Summary

We spent 9.8 hours reading reviews from experts and users. In summary, this is what runners think:

5 reasons to buy

  • People who don’t run are happy with the Brooks Launch 7 because it allows them to properly go through their daily tasks.
  • The underfoot experience is lauded for being consistent and supportive.
  • The traction given by the outsole unit is praised by most consumers.
  • Breathability is a trait that purchasers have come to appreciate in this Brooks running shoe.
  • The lightweight nature of this product is admired by many wearers.

3 reasons not to buy

  • The in-shoe experience is loose for some people; they feel some wobbling when taking each step.
  • Some testers have stated that the collar has caused some blistering.
  • There is some stiffness that several runners have come to associate with unmotivated steps.

Bottom line

The overall reaction of people towards the Brooks Launch 7 has been mostly positive. This neutral running shoe is apparently versatile enough to handle activities that aren’t related to speed and sprinting. The breathable upper and traction-ready outsole are also welcomed. Inversely, the loose yet irritating in-shoe feel is criticized.

Fans of lightweight running shoes that are for the roads are welcome to try the Brooks Launch 7.

Facts

Expert Reviews

65 / 100 based on 9 expert reviews

  • 75 / 100 |

    Brooks Launch 7 – Still good but no longer great

    More photos

    One of the most popular shoe brands is Brooks, and of their line-up, the Launch has been my favorite overall. My last pair was the 5th version of the shoe, and there have been some minor changes since then.

     

     

    Overall, the launch series still provides a lower drop (meaning less sole in the heal to make it more level with the toe area), a responsive and smooth transition, and comfortable wrap on foot in general.

    They are still great right out of the box, but the changes did appear quickly and caused me to adjust a few things. But let’s get a bit deeper to see where the changes are and how they affected my runs.

    The review - from the ground up…

    Tread & midsole

    The tread on the Launch series is and has always been, in my opinion, one of the best features of the shoe.

    I tested these mostly on sidewalks (concrete and brick) and roads but also ventured into some grassy and light trail areas. 

     

    The toe box tread provided grip at all times

     

    Despite the location, the tread always provided a good grip. My feet never felt like they were slipping from me even in wet conditions.

    Though these aren’t what I would naturally grab for trail running, they will hold up on manicured areas that don’t require a more aggressive tread.

     

    The X pattern design for a smooth transition with DNA emblem in the heel

     

    Also, the X pattern that brooks uses to go from the heel to the toe provides a smooth transition for those that naturally strike closer or right on the heel area.

    This allows the foot to roll smoothly from back to front. When it works, it is something you don’t even notice, and as it is with the Launch 7, your running stride will take on a very natural feel in no time at all.

     

    The angled design helps with shock absorption and stability

     

    The midsole is still the DNA material that rather quickly forms to the foot, adding even more to that natural feel.

    There is a slight amount of cushioning, but not so much that the foot sinks when it lands and not so little that your feet will hurt. I took these on runs up to 11 miles with no issues.

    The great part is that the tread and midsole provide a quick response, and I noticed my cadence picked up naturally as did my mile-by-mile average pace. This is also partially due to how I run, and I’m not saying you will win your next race just because of this… but you might!

    Upper

    The toe box with the 7 seems to be a slightly taller one with a little extra room provided for those people that have bigger feet. 

    There is enough space side to side in the toe box to allow the toes to splay out naturally, which again results in a more comfortable and natural feel.

     

    Picture of the toe box and upper area

     

    Because of the height on the toe box, I did wind-up tightening the laces down a little tighter to prevent extra unwanted movement.

    For the upper, the Launch 7 has a one-piece construction. A 3D print, maybe? This is to get rid of seams and other areas that could cause friction or rubbing.

    It does provide a consistent feel throughout the shoe, but I also noticed that the shoes did not breathe as well as past models.

     

     

    To be fair, my feet get hot quite easily, so airflow is something I pick up on quickly. The upper design does help remove sweat from inside the shoe by wicking it out, but for me, this did not make up for the lack of incoming airflow.

    The laces are the standard laces used in previous models and provide a good hold so you won’t have to worry about constantly retying your shoe during speed work or long runs.

    Heel

    It might seem odd to have a section just about the heel. However, for anyone who has had their heel slip up and down while running or had blisters from rubbing, this is an important section.

     

     

    Traditionally, Brooks has designed a solid gripping heel area that holds your foot in place without causing excessive friction. That standard held true on the Launch 7 series.

