Verdict from 6.4 hours of research from the internet

7 reasons to buy

  • Comfort: Hundreds of runners praise it as a plush trainer for easy/recovery runs and slow-paced long-distance runs.
  • Upper feel: A vast majority of wearers admire how the padded upper “clicks” and “disappears” on the foot.
  • Toe-off: For a soft shoe, the Ghost 12 delivers sufficient forefoot bounce.
  • Heel lock: More than a few users say that the heel cup securely holds the back of the foot.
  • Stability: Although it’s a neutral shoe, it still provides light stability, a good number of runners welcomed.
  • All-day wear: Many buyers have enjoyed walking miles in this cushioned running shoe.
  • Outsole: Some runners note that the outsole durability and grip can handle wet asphalt, light hard-soiled trails.

4 reasons not to buy

  • Responsiveness: Avid runners wish for more pop and bounce on faster runs. Some suggested looking at the springier Brooks Launch 7 or the smoother Glycerin 17.
  • Breathability: While it allows some degree of airflow, it’s not the most breathable for hot days.
  • Toebox: Some people found their toes to be a bit constricted, so people with wider feet may have to look at the shoe’s wider widths.
  • Not for heavy runners: The bigger guys complain about lack of underfoot support.

Bottom line

It is a solid addition to the brand's staple lineup, which is famous for its comfortable and form-accommodating build. Those looking for a cozy feel-good shoe for slower-paced daily runs will be happy with the Ghost 12.

Tip: see the best running shoes.

Expert reviews:

User reviews:

Our reviews

97
/100 by Matthew Leonard, posted on .

The latest in the ever-popular Ghost line from Brooks, the Ghost 12 sees a few minor improvements from the 11. Ultimately, this remains an incredibly versatile and extremely comfortable daily running shoe.

The Ghost 12 offers a well-cushioned neutral ride and a smooth transition. For runners seeking a single shoe “for every occasion,” the Ghost may well be the ideal shoe.

 

 

This shoe could take you from a fast 5k through to a marathon. Those who prefer to mix shoes depending upon the type of run may find that the Ghost 12 is the perfect partner for easy runs and long runs.

The Ghost 12 has a slightly more aggressive outsole than its predecessor, which further increases its versatility. The sole will easily cope with a range of non-technical trails, while the upper continues to hold the midfoot effectively.

With relatively few differences in this latest model, runners should also consider the Ghost 11, which is still widely available and heavily discounted.

Pros           

  • Comfortable upper
  • Excellent cushioning
  • Breathable upper
  • Roomy toe box
  • Secure fit

Cons

  • 12mm drop may put off some

Introduction

A couple of years ago, the Ghost 10 was the first Brooks shoe I’d worn. I was immediately impressed by its comfort and versatility. I went on to describe it as being “Built for comfort and for speed.”

A year later, the Ghost 11 provided a similar experience through a marathon training cycle, and my review was similarly titled “Everyday comfort with a good turn of speed.”

I was looking forward to trying out the Brooks Ghost 12. It had a lot to live up to.

 

 

In the last few weeks, I’ve run around 60 miles in this shoe and had intended to wear it for the Snowdonia Marathon a couple of weeks ago.

Unfortunately, an injury meant I couldn’t compete. I have still had the opportunity to wear the shoe for a variety of runs in order to be able to review it.

Throughout this review, I will inevitably make comparisons with its predecessors. I hope that the review will also stand alone for anyone who hasn’t worn any previous Ghost models.

Appearance & first impressions

At the time of writing the Brooks, the website has a choice of 16 colourways for the Ghost 12. I’m pretty sure that every runner should be able to find at least one they like!

 

 

Having said that, Brooks is not exactly at the front of the line when it comes to innovation in design. Let’s assume, however, as you’re reading this review that you’re planning on running in the shoe rather than wearing it to the pub.

You’ll be happy to know that the Ghost 12 looks and feels like the premium, cushioned shoe that it's designed to be.

 

 

It’s in the upper that most of the improvements from the Ghost 11 can be found. In the Ghost 12, dots have given way to lines in the 3D printed overlays around the saddle and rear of the foot.

Similarly, the lace holes are cut from larger strips of overlay rather than individual eyelets being reinforced. To my eye, the Ghost 12 is an improvement on the 11, though it remains very traditional in appearance.

I was pleased to see that Brooks continue to provide reflective detail, a large tab on the back of the shoe, as well as a reflective overlay at the front of the shoe. I often run in the dark on early mornings, and always welcome reflective detail on a shoe.

Weight

The Brooks Ghost 12 is listed at 10.4oz/295g, which is a little lighter than its predecessor (309g).

As an everyday cushioned shoe, this is comparable to similar shoes from other manufacturers and in fact, matches the New Balance 1080 v9, which is listed at an identical 295g.

As expected, my UK 13 (14.0 US) shoe weighed in heavier at 362g, compared to the Ghost 11 at 369g. I don’t have a picture of the shoe sitting on a weighing scale, so please take my word for it

I’ve come to expect a premium cushioned shoe to come in somewhere around the 300g/10.5oz mark in terms of weight. I’m looking for a shoe that provides comfort, and as long as it doesn’t feel heavy while running, I’m happy with that kind of weight. The Ghost 12 fits the bill. 

Fit

For me, the Ghost 12 is true to size. It’s comfortable and holds the foot well without being restrictive. If anything, the Ghost 12 feels slightly more generous than the Ghost 11 in the toe box and the saddle.

I wore a UK 13 (which is what I’d wear in a normal), everyday shoe, and in an ASICS, Under Armour, and Inov-8 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). In all cases, my shoes tend to be a US 14, so I believe that the variation in UK sizes is likely to be down to conversion.

As with my previous Ghost shoes, the 12 felt great right out of the box. No need for breaking the shoe in (and no time for pictures of the shoe before running).

 

 

The foot feels secure yet comfortable. There’s no need to tie laces tightly as the shoe will hold the foot.

In all honesty, I laced up the shoe on my first run and have slipped the shoe on and off ever since with no need to adjust the laces, other than to take the photos for this review.

I was pleased to find a slightly roomier toe box as I have a tendency for an ongoing Morton’s Neuroma issue to flare up where toe room is limited.

As I’ve come to expect with the Ghost line of shoes, the tongue and the heel cup are both extremely well-cushioned, making this shoe exceptionally comfortable.

Upper

This is where most differences are made between the Ghost 11 and the 12, and even here, the changes are not huge. The upper is constructed from “engineered mesh and 3D Fit Print.”

 

 

The front of the shoe has two layers of mesh, with large holes in the outer layer providing efficient ventilation. The toe bumper is created from a denser, more rigid mesh, and is marginally more flexible than the Ghost 11.

Around the midfoot, the mesh is more tightly woven, and the 3D print overlays offer an element of stability to this neutral shoe. This also contributes to the fantastic lock-down and fit of the shoe. The lace holes are formed from the engineered mesh detail that runs around the opening.

 

 

The rear of the shoe is a well-built heel section with a plastic inner cup. This feels more substantial than the Ghost 11, though it does not extend as far forward. As expected, it is well-cushioned and holds the foot well.

The tongue is well-cushioned and works well with the newly printed mesh, which forms the lace eyelets. This closes the shoe with pressure evenly spread across the top of the foot.

 

 

So, the upper has been tweaked, but I was really pleased to find that it is, in essence, the same shoe. The Ghost is such a fantastically comfortable shoes to run in, and I guess Brooks has held on to the old adage “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.

Sole

The sole of the Brooks Ghost 12 delivers a heel stack height of 31mm with a forefoot height of 19mm and consequently, a drop of 12mm.

 

 

I’m aware that this high drop will put off some runners, but if you have the opportunity, I’d recommend trying out this shoe. I run in shoes with a drop ranging from zero to 12mm and have never found the ride in the Ghost to feel markedly different from similar shoes offering a 6-8mm drop.

Midsole

The midsole of the Ghost 12 is almost identical to that of its predecessor. DNA Loft Foam provides a soft landing-zone on the outer side of the heel.

This will appeal particularly to heel strikers and makes the shoe a good choice for higher mileage runners. The DNA Loft foam is marked by pentagon-shaped indentations in the sidewall, which contribute to the cushioning.

