Brooks is a pioneer in the running shoe industry. It all started when they created the world’s first stability shoe in 1977, the Vantage, and began patenting different types of DNA midsole foams. From the GuideRails system that offers unobtrusive support for overpronators and neutral runners, to the 3D fit printed uppers and plush DNA foam, it’s hard to beat the features of Brooks running shoes at their price point.
Over the years Brooks has amassed a large following, from workers in the healthcare industry who spend all day on their feet, to road and trail runners alike. For our top choice, we looked for a model with the versatility to be worn anywhere, comfortable cushioning, and durability to handle high mileage and daily training—for all these reasons, we chose the outstanding Ghost 13 running shoe. Below are the eight best models according to our research.
Best Brooks Running Shoes Reviewed
Coming in first place are the renowned Ghost 13, the perfect shoe for any occasion. Your feet will experience a new level of comfort with the DNA loft cushioning in the Ghosts. The DNA loft gives you a soft, smooth ride whether you’re running, working a long shift, or out walking your dog. The Ghosts are a perfect neutral shoe with light support and a dependable tread. Also, their lightweight breathability makes them ideal for warm summer months.
- Loft DNA cushioning
- Highly versatile
- Lightweight and comfortable
- Too cushioned for marathons
Though they’re bracketed as the most affordable option, the Launch 8 (women’s; men’s) are packed with features. There’s loads of stability, provided by the GuideRails Support system, to help you keep your natural path of motion. Brooks’s most lightweight cushioning, the BioMoGo DNA, makes for a fast ride without added weight. The new mesh upper also enhances breathability for long, sweaty runs or workouts.
- Enhanced breathability
- Lightweight cushioning
- Not many colour options
Best for Road Running
If you’re looking for a softly cushioned and supportive shoe, look no further than the Adrenaline GTS 21. Designed specifically for road running, they’re equipped with buttery soft DNA loft cushioning, supportive GuideRails, and a medium-high arch. They’re ridiculously lightweight, coming in at just 295 g for the men’s version and 258 g for the women’s. The design is elegant and straightforward and there’s lots of room in the toe box for a natural toe splay.
- Soft cushioning
- Wide toe box
- Great for overpronation
- Maybe overly cushioned for some
Best for Trail Running
Hardwired for the rugged trails, the Cascadia 15 will take you safely over rocks, loose branches, and all other types of terrain. The four-point Pivot Post System provides stability by keeping your foot level and the built-in rock plate in the forefoot is excellent for tackling rugged terrain.
The BioMoGo cushioning isn’t overly padded, so you can still get a feel for the ground beneath your feet. The main difference between the Cascadia 14 and 15 (women’s; men’s) is the improved breathability and more hydrophobic materials, so the shoes dry faster.
- Firm but comfortable
- Serious grip
- Keeps your foot stable
- For specialized, not everyday use
Best Everyday Trainers
For unbeatable running support, check out the Glycerin 19 (women’s; men’s). With the full-length DNA loft cushioning through the midsole, there’s a distinct ‘plush ride’ feel. For added comfort, the shoes also come with an Ortholite sock liner that makes it easy to slide your foot in and out of the shoe. You can go for miles and miles in this shoe without problems thanks to the extra plush lining, cushioning, and 3D-fit printed uppers.
- Extra soft ride
- Snug upper
- Easy to slip on and off
- Low energy return
Best for Cushioning
The Ricochet 3 (men’s; women’s) are a neutral trainer that provide a solid energy return and have ample cushioning. It’s not overly plush and doesn’t come with many frills...but it gets the job done. The Fit Knit upper fabric is stretchy and breathable and the DNA AMP foam in the midsole helps with smooth transitions. Though it’s not as softly cushioned as the Glycerin or Adrenaline lines, it’s a good middle ground cushioning shoe that’s still responsive.
- Super stretchy and breathable
- Smooth ride
- No frills
Best for Stability
For a shoe that doesn’t sacrifice support for speed, look to the Ravenna 11 (men’s). The GuideRails Support system helps to protect the most vulnerable part of a runner’s body—the knees. The Midfoot Transition Zone enables you to go from heel to toe quickly, there’s a secure fit around the arch, and the one-piece mesh is ultra-breathable. For days when you’re going on long runs, the rebounding rubber and BioMoGo DNA midsole help put a spring in your step.
