Summary

We spent 6.1 hours reading reviews from experts and users. In summary, this is what runners think:

10 reasons to buy

  • The 4th iteration of the Brooks Launch is impressively comfortable, according to a large number of reviewers.
  • It drops almost an ounce of weight compared to the earlier model.
  • There are more flex grooves that are also deeper than before for better flexibility and excellent toe off.
  • Most runners consider the $100 price as a bargain because of the shoe’s impeccable performance and durability.
  • Some runners valued the Launch 4’s versatility as it can handle daily training together with tempo runs.
  • A handful of reviewers loved the responsiveness of this shoe.
  • A few runners observed that it is even smoother than the past version.
  • An expert reviewer noted how the upper holds the foot in comfort and security.
  • Some runners were extremely happy with the color combinations and sleek look of this shoe.
  • More than a handful of reviewers were satisfied with the shoe’s breathability.

2 reasons not to buy

  • The midfoot, due to the Midfoot Transition Zone, made the area stiffer than what some fans of the Launch were used to.
  • No optional widths.

Bottom line

The changes made by Brooks in the Launch 4 catapults the shoe as one of the early contenders for the shoe of the year. It feels agile, runs smoothly, and bridges training and speed work with ease. The shoe has excellent arch support, loads of comfort, and very versatile. To top it off, the price tag makes it even more attractive for all sorts of runners. This is one shoe that is going to find a place in the shoe rack of many runners.

Facts

Rankings

A top rated Road running shoe
A popular pick
Better rated than the previous version Brooks Launch 2

Expert Reviews

88 / 100 based on 20 expert reviews

  • 84 / 100 |

    Brooks Launch 4: A great light roadster

    More photos

    This shoe is exactly what it's supposed to be, light, fast and responsive.

    I am accustomed to the more robust Brooks Launch 4 was easier than you might think.

    With a 10mm heel-to-toe offset, it was easier than transitioning to a zero drop shoe, and the lightness could be felt immediately. Runs were simply easier and faster, but at the cost of some comfort.

     

    Construction/Quality

    Not a lot of unnecessary material used in this shoe, just enough to get the job done. The quality of materials and workmanship are all high. The forefoot uppers have no overlays of any sort, just a well-stitched toe box.

    This shoe does have a full-length outer sole of rubber, however, the rubber is far thicker in the front and much thinner in the rear. This may make these shoes last about half as long for heel strikers than for the rest of us. The shoelace keeper is offset to one side, easily keeping the tongue place.

     

    Brooks DNA

    I do not think the claims that Brooks DNA offers 33% more cushioning than Gel or EVA are based on fact, however, the DNA added to the midsole seems to make some difference.

    In my non-scientific analysis, I would say that the Brooks DNA provides excellent responsiveness that the runner can actually feel.

    As I change my running gait from a slow jogger to me "imagining" myself finishing a big city Marathon with world-class runners on either side of me, these shoes actually seem to come alive, it must be the DNA at work, the shoe's DNA not mine.

     

    Comfort/Fit/Ride

    It would not be any more fair to compare this shoe to the Asics GT 2000 or the Brooks Adrenaline as comparing a Formula One car to a 4 door Mercedes.

    The uppers are form fitting and about as wide as expected for a medium D width.
    Toe box is high enough to comfortably use with thicker winter socks unless you opt for a thicker liner for more cushioning as well.

    Weight

    301 grams per shoe size 12 US, 46 Europe and 11UK  with original sock liners.

    Safety

    Good grip on any road surface,  great reflectorization only from directly behind. No reflectors up front, there are designs at the front of the shoes that look a little like reflectors, they are only graphics providing no reflector safety for the night runner.

    Bring your reflective shoelaces.

     

    Pros

    • Light weight
    • Fabulous Colors
    • Fairly quiet on pavement
    • Form-fitting uppers
    • Durable ( except for the heel strikers )

    Cons

    • No front reflectors
    • Thin outer soles under the heel
    • Not enough cushioning in the forefoot

    Conclusion

    More cushioning?

    These shoes are fun for a little while, then after a few runs, I start to miss my old Launch 4 is better left to race day or short runs.

    I am going to add a thin foam layer under the Brooks sock liner and I think this will add just enough cushioning to make this my new Half Marathon training and racing shoe.

    This has been my third pair of Launch shoes. I am looking forward to getting in some long miles and reporting back about how they hold up after 200 or 300 miles. The more I think about it, these shoes are about perfect, it could be the 5 pounds I gained over the winter months.

    I hope Brooks does not drastically change next year's Launch.

    Historical Nugget

    Back in 2007, a young woman working for Brooks in Seattle, Washington, USA, was struck by a car while out running and tragically died. In her honor, a shoe, the Brooks Defyance carries her initials  "LD" to this day.

    Run Happy! Run Safe!

  • 90 / 100 |

    Brooks Launch 4 is tempo ready

    More photos

    Brooks Launch 4 Specs - 10mm drop, 7.5 oz weight (advertised – mine weigh 9.7 oz), have neutral support and are made to be used as daily trainers.

    Competition: Adidas Boost, Saucony Kinvara, & Under Armor Gemini

    I began using these shoes as I started to increase both my long run mileage and my weekly overall mileage as preparation for my first half-marathon.

    After a little over a month, I broke the 100-mile mark on these shoes and I can say without a doubt that they feel even better than they did fresh out of the box – which was great, to begin with. 

    the Launch 3s. As a result, the shoes still feel comfortable when I go past 10 miles but they feel much more at home on speed work or tempo runs.