 

 

In the Brooks Glycerin, the DNA Loft foam is used throughout the midsole of the shoe. The Glycerin consequently offers greater cushioning that the Ghost 12 (which retains the BioMoGo DNA foam in the midsole).

This firmer foam in the Ghost 12 is designed to provide a better toe-off and responsiveness (though I can’t make a comparison as I haven’t run in the Glycerin).

This mix of cushioning and responsiveness is part of what makes the Ghost such a versatile shoe.

 

 

There is a deeper groove separating the lateral crash-pad and the medial section of the shoe than in the Ghost 11. I can only imagine that this is designed to give greater cushioning in the landing phase of the stride.

At the front of the foot, the Ghost 12 has larger, deeper grooves between the segmented outsole, which makes the shoe more flexible than previously.

The BioMoGo foam also feels a little softer than in the Ghost 11.

 

Outsole

The outsole of the Ghost 12 is probably the most aggressive I’ve seen from a Ghost shoe. The depth of the “lugs,” combined with the deeper grooves in the midsole, reminds me of the construction of the Inov-8 Terraultra.

Whilst the Ghost 12 is obviously a road shoe; this outsole means that the shoe is not restricted to the tarmac.

 

 

It will handle hard-packed trails with ease, and I’m happy to wear it for a range of off-road running. Once it gets technical or muddy, however, leave the Ghost at home and take the trail shoes!

On the road, the Ghost 12 offers excellent traction in both wet and dry.

 

Durability

Brooks uses a durable carbon rubber under the rear landing zone and their standard blown rubber for the rest of the outsole.

Based on experience, both the Ghost 10 & 11 were the most durable road shoes I have ever worn. I ran in each for over 700 miles before they took semi-retirement into the role of decorating shoe and gardening shoes, respectively.

I have no reason to doubt that the Brooks Ghost 12 will last me just as long, and for someone of my size, that’s a really durable shoe.

Performance

My assessment of a shoe’s performance will always reflect my own characteristics. So, just for the record, I’m 48, about 6’2”, approx. 89kg (195lbs), running 50-60 miles per week.

If the training has gone well, I’ll run a road marathon in under 3:15 and a 5k under 19.’ Of course, at my age, these are all injury-dependant!

 

 

I loved running in the Ghost 10 and Ghost 11, and so unless Brooks had made some significant changes, I expected to like the Ghost 12 too.

I’ll apologise in advance for the cliché, but the Brooks Ghost 12 is like putting on a favourite slipper at the end of the day. The foot is comfortably held, with enough room for movement where necessary. I’ve never had the hint of a blister or hotspot on any part of the foot.

That’s where the slipper analogy ends, though. The Ghost 12 will accompany you on pretty well any road run you choose (and a few off-road trails too, as mentioned above).

 

 

The ride in this shoe is fluid and comfortable. The foot is well cushioned through the landing phase and quickly transitions through to the take-off. There’s no feeling of sinking and wallowing in foam during the transition, but just an easy, fluid movement with each stride.

There is sufficient ground feel with each footfall, but without the pounding feeling that you may get with a firmer or thinner midsole. What’s really important to me is that I have the same feeling towards the end of a long run as I do at the beginning.

I used this shoe for long runs, easy runs, tempo runs, and even a track session, and have really enjoyed wearing it. Admittedly, I have shoes in my rotation that are better for the faster sessions in terms of performance, but none that will look after my feet as well as the Ghost 12.

So who is the Brooks Ghost for?

For those looking for a single shoe to encompass all of your road running, then I’d be hard pushed to recommend a better one (based on my own experience). The Ghost will provide a balance between cushioning responsiveness and last you longer than the average shoe.

 

 

There are those seasoned runners that look down their nose at the Ghost as a “beginners’ shoe.” I’d completely disagree with that.

Even for runners with a choice of shoe for each type of run, there’s a place for the Ghost 12. I often hear it stated that 80% of our runs should be “easy,” and even if you choose the Ghost for just these sessions, I’m sure you won’t regret it.

 

 

I should just state for the record that I am not paid by Brooks, nor did they provide me with this pair of shoes.

I am simply offering my own opinion that I have not yet found a shoe that I look forward to putting on to run as much as the Brooks Ghost. I’m really pleased that they haven’t made too many changes for the Ghost 12 and am looking forward to the next 600+ miles in them.

Summary

The latest Ghost shoe is just as impressive as the last, providing a well-cushioned neutral ride and a smooth transition.

 

 

There are a huge number of runners for whom the Brooks Ghost 12 will be their only road shoe.

The more aggressive outsole of this shoe means that it is also versatile enough to take onto more trails than the average road shoe. Add this to Ghost’s track-record of exceptional durability; it offers great value for money too.

Matthew Leonard | Level 4 expert Verified
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.

90
/100 by Marijke van den Hamer, posted on .

My first running shoes from Brooks were the Levitate 2 and I was very impressed by that shoe and its midsole material, which made me wonder. Because I know so many runners that are so happy with their Brooks running shoes, why is that?

When I put the Ghost 12 on they were comfortable right out of the box and I thought to myself “I think I’m starting to understand why people love Brooks”.

The Ghost is their most popular shoe. It’s a neutral road running shoe which has a 19 mm forefoot stack and 31 mm in the heel, giving it a 12 mm drop.

 

Upper

The upper is made from an engineered mesh. It’s a pretty simple and quite a sleek look, which I actually like.

There are some simple overlays on the lateral and medial side, but nothing too obvious or weird looking.

 

 

It has a wide and roomy toe box. And the upper has a bit of stretch to it so it will form to your foot, but at the same time, I had no issues with locking my foot down correctly in this shoe.

In that sense, I find this shoe quite effortless. It was comfortable straight out of the box and I didn’t need to do a lot of adjustments to get the right fit.

It has a detached tongue, but it does have an extra loop on the tongue to put the laces through to hold the tongue in place.

 

 

The fabric of the heel collar spills over onto the outer layer of the upper. There are two seams, one on either side of this fabric.

This seems to be mainly for aesthetic reasons since the lining of the Glycerin 17 didn’t have any seams and the middle piece of fabric on the Ghost 12 has a different color than the rest of the collar.

Although it didn’t create any hotspots for me, I think it would have been better if Brooks made the collar of the Ghost out of one piece like in the Glycerin 17, just to make sure it would not create a hotspot.

 

Midsole

The Ghost 12 has a dual material midsole. Part of the heel and the lateral side of the midsole are made with Brooks DNA LOFT material which is a blend of EVA foam with rubber and air.

This is the same midsole material as they use in the Glycerin, while the faster Brooks shoes like the Levitate use DNA AMP material.

 

 

The rest of the midsole of the Ghost is made up out of BioMoGo DNA which is a bit more of a responsive material.

I had to get used to the dual-material midsole in the beginning and personally, I probably would have made the DNA LOFT part a bit bigger and have extended it further on the medial side of the heel to get a smoother heel to toe transition, but I did get used to the dual-density after a while.

Outsole

The outsole of the Ghost 12 is made from blown rubber and pretty durable. After about 50 miles in the shoe, there is still hardly any wear on the outsole.

The flex grooves together with the upper help to maintain pretty good flexibility in this shoe.

 

Performance

The Ghost 12 has a bit of a wider platform than for example the Glycerin 17, which gives you a bit more stability while still maintaining that neutral running shoe feeling.

The dual-density midsole makes for a quite snappy ride, while still providing some cushioning in the heel. It does give you enough cushion for those medium runs but is also snappy enough for some faster runs.

 

 

Whether you can use the Ghost 12 as a long-distance running shoe depends on your own preferences, for me this shoe is a bit too firm. It’s not a max cushioned shoe which is what I prefer for longer runs.

But if you like a bit firmer and a bit more responsive ride you could use the Ghost 12 for longer runs, as well as some shorter and a bit faster, runs. It is a versatile shoe when it comes to the fit and ride of this shoe.

Conclusion

I can see why so many runners like the Ghost series. It’s a very versatile shoe with a wide platform that gives you a stable base.

It’s pretty simple yet pretty elegant in design and has a roomy toe box, while still nicely locking in your heel with some nice padding which prevents hotspots.

 

 

It’s a great everyday training shoe that can accommodate lots of different runners. The platform can accommodate a lot of different feet and the dual-density midsole makes for a quite versatile ride.

It’s a good shoe to have in your rotation, but it is also a good shoe to have if you are a beginner, since it is so versatile and durable. 

