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Brooks Catamount 3 Performance Review

Brooks Catamount 3

Since it first arrived on the scene in mid-2020, the Catamount line has added snappy speed to Brooks’ trail lineup. Does the Brooks Catamount 3 continue the tradition? Let’s find out.

Brooks Catamount 3

Release Date: January 1, 2024

Price: $170

Weight: Men’s 9.4 oz., Women’s 8.4 oz.

Drop: 6mm (22mm heel, 16mm forefoot)

Sizing: True to size

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  • Rundown: Fast, lightweight and secure. The Brooks Catamount 3 has an updated upper and everything that made the second version a great option for fast trail days.
Brooks Catamount 3 cushion


The Brooks Catamount 3 features a DNA Flash, nitrogen-infused midsole. Nitrogen compounds keep the foam lightweight without sacrificing energy return, or as we know it, “bounce” with each step. This piece is crucial for the Catamount 3 to maintain its speedy profile. I haven’t yet had the chance to put a super long day on the Catamount, but the firmer midsole has been fun to run fast on. Brooks states this shoe is for longer distances (50-100KM), and I believe them. 

Although the midsole is firm, it’s snug and comfortable. I appreciate the moderate to low stack height on this shoe, which I think is pivotal for a fast-moving trail shoe. Being lower to the ground, although sacrificing some cushion, makes for a stable ride over technical terrain. I appreciate being able to feel the trail, especially when moving at higher speeds. This shoe nails it in that respect.

Additionally, the Brooks Catamount 3 features Brooks’ SkyVault Trail Plate in the forefoot. Aside from adding a little extra pop to the shoe, it acts as a rock plate and provides some extra protection to the bottom of your foot on rocky surfaces. The SkyVault Trail Plate was designed to add more control and snap while running uphill. Although I can’t confidently say I noticed a huge difference, this shoe is great at climbing uphill, so the plate is obviously doing something.

Brooks Catamount 3 upper


Like most good trail shoes these days, the Catamount features a one-piece mesh upper. Nothing crazy here. I found it really snug and comfortable. The upper is breathable and, although I wasn’t able to test in a ton of mud/water, this shoe should drain fairly well. 

A TPU overlay covers the front of the foot to protect from any rocks or twigs that might try and mess up your toes. The upper is light but secure – my foot feels locked in and sturdy. A comfortable tongue and soft laces make for a nice cherry on top. My one gripe, be it a little petty, is that the laces aren’t long enough when utilizing the lockdown loops. Overall, though, the upper is snug and light.

Brooks Catamount 3 outsole traction


The Brooks Catamount 3 features Brooks’ TrailTack Green rubber outsole, featuring 25% recycled material (kudos to them!). The lugs are 3.5mm in depth, which is moderate. 

Here’s where the shoe gets a bit dull for me, as someone who runs on rugged, techy, snowy-in-the-winter trails in Utah. Although I love the efforts to produce a more sustainable shoe, I think Brooks has yet to reach a point where TrailTack is up to par with other industry standard outsoles (Vibram, Continental). It’s sticky enough to handle wetter rocks or stumps but lacks an aggressiveness to make it a true “good for anything” shoe. 

If you have friendlier trails, you won’t notice any issue here. The lug depth and stickiness will prove just fine.

Is the Brooks Catamount 3 wide foot friendly?

The Brooks Catamount 3 is probably a bit too skinny in the midfoot, but the forefoot is wide enough. Keep that in mind if you’re wide through the middle of the foot.

Brooks Catamount 3 medial in hand

Is the Brooks Catamount 3 worth $170?

Yes. $170 is a great price point for an uptempo trail shoe with this type of performance.


I’ve already pointed them out (short laces, outsole), but the main con for me would be the outsole. To be clear, it’s a good outsole, I just feel that a shoe built for high-end performance should be coupled with a stellar outsole. I’m sure it’s more cost-efficient to go in-house, but if you slapped a Vibram Litebase outsole on these shoes, they’d be ready for almost anything.

Brooks Catamount 3 top view

Brooks Catamount 3 Summary

The Brooks Catamount 3 capitalizes on a great shoe line from Brooks, providing some sneaky updates to maintain and improve performance. This shoe is lightweight and responsive, a nice and stable cruiser for high speeds over technical terrain. The combination of a snug and comfortable upper with a low stack makes this shoe surprisingly stable in a genre of trail shoes that are often scary at high speeds.

I’d categorize the Brooks Catamount 3 as lightweight and fast. A $170 price point for a specialized shoe, especially a plated one, is a rarity these days. I’ll continue to enjoy this shoe and will hope to save it for dryer, warmer days where I can really unleash the speed.

How do the Authors Run?

Sam Lohse (age 28, 6’0, 170lbs): Runs daily (with an occasional rest day). The majority of his miles are spent on the Salt Lake City Trails. Long Distance races are his focus in 50K to 100 mile distances.


While Brooks did send us pairs of the Catamount 3 to facilitate this review, they had no involvement in this review, didn’t receive an advance look at it, and have not attempted to influence it.

1 comment
  1. buy on DSG for 20 less before they realized pricing error. add 6% cash back on some like Rakuten and you get a fast free shipping for way under retail.

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