Brooks Glycerin 19 review and lab test

The Brooks Glycerin 19 is a daily trainer for neutral runners, with ample cushioning and lots of plushness in the upper. 

This is our first lab-tested shoe. We are starting to put hard numbers to everything we can test on a pair of shoes, from the softness of the midsole and outsole, the force it takes to flex and bend the shoe, slip resistance of the laces, where they fall on the minimalist index, and so much more. 

Glycerin 19 torn apart

We’ll keep refining this process, but our goal is to ensure we have the best and most detailed information so you can confidently buy the right shoes every time. 

Pros

  • Plushy 
  • Wide-feet friendly
  • Tongue stays put
  • Perfect midfoot lock
  • Soft and stable ride
  • Durable
  • Great grip
  •  

Cons

  • Boring unresponsive ride
  • Heavy
  • Softness varies with temperatures
  • Not breathable

 

Padded, stretchy and roomy

I liked that the upper is super flexible with lots of padding, it’s a plush shoe designed for comfort. The forefoot and toe box are nice and stretchy and there’s ample room with the upper measuring 98.2mm wide at the forefoot, which lets your toes splay nicely. 

Padding in Glycerin 19

Tongue stays put!

I also love the gusseted tongue. It has a full gusset made from a stretchy nylon/polyester, the mesh starts just in front of the heel and continues all the way around the toe which is a great feature, it helps with lock down across the midfoot but stretches and breaths well.  

These have a heavily padded tongue at 8.4mm thick and a plush 14.4mm ankle collar, making it feel soft and inviting to your foot on every run.  

Tongue design in Glycerin 19

Perfect midfoot lock

The soft tubular laces stay tight, taking an average of 25.7n of pressure to come undone. I dig these laces because they stretch enough to be flexible over the top of your foot, but not so much to hinder lockdown on the upper. These laces had a stretch ratio of .125. 

Glycerin 19 upper and laces

Soft and super stable ride

The DNA Loft midsole has a nice soft ride, averaging 37.2ha in the forefoot and 39ha in the heel. Plus they are built on a nice wide 117.3mm platform under the forefoot making it very stable and well balanced. 

Durable and grippy

The Glycerin 19 has a full rubber outsole extending its durability and I had no problems with grip on even, dry surfaces. I’ve tested it on asphalt and on dry dirt roads with no issues. This is a dual-density outsole with the forefoot measuring 77.2hc on our durometer and 3.1mm of depth, and the heel logging 84.8hc with 3.9mm of depth, adding a little extra durability for those heel strikers out there.

So unresponsive that they are boring

They are a bit heavy at 294g or 10.25 ounces, and there’s really not a ton of pep under foot. They are medium stiff with our flex test showing 25.8n of force to bend them at the breaking point, but there’s not a ton of response. They feel a bit dull, I really wanted this midsole to have a bit more life to it, it needs a little CPR I think.

Softness varies with temperatures!

They get stiffer too when cold. It's not a ton, but it's noticeable, which makes them even duller in the winter. We froze these shoes to 31°F (-0.6°C) and repeated our flex and durometer tests. The midsole was 17.4% firmer and the flex of the shoes was 60.2% stiffer than when measured at room temperature. 

Glycerin 19 in the freezer

Not a summer running shoe

They are also a bit warm due to all the padding, and as always it could use a heel loop. I would avoid them on hot summer days. I also did my homemade light test and you can see that not a lot of light penetrates through the upper, it’s thick!

Light test on Glycerin 19

Conclusion

The Brooks Glycerin 19 is inviting and comfortable, there’s lots of padding in the upper, and the midsole has a smooth, yet slightly uninspired ride, which for an everyday trainer is not necessarily a bad thing, it's consistent. 

I think the $150 price tag is a touch steep for an every-day trainer without anything super sexy to write home about, but if you need comfort, durability, and a tried and true platform that’s stable under foot, the Glycerine 19 is worth checking out.

