The Ultimate Brooks Running Shoes Review: Are They Worth the Hype?

An Iconic Running Brand with a Century of Expertise

As one of the most established names in athletic footwear, Brooks Running has been enabling athletes to chase peak performance for over 100 years. Founded in Philadelphia in 1914, Brooks initially gained fame outfitting baseball legends like Jimmie Foxx and Mickey Mantle. However, the brand cement its legacy when it pivoted to focus exclusively on running shoes in the 1970s.

Since then, Brooks has ascended to the top of the industry through relentless innovation and a steadfast commitment to understand the unique needs of runners. The company spends millions annually on biomechanical research and focuses extensive resources on segmenting the runnings population into archetypes based on size, stride, and support requirements. This insights-driven, targeted approach has earned Brooks an almost cult-like following.

Beyond designing exceptional shoes, Brooks also stands apart from competitors through forward-thinking initiatives:

Brooks Runs Happy Ethos: Brook believes being active should feel good. They champion inclusion, diversity, and emotional wellbeing in the running community.

Brooks Aurora Program: Aurora supplies apparel and shoes to lower income school athletic programs free of charge. Over 8,000 teams have benefitted from over $24 million in donations.

Green Leaf Certification: Brooks facilities utilize sustainable manufacturing practices to minimize environmental impact. 95% of shoe materials are now recycled or renewable.

By meshing performance with purpose, Brooks continues to outpace the field. But does the brand live up the hype? Let‘s analyze some of their most acclaimed models.

Review Standouts from the Women‘s Running Line

Brooks Ghost 14

The Ghost franchise serves as the heart of the Brooks neutral shoe collection. Generations of runners have relied upon Ghost models as durable daily trainers that provide a smooth, stable ride. The Ghost 14 continues this lineage with an upgraded mesh upper that flexes naturally with the foot. An ample midsole compounds cushioning and longevity, while the segmented crash pad ensures stable transitions.

Highlights:

  • Airy, flexible engineered mesh upper
  • DNA LOFT cushioning generates soft yet responsive feel
  • Segmented heel crash pad enables adaptive transitions

Considerations:

  • Lacks versatility for speedwork or racing
  • Trail version has significantly reduced tread life

Brooks Adrenaline GTS 22

As Brooks flagship stability shoe, the Adrenaline GTS series has aided countless overpronators. The 22nd iteration integrates GuideRails support holistically from heel to toe to keep excess movement in check. An enlarged forefoot crash pad also makes for smoother toe-offs.

Highlights:

  • GuideRails system controls overpronation through entire gait cycle
  • Streamlined, breathable upper with structured midfoot wrap
  • High energizing cushioning ideal for long miles

Considerations:

  • Substantial built-up platform isn‘t ideal for faster paces
  • Expensive at $140 price point

Brooks Glycerin 20

For runners craving plush softness underfoot, the Glycerin 20 delivers exactly that. DNA LOFT cushioning extends the length of the shoe, while the OrthoLite insole supplies responsive bounce. The newly engineered mesh upper breaths exceptionally well, making the Glycerin a luxurious option for high mileage training.

Highlights:

  • DNA LOFT midsole creates supremely soft sensation
  • Mesh upper supplies forefoot stretch and adaptable support
  • Ideal for recovery runs or runners who prefer maximum cushioning

Considerations:

  • Softness dampens ground feel and responsiveness
  • Costs $30 more than previous version

Can‘t Miss Favorites for the Men

Brooks Ghost 14

Much like the women‘s Ghost 14, the men‘s version sets the bar for neutral cushioning in a daily trainer. The segmented crash pad ensures dynamic flexibility and transitions, while ample BioMoGo DNA midsole compound retains its lively feel even after hundreds of miles.

Highlights:

  • DNA LOFT cushioning generates soft yet responsive feel
  • Segmented heel crash pad enables adaptive transitions
  • Lightweight, breathable upper construction

Considerations:

  • Lacks versatility for speedwork or racing
  • Some testers report instep tightness

Brooks Adrenaline GTS 22

A perennial award winner, the Adrenaline GTS series represents over two decades of leading stability shoe designs. This latest iteration utilizes an innovative carbon fiber plate in the midsole to maximize torsional rigidity. GuideRails technology also brings dynamic support to overpronators by limiting excess movement.

