Brooks Launch 8 review and lab test 

This is a simply designed shoe built for speed work and training days that push your times. It works best as a supplementary shoe to someone who already has a race-day and a recovery-day shoe.

  • You should buy this shoe if you are looking for a speed trainer without a high price tag.
  • Don't buy the Launch 8 if you want a shoe with super-modern technology. If you want the best of the best, this is not that shoe. Hyperion Elite 2 and Hyperion Tempo would be. 

Brooks Launch 8 pieces of the shoe

Hugs your (wide) feet 

The Launch 8 hugs your foot, and although they seem long and narrow as you hold them in your hand, they worked well for my wider feet. 

Heel doesn’t slip in Launch 8 

The heel counter is medium/firm stiffness, coming at 82.1N on our tests, and although this is higher than the average heel stiffness of 55.5N, the only shoe we’ve tested that was stiffer was the Brooks Glycerin 19 (121.1N). The important thing here though was that I didn’t have any heel slip. 

Breathability 

I love the air mesh upper. It's more breathable than the past model of the Launch, and a little more performance-minded with a bit less padding in the ankle and tongue. 

Brooks Launch 8 upper closeup

Also, on our “light test”, the Brooks Launch 8 passed with flying colors. And yes, the upper is a nice breathable mesh, but because the shoe is neon yellow. The whole shoe glowed in our lightbox. The average LUX passed through a shoe is 64, the Launch read 495.

Transparency test on Brooks Launch 8

I don’t think it's nearly 10x more breathable than other shoes by any means, I think the material and color of the shoe helped boost this finding. 

Launch 8 lacks response and spring

I leave every run wanting more response, more spring, and just some more excitement out of the shoe. 

Brooks needs to step up the midsole game. This shoe has the BioMoGo DNA midsole and granted this shoe feels better than almost all the other Brooks road shoes I’ve tried this year, but it’s because it feels light and nimble, making it feel fast. 

Launch 8 cut in half

I will say whatever they changed from the Launch 7 is a good change, the 7 felt like a brick and the 8 has more flex and forgiveness in the midsole, but the big question is why not put DNA Flash on these? 

Surprisingly flexible

Look how it bends! With an average of 18.7N needed to flex it, Brooks Launch 8 comes as our 2nd most flexible shoe so far (the average being 23.8N). 

I wish Brooks boosted this flexibility with more pop. 

Finally, a speed shoe with a proper outsole

The outsole is a hearty 3.7mm (this is an average between front and back, there’s actually a bit more rubber underfoot upfront) of full rubber which I really like. 

Outsole design on Brooks Launch 8

Not all speed-orientated shoes have a full outsole, which should add some durability to this shoe, especially to the non-heel strikers out there. 

You can simply slide into the Brooks Launch 8

I really like the shape of the heel flair, it makes the Launch 8 really easy to slide your foot into. This is another good update from the 7 that was missing this tall, elf-like heel. 

Heel tab design on Brooks Launch 8

I was really unsure about these heel tabs when shoes started coming out with them, but I’m starting to dig them, it’s almost like having a built-in shoehorn.  

Stay away from slick surfaces

One thing to mention, the outsole was not super grippy on slick surfaces in my tests, although most road shoes aren’t built for grip anyway. 

Brooks Launch 8 feels light & fast

They come in at 8.55 ounces or 240g, which is not technically heavy, but competitors in this space like the Skechers Razor + and the Saucony Kinvara 12 are about an ounce to 1.5 ounces lighter. 

Weight of Brooks Launch 8

However, they feel light, which feels fast, and I like that, even if it’s just mental because they are neon yellow.

Average midfoot lockdown

Most shoes would benefit from extra mid-foot lockdown and the Launch 8 isn’t immune to this. 

The tongue needs to be gusseted, shoes without a gusset don’t get a ton of my attention as I’m looking at them on the shelves of my local retailer. 

I had to tie them up pretty tight to get the feel I wanted, and they felt a touch tight over the top of my foot because of it, which is why I appreciate they didn’t go too minimal on the tongue (4mm). Any less padding and I would have had some discomfort. 

Disappointing laces

They have a wide (6.4mm) and thick (1.3mm) braided nylon lace and it just feels subpar for a high-performance shoe like this. I know this is a budget shoe but the laces feel cheap and like an afterthought. 

Laces on Brooks Launch 8

I wish Brooks would have put the laces from the Catamount on the Launch 8, those are ideal for a shoe like this. 

Refreshing color choices

I absolutely love the neon and black colorway as well, I know color doesn’t influence performance, but it's loud and simple at the same time, and because of that I feel faster in them.

Budget-super-friendly

Ok down to price and this is a major pro. $100, for a speed shoe, and that’s pretty fantastic!