Marijke van den Hamer | Level 5 expert Verified
I’m Marijke, on social media also known as Heart Runner Girl. I love trying new things and inspiring others to get moving. I’ve started running in 2014 and I run races all over the world. My favourite distance is the marathon, but I also run shorter distances. I’ve ran the Berlin Marathon in 2017 and the Paris and New York Marathon in 2018. My goal is to one day become a six-star finisher.

97
/100 by Frank DuCett, posted on .

After time off for surgery, followed by a menacing bout of plantar fasciitis, I was able to spend 3 weeks recouping in rural Tanzania, East Africa, watching the local runners, effortlessly running while making it so look easy.

I am now happy to be resuming my own training routine with a renewed vigor and visions of a Half Marathon "personal best” in this new year.

This review takes a close look at the latest Brooks Ghost, the 12th iteration, of what is a very popular and highly cushioned road running shoe.

 

Company history

Brooks Sports, Inc. was founded in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in 1914 by an immigrant from Russia, one Mr. Morris Goldenberg. The name Brooks was derived as an Anglicized substitute for his wife's maiden name of Bruchs.

Brooks first produced bathing shoes. Later on, the company added baseball and football shoes. Today, Brooks Sports is known around the world for its quality sports shoes and apparel, with its headquarters located near Washington State.

Specifications

Size   12 D (US), 11 (UK)
Weight  312 (g), 11.4 (oz)
Heel to toe offset  12 mm
Arch  medium to high
Pronation  neutral
Orthotic friendly  yes
My weight  149 lbs

Best suited for

The Brooks Ghost 12 is best suited for neutral road runners with medium to high arches, which are not in need of any sort of motion control. Ghost owners value cushioning and comfort over setting records.

Changes from last year's model

This new version is just 5 grams lighter than the previous version. Less variation than there is between my two pairs of ghost 12s.

 

 

The flex grooves in the outsole are a bit wider and deeper this year, but I cannot detect any difference in over-all flexibility. Reflectivity on the Ghost 12 has improved this year and still is not very effective.

The collar on this model appears to be a bit more padded, joining many of the other annual changes that appear to be mostly cosmetic.

Upper

The upper on this Brooks model is what we have come to expect in a modern running shoe. The engineered mesh is breathable yet, not too cold in wintery temperatures. 

It also wraps snugly over my feet and is nearly stitch-free. Strength and support are provided by the engineered mesh material which is woven more tightly across the mid-foot than it is elsewhere.

There's also a 3D printed pattern that adds to the shoe's overall support structure. 

 

 

The internal heel counter provides some structure in the rear, while the inner toe box stiffener provides structure and shape up front.

This upper also has a newly redesigned collar, which is plusher than last year’s model and a tongue that is long, thick, and comfortable. There are also two lace keepers on each tongue, which helps keep the tongue from slipping. 

Personally, I almost always remove the smaller offset lace keeper on my Brooks shoes and almost always find it necessary to shorten the laces.

However, the laces are very elastic, allowing them to conform to the shape of your upper foot and they do cinch down reassuringly, they also stayed firmly tied during my runs.

Midsole

The midsole is the heart of any good running shoe. Majority of the Ghost midsole is made up of the well-known and well-proven BioMoGo DNA, a non-Newtonian material that adapts to the runner's weight and gait.

 

 

This newer "DNA Loft" is used in the heel area on the lateral side only. This softer foam is made up of EVA with rubber, and air added, making this material very soft, perhaps too soft for some runners.

The combination of BioMoGo DNA in the forefoot, and the added Loft DNA under the heel, work very well together. It provided me with very effective cushioning and a smooth transition.

Outsole

Blown rubber is used in the forefoot, offering fairly good durability and very secure traction, while adding to the outstanding forefoot cushioning.

The blown rubber also helps dampens the sound of your footfalls. The carbon rubber material is used under the heel area for added durability with plenty of rubber under your feet to ensure you that this Ghost variant will endure many miles.

 

Performance

First day out, and it is 17 degrees F (-8 C) with no wind. At such low temperatures, I found out quickly that they are not “too” well ventilated for this blustery season.

Today's run was totally enjoyable, and the Ghosts 12s were comfortable. Personally, I think the Ghost 12 is the smoothest running shoe I have ever experienced.

You can run very quietly in the Brooks Ghosts 12 without even trying. There also appears to be enough room for a slightly heavier winter sock, if needed.

Initially, this new Ghost seems to confidently isolate the runner's feet from the harsh road surfaces, promising fewer injuries with a pleasantly compliant cushioning.

Traction on wet surfaces is excellent; even those painted roadway markings are no obstacle for my Brooks Ghosts. I enjoy running the hilly roads, and the Brooks Ghost makes those hills more enjoyable. They have a springy and lively feel when running uphill.

The combination of my weight, the forefoot cushioning, and flexibility/stiffness of the Ghost come alive on the hills with a lively spring, a resonance that worked well for me.

Someone watching me run along a flat road could easily fall asleep, while in the hills, they might say "look at that guy go, he's having fun." Repeated short hill efforts are an enjoyable way for me to do a sort of interval training.

Today was another cold day, allowing me to run in heavier socks, and the Ghosts passed yet another test in comfort. Overall, the shoe is wearing very well, as I had expected, with almost no wear showing after nearly 100 km.

Summary

The Ghost trades a little speed for a lot of comfort. For many runners, the Ghost is a go-to-shoe for the longer training runs and racing distances.

On a side note, this version of the Ghost may not be the best choice for heavier runners. Perhaps over 200 lbs/ 91 kg, as the Loft foam cushioning may simply be too soft to protect a heavy heel striker.

Personally, other than the DNA Loft being a bit too “cushy,” there is absolutely nothing in this shoe that does not fail to please or suit me. The overall quality of the materials and excellent workmanship will assure the owner that both durability and reliability.

Glossary

Here is a brief break-down of the Brooks Ghost’s Midsole Technologies.

BioMoGo

A special environmentally-friendly E.V.A. (ethyl vinyl chloride) foam, manufactured with a natural, non-toxic additive which allows discarded shoes to degrade 50 times faster than regular E.V.A.  

Once in the landfill, these shoes will biodegrade quickly and are not harmful to the environment. They will not biodegrade while in use, no worries there!

 

DNA

This is the gel-like material used in the midsole of many of Brooks’ models. DNA cushioning material becomes firmer, and more responsive for runners during sprinting or a hard effort, and softer and more complaint when running easily.

This adaptive nature is referred to as being non-Newtonian.

Loft

The loft is another variation of E.V.A foam, with added rubber and air, to produce a softer, and likely longer lasting cushioning.

Frank DuCett | Level 5 expert Verified
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.

94
/100 by Zack Dunn, posted on .

The Brooks Ghost line is well-known by runners and has been a very solid shoe option for years. This line is in the neutral, cushion category. I was very pleased with this running shoe in terms of overall comfort and support.

 

Brooks-Ghost-12-running-shoes-1.jpg

Specs

  • Weight: 10.1 oz (size 9) 
  • Stack height: 31 mm (Heel), 19 mm (Forefoot)

Ride

I was really pleased with the ride of the shoe. The first run I had done in these was 5 miles, three outside, two on the treadmill. It was at 7 minutes pace, and it was 93 degrees outside.

The shoe felt great while running. It was a good weight for a cushioned daily trainer on foot. It did a lot better in terms of breathability in hot weather than expected. My feet didn't get hot until the third mile, but it was pretty hot out anyways, so I can't really avoid it.

A work out I had done in these was 10 by 1:30 seconds at roughly 5:10-5:20 pace. Shoes felt fine for the intervals. Meanwhile, it's not the best for speedwork but wasn't made for that anyway, and it gets the job done just fine.

The shoe breathability felt fine. At 80°, it felt really good. The shoe especially feels great on the cool down and warm up just due o how soft it feels after the legs get beat up on the workout.

The upper is extremely comfortable. It was extremely soft and extremely plush while still having a good lockdown.

One thing I did notice was, at higher speeds, there was a little forward movement in the shoe. This was probably due to the plush of the tongue, but nothing bad at all and a little adjusting at the laces fix that.

It was a really great run with the shoe overall, and especially because my previous shoe was really uncomfortable, this one made-up word for how comfortable it was.

