One of the more popular and well-established brands around, Brooks is known for being a true runner’s shoe.
Only manufacturing specialist running shoes, the brand remains true to the cause of creating the best shoes for runners.
Their no fuss, no gimmicks approach has made them a firm favourite with those wanting a shoe simply to do the job.
They offer options for all foot types and all types of runners. From road to trail and training to racing, Brooks has an option and it’s usually available in a range of sizes, width fittings and colours.
The 7 Best Brooks Running Shoes in 2023
1. Best Brooks Running Shoes For Cushioning: Brooks Glycerin 20
2. Best Brooks Running Shoes For Support: Brooks Adrenaline GTS 23
3. Best Brooks Trail Running Shoes: Brooks Cascadia 17
4. Best Brooks Running Shoes For Heavier Runners: Brooks Addiction GTS15
5. Best Brooks Racing Shoes: Brooks Hyperion Max
6. Best Brooks Running Shoes For Beginners: Brooks Trace 2
7. Most Versatile Brooks Running Shoes: Brooks Ghost 15
The Best Brooks Running Shoes
#1. Best Brooks Running Shoes For Cushioning:
Brooks Glycerin 20
Weight, Men’s: 286g/ 10.01oz Women’s 258g/9.1oz; Heel stack: 29mm; Toe stack: 19mm (10mm drop)
|Best neutral Brooks running shoes||Quite heavy|
|Super soft and bouncy|
The brand’s range-topping neutral cushioned running shoe, the Glycerin 20 uses their DNA Loft v3 cushioning, a nitrogen-infused foam that gives a soft, cushioned ride that’s responsive and very durable.
I first experienced the nitrogen-infused foam in their experimental shoe the Aurora BL a couple of years ago. The BL in the name refers to ‘blue line’, Brooks’ name for prototype models.
The Aurora BL is actually now available from Brooks, but it’s the Glycerin that’s the more accessible model.
Being one of the first shoes with a nitrogen-infused midsole, it felt like nothing else. The springy ride has soft and bouncy feeling but most of all, incredibly durable. I recall running in those prototype shoes more than I’ve done in any shoes in recent years.
The Glycerin 20 takes the nitro-foam and packs it into a deeply stacked midsole unit with a 10mm drop. For a high-mileage, daily trainer, it offers exceptional cushioning that feels fresh day after day.
It’s not the lightest daily trainer on the market, but for such a well-cushioned model, it’s nicely balanced and feels about right for the type of protection it affords.
Once on the move, the shoe is flexible and gives a super-smooth ride with a responsive toe-off that is, again, nicely tuned for this type of shoe.
The upper of the Glycerin is plush and luxurious. It is, like all Brooks shoes very well put-together, with high-quality materials throughout. The ankle collar and tongue have soft padding and complement the over feel of the shoe.
The fit is rather generous and a little roomier than the Ghost. The Glycerin is available in regular and wide fits, but in the standard guise, it offers a little more wiggle room, so may fit more people without opting for the wider version.
Its toe box is a little deeper than other shoes in the brand’s range, so the Glycerin is a very accommodating fit.
Outsole rubber provides excellent coverage and despite being a relatively smooth pattern, it works well on the road and proves to be a very durable rubber.
#2. Best Brooks Running Shoes For Support:
Brooks Adrenaline GTS 23
Weight, Men’s: 289g/10.2oz Women’s: 258g/9.1oz; Heel Stack: 28.5mm; Toe stack: 16.5mm (drop 10mm)
|One of the best support shoes overall||Not a fast shoe – made for daily training|
|Unique GuideRail system helps with both overpronation and supination|
|Smooth, stable ride|
The GTS (as it is commonly referred to) works for a wide variety of runners requiring support. And those support needs can be from over pronating to those that supinate.
The Adrenaline differs from many supportive shoes in the use of its GuideRail system. Traditionally support for overpronation came in the form of a firmer piece of midsole cushioning placed under the medial arch of the foot.