    Weight 

    At only 9.7oz (according to my scale) the shoes feel light but the cushioning is still obvious.

    This is nice in that they work well for hitting some fast speed work on the toe area & support well for going slightly slower as both areas are cushioned underneath and the heel is wrapped with a layer as well.

     

    Arch Support

    The arch support is good and I don’t wish for anymore during any run. However, the cushioning in the heel area play negatively for sweaty purposes as it holds in moisture.

    The toe box seems to do the same and I started noticing blisters near the area of my big toe. I should mention that I do sweat a good deal. Some glide worked well to prevent any further issues – so no real harm there.

    Cushioning

    Brooks used their DNA midsole cushioning and if you are familiar with Brooks then you are familiar with this as well. As the shoes get used, the midsole adapts more to your specific foot.

    As you get more miles on the shoe, the midsole adapts more to your foot.

     

     

    This is why the shoes became more comfortable to me when I started getting some mileage on them. They felt more natural on my foot.

    The effect creates a smooth transition from heel to toe – though previous versions of Brooks did feel more natural to me in that regard. This is not a complaint so much as it is an observation.

    Comfort & Upper Design

    The toe-box is a bit wide for me but I knew this before I made the purchase.

    My feet are narrow and Brooks naturally offer a wider toe box. However, I do appreciate this because it allows my toes to spread out.

     

     

    As compared to other Brooks, the toe box does seem deeper and this led to me having to really tighten down the laces to provide solid support in that area.

    The tongue has a lace hole to help hold it in place and the laces offer a strong lock on the foot which prevents heel slipping without having to worry about using a lace lock. Also, I did not have the feeling of too much pressure from any part of the laces.

    Breathability

    Brooks uses 3D print and ventilated fabric to create a lightweight and breathable upper area.

    This is one of my more favorite features because the shoes really do breathe quite well. When on a long run or a tempo run the shoes helped keep my feet from ever feeling hot.  

    The zoomed in picture shows just how breathable the upper mesh area is and gives an idea of the nice breezy feeling that I found while running.

     

    Tread

    Perhaps my favorite part about these shoes is their tread. Considering these are meant more for road use the tread has played better than I thought it would on light trail runs.

    Rocks and twigs aren’t enough to create any pain and the tread is sufficient enough to provide a strong grip. Even on brick during a slight rain, my feet did not slide around or slip.

     

     

    The wide toe area, groves, and material hold up well under any circumstance – though I would not suggest using them as a main trail running shoe.

    That X design in the middle of the shoe is their “crash pad” and is meant to help the transition between heel and toe. I’m mostly a midfoot striker and perhaps this is why I felt that the landing zone was cushioned and responsive step for step.  

    Pros

    • Breathes well
    • Great for speed but cushioned enough for pace
    • Excellent tread work
    • Good support

    Cons 

    • Cushioning holds moisture
    • Early miles needed glide to prevent blister near the big toe/ball of foot
    • Toe box is deeper than other models

    Overall

    The Brooks Launch 4 breaths well, feels responsive and is great for tempo runs and speed work. 

    There are better options for longer distances but for 10+ miles the Launch seems to work just fine. Though I would prefer the cushioning to be better suited at drying, it does feel comfortable every time.

    The DNA adapts well to the foot and with the tread design, the transitions are fairly smooth.

  • 91 / 100 | Run Moore | | Level 4 expert

    It's quite versatile, durable, good price point, it's got a lot of snap to it. So, all-in-all I'm really impressed with this shoe.

  • 91 / 100 | Solereview | Level 5 expert

    Brooks’ value-for-money trainer gets a (relatively) softer and smoother ride, and a wider forefoot fit than the Launch 3. It's an ounce lighter too.

Become an expert
  • The 4th version of the Brooks Launch still uses the outsole pattern of the previous version. However, more blown rubber compound was added in the forefoot area for an increased springy toe-off.
  • The upper of the Launch 4 was also updated. It features the 3D Fit Print that enhanced fit. It also provides a stretchy atmosphere and added structural integrity.
  • The U-Groove in the heel was also modified. The U-Groove is specifically designed for added support and flexibility.

The Brooks Launch 4 is available in standard running shoe length and the fit feels the same as its predecessor. It delivers a comfortable and secure fit in the heel and midfoot area. The shoe accommodates a wide range of foot measurements and shape. 

Found on the outsole of the Launch 4 is the carbon rubber that gives durability in high-abrasion areas. Added blown rubber is also found in the sole especially in the forefoot area. It gives improved flexibility for a springy toe-off. The durability and traction level of the shoe is very similar to the Brooks Launch 6.

The same with its predecessor, the Brooks Launch 4 features the BioMoGo DNA midsole that offers adaptive cushioning for a more responsive ride. This works perfectly with the Midfoot Transition Zone and Segmented Crash Pad that is designed for smoother and faster heel-to-toe transitions.

The Brooks Launch 4 uses an air mesh material in the upper for maximum breathability, keeping the foot well-ventilated all throughout the run. The air mesh fabric keeps the foot cool and dry through its moisture-wrecking capacity. For an enhanced fit and added comfort, this Brooks running shoe uses the 3D Print overlays that also gives structural integrity. The padded tongue and collar give added comfort and the thick laces helps in providing a secure fit.

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