I had also done a tempo run in this shoe it was 4 miles at 5:38 pace, and I did find it a little hard to get down to my usual Tempo Pace as I would with a lighter shoe (5'20), but the shoe did fine.

My legs got a little tired in the last miles when I try to pick up the pace, due to the shoe lacking a little responsiveness. But, it's okay because, once again, the shoes are made for comfort and cushioning not speed.

 

Brooks-Ghost-12-fit-1.jpg

 

On the easier days is where the shoe really shined. It was just soft and cushioned. There was never one time when I did not want to put the shoe on and go out and run. It just provided an excellent feel and really good support.

I had also been having plantar fasciitis issues, and I had never felt it once with this shoe, so that was something that I really enjoyed about the shoe.

Overall, I am incredibly pleased with the ride of the shoe, and with every run that I did even the workouts, it performed very well on.

If you're someone that's looking for one shoe that could do it all but wants more cushioning than speed, then this shoe would be good for you.

First impressions/looks

I really like the look of the shoe—it has a simplistic design. Also, there are many different colorways depending on your preference.

 

Brooks-Ghost-12-upper-3.jpg

Upper

The upper is an engineered mesh. It is a soft and plush upper that does a really well job of being comfortable while still providing good lockdown.

At first, I was worried about how it would be in terms of breathability because it is on the thicker side (especially considering shoe companies are going for a more minimal/lightweight upper construction).

But, it exceeded my expectations, and my feet never got overly hot (weather got up to 90°-95°, which at that point the feet are going to be hot regardless.)

The shoe has a great heel counter that's plush but still provides very secure lockdown. The tongue is also very plush, which makes sure the laces don't dig into the top of the feet.

Overall, I am extremely pleased with the upper.

Midsole/cushioning

The midsole of this shoe consist of two different types of foam; DNA Loft, and BioMoGo DNA. Both of these foams help the shoe have a soft, comfortable ride, while not feeling too soft and still having a little pop.

I like the feel of the midsole. Though it does (only a little) lack responsiveness on the faster efforts, it is meant to lean more towards cushioning and comfort rather than speed.

 

Brooks-Ghost-12-midsole-2.jpg

 

So, while the midsole responsiveness isn't top-notch, it will perform fine. You'll just need to work a little harder on the faster intervals, which shouldn't be a problem. It will do you good.

Outsole

The Ghost 12 outsole is blown rubber, which offers long-lasting durability. The outsole also features Omega Flex Grooves, which provides great forefoot flexibility while still maintaining good forefoot cushioning

 

Brooks-Ghost-12-outsole-3.jpg

 

Personally, it is one of the little things that I love that makes a big difference in the feel. I think the outsole of the shoe will provide great traction and durability for 500-600 miles.

Price

The retail price of this shoe is $130, which I feel is a reasonable price for a good daily trainer that can last at least 400 miles and can perform great on most runs. 

Conclusion

This shoe is a great shoe option for pretty much any kind of runner. It is comfortable, fairly versatile, and well-engineered.

If you're a runner who leans more towards cushioning and support rather than speed but still wants a solid all-rounder or every run, then this shoe will do you well.

Zack Dunn | Level 3 expert Verified
My name is Zack Dunn. I have been running for 9 years. I have personal best of 4:30 in the 1600m, and sub 16 minutes in the 5000m, and other personal best in the distances in between. I typically run around 50-60 miles on a weekly basis. I do both road and trail running but mainly road. I compete in many races, anywhere from 1600m to 5k. My typical training paces is anywhere from 5:00 per mile on workout days to 7:30 per mile on recovery days.

92
/100 by Kris Ward, posted on .

The Ghost series is a widely popular neutral running shoe from Brooks. This edition, the 12, proves why this shoe is the one to beat for many competitors.

The cushioned heel area provides impact absorption without stealing momentum, thanks to the tread design, and the front tread holds well on any surface even in wet conditions. The shoe overall is very comfortable and will work well for most runners, walkers, or anybody looking for a comfortable all-around shoe.

Both shoes - love the colors!

 

The review - from the ground up…

Tread

The tread is actually different in the heel area as opposed to the front of the foot. The heel area is slightly harder, which will help to return some of the wearer’s energy on heel strikes.

With some thickly cushioned running shoes, there is a tradeoff between the cushioning and energy. However, the Ghost 12 manages to eliminate that issue by using that harder tread on the back of the shoe to help the shoe rebound after contact.

 

Different color treads for different purposes.

 

The front area of the shoe has a softer rubber more akin to Brooks’ other types of shoes and as with those, it works very well.

Brooks’ design creates a good grip for any type of surface, whether it is pavement, brick, indoor track material, or even on grass. I ran through a small rainstorm and never once felt my feet begin to slip (much appreciated).

 

The white area is the DNA midsole.

 

As is mostly standard for Brooks, the Ghost 12 utilized the DNA midsole. This is perhaps why I am such a big fan of this shoe company.

Though most shoes will adapt to the wearer’s feet over time, the DNA midsole from Brooks’ seems to do it faster and make it feel more natural. Within about 5 miles, these shoes already felt adapted to my feet.

Wearing them a bit around the house really helped to strengthen that. Especially for longer runs where form can begin to suffer, a shoe that allows for a natural running form while providing support is greatly desired.

Between the comfortable midsole and the tread, I used these shoes for everything from walking, to running, to my regular gym workout routine and never once regretted that choice.

Especially for HIIT and body weight exercises where I needed to be explosive (think burpees here), the Ghost 12 was right there to not only provide support but also to help soften some of the landings.

Toe box & upper

The toe box area was not too loose, nor was it too tight. There was just enough room to allow my toes to splay normally, but not so much that they could move around. As with the latest version of the Brooks Launch (Launch 5) the toe box felt like it was sized just perfectly.

 

Great sizing on the toe box! Also, notice the reflective patch.

 

The upper area did well to wick moisture away from the foot area. This is important to help keep the wearer’s feet dry, whether it is for a short distance or a longer one. Even during that light rainstorm, I mentioned my feet never really got wet.

However, the extra cushioning did seem to eliminate some of the breathability in the shoe. Again, this is just a tradeoff found with most thicker cushioned shoes. Mostly I notice it because my feet get hot easily.

 

Side view of the upper area. Still diggin’ the colors!

 

While they got a bit warm on one run, they never actually got hot – so I am happy with this particular area, though I think they could have allowed it to breathe a little better.

I also noticed I had to tighten down the laces a little more than normal or my foot felt a bit lose. This is not an issue so much as something to get used to and expect.

 

Note the use of the lace loop on the tongue.

 

The tongue is a thicker one, but that does not cause any issues. Brooks used a lace-hole on the tongue to help keep it in place, and as someone who has had a shoe tongue slip during a run, I really do like that. The last thing anyone wants to have to do is stop their routine just to adjust the shoe tongue over and over.

Heel

Previously, I had tried a pair of Brooks Ghost 10 but did not like them because my heel kept slipping. Whatever issue caused that with them was taken care because that never once even remotely happened on the 12s.

From jumping around to running stairs, I did everything I could to really push the Ghost 12, but the heel stayed in place the whole time. Even fresh out of the box on a 5-mile run, these shoes did not create any problems with rubbing or blisters.

 

The thicker cushion holds moisture, but it feels fantastic.

Heel to toe drop

Because this is a slightly thicker cushioned shoe, there is a slightly higher weight (10.4 ounces by my scale) and a slightly higher heel to toe drop which is at 12mm. This all comes down to preference and use.

Some want a smaller drop to encourage more fore-foot running, while others like the cushioned heel to help absorb impact. Similarly, if the focus is to do sprints, heavy trail running, or heavy weighted squats, then one would want a different type of shoe made more specifically for that purpose.

Overall

For an all-around, ready to do anything type of shoe, the Brooks Ghost 12 is tough to beat. The Ghost 12 can provide speed when desired, and yet feel natural and smooth during longer runs.

By combining the cushioned with two different types of tread, Brooks has created a shoe that almost anyone will be happy to use. Me personally, though I do wish they breathed just a little better, these will likely be my new go-to running shoes for both interval running, long runs, walks, and just about everything else!  

Kris Ward | Level 3 expert Verified
I'm not the extreme athlete that will win the next Iron man competition or take 1st in the next local race. I am more like the average guy that likes to go jogging, do some lifting, and every now and then show a pizza who's boss! My goal is to be functionally fit. To do so, I try to log anywhere between 15 - 30 miles a week.

