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.
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.
- Wide-feet friendly
- Tongue stays put
- Perfect midfoot lock
- Soft and stable ride
- Great grip
- Boring unresponsive ride
- 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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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|
|Outsole thickness (Forefoot)||3.1mm|
|Outsole thickness (Heel)||3.9mm|
|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: extra hole||yes|
|Laces: are they long enough to use the extra hole||no|
|Heel: pull tab||no|
Rigid heel counter
Elevated medial insole under arch
Supportive tensioned medial upper
Thermoplastic medial post
|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
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!
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.
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.
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 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).
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.
There was no break-in period whatsoever needed for me for the Glycerin. They just fit well, feel well, and perform just the same.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.