Brooks Ghost 10 – Built for comfort & for speed

97 / 100 by Matthew Leonard • Level 3 expert

The Brooks Ghost 10 is by far the most comfortable shoe I have ever run in.

The shoe effortlessly absorbs the impact of both long runs and fast tempo sessions, whilst remaining responsive enough for racing. I’d have no hesitation in recommending this shoe.

 

 

Pros

  • Supremely comfortable
  • Superior cushioning
  • Secure fit and hold
  • Breathable upper
  • Roomy toe box

 

Cons

  • High ride height may not suit everyone
  • Lack of reflective panels

     

Introduction

The Ghost is essentially Brooks' prime neutral cushioned shoe and has consistently appeared towards the top of the running shoe chart over the years.

Brooks promises “the smoothest ride possible, for runners who want a plush, adaptable fit.

 

 

A neutral ride with good cushioning is exactly what I look for in a shoe, and so I felt it was time to move away from my go-to New Balance range of shoes, and see what all the fuss is about.

I’ve now run approximately 200 miles in these shoes, and have put them through their paces on both long and short road runs, some trail running, faster intervals and a Half Marathon race, so I feel that I’ve tested them out thoroughly enough to review them.

 

Appearance

The Ghost 10 is available in a good variety of colors, from Brooks’ traditional Blue/Black through to a range of rather less conservative colorways. I opted for a bright Yellow / Black shoe which looked smart and bright, without being too garish!

 

 

The Ghost 10 feels like a premium, well-designed shoe from the moment that you take it out of the box. Whilst the Ghost is certainly not a budget shoe, neither does it sit amongst the most expensive shoes in the shop. Despite this, the style, materials and construction seem to be of the highest quality.

The cushioning in the heel cup and ankle support are very generous, together with the padding incorporated into the tongue. Run a hand inside the shoe, and the no-sew engineered mesh surrounding the forefoot of the shoe feels exceptionally comfortable.

 

 

The midsole of the shoe appears substantial, and together with the sole, offers a thick section of foam cushioning, with the heel sitting up at 30mm, with a heel to toe drop of 12mm.

The only negative I would point out in terms of what is otherwise a great looking shoe is the lack of reflective panels/strips on the shoe. I tested this shoe in the winter, with most running being done in the dark on Welsh country lanes where it is important for cars to be able to see you.

I had initially imagined that the Brooks logo on the side of the shoe would be reflective as it appears to be, but only reflective part of the shoe is a very small oval piece labeled “DNA” on the heel of the shoe.

 

 

Weight

The Brooks Ghost 10 is listed at 295g, slightly lighter than its predecessor, the Ghost 9 which was listed at 305g. The Ghost isn’t trying to compete with the lighter shoes on the market and sits at a similar weight to equivalent shoes from other manufacturers such as the New Balance 1080 v6 which is listed at 294g

As expected, my UK 13 (14.0 US) shoe weighed in heavier at 361g.

Most importantly, the Ghost 10 does not feel heavy when worn; it feels very light when I put it on, and when running.

 

Fit

I found the Brooks Ghost 10 to be true to size.

That is, I wore a UK 13 (US 14) which is what I’d wear in a normal, everyday shoe, and in an ASICS shoe. For comparison purposes, in shoes from New Balance, Hokas, and Salomon I’d generally need to go for a ½ size larger (UK 13 ½)

The shoe felt exceptionally comfortable right out of the box. Even before tying the laces, my foot was held securely at the heel and through the mid-section of the shoe, and the cushioning in the heel cup and the tongue made the foot feel extremely snug.

 

 

By contrast, there was plenty of room in the toe box to allow a little movement of the toes within the shoe.

Initially, I was concerned that this may lead to too much movement when running downhill for example, but because the foot was held securely, there was never any cause for concern when running, as mentioned later in the review.

An illustration of how securely the foot is held came when I arrived a little late for a group run just as the rest of the group was ready to leave. I jumped out of the car and joined them right away, and it wasn’t until we stopped a mile or so down the road that I realized that I’d forgotten to tie the laces!

Within the first week of getting the shoes, I’d run over 50 comfortable miles in them, at different paces, and did not feel any adverse rubbing in any part of the foot. After a couple of weeks, I took a run without socks for the first time in a few years, and as expected the shoes were just as comfortable.

I’d have no hesitation in recommending them to triathletes and other runners prefer running sock-free.

 

Construction

 

Upper

The upper of the Brooks Ghost 10 is made from a “seamless engineered mesh” which makes for an extremely comfortable fit.

The shoe holds the foot firmly, providing a feeling of security, whilst also allowing enough room for the foot to move a little where necessary, together with a very generous toe box.

 

 

At the front end of the shoe, is a double layer of mesh. The inside layer is tightly woven, whilst the outer has larger holes. These layers move independently of each other, allowing sufficient movement of the foot during the various components of each stride. The mesh also provides good ventilation.

Moving around the sides of the shoe, the two layers of mesh are overlaid with “3D fit print overlays” consisting of narrow bands and the Brooks decal printed onto the mesh. This provides the support within the midfoot area, contributing towards the feeling of security and holding the foot tightly throughout the stride.

 

 

 

Towards the back, the shoe becomes much firmer with a good, solid heel cup, and a generous level of cushioning around the ankle.

The tongue must be the most cushioned tongue I have found in a pair of running shoes. An added level of detail in the Brooks Ghost 10 is the provision of two lace loops at the top of the tongue.