95
/100 by Gabriel Arce, posted on .

I used to run in the Brooks Ghost 11 and was a big fan of the shoe. When given the opportunity to run in the Ghost 12, I was eager to see if Brooks had improved upon an already good shoe or made some unnecessary changes.

Brooks may just be the most popular road running shoe brand. Just about anytime I enter a running store and ask what shoe they sell the most of, it is usually the Brooks Ghost.

There is not much to complain about. It holds up in all areas a runner needs.

 

Specifications 

     Weight       10.4oz/294g
     Heel to toe drop       12mm
     Heel height       31mm
     Forefoot height       19mm
     Overall cushioning       high
     Arch support       neutral

Overview

The Ghost lineup from Brooks is arguably the most popular shoe design Brooks has ever produced and is considered by many to be one of the best daily running shoes.

The 12th edition of the shoe is considered the best update yet, with some minor improvements made to this model while still leaving the best Ghost features of the shoe.

 

 

One of the main differences of this shoe, compared to last year's model, is the outsole. It has a bit more aggressive lugs, which I have noticed gives this shoe a better grip on hard ground trails and wet conditions.

In today's shoe market, it seems like all the hype is around shoes with carbon fiber plates, meta-rockers, or even energy return midsole. Brooks has kept the Ghost simple and still effective in being a great road shoe.

Looks

The Ghost lineup has over 21 different colorway options, almost guaranteeing there will be at least one colorway that catches your eye.

Overall, teal & black is my least favorite colorway. But hey, it's more about the shoe's performance, anyway!

 

 

The shoe is also available in different width options for people with wider or more narrow feet. Brooks has mastered the art of simple yet appealing in the aesthetics department. 

Upper 

Engineered mesh is the name of the game of what the Ghost's upper is compromised of. It does an excellent job of providing cushioning and preventing blisters or hot spots.

This shoe has many welded overlays that increase the shoe's durability and offers excellent ventilation to keep your feet from getting blisters. I have noticed, however, that this shoe takes longer than normal to dry due to the mesh material.

I find this shoe offers a superb lockdown fit, and even after hours of running, the fit remained the same, never needing to be adjusted.

 

 

The lacing system is standard and uses eyelets and semi-round laces that stay tied and do not put pressure on the top of the foot.

The shoe's tongue is padded, which keeps the laces from digging into the top of the foot. I never found the tongue of the shoe to be cumbersome, and it never needed to be adjusted while running. The tongue simply stayed in place. 

One small detail I noticed was on the shoe's tongue. The piece of fabric that says "12" can be used as an eyelet when extra support is needed for locking down the shoe.

 

 

The heel collar of the shoe is padded and offers easy accessibility for putting the shoe on and taking it off.

The padded collar is supposed to support the Achilles. However, I found it makes no difference, and maybe making it less padded would drop the weight of the shoe.

Breathability

One aspect of Brooks shoes that I have always been impressed with is the breathability. The engineered mesh as well with the welded overlays are light and offer excellent ventilation so your foot will not get too hot.

I have surprisingly never received a blister or hot spot while running in this shoe. Well done, Brooks!

 

Midsole

Brooks has always had a reputation for being comfortable shoes, and the Ghost 12 is no different.

The Brooks midsole is made up of Brooks DNA loft material and BioMoGo DNA, which combines responsive material as well as cushioned material.

 

 

The DNA loft material is on the medial side of the shoe and offers nice cushioning, particularly to runners who heel strike. Runners who land on the midfoot won't receive all the benefits of this cushioning but still can benefit from this midsole.

I wish the DNA loft material would be used more in the mid-foot of the shoe. I personally find my feet respond better to the DNA loft than the BioMoGo DNA.

Outsole 

Most of the Brooks shoes I have worn, such as the Bedlam or the Ricochet, I have found the outsole of the shoes lacks grip when it comes to any conditions besides dry concrete.

However, the Ghost 12 offers an aggressive outsole for a road shoe.

 

 

The shoe's outsole is comprised of blown rubber and offers excellent traction and durability. The blown rubber covers the entire outsole of the shoe and offers enough versatility even to use this shoe on trails.

This shoe could only handle hard-packed trails, but is still impressive, considering most of my other Brooks cannot handle off-road trails.

 

 

Another upside is that it offers grip on roads even when the surfaces become wet, which is hard to find in most road shoes.

With over 60 miles in this shoe, it shows zero damage or signs of durability issues. My Brooks Ricochet has over 400 miles on them, and I believe the Ghost 12 could possibly last for that long as well.

 

Fit

The fit of the Ghost is true to size. I wear a size 11 in almost all shoe brands, and this one is no different. The shoe fits my feet, offers a secure lockdown, and still allows extra wiggle room for my toes.

Brooks offers this shoe in many different widths; they have normal, narrow, wide, and extra-wide. I usually have a wider foot than usual; however, the normal size fits me perfectly.

 

Is it more responsive or cushioned?

The Brooks Ghost 12, in my opinion, leans more towards being cushioned than responsive. However, unlike most cushioned shoe, the Ghost is still nimble and is on a stable platform.

I feel confident with the shoe on my foot being able to move in all directions and assured that my foot would maintain that lockdown precision fit.

Pros 

  • Cushion
  • Durability
  • Fit

Cons

  • 12mm drop
  • Nothing fancy
  • Price

Conclusion

Plain and simple, the Brooks Ghost 12 is boring, which is not necessarily a bad thing. The shoe can do it all and maybe the best shoe on the market for beginner runners.

It offers good protection, decent grip, and excellent comfort! The shoe is an overall upgrade from the Ghost 11s. 

The shoe is nothing fancy and doesn't offer groundbreaking technology, but it is dependable and will perform every task you demand of it. With all these considerations, this is not a bad shoe to throw into your rotation.

Gabriel Arce | Level 3 expert Verified
Hello there! I've been running all my life, but in the last 5 years, I have gotten more serious about it. I love racing all types of distances but primarily stick to trail races and obstacle course racing, averaging at 40 miles a week. I am periodically running more ultra events and have plans to complete my first Spartan Ultra-Beast in the coming months. My favorite running shoe brands are Salomon, Scott, New-balance, Mizuno, and Inov-8.

57
/100 by Matthew Tarselli, posted on .

This was my first run in (pun intended) with the Brooks brand. Having seen them on thousands of pairs of feet at numerous races over the past two years, I jumped at the opportunity to test out the latest iteration of the Ghost.

 

 

I typically lean towards cushion and support for long-distance and endurance competition, basically as close to an orthotic as I can get without sacrificing comfort and I am a happy camper.

Hoka One One and Mizuno have been regular trainers in my repertoire.

First impressions

The looks are pretty subdued on this shoe. I usually go for flashy and funny like pink and neon orange, but Brooks went basic with their color scheme, offering deep green black and blue with yellow accents on the pair I tested.

 

 

Other runners told me that the Brooks Ghost line is known for being cushy and welcoming with a luxurious feel. However, to me, it just felt like putting on any other pair of Nike’s or Adidas from DSW.

Nothing screamed silken plushness when I slipped them on, but they were pretty comfortable with a pair of spandex socks. The liner and tongue were certainly enveloping, but the insole wasn’t anything to write home about. I will stick with my custom insoles.

The ride

In the first 15 miles, I noticed a fatal flaw in the shoe design—at least, it was a fatal flaw for me and possibly for other Clydesdales out there.

The heel was springy and responsive, and the midsole absorbed a decent amount of shock, but the toe box was criminal. I felt like there was nothing under my toes at all, and there certainly was none.

 

 

There is a steep decline on the insole/midsole from the ball of the foot to the toe box, which left my toes desperately searching to find purchase enough to roll through the step, and this gave me blisters in the end. It was just TOO roomy.

 

 

 

 

I had to take a few days off and honestly didn’t want to continue with the shoes, but with six hydrocolloid bandages, I gave them a third chance. I wore them to the New Bedford Triathlon in 102-degree heat.

 

 

The shoe didn’t breathe one bit. My feet were soaked through, and my blisters were on fire. The luxurious enveloping tongue was just a rubbing nuisance on the 12-mile bike leg, and I was slipping around in the lycra liner with that terribly open toe box.

