You can find the Gearage podcast on Youtube and wherever you listen to podcasts. Make sure you listen to Cody’s interview with Brooks pro-athlete, Cat Bradley. Interested in trying a pair for yourself – bop on over to grab a pair from the men’s or women’s line.
For many runners, hitting the trails for a weekend-long run is a way to recharge the battery and reset the mind before the craziness of another week. Your shoes have the potential to make or break that run. When it’s right, you can cruise for miles, snap all the IG pictures, and complete the run with a smile on your face. Whenever you open a box of fresh shoes, you hope for the scenario above. – but we all know, that’s not always the case. It certainly was not the case with my first try of the original Catamount. Then came the Catamount 2, which made me wonder – did Brooks make enough updates to the Catamount 2 to take a snappy but sloppy upper shoe and turn it into a shoe that is dialed in and leaves a smile on my face? Let’s dig in.
Total Miles Run Before Review: 34
The Brooks Catamount 2 delivered a fun and snappy ride for those training runs on the trails when I wanted to move quickly. I found that the latest edition of the Catamount delivered a fantastic lockdown with updated foam that allowed me to run fast while feeling secure on the trails.
- Lockdown – The overall fit of the Catamount 2 was fantastic for my foot type (wide-ish, but not wide enough for a wide-size-kick). The Catamount 2 is that trail race day shoe meant for speed, providing a glove-like fit that allows you to rip down the trail with no slippage or foot movement. The gusted tongue is really the hero here allowing for a precise lockdown. For all my long runs in the Catamount 2, I honestly forgot the shoe was on after the initial lace-up – the highest compliment you can give a shoe.
- Foam – The Catamount 2 foam (DNA Flash EVA) delivers a very responsive and fast trail shoe. The Nitrogen infused foam is soft enough to allow runners to pick up the pace with ease, while also allowing the most awkward runner (that’s me, hands down) feel the benefits from energy return. This was not the sensation I felt in the previous version of the Catamount or other Brooks shoes using the DNA Flash foam – so I was pleasantly surprised.
- Grip – While I have had a lot of success in other Brooks trail shoes, my biggest gripe has always been grip and lug design. I finally feel like the Catamount 2 has broken free with the new formulation of TrailTack. I took the Catamount 2 on wet and muddy terrain, with tons of rocks and roots and it answered the bell like a champ. At no point did I not feel in control when my foot landed. Not only did I feel confident on the trails in this shoe, but the grip performed so well that I even felt secure running over wet wood bridges. Nothing worse than hitting a wet trail and feeling like you’re slipping on ice.
- Terrain Versatility – I found that the Catamount 2 can handle various terrain better than average. For most of my runs in Pennsylvania, I will have buffed-out sections where I can fly, road sections, and trail sections full of rocks and roots. This shoe transitioned well on every terrain that I’ve thrown at it.
The Brooks Catamount 2 is that race day ready shoe that delivers a nimble but rocky ride.
- Ground feel – While the foam of the Catamount 2 is fantastic, it does leave you open to feeling everything. I mean e v e r y t h i n g. While on super technical trails, I could feel every rock and root. While the SkyVault plate provides some protection; 22mm of heel stack height isn’t a lot these days. If you love ground contact move this up to the ‘Pro’ section; otherwise, keep this in the back of your mind when buying this shoe. In a world of high stack and zero ground feel, this shoe feels like an outlier from the norm these days.
- Price – The Catamount 2 will cost some cheddar. $170 is just a lot of money for a trail shoe that most runners will be using solely for 50ks to sub-ultras. For a shoe I really enjoyed racking up the miles in, I wish it was at least $20 cheaper.
“The Catamount 2 is a responsive, reactive, and precise trail shoe perfect for ripping down a technical trail while still providing propulsion on buttery single track. I wore the Catamount 2 at the fast Javelina 100k and at CCC, two fast races on completely different courses. There isn’t a shoe that I’ve tried that would have performed better on either course.” Brooks Trail Elite Athlete Cat Bradley
“What I enjoy about the Catamount 2 is that I can transition from fast and flowy trails into more technical trails without noticing a difference in the ride. In Bend, we have a nice mix of trails so having a shoe that can handle different types of terrain is really nice.” Brooks Trail Elite Athlete Mario Mendoza Jr.
The Brooks Catamount 2 has succeeded in surpassing its predecessor in every category and becoming a shoe that makes the whole run a pleasure. It is a dream to train in and delivers a race day option that will keep you pushing the pace throughout your upcoming trail race season. If you don’t mind a little ground feel and are willing to cough up the cost, then The Catamount 2 is a buy in my opinion!
***Disclaimer: Shoe was provided by Brooks for review. Brooks did not pay for this review and all opinions are our own.***