This was known as a medial post and while it was effective, its effectiveness was largely ‘on or off’. There’s little dynamic resistance with this type of support or posting.
The GuideRail system works similarly to the guard rails at a bowling alley. Should your ball veer off to the side of the lane, the rails prevent it from going into the gutter and keep it in the lane.
Here the GuideRail helps prevent the foot from rolling too much both medially and laterally.
The GuideRails help keep the foot centred, in a more neutral position and the manner in which they work feels very natural. The rails can control supination and pronation and work very well for a wide range of runners.
Cushioning comes from the DNA Loft V2 cushioning, a CM-EVA-like material, but it does offer a little touch of ‘spring’ on toe-off. It’s a smooth, stable ride that’s perfect for this type of support shoe in the daily trainer category.
The upper is plush, well made and typical Brooks quality. Available in a wide range of sizes and widths, the Adrenaline caters for many foot sizes and levels of support effectively and efficiently.
#3. Best Brooks Trail Running Shoes:
Brooks Cascadia 17
Weight, Men’s: 312g/11oz Women’s:278g/9.8oz; Heel Stack: 25.7mm; Toe stack: 17.7mm (drop 10mm)
|DNA Loft c2 cushioning is super comfortable||Quite heavy|
|Protective stone guard gives a slight springboard effect|
|Deep lugs adapts to both soft and firmer trails|
Brooks’ most established trail running shoe, the Cascadia sees some big updates in this version.
The remodelled midsole now uses the same DNA Loft v2 cushioning as found on the Ghost and Adrenaline road shoes, so the feel is as great as you might expect.
The midsole is segmented into ‘pods’ running the length of the shoe. With deep grooves cut into the sole, between these pods, the shoe can easily adapt to rough terrain and contours.
A stone guard is embedded within the midsole to prevent sharp stones and rocks from penetrating the shoe.
While the chances of this happening are rare, it’s a reassuring piece of protection and at the same time provides a similar effect to that of a carbon plate. Okay, it’s never going to provide the same level of ‘propulsion’ but it does give a slight springboard effect.
The sole pattern features relatively aggressive lugs, but being even spaced across the shoe means they both cope with soft, wet terrain as easily as firmer trail surfaces.
A durable mesh upper with reinforced areas at points of potential friction, around the toe and sides of the shoe makes for a comfortable fit that’s durable and protective.
A Gore-Tex option is also available, adding waterproof protection to this great trail running shoe.
#4. Best Brooks Running Shoes For Heavier Runners:
Brooks Addiction GTS15
Weight, Men’s: 346g/ 12.2oz Women’s: 315g/11.1oz; Heel Stack: 29mm; Toe stack: 17mm (drop 12mm)
|Features GudeRail system for support||Heavy|
|Durable construction copes well with higher levels of impact||Outsole can feel stiff|
For heavier runners that require support, the Addiction GTS provides the same levels of control as the Adrenaline GTS but in a more durable model, able to cope better with higher levels of impact.
The GuideRail system functions in exactly the same manner as the brand’s other GTS model.
The rails on both the lateral and medial sides of the shoe prevent any roll. The major point of difference is in the cushioning material. Here DNA Loft V1 is used. Compared to the V2 version of cushioning, this is a denser foam and as such a little more inherently stable.
With a roomier fitting upper, the Addiction has a slightly broader and deeper overall fit which, if required, is perfect for use with an orthotic.
The Addiction is also built on a slightly straighter last. This creates a little more natural stability in the foot as it rolls through the gait cycle and again contributes to the overall stability of the shoe.