I had to stop numerous times to tighten the laces just to keep my feet stable in the shoe on the run leg. When I finished, I couldn’t feel my toes, and the upper was cutting off feeling to the top of my feet.

I can complement Brooks on whatever sorcery they used to create the DNA Loft Foam in the crash pad of the heel. My shins and quads felt great for the abuse I put them through. I just can’t endorse this shoe at all beyond that.

 

 

Brooks claims the Ghost is made for neutral runners who want a lightweight shoe. I think they should change it to “made for lightweight runners who want a neutral shoe”.

The next 30ish miles was a mixed bag of short 5k workouts on a relatively flat pavement in 80-degree weather and indoor treadmill work in the AC.

I still suffered with the toe box only now my blisters were calluses, so it didn’t hurt as much. I understand serious runner will scoff and say “sorry calluses are a norm for runners, get over it.”

But, when it comes to $150 shoes that are touted for their luxury and cushion, I expect better, especially how it is more expensive than its previous version. But, maybe that has more to do with tariffs than anything.

I wore them again on 8/4 for a 6-mile run in the evening hoping for one final shot at breaking these in, and the same old problems persisted. It was a hot muggy evening and my feet were soaked, and the toe box wasn’t any better.

Pros

The Brooks Ghost 12 was good for shock absorption and was comfortable for short treadmill work in normal temperatures. The materials held up from being used on hot pavement—I expected more wear on the soles.

Cons

That toe box is just atrocious. Also, the shoe is not breathable at all. It made my legs comfortable, but the numbness in my feet with only moderate exertion killed it for me.

Score

Comfort 3
Style 5
Durability 9
Price 7
Functionality for big guys –3
Total score 27/50 = 54% F

 

Sorry, Brooks. I’ll be ghosting this pair of Ghost 12’s.

Matthew Tarselli | Level 2 expert Verified
Matt Tarselli is a 37-year-old father of two boys in Attleboro MA. He is at 310 lbs last January 2018. Matt started swimming and biking regularly and added running in March. With four pairs of running shoes, it took him 1000+ miles of training, a dozen 5k’s, six 10k’s, three triathlons and a half marathon. Now he lost 73 lbs and working towards his first marathon.

90
/100 by Rob Krassowski, posted on .

The Brooks Ghost 12 has become my go-to daily runner. It’s quick, efficient, comfortable, and covers all the bases.

 

3D Fit Print upper provides comfort and control in a single piece. Background dog not included.

 

It’s a mix of foams provides softness and spring, while the one-piece upper gives it a balance of comfort and control. Great for roads, hills, track, or whatever your training schedule throws your way.

Why I got this shoe: An all-arounder that is great for everyday runs under 10 miles

One thing I’ve always heard about running shoes, dating back to my days of high school cross country, was that it’s a good idea to alternate them.

The thinking is that it gives the shoes time to fully dry and let the foam “recover” between runs. Plus, it varies the stimuli on your muscles and joints from run to run.

For the last couple months, I’ve been running solely (no pun intended) in a single pair. So, when I had the chance to try a pair of well regarded everyday shoes like the Ghost 12, I jumped at it.

Until now, my go-to shoe has been a little heavier and has a little more structure. Thus, the Ghost has been a totally welcome change of pace.

Let me share just a little about me since these things matter when it comes to running shoes. I’m in my late 30’s, I average 40-50 miles per week, and I’m 6’2 and 200lbs+.

My gait is pretty neutral, so I don’t use a stability shoe, but I do like something with a little bit of structure on runs longer than 10 miles since I feel like it’s better on my joints.

The shoes

I’m really impressed. The last time I ran in Brooks, I was in an older version of the Adrenaline. I always thought that they were bulky and, well, just rather clunky. Not so with the Ghost 12.

The Ghost is really a joy to run in — it’s simple, responsive, and just plain works. I like that there aren’t a lot of gimmicks in this shoe, but it’s still really thoughtfully designed.

The DNA Loft cushioning in the heel is enough to support my moderate heel strike. It also transitions seamlessly to the springier BioMoGo DNA in the forefoot for a responsive push off.

 

DNA Loft runs along the rear and outside of the shoe while the DNA BioMoGo fills out the inside and forefoot.

 

Plus, the one-piece upper is secure through the midfoot but allows flexibility and breathability over the toes. No black toenails here! Even the shoelaces are something special.

DNA Loft and BioMoGo DNA sole

Brooks launched their DNA Loft foam in 2018, and it’s made its way across most of their flagship shoes. A combo of EVA, rubber, and air, it’s more responsive than older Brooks foams and provides a “springier” step.

 

Segmented crash pads and DNA Loft keep the ride smooth.

 

This is really evident in the Ghost where this cushioning is comfortable in a moderate heel strike on a long road run. But, it seems to bounce back faster during a quick track workout.

Bonus points for adding BioMoGo, which makes these shoes break down faster if and when they hit the landfill.

Even as a bigger runner, I felt plenty of cushioning and support in these shoes. I have a different long-run shoe that I use for my runs over ten miles. But, that’s more out of habit than it is a slight against the Ghost 12.

If these were all I had in my stable, I’d have no problem taking them out for my weekend long runs.

The tread on the bottom of these bad boys seems pretty robust. I’ve been primarily on the street this summer, but these could easily handle some light trail work.

After 50 miles, there’s almost no sign of wear on the bottom. Hence, I feel pretty comfortable saying they’ll be in it for the long haul.

 

Still looking strong after the first 50 miles!

Engineered one-piece upper

In addition to a super comfortable and responsive sole, the one-piece upper of the Ghost 12 is really well-designed. I love a one-piece knit upper since they don’t have seams and hug the foot well.

While the Ghost’s upper isn’t a knit, it still provides comfort and control. A rubberized coating toward the back and midfoot helps hold the foot in place and offers a feeling of control.

The forefoot loses this rubbery coating and adds more ventilation and some extra stretch. This lets the toes move freely and should be really nice on longer runs where the feet begin to swell a little bit.

There are a couple of additional design elements that make this a great shoe, something you value from a company like Brooks who have been in the game a long time.

There are reflective patches on both the toe and the heel for nighttime visibility. The eyelets for the laces also have an additional rubber coating for durability and ease of use.

 

These seriously never come untied. Seems weird to get excited about, but it’s like, weirdly exciting.

 

Finally, the tubular laces distribute tension well and don’t come undone, meaning less stopping to adjust or retie during your run. The tongue is well-padded and also has some stretch, so you get an excellent fit across the top of the foot as well.

Room for improvement

Honestly, I’m really grabbing at straws here. This is a great all-around shoe—it’s been nothing but comfortable.

I didn’t run in any of the previous iterations of this shoe, but it seems like it’s an incremental improvement on the Ghost 11—that may be good or bad depending on what you thought about that shoe.

Pros

  • Supple, responsive cushioning, even for larger runners
  • Comfortable one-piece upper offers control but is also flexible and breathable
  • Shoelaces don’t come untied
  • A great all-around shoe that feels equally at home on the road or the track

Cons

  • Only incremental improvements over the Ghost 11—which may be a plus if you loved that shoe.

Specs

  • Support: Neutral
  • Midsole drop: 12mm
  • Weight: 10.4oz / 294.8g
  • DNA Loft cushioning with DNA BioMoGo
  • Segmented crash pad sole
  • 3D fit print upper

Final verdict

There’s always room for improvement, but this is a great shoe that I’d run in every day. Would I recommend to a friend? Yes. Would I purchase again? Yes.

Like a great all-around shoe, the Brooks Ghost 12 would probably be my go-to recommendation for someone that was new to running or was ordering online.

Rob Krassowski | Level 2 expert Verified
You can find me hitting the streets and trails around San Francisco, CA as a member of Run365 Run Club. I’ve been running my whole life, including competitive cross country in high school. These days, I mostly run for fun and to keep me in shape for backcountry adventures, getting in 20-30 miles a week. I love half marathon and trail races. I’m still shooting for a sub-4hr marathon and hope to hit it this summer!

94
/100 by Michael Liu, posted on .

I’ve been a Brooks fan for many years but have never tried the Ghost line until recently. Before these, I ran in the Brooks Ravenna 9, which were my all-time favorite. Due to increasing knee pain after my runs, I switch to a more cushioned shoe

 

Brooks-Ghost-12-running-shoes.jpg

Looks, comfort, and initial feel

I was impressed by the many color schemes to choose from right off the bat. I went with the Hulk greens.

