Facts

  • Discontinued
  • Terrain

    Road

    Shoes best for road, track and light gravel. See the best road shoes.

    Trail

    Shoes best for trail, off road, mountains and other unstable surfaces. See the best trail shoes.

    Good to know

    As long as you stick to the road or path, and if you want just one running shoe, buy a road running shoe.

  • Arch support

    Neutral / cushion / high arch

    Shoes for runners who do not need any additional arch support (Around 50% of runners). Best for people with normal, high or medium high arches. See the best neutral shoes.

    Stability / overpronation / normal arch

    Shoes for runners who need mild to moderate arch support (Around 45% of runners). Best for runners with a low arch. See the best stability shoes.

    Motion control / severe overpronation / flat feet

    Shoes for runners who needs a lot of arch support. Best for runners with flat feet. See the best motion control shoes.

    Good to know

    - Rule of thumb: If in doubt, buy neutral shoes to avoid injuries.
    - More about arch support in this video.
    - Find your arch type by following steps from this video.

  • Use

    Daily running

    Cushioned shoes for your daily easy running. Great comfort. See best shoes for daily running.

    Competition

    Lightweight shoes good for races, interval training, tempo runs and fartlek. Here are the best competition running shoes.

    Good to know

    If you want just one pair of shoes, buy a shoe for daily running.

  • Price
    $100
  • Weight
    Men: 9oz
    Women: 7.5oz
  • Heel to toe drop
    Men: 10mm
    Women: 10mm

    The height difference from the heel to the forefoot, also known as heel drop, toe spring, heel to toe spring or simply drop.

    There are many opinions about what a good heel drop is. We do not recommend any in particular. Lean more in this video.

  • Heel height
    Men: 27mm
    Women: 27mm
  • Forefoot height
    Men: 17mm
    Women: 17mm
  • Width
    Men: normal
    Women: normal
  • Release date
    Jan 2017
Show more facts

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.

3 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.
  • Some reviewers were adamant that it runs ½ size smaller.
  • No optional widths.

Bottom line

The changes made by Brooks in the Launch 4 catapults the shoe as one of the early contenders for 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.

Rankings

Expert Reviews

Experts are runners, who post reviews at youtube, directly at RunRepeat or at their own websites. Each expert is categorized from level 1 to level 5 based on expertise. See stats on expert reviews and how we calculate scores here.

Are you an expert? Apply to contribute here.

88 / 100 based on 19 expert reviews

  • 84 / 100 | Frank DuCett

    Brooks Launch 4: A great light roadster

    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!

    This expert has been verified by RunRepeat. Reviews are neutral, unbiased and based on extensive testing.

  • 90 / 100 | Kris Ward

    Brooks Launch 4 is tempo ready

    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.

    This expert has been verified by RunRepeat. Reviews are neutral, unbiased and based on extensive testing.

  • 86 / 100 | Stephen Clevenger

    Brooks Launch 4: Grounded by Bulky Heel

    The Brooks Launch 4 is a lightweight daily trainer without too much extra bulk to weigh it down and enough cushioning to provide comfort for even the longest of runs.

    The upper and forefoot are lightweight and comfortable however the heel was a bit too built up for me causing the shoe to feel oddly light and bulky at the same time.

     

    Upper

    The Air Mesh upper was designed to improve circulation, provide a better fit and keep the foot cool. The upper does feel like a sock, it is extremely comfortable, as most Brooks shoes are.

    The Engage sockliner provides padding around the ankle which really provides a secure feeling fit and does not rub on your Achilles or ankle the way some other brands tend to.

     

    Cushioning/Midsole

    Brooks has a couple different technologies that offer cushioning benefits in the Launch. There is a full-length BioMoGo midsole that promotes stability without compromising comfort as well as a full length S-257 Cushsole that decreases breakdown and offers energy return.

    The shoe does seem to offer more stability than a neutral trainer, however, the energy return doesn’t feel like it has made the same strides that Adidas has with their Boost technology.

    A segmented crash pad in the heel is supposed to reduce shock upon impact.

    I found that the technology was a lackluster attempt at reducing shock because the heel feels too overbuilt and cumbersome. The large heel almost promotes a heel strike, which actually increases impact shock.

    Outsole

    Brooks has implemented an HPR Plus rubber outsole that increases durability with abrasion resistant rubber. I have run quite a bit of mileage, probably around 100, in the Launch and they have held up well.