    From the moment I pulled these out of the box to the moment of writing this, I never once had to worry about my heel slipping or rubbing. In fact, until writing this, I never even thought about the heel area because it felt so natural.

    There is also no excessive amount of padding that absorbs too much sweat, so my shoes never felt wet after a run or workout.

    Heel to toe drop

    There is a 10mm drop from heel to toe, which means it is not so much you sink but not so little you feel a hard strike if you hit heel first (as mentioned above).

     

     

    What it does mean is that if you use these as your main gym shoe, you might want to test them on something like squats with a lighter weight first to ensure your form is still natural.

    If you have been using any other type of running shoe (other than a zero drop), then you likely won’t notice any difference. If anything, the solid design with a little extra width might provide a better support stance.

    This is a very personal area for most people, but for me, these worked just fine for my weight routines.

    Pros

    • Excellent grip
    • Good cushioned support
    • Comfortable upper mesh
    • Good transition from heel to toe
    • Provide a very natural feel

    Cons

    • They don’t breathe as well as previous models
    • Run big so I had some blistering issues
    • Had to tighten the shoelaces extra due to the toe box

    Overall

    The last thing to mention about the Launch 7 is that they run slightly larger than any other version of Brooks that I have tried.

    Usually, I wear a 9.5 and these fit like a 10. The extra room caused some blistering for me due to shifting, and to tighten the laces to prevent the back and forth made them feel too tight.

     

     

    Between this and the lack of airflow as compared to previous models, these were my least favorite in the Brooks line-up so far. Just be sure to have your foot checked inside the shoe from your local running store, and this won’t be an issue.

    Mine was provided for testing purposes through RunRepeat, so this was not an option. Other than that, these are a good pair of shoes, and I still recommend giving them a go!

  • 86 / 100 |

    Brooks Launch 7: A lightweight daily trainer

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    Just some background, I’ve never worn Brooks before. I always wear either New Balance or Saucony. When first receiving the Brooks Launch 7, they looked cool. (much better than NB or Saucony).

     

     

    I was pretty excited to wear them for the first time since they look sleek and clean. The packaging was also pretty nice.

    Upper (75/100)

    The mesh upper holds the shoe together pretty well, and although comfortable to run and walk around in, weren’t very breathable at all. My toes would sweat a lot while wearing these shoes, especially on a hot day.

     

    Insole (85/100)

    To me, the insole was most of the problem. The arch support was placed in a weird position, almost touching the front of my heels.

    On my first three or so runs, I would feel a sharp pain in my right arch and would have to stop constantly to massage my feet. As I gradually broke into the shoe, though, it faded away.

    Midsole (85/100)

    Although I wasn’t used to such a high heel-to-toe drop (10mm), it didn’t pose much of a problem, as I could still midfoot strike pretty comfortably.

    The midsole offered much more support than I expected from a lightweight shoe. My feet felt very good running down steep hills, and I didn’t feel much impact hitting my feet or knees.

     

     

    The midsole didn’t give me that “bounce” that I was expecting. But, it didn’t force my feet to sink in too much either. I can’t find anything bad about the midsole, except for the fact that there aren’t any prominent features about it.

    Lightweight (95/100)

    Just 9 oz, these shoes felt very light, considering how bulky they look from the outside, probably due to the light mesh and midsole.

    I found that my cadence increased while wearing these shoes, and was able to have quick leg turnover, even while going up steep hills. They made me feel fast, and going slower than about 8:00/mile felt strange.

    Outsole (90/100)

    I liked the outsole of the Brooks Launch 7. The rubber outsole was very grippy and didn’t cause any slipping, even on gravelly trails.

    I liked how the outsole pattern covered the entire bottom of the shoe so that people with different foot strikes can all enjoy a good amount of mileage. I’m guessing that it’ll last about 350 miles max.

     

     

    The outsole wasn’t very thick, so I’m not expecting the shoe to last a very long time. However, I am impressed by how much grip Brooks incorporated into the shoe, considering how light it is.

    Fit (90/100)

    I wear a size 9, and the Brooks Launch 7 fits me almost perfectly. The shoes left a good amount of room for my toes to extend.

    The heel cup was thin and not very comfortable, but does an excellent job of preventing my heels from slipping. It was effortless to put on and off.

    My only complaint is that it was a little too narrow for my liking at the front of the shoes.