#5. Best Brooks Racing Shoes:
Brooks Hyperion Max
Weight, Men’s: 221g/ 7.8oz Women’s: 190g/6.7oz; Heel Stack: 28mm; Toe stack: 20mm (drop 8mm)
|Great performance at a low price||Some still prefer having a carbon plate|
|The foam feels springy – the shoe doesn’t need a carbon plate|
|Durable and lightweight|
For racing many people feel they now require a carbon-plated shoe. Yes, they do feel great thanks to the extra level of ‘pop’ they provide, but sometimes you don’t have to spend $200+ for a great race day shoe.
Brooks does have a carbon-plated racer, but it’s this shoe, the Hyperion Max that I think offers a fast ride at a great price to make it the brand’s best shoe for faster-paced running.
The DNA Flash midsole is a nitrogen-injected foam that’s lighter, softer and springier than the nitro foam found in the training shoe, the Glycerin.
From the word go, it feels super-light and the soft feel on impact is welcome.
But it’s the toe-off that gives the shoe the real racer feel. The foam feels naturally springy and it almost ‘snaps’ the foot forward. This shoe really doesn’t need a carbon plate.
The outsole provides good coverage and ensures all the areas of ground contact are covered for added durability.
A single-layer, stretch, woven upper keeps the shoe’s weight to a minimum and provides a good, secure fit that’s breathable and perfectly in keeping with race day models.
At this price, the Hyperion Max offers great performance at a low price (compared to competitors) for a race day feel that can be used regularly thanks to the durability of the nitro foam.
#6. Best Brooks Running Shoes For Beginners:
Brooks Trace 2
Weight, Men’s: 244g/ 8.6oz Women’s: 215g/7.6oz; Heel Stack: 27mm; Toe stack: 15mm (drop 12mm)
|Great value shoe||Not comfy enough for longer runs|
|Many of the same benefits of Ghost at a low price|
|Soft and smooth riding|
For new runners or even those who simply want a great-value shoe, the Trace 2 is a fantastic option.
Essentially, the Trace is a version of the Ghost (see below) from a couple of years ago.
It offers the same fit, it simply uses slightly less plush upper materials and the midsole cushioning is a previous version of the brand’s DNA midsole foam. All that said, in all honesty, many people would struggle to tell the shoes apart.
Brooks has been really quite clever with this shoe. Having the moulds and patterns available from a previous generation Ghost shoe, they have reduced manufacturing costs to create a new model.
They’ve simply used the existing set-up and managed to produce a lower-priced shoe that offers the same benefits but at a lower cost.
It’s a great shoe, soft and smooth riding, well made, and exceptional value. Nothing more really needs to be said, for those seeking a great entry-level shoe, then look no further.
#7. Most Versatile Brooks Running Shoes:
Brooks Ghost 15
Weight, Men’s: 278g /9.8oz Women’s: 249g/8.7oz; Stack heel: 29mm; Stack toe: 17mm (12mm)
|Many size and color options||Firmer and heavier than the previous version|
|Light, flexible and comfortable|
|Available in a water-resistant GTX version|
The best-selling shoe from Brooks, the Ghost, now in its 15th generation, continues to provide a great fit and feel that many people don’t look beyond when trying the shoe in specialist running stores.
The Ghost is light, flexible, seamless inside and well made, but most of all it’s just very comfortable from the very first step into the shoe.
What makes the shoe so versatile for me is the wide range of varieties it is available in.
The Ghost can be found in very small and large sizes for both men and women. As well as this, the women’s shoe comes in regular ‘B’ width, narrow ‘A’ and a ‘D’ wide fit. For men, there’s the regular ‘D’ width fit as well as a narrow ‘B’, wide ‘2E’ and extra wide ‘4E’.
Add to these sizes the multiple colour options, 12 for women and 10 for men when I last checked, including all black which many find perfect for work use.
Finally, the Ghost is available in a GTX, Gore-Tex version providing a waterproof upper for great wet weather protection.
The ride of the Ghost is soft and smooth and as a neutral shoe, it’s pretty stable too, adding more so to its versatility.
For a good value, all-round running shoe, there’s a Ghost for everyone!