Cascade – a shoe to wing your way along the road:
Onemix have landed, (and recently launched), in SA.
This is a Chinese brand of running and sports shoes that can offer a well-designed well trusted and well-priced solution for the local runner.
The Cascade Wings (model number 1158) is the racing shoe in their current range but for my taking it can easily double as the combination of racer and trainer with an abundance of features that make it relevant for the majority of South African runners.
The South African Runner is Different to World Runners:
First permit me a paragraph on SA runners:
By nature, the vast majority of our runners can eat up a 10km in 63 minutes, and 42km in under 5 hours.
Anyone who handles a flat beachfront Park run in 30-31 minutes can fall into a similar category;
However, this is different from many of the international city marathons, where a 7 or 8 hour cut off is not unusual, and a sub 5 hour puts the runner in the top 50% of the field.
It is about this pace of sub 4:45 - 5 hours that can be used as a Guideline for defining a runner to a jogger in terms of running style.
Shoes Affect Running Style:
The fact is that shoes will often determine the style because a high drop shoe, overrides the natural style of landing mid- or forefoot, and forces the heel to touch the ground first.
The break point is around 11 -10 mm drop. This is of course individualised depending on the flexibility between the lower leg and the ankle: that is also impacted by calf size and tightness.
A key point here is that China, with a massive population, around 1600 high quality marathon each year, and over 5 million marathon runners, is a market that understands key issues in running style.
The vast majority of the Chinese running shoe manufacturers understand a ‘thing or two’ about the market and running style! Many of the factories not only produce their own brands but also some of the major international brands.
Cascade Wings Shoe:
The Cascade Wings is immediately seen as an attractive shoe which allows for a natural running style.
One of the first striking features is the transparent side windows that allow a see-through effect. This is also used to dissipate mid foot heat, and the borders of the window add support and structure as they link up to the lacing yoke. Nylon mesh will be found in many of the world’s leading lightweight shoes
But let’s start at the outer sole which is listed as an EVA, but has the feel of good wearing rubber.
The multiple small triangular zigzag pattern is excellent for uniform flexibility and it is only the ‘OneMix’ branded bar that controls the level of flexibility in the mid-shank area and of course provides a reasonable level of torsional restraint.
Together with the small upturn of the outer on the medial heel completes all that is necessary to cover for the typical pronation experienced by the natural running style.
The mid-sole material has the attractive combination of good cushioning with a feel of energy return. It needs to be appreciated that cushioning and energy return tend to be opposing factors:
Cushioning normally means that energy is lost in the absorption of the impact and so the forward drive is less in a cushioned shoe than in a firm shoe.
The Cascade Wings reaches a very good combination such that it can be used for long distances but at the same time there is good feel and drive into the ground for energy efficiency to move forward.
The mid sole, which has the look of distorted ‘boost’ material, has a 10mm to 20mm stack from mid foot (ball of foot) to heel giving a drop of 10mm. This make the Cascade wings ideal for anyone who is trying to make the move to natural running style from the higher drop shoes which enforce a ‘jogging’ heel toe style.
At 10mm the runner can still land on the ball of the foot but will immediately feel the heel ‘kiss’ the ground as the bodyweight passes above the point of contact and prior to the drive backward to propel the runner forward. This maximises the maintenance of momentum.
The upper is split into a forefoot which is constructed from a mesh which has relatively good breathing, and a heel section with a semi constructed heel cup. This provides a fair level of restraint which is bolstered by the upper support and ‘window bracing’ that connects back to the lacing.
The ‘window’ also ensures good drainage of water or sweat.
Lacing Yoke and Tongue
The lacing yoke is a straightforward 5-hole version, separate on each side of the shoe which is both effective and provides allowance in the width of fit.
The tongue is free moving but with the logo and label providing 2 points, (mid length and top), where it can be secured by threading laces through these points.
Finally, above the heel is a well sized hook / loop which assists in pulling shoe off and on the foot or hanging in a cupboard or for drying.
The review is based on running in the shoes for a minimum of 80km over a 4-week period on a number of surfaces – wet and dry – and takes into account the general feel and performance of the shoe.
The Cascade Wings is a well-balanced, well weighted shoe that has the feel of a race, but the footprint of a trainer. Ground contact is full and stable but the combination of flex and drop allow for a natural ball of foot / midfoot landing. The flexibility of the fore and mid foot allows for good drive and toe off at faster paces.
The outer sole grips well on road in both wet and dry conditions, and was impressive on the polished concrete surface around Moses Mahbida stadium, even in the damp. That is a test many shoes struggle to come to grips with.
It works well on typical dry cross country or non-technical trail surfaces such as the paths of Newlands Forrest.
Due to the small smoother outer pattern there is much less grip on muddy or loose sand areas, but then it was not designed with that sort of surface in mind.
The ride is a well cushioned one yet there is sufficient firmness to ‘feel’ the drive when accelerating or using as a track / interval trainer.
The ‘windows’ in each side certainly keep good flow and a coolness in the feet and in rain the water drains out of the shoe easily. This means it does not gain much weight even when running in heavy rain.
In my opinion, the OneMix Cascade Wings is a versatile shoe offering good performance in a wide diversity of training conditions and given the recommended price of around R1100, it has many benefits to offer runners of all abilities.
If I were to look for an improvement it would be to decrease the drop to 8mm, but then it could lose its attraction for runners who wish to make the transition from heel striking to a more powerful, efficient and natural ball of foot / mid foot style.
The current offering is in four colour ways including grey, black, red and blue.
One Mix SA:
Made in China the One Mix range is a recent addition to the South Africa running market and will initially be offered through on-line only
The site has been launched with a 20% discount offering so it is particularly worth while browsing through the entire site at present.
The current range of seven will grow over the next months but has started with a range of running and leisure shoes suitable for the competitive athlete, (such as Cascade Wings), the recreational runner and fitness person, as well as those looking for well-priced leisure and fashion.
OneMix in China was established in 2013 and has around 130 different men’s and ladies’ models on offer.
The shoe review was undertaken by Norrie Williamson – Coachnorrie – a previous International Ultrarunners who represented GBR, Scotland and South Africa in running and triathlon: was the founding president of the Triathlon Federation, competed in local and international events up to 1000km, with over 30 races of 100 miles and beyond.
He has over 10 wins in 100 miles, 200km and beyond, 20 Comrades with a best of 6:07, 10 Oceans 56 with 10 silver, will earn his 20th Oceans 21 this year and should become the first runner to earn three blue numbers when running his 10th trail run in 2021.
His interest in shoes dates back to 1984 when he was the founding partner in the first SA Triathlon and Running specialist store, and has regularly held clinics on running style / shoe selection and injury assessment and prevention
He is a World Athletics, SA and UK athletics qualified coach, and Technical Official and is engaged by many race organisations as Coach and or Technical Consultant. His primary work in in Africa, India, Middle East and China.
He has been appointed by World Athletics to assess and assist a number of Label Road Races, and now spends most of his time working in all aspects of athletics, including one on one coaching: