Shoe of the Week: Brooks Divide 2
Brooks improves the fit of the Divide, their all-terrain crossover road/trail shoe — and leaves the versatile, no-nonsense ride alone.
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Brooks Divide 2 Review
Weight: 10.3 oz. (M), 9.2 oz. (W)
Heel-Toe Offset: 8mm (25mm heel/ 17 mm forefoot)
A versatile shoe that balances comfort, grip and protection and handles nearly every terrain for nearly any runner.
Brooks improved the Divide’s midfoot hold with a more substantial saddle that ties into the lacing and locks down the foot. “As we learned more about this road-to-trail runner,” said Nick Clinton, Brooks Footwear Product Line Manager, “We found they want that comfort, but still need a secure heel and midfoot to hold the foot in place, as light trail surfaces can be uneven and varied.” Given the wide praise for the versatile ride of first Divide, however, Brooks wisely left everything underfoot unchanged in this version.
This Shoe is for you if…
You want one shoe that will take you from your door, along paved roads, onto dirt, mud, rocks and roots in comfort and security — and you’re willing to sacrifice some nimbleness and speed for that versatility.
The first impression when putting on the Brooks Divide 2 is that it feels like a road shoe: the shape and fit are familiar and forgiving, with a secure, padded grip around the heel and across the instep, giving way to a roomy toe box. Running on pavement doesn’t dispel that first impression as the shoe handles the hard surface well, providing moderately-soft cushioning and a somewhat springy ride, only slightly compromised by the stiffness of the forefoot rock plate. It isn’t a flashy or speedy ride, but you could be quite happy in this shoe and never get them muddy.
Take the shoe off-road, however, and it is clear the trail is their native terroir. The sticky rubber outsole grips on every surface and provides a confident stance under the wide platform that provides a stable, responsive push off. One tester raved, “The traction and performance on gravel, knobby dirt, rocky terrain, steep slides, tallus fields and slopes were extraordinarily dependable and of high performance.” The layer of cushioning and rock plate ensure that you needn’t worry too much where you land, letting you roll wherever your fancy takes you.
The one common tester complaint centered on the “floppiness” of the toe box. While the extra space was appreciated, it became a distraction on the occasions when testers wanted their foot more locked in. Even when referencing it, however, testers tried to minimize the criticism. “The comfort is some of the best I’ve felt and didn’t really experience anything annoying other than a bit of odd roominess in the toe box,” said one, while another echoed, “Overall a good upper fit — although slightly too roomy in the toebox for my feet, which took a little getting used to.”
The one tester who didn’t note the floppiness called the upper “really perfect; it was snug yet not constrictive and very breathable,” — but, ironically, found the ride too protective for her taste. “The sole was heavy and it felt maddeningly restrictive,” she said. “I felt that it made my stride very clunky. I couldn’t really get rolling.” She reserved the shoes for slow, rugged runs where she could “roll over gnarly terrain with comfort.”
The majority of testers, however, praised the ride — even when acknowledging it wasn’t the speediest. One summed up the shoe’s qualities nicely as, “Good cushioning, perfect for moderately rocky trails, while also being responsive enough when running on the road. They are stable and sturdy while also feeling reasonably lightweight. Overall a good, durable shoe which I’ll put to good use on trails of all kinds.”
The Divide 2 will be available February 1, 2021.