Conclusion

In the end, if you are looking for a fast trainer, that’s stable and dependable, durable and light enough for race day, the Launch 8 accomplishes all that. I don’t love the midsole, but they feel nimble and they are a nice improvement from the 7. One last thing to comment on is if you are a winter runner, these shoes didn’t fare too well in our freezer test, with the shoe getting 102% stiffer when cold, which may deter some.

For now, I have my fingers crossed that the 9 comes with their Flash midsole, and although I wanted more pep they actually are a nice shoe to run in, and I love the looks, so I may wear them just because of that!

Complete lab-specs overview 

Brooks Ricochet 3
Weight - Left 240g
Weight - Right 241g
Weight - Insole 20g
Weight - Lace 3.7g
Length - Overall 294.82mm
Length - Insole 277.59mm
Width Midsole - Forefoot  111.3mm
Width Midsole - Heel 89.5mm
Width Midsole - Middle  71.8mm
Width Upper - Forefoot 97.3mm
Width Upper - Heel 76.2mm
Width Upper - Middle 70.5mm
Stack - Forefoot with insole 20.9mm
Stack - Heel with insole 27.6mm
Stack - Forefoot without insole 14.8mm
Stack - Heel without insole 30.5mm
Drop 9.6mm
Outsole thickness (Forefoot) 4.22mm
Outsole thickness (Heel) 3.24mm
Lugs Depth NA
Insole Thickness 6.3mm
Laces (without stretch) 49inches
Laces (with stretch) 53inches
Lace Stretch % 8.16
Laces - Thickness (Height) 1.3mm
Laces - Width 6.4mm
Durometer Outsole Forefoot (Room Temp: 59.5 F) 71.5HC
Durometer Outsole Heel (Room Temp: 59.5 F) 83.3HC
Durometer Midsole Forefoot (Room Temp: 59.5 F) 27.8HA
Durometer Midsole Forefoot 2nd layer (Room Temp: 59.5 F) N/A
Durometer Midsole Heel (Room Temp: 59.5 F) 22.5HA
Durometer Insole (Room Temp: 59.5 F) 33.7HA
Flexibility of the shoe (Room Temp: 59.5 F) 18.7N
Durometer Outsole Forefoot (Freezer 1 hour) 75.3HC
Durometer Outsole Heel (Freezer 1 hour) 84.3HC
Durometer Midsole Forefoot (Freezer 1 hour) 33.3HA
Durometer Midsole Forefoot 2nd layer (Freezer 1 hour) N/A
Durometer Midsole Heel (Freezer 1 hour) 27.2HA
Durometer Insole (Freezer 1 hour) 34.0HA
Flexibility of the shoe (Freezer 1 hour) 37.8N
Durometer Outsole Forefoot (% change with temperature) 5.36
Durometer Outsole Heel (% change with temperature) 1.20
Durometer Midsole Forefoot (% change with temperature) 19.76
Durometer Midsole Heel (% change with temperature) 21.04
Durometer Insole (% change with temperature) 0.99
Flexibility of the shoe (% change with temperature) 102.46
Thickness - Heel Counter/Insert 1mm
Thickness - Ankle Collar (min) 10mm
Thickness - Ankle Collar (max) 10.2mm
Thickness - Ankle Collar (Range of taper) 9.4mm
Heel counter material fiber board
Thickness - Tongue 4mm
Flexibility of the heel counter  82.1N
Light test (transparence) 495LUX
Lace slip test with the knot 40.7N
Longitudinal flexibility (0-5) 3
Torsional flexibility (0-5) 3
Tongue: gusset type none
Laces: profile  Flat
Laces: extra hole  yes
Laces: are they long enough to use the extra hole  yes
Heel tab type Pull tab
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
yes
yes
no
Longitudinal flexibility (on a 1-6 scale) 3
Torsional flexibility (on a 1-6 scale) 3
How minimalist the shoe is in % 32

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

Facts / Specs

Terrain: Road
Weight: Men 8.8oz / Women 8.1oz
Drop: 10mm
Arch support: Neutral
Update: Brooks Launch 9
Forefoot height: Men 16mm
Heel height: Men 26mm

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Author
Paul Ronto
Paul Ronto

Over the past 20 years, Paul has climbed, hiked, and ran all over the world. He has summited peaks throughout the Americas, trekked through Africa, and tested his endurance in 24-hour trail races as well as 6 marathons. On average, he runs 30-50 miles a week in the foothills of Northern Colorado. His research is regularly cited in The New York Times, Washington Post, National Geographic, etc. On top of this, Paul is leading the running shoe lab where he cuts shoes apart and analyses every detail of the shoes that you might buy.