    Traditionally, I have found that Brooks shoes hold up quite a bit better than some of the other brands and the launch is no different.

     

    Conclusion

    While there is only a 10mm drop from heel to forefoot in the Launch it feels like there is more of a substantial drop. For me, the Brooks Launch 4 felt as if it set me up to lean forward as I ran.

    Additionally, the bulky heel in combination with the 10mm drop seemed to promote a heel strike as the heel on the Launch was so big.

    The upper did feel great, and the shoe has held up very well. The  Launch may not be a long-term shoe for me, but it did offer quite a bit in terms of comfort and responsiveness.

    This expert has been verified by RunRepeat. Reviews are neutral, unbiased and based on extensive testing.

  • 91 / 100 | Run Moore

    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

    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.

  • 90 / 100 | Road Trail Run

    Launch 4 is reliable, durable, fits me perfectly and is well cushioned for long miles. With its substantial mid foot transition zone it can also serve mild stability guidance needs and heavier runner seeking a light shoe.

  • 88 / 100 | Runner's World

    A peppy daily trainer from Brooks, the Launch has a firm heel and flexible forefoot that lets you run fast when the mood strikes. This update has more blown rubber in the forefoot than the previous version, delivering a softer (and quieter) landing while also shaving some weight. An extra flex groove up front makes the shoe bend much more easily for a shoe this thick.

  • 87 / 100 | Gear Institute

    The Brooks Launch 4 is a favorite of our test group, and is one of the best all-purpose lightweight trainers we’ve tested.

  • 85 / 100 | Motion Control Running Shoes

    The Brooks Launch 4 also offers an above average amount of forefoot cushioning, but its heel cushioning falls below average so might feel a bit firm to some runners.

  • 95 / 100 | Fueled by LOLz

    It feels like a smoother, less clunky shoe from the 3 (not that it ever felt clunky).

  • 90 / 100 | Running Shoes Guru

    The Launch 4 is a superb daily trainer. Improvements made to the 4 have enhanced the smooth and responsive ride that that shoe always delivers. The Launch 4 is an excellent choice for runners who seek a versatile and durable daily trainer.

  • 90 / 100 | Running Northwest

    If I put the 3 and 4 on side by side while they look visually different, the feel is very similar so if you liked the 3 and are ready for an upgrade then take a look!

  • 86 / 100 | Running Competitor

    The outsole was altered with blown rubber in the forefoot instead of harder carbon rubber, making for softer toe-off but with less durability.

  • 88 / 100 | Crazy Running Girl

    I have made the decision that I will be wearing these for this year’s Boston Marathon. The extra two ounces will make a difference once I get to mile 21 and it feels impossible to make a step forward so I’ll take any little advantage that I can get.

  • 87 / 100 | Canadian Running Magazine

    On first wear, it’s clear that this shoe has a nice balance of cushioning without added bulk. The foam felt dense, though not overly hard, which should allow the shoe to last beyond the 500-kilometre mark in terms of its life expectancy.

  • 85 / 100 | Columbus Running Company

    The Brooks Launch 4 is a great option for the neutral runner looking for a lightweight and springy shoe that can do anything from working out at the gym to handling your marathon long run. The 4th iteration of the Launch improves some key areas while retaining several features that have made it a must-have shoe for a wide range of runners.

  • 85 / 100 | Running Commentary

    I had to bring one trainer along with me to Dubai for my taper week (I was there a full 7 days before race day), and I chose the Launch 4 for its versatility over a wide range of paces, bearing in mind I had no more long runs planned. That’s how much I like its versatility.

  • 92 / 100 | The Hungry Runner Girl

    Overall, I’ll be wearing these for the majority of my running and I’m happy with the small changes from the 3 to the 4 (which isn’t always the case with me for a few running shoe models in the past).

  • 90 / 100 | Running Without Injuries

    Brooks keeps putting out great shoes. The Launch 4 is part of the best series in the running industry and is loaded with awesome features.

Show moreless reviews
Apply to become an expert

Updates to Brooks Launch 4

  • 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.

Brooks Launch 4 size and fit

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. 

Outsole

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.

Midsole

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.

Upper

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, the Launch 4 uses the 3D Print overlays that also gives structural integrity. The padded tongue and collar gives added comfort and the thick laces helps in providing a secure fit.