Complete lab-specs overview 

Brooks Glycerin 19 
Weight - Left 294g
Weight - Right 294g
Weight - Insole 28g
Weight - Lace 3g
Length - Overall 308mm
Length - Insole 287mm
Width Midsole - Forefoot  117.3mm
Width Midsole - Heel 95.3mm
Width Midsole - Middle  72.8mm
Width Upper - Forefoot 98.2mm
Width Upper - Heel 80.1mm
Width Upper - Middle 69.2mm
Stack - Forefoot with insole 26.3mm
Stack - Heel with insole 38.1mm
Stack - Forefoot without insole 21.3mm
Stack - Heel without insole 33mm
Drop 11.8mm
Outsole thickness (Forefoot) 3.1mm
Outsole thickness (Heel) 3.9mm
Lugs Depth NA
Insole Thickness 4.8mm
Laces (without stretch) 48inches
Laces (with stretch) 54inches
Lace Stretch Ratio 0.125
Laces - Thickness (Height) 1.2mm
Laces - Width 6mm
Durometer Outsole Forefoot (Room Temp: 59.5 F) 77.2HC
Durometer Outsole Heel (Room Temp: 59.5 F) 84.8HC
Durometer Midsole Forefoot (Room Temp: 59.5 F) 37.2HA
Durometer Midsole Heel (Room Temp: 59.5 F) 39.0HA
Durometer Insole (Room Temp: 59.5 F) 28.5HA
Flexibility of the shoe (Room Temp: 59.5 F) 25.8N
Durometer Outsole Forefoot (Freezer 1 hour) 79.8HC
Durometer Outsole Heel (Freezer 1 hour) 85.9HC
Durometer Midsole Forefoot (Freezer 1 hour) 44.7HA
Durometer Midsole Heel (Freezer 1 hour 45.0HA
Durometer Insole (Freezer 1 hour) 30.8HA
Flexibility of the shoe (Freezer 1 hour) 41.4N
Thickness - Heel Counter/Insert 2.8mm
Thickness - Heel Collar 14.4mm
Thickness - Tongue 8.4mm
Flexibility of the heel counter (Middle of heel) 121.1N
Light test (transparence) 11.2LUX
Lace slip test with the knot 25.7N
Longitudinal flexibility (0-5) 3
Torsional flexibility (0-5) 4
Tongue: gusset type, length and material Gusseted (both sides), stretchy nylon/polyester mesh extends from behind the midfoot all the way through the toe
Laces: profile  Tubular
Laces: extra hole  yes
Laces: are they long enough to use the extra hole  no
Heel: pull tab  no
Insole: removable yes
Control devices:
Multi-density midsole
Rigid heel counter
Elevated medial insole under arch
Supportive tensioned medial upper
Medial flare
Thermoplastic medial post

no
yes
yes
no
yes
no
Longitudinal flexibility (on a 1-6 scale) 3
Torsional flexibility (on a 1-6 scale) 4
How minimalist the shoe is in % 26

Note: all the tests were done on a men's shoe US size 9. 

Other reviews and sources

91
/100 by , posted on .

The Brooks Glycerin is one of the workhorses for Brooks, now in its 19th model. My first true running shoe was a Brooks as I fell in love with the Ravenna.

The Glycerin reminds me of a lot of those first days and its cousin. To me, the Glycerin has the same characteristics of the Ravenna minus the stability features, which does knock a few tics off of the weight.

I like this shoe - for no particular reason. Let’s go!

 

Brooks-Glycerin-19-Aesthetics.jpg

Snug yet stretchy fit

I typically prefer a wide footbed when available, but no issues at all with this fit. It is a snug, stretchy fit all around but no cramping and no sense of narrowness for me.

I have not had many shoes that the stretch actually was felt, but this one has a good mix of support while flexing.

 

Brooks-Glycerin-19-Upper.jpg

 

This concept seems to work against one another in physics, but it somehow works in this shoe. The knit uppers have a nice snugging effect, and the considerable cushion on the back of the heel is noticeable when pounding the pavement.

The upper construction has a light build (flex) and seems to give good air movement. It is not nearly as hot as some workhorses I have worn.

You can almost feel it breathe when running. Brooks calls it plush, which I don’t get, honestly.

 

Brooks-Glycerin-19-Breathability.jpg

 

I have a plush bath-robe. These ain’t that - ya know? Some have noted no pull tab on the back - yeah - and?? If that is on your got-to-have list, these are missing that snag of extra.

The drop

The drop of this shoe was noticeable for me but likely me only. That is not a ding as I knew the specs before unboxing.

As I looked back, most of my shoes were 7mm drop or below, and the 10mm drop caught my heel a time or two (at least I am placing blame on the drop).

 

Brooks-Glycerin-19-Drop.jpg

 

I quickly adjusted, and this drop is typical of trainers but wanted to mention it, so it is not overlooked. It caused no issues other than a minor adjustment of my early steps before getting into the rhythm.