I’d never previously considered that a single loop partway down the tongue favored by most manufacturers may not be the most effective way of holding the tongue in place until I’d tried these shoes.

The two loops ensure that the tongue is always held in place throughout any run. The laces in this shoe are almost “sausage-like” in appearance, with a little stretch, and while this makes no real difference to the feel of the shoe, it does mean that the laces stay tied without the need for a double knot.

 

 

In all, the upper of this shoe is excellent, providing comfort and security together with breathability. The no-sew construction ensures no rubbing or soreness while the light mesh provides fantastic ventilation and keeps the foot cool.

 

Sole

The sole of the Brooks Ghost 10 provides a 12mm heel to toe drop, which I was initially concerned about having done much of my recent running in a show with a 6mm drop.

I needn’t have worried – the shoes feel great to run in, and I’m sure that the absorption, cushioning and energy return provided by the midsole mean that the additional heel-toe drop has little real significance.

The midsole cushioning is provided by Brooks’ BioMoGo DNA running the length of the shoe. Brooks’ claim is that this “dynamically adapts to your stride, dispersing impact away from your body for just-right softness underfoot”.

Whilst I’m sure there’s an element of marketing-speak in this statement, I must admit that the effect felt when running is just as described. The shoes feel exceptionally comfortable when worn, whether running long, at tempo or even walking.

 

 

The outsole is made up of a “segmented crash pad” which essentially means that the outer rubber of the sole is split into sections rather than a single continuous piece of rubber.

This does give greater flexibility to the shoe, and I’m sure this contributes to the smoothness of the ride, with the various parts of the sole being able to move somewhat independently of one another to reflect the movement of the foot during take-off and landing.

 

Durability

The outsole is made up of blown rubber below the forefoot, and a harder carbon rubber under the heel, which has proved to be extremely durable.

In the past, I have found that some segmented soles can be prone to early wear compared to a single rubber outsole. This has not been my experience to date with this shoe.

 

 

My running style means that my shoes will generally begin to wear from the outer heel. The images, taken after 150 miles, show slight wear to the heel of the shoe.

The right-hand shoe on which I land heaviest shows a some wear to the most vulnerable sections of the sole (pictured below), but there is still plenty of the durable outer rubber remaining, and I am confident that these shoes should last for at least 400 miles.

 

 

Performance

The experience of running in these shoes far exceeded any expectations that I may have had.

After 200 miles in the shoes, I am still impressed by the comfort every time I put them on. It’s not just a matter of how the foot feels within the shoe, but the way that the shoe contributes to the overall running experience.

Even on a morning when the legs feel tired, perhaps after a hard run the previous day, the shoe seems to prevent the impact of the foot strike from being transferred to the feet and legs and within a few strides, even the most tired of legs are beginning to feel responsive again.

Similarly, the feet feel as fresh at the end of a long run as they do at the beginning.

Other than a few interval sessions, I haven’t done too much fast work in these shoes, but on the occasions that I have the shoes have responded exceptionally well.

The only race I’ve done in them to date was a Half Marathon which was completed at close to PB pace. This included approximately 3 miles of steep descent. My experience of running this section at race pace in a variety of shoes is that the legs can take a real pounding, especially for a runner of my weight.

In the Brooks Ghost, however, I found that the shoes absorbed the impact effectively, leaving the legs fresh (or as fresh as can be expected!) for the final few miles back to the finish.

Furthermore, whilst there is plenty of room in the toe box, as identified above, the foot was held in place securely so that there really was very little movement of the foot in the shoe even when coming down a steep descent at high speeds.

The shoe is designed for road use and is very well suited to the roads. The shoe can also be used on trails and does cope well with moderately uneven surfaces, holding the foot well, and providing sufficient grip. Clearly, the shoe wouldn’t perform well on severe trails, or muddy fells, but can easily accommodate a mix of surfaces.

 

Comparison

The Brooks Ghost compares extremely favorably with other neutral cushioned shoe such as the New Balance 1080 v6, or the Hoka Clifton 2.

It has a very similar ride height to these shoes (heel height 30mm). Despite the similarities with these shoes on paper, however, the Brooks Ghost 10 delivers a superior ride in all aspects including comfort, cushioning and responsiveness.

For runners who prefer to be closer to the road, I’d recommend the Fresh Foam Zante V3 as an alternative, or the Vazee Rush V2 which provides a more secure fit similar to the Brooks Ghost 10.

 

Summary

Imagine your most comfortable pair of shoes or slippers; the ones you look forward to putting on after a long day, then imagine being able to run in them.

This is what the Brooks Ghost 10 feels like every time you put it on. On top of that, it manages to hold your foot securely whilst paradoxically providing a feeling of roominess.

I would recommend this shoe to any runner looking for a neutral, cushioned shoe, for both daily trainings, and for racing anything from 5k to marathons and beyond. In my own opinion, it is especially suited to higher mileage runners, and its superior cushioning makes it ideal for the heavier runner too.


Matthew Leonard

Matthew Leonard • Level 3 expert

Somewhat bigger and heavier than the average runner (6’2”/ 85kg), I’ve been involved in a variety of sports throughout my life before settling on running as I approach the half century. I’m lucky enough to live on the Isle of Anglesey, North Wales as I love running on the coast or in the mountains of Snowdonia, generally averaging around 80-90km per week.


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