- Breathable uppers
- Extra stability
- Fast cushioning
- Many changes from previous versions
Best Neutral Profile
For the best energy return runners, check out the Revel 4 for men and Levitate 4 for women. While the Revel 4 uses a segmented crash pad and BioMoGo DNA technology, the Levitate 4 uses DNA AMP for a springy step. Thanks to the midsole technology, the shoes are 20% lighter and provide an energizing running experience. There’s no needless cushioning or extra padding, just the essentials for a smooth and responsive ride.
- Lightweight design
- Responsive neutral runner
- Durable and robust
- Not as much support
What to Look for When Buying Brooks Running Shoes
The whole part of the shoe found north of the sole is considered the upper. Though there are many styles of uppers, they usually consist of a combination of synthetic leather, nylon and nylon mesh, and breathable, water-resistant material. Usually, synthetic leather is used to protect the feet from debris and rocks.
Brooks running shoes also use woven mesh and their FitKnit technology to ensure breathability. Waterproof uppers like a GORE-TEX membrane can come at the cost of reduced breathability but help to keep out moisture from rain, dew, and puddles.
The heel counter is the stiff cup-shaped form on the back of the running shoe. It helps runners keep their natural range of motion and increases stability. The counter also protects the runner’s heel as it strikes the ground. Many Brooks running shoes also feature a GuideRails stability system in the heel which reduces excess movements to protect the runner’s body.
Most traditional running shoes have carbon rubber on the heel, which is the first to strike the ground. Then, there’s blown rubber on the forefront, which isn’t as durable as carbon but is more lightweight.
If your toes are squished into your shoes, you’ll end up with blisters. Make sure you have enough room to splay and wriggle your toes before deciding on the shoes. A spacious toe box is essential for runners with wide feet. Luckily, most Brooks running shoes are cut wider in the toe box.
Outsole & Midsole
The outsole, or part of the shoe that touches the ground, can be extremely thin or extra thick. Brooks running shoes typically use carbon rubber in the heel and blown rubber near the forefoot for more durability. On the other hand, trail running shoes have the thickest carbon rubber outsoles with deep waffle iron treads to tackle rugged terrain. Road running shoes’ outsoles are made of blown rubber since it’s lighter and can help you run faster.
Brooks uses two types of cushioning to add comfort for those long runs: DNA loft and BioMoGo DNA. The DNA loft is Brooks’ softest cushioning for those that need more support, the BioMoGo provides cushioning with a touch of springiness.
There are three main types of foot arches: neutral, which means the foot rolls to a normal degree; low arch, which indicates the foot rolls excessively inward or overpronates; and high arch, which means the foot rolls slightly inward, or under pronates.
Runners who overpronate, or roll their foot inward while running and push off the ground with their big toe, should check out motion control shoes. They help the runner develop a more natural footstrike, which is easier on the knees. For runners who under pronate, highly cushioned shoes are best. Runners who have normal arches can check out stability shoes that have a gentle arch and high-density foam.
When choosing running shoes, you should always wait until the end of the day to try them on. At the end of the day, your feet are warmer and sweatier than in the morning, so you have a more accurate idea of the size you’ll need. Also, try to walk, run on the treadmill, and perform a heel raise with the shoe to make sure it offers the support you need.
How do I know which running shoes I need?
The type of running shoes you need depends on your foot type, the running experience you want, and your personal preference. The most important thing is that your running shoes give you the amount of support you need and fit the running conditions, such as trail or road.
What are the most comfortable Brooks running shoes?
Our top pick is the Ghost 13. These neutral shoes have soft DNA loft cushioning and are breathable and lightweight.
How long do running shoes last?
Running shoes should be replaced after 300 to 500 miles or every four to six months. If the treads are worn out, or the midsole feels tough, it can also be a sign it’s time to replace the running shoes.
How much do good running shoes cost?
Most Brooks running shoes cost around $150 to $200, depending on the shoe’s technology. It’s worth spending at least $100 on a good pair of running shoes to make sure they last.
The perfect running shoe delivers a smooth ride across long distances, has the durability to withstand high mileage, and provides breathability during extensive training sessions. According to these standards, we chose the Ghost 13 as our top choice to get us through daily runs and miles of adventure. We hope this guide helps you decide which Brooks running shoes are the perfect fit for you.