My calves did not pay the price, as sometimes is the case when making somewhat major adjustments with the drop.

 

Brooks-Glycerin-19-cuhsion.jpg

 

There was no break-in period whatsoever needed for me for the Glycerin. They just fit well, feel well, and perform just the same.

Ride

The ride of this shoe is - is pleasant. As a trainer, it has substance. It takes a beating and keeps you on track.

I didn’t get a sense of anything magical like a propelled, rolling forward from the mid-sole or super cloudlike padding, or superstructures giving hero-like powers. But there are specialists out there for all those sorts of things if you want.

 

Brooks-Glycerin-19-midsole.jpg

 

There is significant and noticeable responsive padding that just seems to meld right in with the rest of the shoe’s build. Brooks notes a smooth and soft transition, which seems to describe it well.

All features seem to work together very well. Put these on when you want a good solid run, in comfort, not a lot of frills, just a good workhorse you can depend on time and time again.

The sole does not draw attention to itself, giving just enough sense of the ground to maintain confidence. I have seen no issues of pre-mature wear, even with the occasional heel click.

 

Brooks-Glycerin-19-outsole.jpg

 

The bottom has a new design with fewer deep cracks. This is a solid training shoe in its next iteration with minor but noticeable tweaks.

 

Brooks-Glycerin-19-durability.jpg

 

It has a snug, comfortable fit and a similar feel on the run. This can be your foundation shoe that is the go-to when you want a no-fuss, few frills workout.

Nothing special

So I always put new shoes on and walk around the house. A time or two, I have boxed them back up just after a few steps. Interestingly enough, these got a minimal response during those first steps.

I wanted to question what their niche was but moved on from that thought. Hmmm - interesting in a not interesting kind of way. I have a closet full of racers and lightweights but only one trainer - the Brooks Glycerin.

It is now my go-to for that “nothing special”. You know, you plan your run while looking at your shoes, asking, “Who wants to go today?” And you bypass those special ones as you need not one thing- but everything for today’s run.

These are the runs that are most enjoyable to me. There are minimal thoughts of anything - no laps to match time, no heart rate to track, no beeps at over or under pace, cadence... forget-about-it!

Battery dead on the watch - woohoo! Let’s just run! Yeah, these shoes are for that run. The Brooks Glycerin 19’s are a trainer that gives you nothing to think about, nothing to worry about, will get you out and back with no note that they even exist.

Nothing special has its place.

Evaluation

While I guess we all read of the latest carbon this or fluffy that, the Glycerins of the world will be the foundation of my training.

And as such, the spotlight might be elsewhere much of the time, but these will give you the miles you need time and time again without hesitation or perhaps fanfare. Not calling attention to themselves keeps them in my strong rotation.

| Level 3 expert Verified
Hi there! I am an old coot putting running shoes on for the first time about seven years go. It was the first time I had run in 30 years. I started with a 5K or two and worked myself into a frenzy setting a goal of running a marathon before I turned 50. I ran my first marathon nine months after that initial lace-up. To date, I have completed 80 or so races including 36 half marathons and 14 fulls. I have placed in the top three in my age-group about half of those races.

93
/100 by , posted on .

The Brooks Glycerin 19 wants you to relax. It's everything a cushioned trainer needs to be: comfortable, dependable, durable. From the moment I slipped them on I knew I was cruising carefree—they’ve been my go-to shoe for long runs and relaxed recovery days ever since.

 

Brooks-Glycerin-19-road-shoe.jpg

 

The Brooks Glycerin 19 is a neutral, high-cushioned trainer that retains all the best parts of its predecessor version (the well-reviewed Glycerin 18) while adding some simple design tweaks to improve comfort and ride.

The shoe weighs in at 10.2oz (289g) and runs with a 10mm heel-toe-offset. Brooks describes it as optimal for runners with normal to high arches.

The comfortable upper

There’s a lot to love about the Glycerin 19, but what you’ll notice immediately is its pristine comfort.

The upper is wonderfully plush but sturdy enough to keep the foot secure. The engineered mesh of Brooks’ 3D Fit Print boasts both structure and flexibility while the OrthoLite sock liner creates an optimally snug fit around the entire foot.

 

Brooks-Glycerin-19-road-shoe-upper.jpg

 

The double-jacquard mesh hugs the foot like a glove, breathes nicely and doesn't overheat even on my longer runs. A little extra padding around the ankle helps keep my heel locked in.

