Faceoff in the American Heartland: Brooks Adrenaline GTS 17 vs. Asics Kayano 24

97 / 100 by Frank DuCett • Level 4 expert

This is a contest between two of the most established and best-known stability road shoes from two of the finest companies. This contest will be a minimum of 50 Miles for each pair of shoes on roads of the U.S. States of Indiana, Kentucky, and Illinois. 

The winner of this event will receive an all expense paid trip to the U.S. Air Force Marathon at Wright Patterson Air Force Base in the U.S. State of Ohio, in September!



Brooks Adrenaline 17

The reliable Brooks has been improving a little every year for 17 years. The Adrenaline has some of the very latest technologies available and a dedicated group of loyal followers.


The Outsole

Brooks has made flexibility one of their priorities, the Ghost, Launch, Ravenna, and Adrenaline are all quite flexible. With carbon rubber and deeply cut grooves called the Omega Flex Grooves, the GTS-17 is a fairly flexible stability shoe.

Stiffness (lack of flexibility) in a shoe is something that must be overcome by some outside force such as the efforts of a runner's heart and legs. This outsole has proven to be very durable, and amazingly quiet on the run. 

Adhesion is excellent. The sole has a footprint that plants a lot of rubber on the ground and this helps with traction while serving to share the load forces over a larger area.

I feel stable and confident in these shoes due in part to the outsole design.


The Midsole

The cushioning is a combination of BioMoGo foam and DNA material.

BioMoGo is an excellent foam that is friendly to the Earth by not taking over 900 years to degrade once placed in a landfill and doesn't become toxic once degraded.

There is a Progressive Diagonal Rollbar made up of multi-density BioMoGo that spans from the heel to the midfoot to keep you stable, like a guard rail on the highway, it is there if you need it for some guidance.

DNA is a Brooks innovation that has largely changed the definition of a running shoe, in much the same way the Concorde has re-defined airliners.

DNA is an adaptive material that changes properties depending on the runners' gait, effort, weight and running style by becoming stiffer during a sprint or hill climbs and softer when simply easily jogging down the lane. 


The Upper

The Brooks uppers are a basic spacer mesh with a pleasant and rugged appearance of quality and functionality that makes me wonder who needs engineered mesh? The upper forefoot is mostly stitched free.

Reflectorization is excellent with full 360 degrees of after-dark coverage. Tongue and collar are well padded with no tongue slip on this model and no ankle rub at the collar even on uneven roadways.



The Run

The Adrenaline is designed to be laced up, taken for a run and forgotten as soon as you leave the building. The Adrenaline GTS 17 does not at first seem amazing, running in the Adrenaline is a pleasant experience with few poor surprises. 

My first run in these shoes was another pre-dawn outing & immediately you notice that there is not a lot to get used to until you sprint, crest a hill or go high tempo, then the DNA kicks in. The Adrenaline runs smooth and almost as quiet as the Brooks Ghost or Launch

I recently ran a half marathon in training and noticed there was very little pain or soreness in the days after, due in large part to the flexibility of this shoe.

I rarely do interval runs but when I do, I step it up to something I would call a tempo or when digging deep to crest a hill, I can feel the DNA changing its personality. 

The Brooks Adrenaline is a good steady and predictable shoe with no surprises. This is a great any-distance shoe for any size runner. However, for me, the forefoot was a bit narrow.


The Asics Kayano 24

The Amazing Asics Kayano 24, with years of engineering progress, now brings us one of the finest good-olde running shoe ever made.
The Kayano team has never lost sight or changed their minds about what the Kayano should be.


The Outsole

With AHAR (Asics High Abrasive Rubber) in the heel for durability and a variation of AHAR in the forefoot blended for comfort. Traction on the wet roadway is good but not quite as good on the painted white lines.

Durability is very good.


The Midsole

Cushioning on this shoe is revolutionary. FlyteFoam is an amazingly light and lively foam that Asics developed over a three years period in the labs of the Asics Sports Science Institute.

There is also a generous portion of the silicone gel that Asics is well known for. These two types of cushioning are used in the right combination and work well together. 

Asics Gel is a little bit heavy while the FlyteFoam is said to be 55% lighter than regular EVA. The outcome of this combo seems to be that the Kayano hasn't changed much in weight, even with the newer foam.


The Upper

The upper on the Kayano is an engineered mesh that appears to be fairly thin and comfortably wraps the shape of my feet. There are no stitches in the forefoot to rub you the wrong way, there is a very welcome toebox that went missing two models ago.

I bet kayano sales went down when the old reasonable toe box went away. There is an attachment on the rear of the shoe called "exoskeletal", it works.

My right heel would always slip a little more than the left, not so in the Kayano 24.



The Run

My first run in the Kayano 24 was on another warm, pre-dawn, summer morning after night rain. My ideal running conditions, I enjoy running alone, with no cars and the darkness make it seem like your moving faster. 

I work the overnight shift and best enjoy this time of day. Early morning runs also offer cleaner air. Traction is excellent on the wet roadways, with a bit less traction on the painted lines, as expected. 

The FlyteFoam adds a lot to the Kayano, taking less out of my efforts or by putting more back into my efforts, I am not sure which. I opened the box and found a shoe that was alarmingly stiff, I nearly put them back in the box and returned them, I went for a run instead.

These shoes are ideal for the runner with a good and steady pace, not the long strides of a 17 minute 5K runner, these are half or full marathon shoes. With the high price tag comes high quality and loads of features and added weight.


The Numbers

                                                       Adrenaline 17                                                   Kayano 24
Weight in grams                             346                                                                   368
Size Tested                                     12                                                                      12
Toe Drop                                        12mm                                                                10mm
Arch                                                MED                                                                 MED
Flexibility                                       Good                                                                 Poor
Durability                                       Excellent                                                           Fair
Miles Tested                                   160                                                                    50
Price USD                                      $ 120.00                                                            $ 160.00
Score                                               97                                                                      95


With these two superstars being so close in many areas including technological innovation, workmanship and the use of quality materials, the winner came down to how well they ran or how good the runner felt during the testing.

The Asics are more lively and with more bounce, but the Brooks is less tiring on longer runs.

I mentioned that the Kayano team never lost sight of what it was "supposed" to be, they might now consider thinking about what this shoe "could" be, it could be 50 grams lighter and at least bend in the middle!


The Verdict

Ladies and Gentlemen, we have a winner!

The winner and new champion after 17 years of development, and will be going to the U.S. Air Force Marathon in September is the mild mannered friend from Seattle, the Brooks Adrenaline GTS 17!

Thanks for stopping by, now go run!

Frank DuCett

Frank DuCett • Level 4 expert

My name is Frank DuCett, living and running in the Heartland of America. My love is the long lonesome road half marathons of Indiana, Kentucky and Illinois. My training of 20 - 30 miles weekly is dedicated to staying under 2 1/2 hours for the 13.1 mile distance into my 70s and beyond. I run alone and without earbuds, enjoying the solitude and true sensations of the act.

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Brooks Adrenaline GTS 17