Brooks had a mission: make a light shoe that climbs as well as the Catamount 1 descended. The Catamount 2 manages to combine a slightly chunkier, more supportive shoe with the sensibilities of lightweight trail racing.
I can personally attest to how nice that first edition was on a downhill rip, so I hoped the Catamount 2 wouldn’t compromise on that defining quality, while perhaps adding some strategies to uphill running. They tackle this goal with their special Skyvault foam, which gives the shoe a hair-trigger spring to the forefoot.
Does the shoe climb well? In my opinion, yes, but I wouldn’t tout the difference as much as the Brooks marketing division. In general, the Catamount 2 reminds me of the things I loved about the original, while introducing certain changes that had me pleasantly surprised.
With a snappy, inertia-focused outsole, the Catamount 2 is a very fast and responsive shoe. Brooks dialed up the comfort on this iteration, and I found the overall fit to be both more
flexible and tailored than the Catamount 1. An overall fast, well-tailored shoe with more support than comparable shoes in its weight class.
I liked the trim heel on the Catamount 1, but the Catamount 2 seems a tad bit needlessly lugged and chunky on the back end. Also, I don’t love how pronounced the foam outsole
extrudes on the edge of the shoe. Runners may find the foam edging inhibits precise footwork on technical rocky terrain.
One important change from the Catamount 1 to the Catamount 2 is the fit–especially in the uppers, which are more plush and durable than its predecessor. The toe box touts a now-
beefier sculpted rubber on the edge, and the woven mesh on the midfoot seems a bit more pliable and form-fitting.
Also, runners can expect the heel to feel a little bit more supported by the shoe’s higher sidewalls. I personally felt like the security of the fit without adding any slop to the midfoot fit.
I found this shoe to have similar responsiveness to the Catamount 1. You can expect a very lively, very responsive ride, and occasional road running will not come as an unwelcome
surprise. I wouldn’t call this shoe a very nimble tool in your shoe quiver, but I think the Catamount 2 will absolutely dominate long, lightly varied terrain runs, with tons of elevation
gain and loss.
I particularly love the outsole material, especially on varied terrain. The Catamount 2 increases lug size from the Catamount 2, but mainly in the heel. This change, combined with an exceptionally secure heel cup, made downhill paces and absolute pleasure.
Overall, I enjoy smaller lugs spaced closely together, and the Catamount 2 achieves this ratio well. It’s a fine balance for outsole design: lugs need to grab but not distract.
Release Date: 02/01/2023
Midsole Drop: 6 mm
Weight 8.6 oz (W); 9.7 oz (M)