    Aesthetics (85/100)

    The dark gray colorway that I received wasn’t the most flashy. However, it does blend in and looks good with almost any outfit.

    The mesh upper has a cool almost camouflage pattern to it, and the cuts in the midsole looked clean and sleek.

    Summary (86/100)

    To summarize, Brooks did a nice job of designing a lightweight shoe that incorporated a grippy outsole, light midsole, and sleek design.

    The main issues were its lack of responsiveness, breathability, and innovative technology. It just seems like any other shoe, only lighter.

    Regardless, it is perfect for track workouts that aren’t supposed to be too fast. It’s a very good shoe for $100, and I’d recommend it to runners of any level that are just looking for a lighter daily trainer or a tempo shoe.

  • 65 / 100 | Believe in the Run | | Level 5 expert

    I’ll go a step further and quote the legendary Simon Cowell: “Dreadful.” (Okay, it’s not that bad, but I needed a relevant quote).

  • 70 / 100 | Phidippides | | Level 4 expert

    The overall ride of the Launch is a traditional lightweight trainer, but with other brands developing lighter, bouncier, and softer midsole materials, the Launch now feels way behind some of it’s primary competitors.

Become an expert

The update to a well-known series of running shoes, the Launch, doesn’t drastically change the overall design of the previous iteration. In fact, the upper unit is the one that holds the bulk of the changes. It features a single-piece engineered mesh that is touted to be lighter than the standard one used in many other shoes. The same midsole and silhouette designs are employed to maintain the essence of the successful version 6.

Standard sizing schemes have become the basis of the creation of the Brooks Launch 7. Runners are encouraged to get this shoe with their usual choices of size in mind. However, it is always a welcome tactic when runners test a shoe first or study online reviews. Gaining perspective about the in-shoe experience can drastically better the perception of finding the right shoe.

Sideways fit is influenced by the structure of the upper unit’s facade, as well as the semi-curved shape of the underfoot platform. The natural curvature of the human foot is the outline that serves as the basis of this product’s form.

The rear section of the Brooks Launch 7’s outsole unit is made of HPR Plus, a rubber compound that claims to be highly durable. The purpose of this layer is to protect the midsole from the abrasive nature of the surfaces. Its sticky nature permits it to adhere to the ground well, thus ensuring ground control and precise movements while running.

Blown rubber is used in the forefoot section. This element is a spongier version of carbon rubber. The purpose of the unique trait is to add some more oomph to the quality of the cushioning, potentially bettering the potential of springiness when going for the toe-off phase of the gait cycle.

A midfoot transition zone is incorporated into the external pad. This design entails an arrow-shaped rubber pattern that stems from the midfoot part of the platform, as well as a rocker shape that helps the foot to achieve a smooth transition through the gait. The design’s focus on the midfoot urges the runner to land using the middle of the sole unit and toe-off naturally afterward. Speedy steps are the goal of such a design.

Underfoot cushioning is a responsibility that is given to the BioMoGo DNA platform. This technology is meant to conform itself to the shape and motion of the foot, giving anatomical support to the wearer of the shoe. It is also worth mentioning that this feature is made using materials that are biodegradable. It won’t break down quickly during its normal life of usefulness, though it will surely decompose over time.

An Engage footbed is placed on top of the primary cushioning unit. This add-on has the job of delivering extra support to the underside of the foot. It has a fabric surface that offers a feeling of standing on a luxurious platform. It is also lightweight and flexible. It can even be removed or replaced with a new one if preferred.

The upper unit of the Brooks Launch 7 is made of a single-layer engineered mesh. This cloth-like cover is designed to wrap the foot and keep it secure. A seamless configuration delivers a relaxed hug that doesn’t result in hot spots and blistering. Engineered mesh is a trusted part of the Brooks designs, gracing other shoe series such as the revered Ghost.

Streaks of ventilation sipes line the fabric upper. These elements are meant to heighten the breathability of this running shoe. A cool and dry in-shoe experience is the aim of this scheme.

Printed overlays grace the sides and the eyestays of this product. These thin synthetic prints are tasked with helping the rest of the facade when it comes to securing the foot and preventing in-shoe wobbling.

A traditional lacing system provides the runner with the means of adjusting the tightness or looseness of the wrap. Flat shoelaces snake through discreet eyelets, and they make the in-shoe experience as close to the preference of the runner as possible.

The padded tongue and collar cushion the upper portions of the foot, including the ankles and the heel. They also prevent accidental shoe removals.

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