The tongue and laces of the Glycerin 19 are a nice mix of soft, sturdy, and low-profile to keep the foot snugly in place without being excessive. All of these elements plus a little extra room in the toe box have kept my feet happy from the very first mile in the shoe. 

The plush midsole

The Glycerin 19 uses Brooks’ DNA LOFT technology, known for its lightweight and durable comfort, to create a highly cushioned yet still surprisingly responsive ride.

I find the max cushioning of some shoes prevents the foot from flexing naturally and makes me feel like I’m clopping along with horse hooves during my runs.

 

Brooks-Glycerin-19-road-shoe-plush-midsole.jpg

This is not an issue for the Glycerin 19 as the DNA LOFT is plenty flexible and refined for a smooth heel to toe transition. The midsole under the heel extends a bit beyond the edge of the upper which offers more cushioning when running downhill or for those who tend to land more on their heels.

The midsole of the shoe also extends a bit beyond the medial and lateral edges of the forefoot. This creates a wider platform to run on that I felt offered a degree of stability even though the shoe is a neutral trainer.

The cushion of the midsole and smooth transition helps me relax into my runs.

My one critique of the Glycerin 19, which will likely be a non-issue for many runners, comes from its 10mm offset. As someone who lands consistently on my forefoot, the drop in stack height from 32mm (heel) to 22mm (forefoot) means I lose out on almost a third of the shoe’s potential cushioning.

 

Brooks-Glycerin-19-road-shoe-height.jpg

If you tend to land on your heel or midfoot, this won’t be much of an issue for you. Plus, the higher stack height does help reduce the workload on the calves and achilles—something I do appreciate.

The traction

A great feature of the Glycerin 19 is the dark rubber that covers the entire forefoot of the outsole and runs along the inner edge. This grippy rubber offers improved traction on the road and track in wet conditions.

 

Brooks-Glycerin-19-road-shoe-outsole.jpg

It's also plenty durable without adding much weight. Along the forefoot of the outer are five flex grooves that run horizontally across the shoe. These grooves allow the shoe to flex naturally during toe off.

Near the middle of the shoe, on the lateral side, you’ll notice a section of outsole missing. This is the “transition zone” where the DNA LOFT material is left exposed to give that area of the foot a softer landing underneath as it transitions from heel to toe.

These small features show that Brooks has thought through how to craft a durable outer with superior traction all while keeping the shoe lightweight and flexible. It only adds to the Glycerin 19’s comfortable and capable feel.

Conclusion

The Brooks Glycerin 19 is a comfortable, cushioned, and a capable shoe that's more than ready to help you relax through daily mileage and long runs. The DNA LOFT material and thought-out outsole create a soft and consistent ride while offering steady traction and durability.

The Glycerin 19 certainly isn't my first choice for speed, but the smooth heel-to-toe transition allows it to still perform well during longer uptempo efforts. It would make a good racing option for runners wanting more cushion or who are pushing a longer distance like the road marathon.

If you are wanting a slightly faster shoe, I’d recommend checking out the Brooks Ghost 13 which combines the DNA LOFT material with BioMoGo DNA for a soft but more responsive ride.

Anyone who’s a Brooks regular will want to add the Glycerin 19 to their training rotation. Even if you’re not, I’d recommend giving the Glycerin 19 a spin. 

| Level 2 expert Verified
Hello! I’m Zach, a former collegiate distance runner and novice trail runner. I fell in love with running when I joined my high school cross country team. In college, I was primarily a miler but raced anything from the 400m to 10k. In 2017, I ran across the United States with a team of young adults to raise money for the Ulman Cancer Foundation. After graduating, I was injured and burned out. Then, I found trail running and once again fell for the sport.

Rankings

How Brooks Glycerin 19 ranks compared to all other shoes
Top 2% road running shoes
All road running shoes
Top 11% Brooks running shoes
All Brooks running shoes
Top 2% neutral running shoes
All neutral running shoes

Popularity

The current trend of Brooks Glycerin 19.
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Author
Paul Ronto
Paul Ronto

Paul Ronto is a long-time marathoner and ultra-runner with 6 marathons under his belt and a course record for his first 24-hour ultra. On average, he runs 30-50 miles a week in the foothills of Northern Colorado and gets excited about hard days out on the steep trails with lots of elevation. He has slightly wider feet and tends to comment on shoes in standard widths feeling narrow. He both runs in the shoes and cuts them apart in the lab. He tests even the tiniest pieces of the shoes and that's why he's THE guy for shoe testing.