Highlights:

  • GuideRails technology controls overpronation through the entire gait
  • Streamlined upper enhances forefoot flexibility and breathability
  • Energized cushioning ideal for logging high mileage

Considerations:

  • Substantial built-up platform dampens ground feel
  • Limited traction in wet conditions

Brooks Beast ‘22

Design specifically for severe overpronators, the Brooks Beast ‘22 supplies motion control in bucketloads. An extended progressive diagonal rollbar sits directly underneath to prevent excess inward rolling. Meanwhile, plush BioMoGo DNA cushioning ensures a smooth ride even over long distances. If you require stability assistance, the Beast ‘22 has you covered.

Highlights:

  • Maximum stability from extended progressive diagonal roll bar
  • Forgiving cushioning comfortable for heavy trainers
  • Durable construction stands up to rugged use

Considerations:

  • Specialized design limits versatility
  • Significant break-in period

How Brooks Running Compares to Top Brands

Brooks vs. Hoka

Both Brooks and Hoka Caribou occupy premium spots in the running shoe hierarchy, but achieve comfort through differing philosophies. Hoka shoes feature exaggerated midsole height to generate a smooth, protective ride. Brooks opts for a more biomechanically-based approach by precision engineering models for specific runner types.

When it comes to cushioning, Hoka tends to emphasize softness while Brooks focuses on responsiveness. Consequently, Hoka shoes generally excel at recovery runs while Brooks models thrive at various speeds. For runners seeking security and a cloud-like platform, Hoka rules. But if an adaptive, energetic feel is more your style, Brooks takes the lead.

Brooks vs. ASICS

Brooks and ASICS employ comparable design blueprints focused on catering models to match individual biomechanics. Both brands engineer shoes to supply guidance and support tailored specifically for overpronators. However, Brooks leans more towards a blend of cushioning and pep in the midsole. ASICS shoes typically emphasize bounce and energy return through use of propulsive foam compounds.

It‘s a subtle distinction, but ASICS models generally perform better for runners seeking speed while Brooks options handle long mileage days with aplomb. Still, both manufacturers make excellent neutral and stability running shoes across ability levels. Choosing comes down to personal preference on ride characteristics.

Brooks vs. New Balance

The chief difference between New Balance and Brooks centers around stability and guidance technologies. A core part of the Brooks identity involves catering to overpronators through features like GuideRails. While New Balance integrates similar elements in select shoes, they lack specialized models covering the entire pronation spectrum.

Brooks also tends to infuse models with slightly softer, more shock-absorbing midsole materials. As a result, some New Balance options with FIRM cushioning feel almost too sparse and firm underfoot compared to plush Brooks alternatives. Make no mistake – New Balance constructs great everyday trainers. But for runners who battle overpronation or crave forgiveness, Brooks models match up better.

More Perks for Brooks Buyers

Beyond award winning shoes, Brooks sweetens the value proposition through policies catering to the runner‘s lifestyle. Should your new kicks not fulfill expectations, Brooks allows returns up to 90 days from the purchase date. They also price match select third-party retailers, ensuring you receive the best possible deal.

Brooks also operates an extensive loyalty program providing exclusive access to gear and significant savings. VIP Family members earn points with every purchase, facilitating free expedited shipping, dollars off future orders, and early product previews.

As part of the Brooks Run Happy promise, the brand also frequently collaborates with charitable initiatives like Black Girls Run and Pride Run to foster inclusion within running. So you can feel good knowing your dollars contribute towards elevating the global running community.

Find What Feels Right for You

After analyzing the Brooks running lineage, evaluating critically acclaimed models, and detailing how the brand stacks against competitors, one conclusion is clear – this company remains at the forefront for good reason. Between revolutions in biomechanics-based design and customer-centric policies like 90 day returns, Brooks continues leading through innovation and insight.

Yet finding the ideal Brooks shoe still comes down personal preferences. Be sure to consider your usual running habits, weekly mileage, pronation tendencies, and desired cushioning/support levels before deciding. There are over 30 current models to select from after all. But rest assured through the Brooks Promise, if the initial choice proves less than ideal, you can swap it out hassle-free.

So explore the full Brooks catalog with confidence. Odds are high you discover an exceptional shoe ready to energize your daily miles for hundreds of happy outings ahead. Just be cautious – as many seasoned runners can attest, these shoes can prove seriously addicting.

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