by not getting a secure enough fit in the shoe. I did the same to my first pair of trail shoes; the Salomon Sense Pro, they got so bad I actually had to gaffer-tape them up before my first ultra, ever since then I ran in the Brooks Cascadia on the trails.

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So the Brooks Divide have been retired, useless before it’s time. This shoe is the first iteration of the Divide model and I really hope that Brooks don’t give up on the concept and bring more durability in the Divide 2. Because while I love the concept of a hybrid shoe that can excel on the trail and road, I simply cannot recommend the Divide to runner or walkers. So while the Divide has been confined to the bottom of my trail running line up I have just ordered the Brooks Catamount; arguably the most exciting, most marketing filled shoe Brooks has ever produced.

 

 

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