If you’re looking for a good trail-running shoe at a reasonable price, the Divide should be on your short list. We loved it for slow to moderate 5 to 10km training runs on undulating terrain.
Soft and comfortable
Average flexibility and agility
Average interior comfort
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A new model from Brooks in 2020, the Brooks Divide is a trail running shoe aimed at providing ample cushioning, comfort and protection for novice and infrequent trail runners. Although it does a lot of things well, it’s a master of none. And that’s just fine because it’s cozy, versatile and protective. The best aspect of the Divide is the value it offers for the inexpensive price. But don’t get the idea that low price means this is a low-end shoe. There are many more expensive shoes that aren’t as good as this one. The forefoot rock plate and copious amounts of midsole cushioning of the Divide are items typically found in pricier shoes. The step-in feeling of the Divide is soft and snug, while the ride is sufficiently uninhibited despite lacking exceptional flexibility and agility. It’s not a performance-oriented shoe that we’d recommend for fast training sessions or trail races, but it’s certainly a model that can help you escape the real world and allow you to enjoy the many unique splendors of trail running.
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• RRP: $100 (US)/£100 (UK)
• Weight (per shoe): 292g/10.3 oz
• Materials: Bio Mogo DNA cushioning, TrailTack sticky rubber outsole
• Drop: 8mm
• Compatibility: 3-season trail running shoe for mild to moderate low-alpine terrain, available for men and women
On the trail
We tested the Divide a lot of different types of terrain in Colorado, ranging from smooth dirt singletrack trails to extremely rugged rocky routes. Our wear-test team came to the consensus that it’s a pretty good shoe at a really good price.
Brooks has blended modest trial acuity, trail-specific protection and resilient, vibration-damping cushioning into the Divide. That combination has resulted in a versatile shoe that’s capable of running comfortably on technical singletrack trails, even though it’s more adept at running on milder terrain. Although it lacks supportive structure and isn’t exceptionally flexible or agile, its softly cushioned midsole serves up the smooth, stable ride of a road running shoe on mild and moderate terrain and the sticky rubber outsole helps it function well on some types of technical terrain.
We give this shoe high marks for cushioning, underfoot and sidewall protection and traction on dry terrain. It has its limitations — for example, it lacks long-wearing comfort of some of its contemporaries and doesn’t function great in sloppy mud — but it can dutifully serve most trail runners who aren’t interested in all-out speed or running in extreme conditions.
Brian is an award-winning journalist, photographer and podcaster who has written for Runner’s World, The Times, Outside, Men’s Journal, Trail Runner, Triathlete and Red Bulletin. He's also the author of several books, including Kicksology: The Hype, Science, Culture and Cool of Running Shoes. He lives in Boulder, Colorado, and loves to run, bike, hike, camp, ski and climb mountains. He has wear-tested more than 1,500 pairs of running shoes, completed four Ironman triathlons, as well as numerous marathons and ultra-distance running races.