Brooks Adrenaline GTS 22 review and lab test

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The Adrenaline is Brooks’ staple GTS (Go-to-stability) shoe, providing over-pronators with an alternative to medial posting for a few years. Now with an improved upper and stiffer mid-sole, the stability shoe is a great all-rounder for some. Purists may disagree with the premise of the shoe entirely though.

Who the shoe is for

The Brooks Adrenaline GTS 22 is a stability shoe that’s perfect for daily runs. It’s a perfect choice for medium-paced runs up to half-marathon length. Brooks has made the shoe quite accessible with 4 different widths to accommodate most foot shapes. 

Who the Brooks Adrenaline GTS 22 is not for

The Adrenaline GTS 22 might not be your best bet if:  

  • You don’t over-pronate, while GTS tech is apparently fine for neutral runners, you can shed lots of weight by choosing something like the Ghost 14
  • Speed is your goal, the Adrenaline GTS is a bit too bulky for this, try the Launch GTS 8 for some more speed
  • You want something softer, for longer runs (at the cost of speed) the Glycerin GTS 19 is a great choice

Few design updates on the Adrenaline GTS 21

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Building on the almost legendary status of the Adrenaline GTS series has definitely seen a bit of stagnation throughout the past years in terms of design. 

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The Brooks Adrenaline GTS 22 was billed at weighing 10.2oz (289g), a touch lighter than its predecessor (10.4oz). My pair in US size 10 came in at 11.0oz (311g) which is a wee bit on the heavy side even for stability shoes. 

The most notable design change is the upper, which finally has some color, meaning you can now run in these without it looking like you have two cinder-blocks on your feet (although it might feel like it!) 

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With a mesh knit upper, there’s plenty of breathability even with plush padding. The material feels stiff and won’t stretch much, but the fit is fine so no worries there. It also feels nice and durable.

Secure Fit in the Adrenaline GTS 22

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With 4 width options in the Adrenaline GTS 22 from narrow (B) to Wide (2E) there’s little reason to not find a perfect fit. The length is true to size and I found the B width to be perfect, not too narrow, not too roomy either. With a super-traditional lacing system, Brooks has taken no risks with the fit, which I appreciate. 

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There’s a good heel cup and the ankle collar fits well. The heel counter has had a bit of an update and is more padded than before, and even stiffer. 

There’s an upgrade in the midsole, for some 

It feels like Brooks has tried to make the 22 a bit speedier than it way. With a slightly above average midsole durometer of 43.5HA the Adrenaline 22 brings a bit of energy return into the shoe. 

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Only a bit though, because there’s still an aggressive 14.7mm drop and a 37.4mm heel stack height. If anything, this firmer midsole plus the guide rail system makes the shoe feel too hard. It feels more like a 10-12mile max shoe than something that keeps you comfy for longer, marathon levels. 

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Brilliant stability for newer runners

With the price point of the Brooks Adrenaline GTS 22 I’d tend to think it’s marketed at the enthusiastic daily runner. Someone who's cruising 30 miles a week. With a stability system that goes above and beyond, many agree with this deduction. Others however point out a bit of a flaw in Brooks’ mindset. 

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The way the guide rail works are that it initially provides extra support for when your ankle over-pronates (rolls inwards), and pushes your stride to a neutral position. 

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There’s then exterior support to stop your food rolling too far outwards (which can lead to problems like IT band syndrome). This makes Brooks a great option for almost any runner because you can run in them even if you are a neutral runner. As an over-pronator, I definitely felt the guide rail push me back straight, which is always a good sign, and I also felt the exterior rail push me back inwards. So it definitely works

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But, and this is a big but, that’s a bit pointless if you’re then going to lug around a 300g+ shoe as a neutral runner. Moreover, if you’re doing 30 miles per week, you probably know more about your pronation than most and can choose shoes accordingly. 

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So in practice, I think the support of the Brooks Adrenaline GTS line is best suited to new runners who don’t know about their pronation and just want to run injury-free. I just wish the price point would match that. 

Stiff, but at least very consistent

 With all of that hard midsole and the guide rails, it didn’t come as a surprise that the Brooks Adrenaline GTS 22 scored highly in our lab testing, needing 40.8N of force to bend the shoe to 45° (the average score is 29N and that includes shoes with carbon plates). The result on the road is a bit dull, but as a daily shoe, it’s not a problem for me. 

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What shone out for me is the consistency of the flex in the midsole, after 20 minutes in the lab freezer it only took 43.5N to get the same degree of flex (average here is 27.7N) which is only a 5.6% difference. In the lab, we regularly see flexibility changes of 30% (even up to 68.3% from the Brooks Revel 5), so this degree of reliability is very welcome. 

The Brooks Adrenaline GTS 22 has a lot of grip 

Clearly not fearing the wrath of a set of scales, Brooks has added 3.4mm of outsole grip to the shoe, at 87HC durometer it's super strong too. This makes for a fair amount of durability and I wouldn’t be surprised if these make it well past the 500-mile mark. 

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The grip itself is effective, I felt no slippage on both wet and dry concrete, making sharper turns and downhills confident, and lots of ability to keep pace on the ups. 

Conclusion

Maybe Adrenaline is the wrong word. It’s obvious that Brooks isn’t making super-stylish running shoes that weigh next to nothing and promise taking chunks off of your 10km time. They do however make a shoe that’s built to make you run as frequently as you want, on whatever experience level. Sure, it’s super heavy, and even the updates to the upper won’t make you want to wear these out to dinner, but it does what it says on the tin. 

  Brooks Adrenaline GTS 22 Average
Whole shoe
Weight (g)

311

276
Drop (mm)

14.7

8.9
Flexibility of the shoe (N)

40.8

29.0
Flexibility of the shoe (Freezer 20 min) (N) 43.1 37.7
Flexibility of the shoe (% of change) 5.6% 31.5
Lace slip test with the knot (N) 44 23.3
Longitudinal flexibility (1-5 scale, 5 being the stiffest)

5.0

3.2
Torsional flexibility (1-5 scale, 5 being the stiffest)

4.0

3.4
Upper
Thickness - Tongue (mm) 8.2 6.4
Width Upper - Forefoot (mm) 102.9 98.6
Width Upper - Heel (mm) 84 82.7
Lace Stretch (1-5 scale, 5 being the most stretchy) 2.0 2.7
Flexibility of the heel counter (1-5 scale, 5 being the stiffest) 4.0 3.0
Tongue: gusset type Full -
Heel: pull tab No -
Midsole
Width Midsole - Forefoot (mm) 116.3 112.0
Width Midsole - Heel (mm) 96.6 89.2
Stack - Forefoot with insole (mm) 22.7 23.9
Stack - Heel with insole (mm) 37.4 32.7
Durometer Midsole Heel (Room temperature) (HA) 43.5 41.4
Outsole
Outsole thickness (Heel) (mm) 3.4 3.7
Lugs Depth (mm) NA 3.3
Durometer Outsole Heel (Room temperature) (HC)

87

82.6
Insole
Insole Heel Thickness (mm) 5.3 4.5
Insole: removable Yes  

Facts / Specs

Terrain: Road
Weight: Men 10.2oz
Drop: Men 12mm
Arch support: Stability
Forefoot height: Men 12mm
Heel height: Men 24mm
Collection: Brooks Adrenaline

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Author
Doug Turner
Doug Turner

Doug is a Scottish documentary and fashion photographer and filmmaker. Stumbling into the sneaker game later than usual, he started out behind a camera through long hiking expeditions around the world. Seeking a cleaner aesthetic, Doug now works mostly in fashion and sport, opting for outdoor locations rather than a studio.