These felt super comfy right away. They are very well-cushioned—soft with just the right amount of firmness.

The uppers and material are solidly made. It fits my foot perfectly, and the mesh upper offered great breathability. I have plenty of room in the toe box, and they are true to size.

I am on my feet all day at work, and my initial impression was that I could see myself wearing these to work. If there was a negative, it would be I wish it had a tad bit more arch support.

But, then again, it’s advertised as a neutral running shoe

 

Brooks-Ghost-12-upper-2.jpg

Performance and midsole

I am mainly a road runner, so I haven’t tested these on trails. After the first 100 miles or so, these have been holding up great.

On the road, they have good responsiveness, and I never felt like my foot was stuck in transition going from landing to take-off. The mid-sole is made of a combination of DNA Loft in the heel area and BioMoGo DNA in the mid and forefoot.

The DNA Loft is the softer of the two materials. For heel strikers, the DNA Loft gave a pronounced bounce back feel. If you are a mid or forefoot striker, I don’t think the DNA loft material will make much of a difference for you.

When picking up the pace, these performed quite well. These shoes are as quiet as they come.

For a mid 10 oz shoe, these didn’t feel heavy, but I wouldn’t wear them for speed work. I usually wear a mild stability shoe, but as neutral shoes, these did not feel unstable. 

The cushion in the midsole of the Ghost 12 has been very good on my knees. My prior running shoe was the Brooks Ravenna 9, which fit me like a glove and was quick and responsive. But, after a couple of hundred miles, they were done.

I developed increasing knee pain and switched to these. It’s been a welcome relief on my knees, and my times are not much different in these shoes, which are 1 oz heavier than the Ravenna’s.

If you want to feel the road, however, these aren’t exactly the shoe for you. I’ve also tried the Adrenaline line. Compared to the Adrenaline, these feel a touch softer and “cushier,” but a tad less supportive.

I haven’t worn the Adrenalines in a few years, but these felt more responsive on the road. 

Outsole and durability

It’s only been about 100 miles of running and no signs of wear in the outsole. The tread is excellent, and I can see it being used on some light trails.

 

Brooks-Ghost-12-outsole-2.jpg

 

I do wear these to work on some days as well. On long days, my feet get a bit tired and sore, so I would consider getting arch supports.

Summary

These are a great pair of shoes for daily runs and would work for anything from a 5K to full Marathon. They are also versatile enough to be used for walking shoes, daily work shoes, or a gym workout.

These aren’t quite as exhilarating or feel as fast as my Ravenna’s. But, if you want a pillowy soft well-cushioned daily trainer, these work great.

Michael Liu | Level 1 expert Verified
Hello, I’m Michael, and I’m a recreational runner. I also participate in triathlons, but I run mainly shorter distances from 5K–10K’s and training for a half marathon. I’m a medical doctor and have always been interested in the physiology and biomechanics and shoe technology. I have tried several shoe brands and am interested in trying more. I’d love to be able to help others select the right pair of shoes.

84
/100 by Alexander Rink, posted on .

I have been a fan of the Ghost for multiple iterations (I believe my first model was the 6), and when the ice cream edition came out, I bought a pair of Cookies and Cream.

Then for Christmas, I was lucky enough to receive another pair of Ghost 12s (Thanks, Michele! Who am I kidding, you aren’t reading this)?

This gives me the chance to compare my Cookies and Cream Ghosts with 302 miles on them to a new, out of the box pair of Ghost 12 to help show you the durability of a great daily trainer.

 

Overview

For my training needs, I have been using the Ghost for base mileage, long runs. That said, I have used them during speed workouts with the high schoolers I coach and was able to pump out a 5-mile tempo at 5:30-5:40, making them a versatile trainer.

So, long story short, I would say that the ghost is likely an excellent shoe for that recreational runner that is only going to purchase one pair of shoes for their training.

For those looking to specify their training shoes, pick these up for your base mileage, and if a Brooks Glycerin is too much for the long run, use these! Now, let us get into the short story long and break down the quirks and feel of these shoes.

 

Fit

I like a bit of a snug fit in my shoes; I don’t need to be sliding out of the shoe while at speed. The Ghost 12 is the perfect combination of snug yet comfortable.

Brook’s regular “wider” toe box gives your midfoot and toes room to expand on foot strike, but you won’t notice any sliding on turns or quick stops.

Meanwhile, the heel cup has an excellent snug clasp on my heel with a plush collar to reduce irritation. If you are one of those folks that feel the need not to wear socks, I challenge you to try and get an Achilles blister.

 

 

Through the arch, things are beautiful and snug as well, not requiring too much pulling on the laces to understand that responsive fit. Speaking of the arch, there is a surprisingly high and supportive arch for the neutral shoe, which helps to get you through that 18 milers.

Comparing the fit of my old pair to my new pair, I don’t notice much of a difference, other than perhaps a bit of a worn-down heel cup. There might be a bit of a broader feel in the toe box, but that has more to do with the difference in upper.

Midsole

The Ghost 12 midsole is made entirely of DNA Loft, as labeled on the lateral aspect of the bottom of the shoe. Brooks calls it “lightweight and ultra-soft, without sacrificing durability or responsiveness, making it our most luxurious shoe technology yet.”

I will say, it is soft, responsive, and does—so far at least—appear to be durable through the first 300 miles of my current pair. Wearing the old right shoe and the new left shoe, the only difference I notice is that I don’t feel the imprint of my foot stamped into the sock liner; the foam has held up quite well!

Doing a stride out, I do feel a *touch* more power coming off my left foot, but it’s honestly quite negligible.

The only thing I would say I disagree with in Brook’s press release about the DNA loft is calling it “lightweight.”

 

 

Sure, there is a lot of foam in the shoe. However, with new foam technologies coming out (ZoomX, Boost foam, Everun, and even the rumored DNA Flash on the current Brooks Prototypes), I don’t know how lightweight it really is.

That said, comparing the midsole feel vs weight of Ghost both new and old to the feeling of one of my other base mile shoes, the Nike Vomero, I see what they mean.

Outsole

At this current time of the year (climate change affected winter), I’m doing a lot of mileage on the country roads of Northeast Wisconsin. What does that mean? A bit of everything!

One day it’s wet and rainy, the next it’s snow-covered. Next, it’s wet again, and then the snowmelt has turned to ice, then you are on the gravel to avoid all the ice.

All of these say that the outsole on the Ghost 12 is pretty good about keeping me grounded. Obviously, it isn’t great about the odd patch of black ice, but it digs in on the wet pavement and thick snow.

 

 

As for the gravel on the sides of the road, the outsole does an excellent job of spitting out any chunks of rock it picks up here and there (unlike the horrible outsole of the old Nike Lunar Glide, good riddance).

I’m also a big fan of the segmenting on the outsole; I have an easy time rolling through my stride without feeling as though a solid piece of rubber is restricting me.

All of that said, don’t expect anything like a wet traction rubber response out of these. For that, check out what Salomon or Nike Shield are doing. 

So, how is the durability you ask? Fantastic. After 302 miles, the only significant wear issue I see is the loss of rubber from when I get lazy and heel strike, as well as a healthy amount of wear in the middle of the outsole.

 

 

That said, still, plenty of traction left to *hopefully* get another 100-200 miles of junk miles in without falling on my face.

Upper

I have had many a lousy upper in my day. The upper of the ghost 12 isn’t one of them. In saying that, I mean the actual structure of the upper; scroll down for my opinion of the style.

There are ZERO hot spots for my feet personally, even on a long run. I do not have a single hole in my 302-mile pair.

Do you have stinky feet/ are a sockless runner? These are for you; they are quite breathable, and one never gets that overheated feeling.

 

 

The no-sew upper is also another benefit to not wearing socks. I have yet to get a blister during a long run from these shoes, and they have helped to keep me black-toenail-free (that’s right, 14 years of competitive running and I have yet to lose a toenail. I must be doing it wrong).

In terms of lacing, I have no problem. Again, no hot spots, and a perfect length of lace for my needs.

Style

Ok, let me start by saying that I love my Cookies and Cream pair of Ghosts. Sweet (get it?) and subtle, and I look forward to using them as my work shoes as a nurse.

