With the ruggedness of a mountain runner and the plush ride of a road shoe, the 12-ounce Cascadia 5 from Brooks is like the multi-tool of trail runners. Since the Cascadia is smooth, resilient, and well balanced (thanks to a soft-flexing midsole and forefoot pivot system) it excels on hard-packed dirt. In roots and rocks, the underfoot rock shield and reinforced toecap keep your dogs out of harm's way.
Swami gripe: The upper offers only modest protection, so beware of sticks and cacti.
Swami like: The midsole is made from BioMoGo, an eco-friendly foam that disintegrates in a landfill in about 20 years (as opposed to 2,000).
From the Spring 2010 issue