Brooks Mazama Review
Brooks Mazama Review
The Brooks Mazama sits very well within Brooks existing range of trail shoes. At the more cushioned you've the Cascadia. It's renowned for it's cushioned ride, excelling on hard-pack trails for the runners after a more minimal shoe they've the Pure Grit 5, sitting you a little closer to the ground allowing you to feel connected with the paths. The Mazama is designed to be fast, it's firmer than the Grit and Cascadia, feels much more responsive, has a great shape to it and feels stable.
Image. A new Brooks Mazama.
On writing this review I've clocked around 250 miles in the Mazama. They've been used for a wide range of runs from short slow recovery runs, tempos on dry tracks and trails, long slow runs around the Peak District (~20 miles) and most notably the Chamonix Marathon 2016. Needless to say I like the Mazama a lot but what is it about them that I think is so great.....
The drop of the shoe for me is quite important, I find a shoe with too low a heel a bit too demanding on my calves yet with a higher drop I find I get hip discomfort so a 6mm heel to toe drop suits me very well. The heel portion of the Mazama is perhaps my favourite thing, off the medial (inside) side the heel there' a good flare increasing the surface and ground contact making the heel nicely stable, something which I find very useful for longer runs. The heel counter is relatively stiff with enough padding to feel comfortable with out being too heavy or taking on too much water when running in wet weather.
Image. Some not so new Mazamas - Photos of my trusty steeds after Chamonix Marathon
Image (Hetty Key). Descending off Win Hill at the Bamford Sheep Dog Trail Fell Race in the Brooks Mazama
Moving further forward the upper is robust and gives a great hold. If you suffer with bunions or anything similar I don't know how comfortable to upper would be as it doesn't 'give' a huge amount and may put undue stress over a bunion. However, for the majority of people this light structure mesh keep your foot firmly in place and doesn't carry any water. The shape of the Mazama is excellent, Brooks have designed it so it feels sleek and accurate to place yet have given plenty of space in the toe box for your foot to spread and splay. I personally think Brooks have gone a little overkill on the toe protection but some may like this level of toe cap.
The sole unit is where Brooks have got quite clever.... the midsole comprises of a dual density foam. The firmer foam is located in the heel and below the softer form which stretching from the mid foot through under the forefoot. The great thing about this is the stability in the rear foot but also for a mid foot striker it's soft on contact but come push off you're pressing of the firmer compound making the Mazama feel really peppy. I think the peppy-ness (Is this a word?) is enhanced by the forefoot delta (toe curve) and the propulsion plate. The 'propulsion plate' acts like a rock-plate, protecting the foot from all things pointy but also helps speed up the transition into toe off.
Although the tread isn't the deepest it's excellent on dry trails, short grass and is pretty comfy on tarmac too. The bi-directional tread pattern gives forefoot control on the descent and the the firmer heel means you get a great bite when descending.
All in all, I'm a huge fan of the Mazama. It's a good shape, feels fast, responsive and accurate. It's light and robust so in my eyes these credentials make it an great shoe!
All the Brooks shoes mentioned above are available on our site here > Brooks Running Shoes
Image (Hetty Key). Nearing the end of the Chamonix Marathon - Feeling a bit worse for wear
Heel height - 23mm
Forefoot Height - 17mm
Drop - 6mm
Weight - 300g (Men's UK9 pair)