That said, one point of Brooks shoes I have always been a little iffy on is the style. Now, in my time slinging shoes at Movin’ Shoes Madison, I cannot tell you how many times I stated, “worry about how the shoe feels, then we will talk color and style.”

But I've got to say, some of the Ghosts just aren’t pretty in terms of men’s shoes. I will be the first to admit that I am a fanboy of the look of Nike and Adidas; they just have styling figured out.

Their shoes look great as an everyday shoe after I’ve beaten them to a pulp with my training. With Brooks, though, I am not quite in love yet. So, while the Cookies and Cream model gets a pass from me, the rest of the Ghost 12 style line is a “meh” for me.

Final thoughts and a rink score

As stated before, this is an excellent shoe for the runner who is only looking to have one pair of shoes for their training or needs a decent long run shoe that doesn’t break the bank for a premium amount of cushioning.

However, don’t expect feeling like a ballerina in terms of weight. And, unless you can get your hands on a more subtle color, don’t expect to be the belle of the ball.

Alright, on to scoring.

Fit: It's a near-perfect fit for me. However, I could see someone with skis for feet having a problem. 8/10

Midsole: Ghost 12 has a great feel, great response, and is nice and soft. However, it's not amazingly light. 8/10

Outsole: It has great traction for the type of rubber, smooth feel on the road, doesn’t catch anywhere. 9/10

Upper: There are no noticeable hot spots. It is snug where it needs to be and doesn’t rub anywhere. Good sizing. 10/10

Sizing: It is true to size (personally 10.5 D). If you are a narrow foot, skinny ankle, or have flat/wide feet, try before you buy. 9/10

Style: Some of the special editions aren’t bad, but you won’t find me wearing a regular model as a casual shoe. 5/10

Versatility: It is a good all-around shoe for a single-shoe arsenal but lacks range for those looking to do mile repeats or faster-paced work. 8/10

Durability: It had no holes in the upper, the heel cup intact, minimal midsole breakdown, and still lots of traction after 300 miles. 10/10

Affordability: I expect to get another 100 miles at least before they kick the bucket, and they still feel good! You can currently grab a pair for as low as $99 on Amazon. I call that a pretty decent bang for your buck in terms of feel. 9/10

Total Rink Score: 76/90 -> 84.4% or 84/100

Alexander Rink | Level 1 expert Verified
I am a two-time Boston marathoner with a course record of 2:34:43 (2018) and am hoping to hit the sub-2:30 mark at Chicago 2020. I have been running competitively since 2006. Over time, I have gained shoe expertise not only through my running but also through my studies of physiology, coaching high school athletes, coaching marathoners to Boston qualifiers and Olympic Trials standards, and selling running shoes at a specialty running shop.

  • The Brooks Ghost 12 is a running shoe that’s designed for those who have neutral foot pronation. The midsole unit primarily consists of two proprietary technologies to bring smooth and well-energized steps. But this update puts more emphasis on a plush and decoupled heel platform to move away from the one-piece structure of the previous iteration, the Ghost 11. Such a design permits smooth and well-attenuated steps.
  • The cover system of this product is composed of engineered mesh which is the same as that of the predecessor. But unlike version 11, the Ghost 12 is graced with a helping of printed overlays to put more oomph to the quality of the fit and the robustness of the upper unit’s structural integrity.

Brooks used the standard sizing scheme when they made the Ghost 12. Such a distinction allows the potential purchaser to get a pair with their usual sizing choices in mind. However, it is worth noting that there have been online user reviews that emphasize the smaller-than-usual size options. Testing the shoe first can mitigate any concerns with the size.

When it comes to the width, the available options are B - Narrow, D - Medium, 2E - Wide and 4E - Extra Wide for men. The variants for the women’s version are 2A - Narrow, B - Medium, and D - Wide. A whole slew of foot dimensions and volumes are welcome to test this product and enjoy the in-shoe feel.

The outsole unit of the Brooks Ghost 12 is made of blown rubber. This compound is meant to protect the midsole unit from the abrasive nature of the asphalt. It has a generous thickness to make sure that it won’t wear off quickly. Furthermore, it is capable of providing grip, a trait that is essential for all running shoes.

Flex grooves line the forefoot section of the external pad. These deep trenches are designed to make the platform as flexible as possible. The toe-off is the part of the gait that benefits the most from this feature because it is the action that involves the bending of the foot-muscles and toe joints.

The heel part has been decoupled from the midfoot and the forefoot. This configuration is a means of isolating the landing pad from the transition points of the sole unit, thereby ensuring that the impact forces are segregated to the points of contact, particularly the most prominent striking area.

Underfoot cushioning is the responsibility of two technologies, one of which is the DNA Loft. This full-length foam is meant to be the base of the midsole, getting the brunt of the landing forces that are generated by the landing phase of the step. Brooks touts this tech to be lightweight, flexible and long-lasting. Two crucial ingredients make up the DNA Loft: ethylene vinyl acetate (EVA) and rubber.

BioMoGo DNA is a compound that serves as the topsole of the Brooks Ghost 12. This proprietary foam also runs the entire length of the shoe, accommodating the foot at all times. It is made of recycled materials. It cushions the foot and keeps it energized and comfortable at all times. Its malleable construction allows it to mimic the curved structure of the underfoot, thereby permitting a customized step-in comfort that caters to the particular foot that is resting on it. Many of the brand’s shoes utilize the BioMoGo DNA, including the constantly revered Adrenaline GTS roster.

The Segmented Crash Pad is a midsole design that is primarily divided into sections. This branched structure allows the foot to move naturally through the gait cycle while also ensuring smooth landings and transitions. Energy displacement and transfer can be heightened because of this movement-centered design.

An insole is placed right on top of the primary cushioning system. This add-on offers a soft surface for the foot. It also adds a bit more oomph to the volume of the midsole. It can be removed or replaced with a new one or a custom orthotic insert if the runner wishes to do so.

The outer side of the Brooks Ghost 12’s upper unit is primarily made of engineered mesh. This material has a cloth-like construction which allows it to mimic the feel of woven cloth. It has a seamless nature to stave off hot spots and encourage the feeling of being wrapped by a sock. It has both visible and minute breathing holes to maintain a cool and dry interior.

The 3D Fit Print is a set of overlays that pockmark the sides and the instep. These add-ons are all made of synthetic prints. They don’t add significant weight to the shoe and they don’t turn the facade into a bulky mess. The purpose of these overlays is to bolster the structure of the upper unit and ensure a snug and secure fit.

The inner lining of the silhouette is made of a soft fabric. The runner is welcome to wear this shoe without socks because the inner walls that touch the skin don’t have unnecessary seams or unwanted crevices.

A traditional lacing system is used for this product. Semi-round shoelaces snake through print-reinforced eyelets on the bridge, covering the roof of the foot. The mixing of these elements results in a fit adjustment method that is familiar and easy to manipulate.

The padded tongue and collar are parts of the upper unit that are meant to cushion the Achilles tendon, the ankles and the bridge of the foot. These features are also designed to prevent in-shoe quivering and unintentional shoe removals.

A lace anchor is stitched on the tongue unit. This fabric loop prevents the tongue unit from deviating from its centered position by basically being an extra eyelet through which the laces go.

Size and fit

True to size based on 2683 user votes
Small (10%)
True to size (86%)
Large (4%)
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Same sizing as Brooks Ghost 13.

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Size comments

The GT 1000 9 runs true to size.. - Matthew Leonard, Level 4 expert
Sizing is spot on true to size 10.5 for me. - Road Trail Run
True to size.. - Runner's World
Heel fit
Narrow Wide
Toebox
Tight Roomy

How Ghost 12 compares

This shoe: 96
All shoes average: 86
53 98
This shoe: $130
All shoes average: $119
$40 $350
This shoe: 10.4oz
All shoes average: 9.5oz
3.5oz 16.2oz
Author
Jens Jakob Andersen
Jens Jakob Andersen

Jens Jakob is a fan of short distances with a 5K PR at 15:58 minutes. Based on 35 million race results, he's among the fastest 0.2% runners. Jens Jakob previously owned a running store, when he was also a competitive runner. His work is regularly featured in The New York Times, Washington Post, BBC and the likes as well as peer-reviewed journals. Finally, he has been a guest on +30 podcasts on running.

jens@runrepeat.com