Brooks Sports, Inc. was established in 1914 as the Brooks Shoe Manufacturing Company, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania by Mr. Morris Goldenberg. Brooks Sports was a small family business that at first produced ballet slippers.
Today Brooks is located near Seattle, Washington, in the United States. Brooks has several models that have been around for years with a well established following, one of their most popular models is the Ravenna.
The stability road running shoe, valued for excellent cushioning, durability, and a bit of room to spare for the toes.
The Ravenna is very well built and at a good price point, making this model an excellent and long lasting value.
The Brooks Ravenna 8 outer sole is made up of a combination of blown rubber and HPR-Plus, being used in high abrasion areas, resulting in the legendary Brooks durability.
The Ravenna 8 has a full-length ground contact that improves traction, durability is improved as well via the greater surface area of the sole as it contacts the ground; this is accomplished by spreading the load of the occupant across a larger surface area.
Midsole - Cushioning
The now-famous BioMoGo foam, with some added sections of the adaptive DNA material, make up the midsole, and they seem to work well together.
I have no idea how much of the ride quality can be attributed to the DNA; with my steady paced sort of running style, I suspect that the BioMoGo foam is doing most, if not all of the work.
Stability is provided primarily by the use of dual densities of the BioMoGo foam; the denser foam is placed in the inner (medial) side of the shoe and, helps to keep your foot from rolling (pronating) to far inward.
Premium material and attention to detail are evident in the Ravenna 8.
If you slide a finger inside this shoe and feel the point where the front of the tongue is sewn to the upper, you will find that there is not a bit of extra material hanging down to annoy and rub the top of your foot, this is a rarely seen indication of excellent attention to detail and assembly.
This level of quality craftsmanship is something the Brooks assembly team in Vietnam should be extremely proud of…for this is the very type of thing that could make or break a company!
Best Suited for Runners
The Ravenna 8 is best suited for runners weighing 150 - 240 lbs. in need of a high quality, comfortable, and roomy shoe for any distance.
To help you discover what type of shoe is best for you, I found this URL to be the best explanation of the complicated subject of pronation and proper shoe selection.
My first run in the Ravenna was at 4 in the morning in 30 degree F temps and, with no wind, no precipitation, and no people in cars. By mile one, I became aware of the Ravenna 8’s unique fit, partly due to the midfoot wrapping overlays.
These shoes have a great shape for a midfoot striker and allow for a smooth transition from foot strike to toe off. The heel to toe drop of 10mm is familiar to most runners, the stack height of 18mm-28mm gives the runner good isolation from the road and, acts as another comfort feature.
The breathability is excellent and there is room for winter socks on the colder days.
The Ravenna 8 may be a little faster than the Asics GT and, responds very well when on the rare occasions when I decided to speed up. However, the Ravenna and the GT 2000 both lack the refreshing quickness of the INOV-8 Parkclaw 275.
I must admit that during the course of this review I did on occasion, swap out the Ravenna 8 for my INOV-8 Parkclaw 275s; (a road-trail shoe) after having become so totally spoiled by their lighter weight.
Did Somebody say Safety?
I recently ran a race with 13,000 other runners and, after returning home I came to realize that I had not spoken to another person the entire day. I should note that I am a fairly quiet person in general and, run primarily by myself.
I try to go about my trekking through life generally unnoticed, but when it comes to reflectors … I want to be seen! Amazingly, the Ravenna 8 is a real show after dark, with reflectors on its toes, tongues, and rear ends!
However, there isn’t a safety device, reflector, or gadget in existence that can replace your senses; we must always practice Situational Awareness. After all, just because you see the car, doesn’t mean the car see’s you!
Adrenaline GTS, with its wider toe box and, a very reasonable price which makes it even more appealing.
The Brooks Ravenna is an excellent value.
See you at the starting line...Run Happy, Run Safe!
I opted for the Ravenna seeking something with a little more arch support but which wasn’t as heavy as the Defyance and might help improve my speed.
Initially, I was pleased that the shoe is bigger than the equivalent sized Defyance. More in length than width, but still provided ample width for my wider feet.
The shoe gives a lot of cushioning particularly in the heel and midfoot. There is also a noticeable rise in the instep providing arch support.
As I began to wear them in, I felt the extra heel height and heel to toe drop compared to the Defyance. It’s something I quickly got used to but is a definite trait to consider for those who prefer a flatter profile.
How Do They Run?
I used the Ravenna exclusively for quite a long time. The deep cushioning makes a comfortable running experience, but it doesn't give the same spring as the Solar Boost, such as providing more absorption which can feel energy sapping towards the latter stages of long runs.
I bought the shoes for their arch support. I found longer runs began to bring aches I hadn’t experienced before, and I felt I wanted to be a bit more flat-footed than the trainers would allow.
To be clear, this isn’t a fault of the trainers. I’d bought them for arch support. It just became apparent that I didn’t need it.
The shoes ran quite nicely, they didn’t feel too big, and I felt relatively nimble when out and about.
The longer I spent in the Ravenna, the more apparent a couple of negative traits became.
First, I found traction in wetter conditions very limited both when running but also compared to every other trainer I’ve had. They made a squeaking noise when running on some surfaces.
When I was able to compare the Ravenna back to back with other trainers, I also noticed that they weren’t particularly light.
The best traits of the Defyance were excellent traction across terrain and conditions. They were strong and sturdy albeit at the cost of being heavy, but this was a compromise I was happy to make.
The Ravenna turned out to feel not much lighter, yet less supportive and grippy reducing the number of conditions one could confidently run in.
On top of the tread, not providing much in the way of grip, my use of the trainers has worn them unevenly with an unusually high degree on the inside of the ball of each foot highlighted below.
I’m cautious to point out, this is most likely my running style and incompatibility with the shoe design but thought it worth highlighting.
There is a market for the Ravenna. It is a comfortable shoe with good arch support that will perform to a good standard in general road running.
The fit is a little long for the size and heavier than one might expect. They are limited in scope compared to some trainers which can cope with multiple terrains and still provide support and cushioning.
They are in my view a little too high in the heel and have too much cushioning for fast training. I am sure that for some people this is a great shoe, supportive and well-fitting with good cushioning for longer runs at a steady rather than aggressive pace, they just weren't for me.
Good to know
- The Brooks Ravenna 8 continues to provide the same underfoot comfort and feel. It comes with minimal changes and one of the minor updates can be seen on the upper. It uses a new air mesh material with altered overlays that provides the same amount of breathability and support.
- The road running shoe also comes with an enhanced adjustable saddle that provides a more secure fit in the midfoot.
- The Ravenna 8 also comes with a new midfoot transition zone that delivers a faster feel and a smoother heel to toe transition.
- To provide an enhanced traction and flexibility, the shoe features a redesigned outsole configuration and improved omega flex grooves.
The Brooks Ravenna 8 is true to size. It provides a snug fit with a roomy toe box for natural toe splay. Brooks is offering the shoe in standard and wide widths for both men’s and women’s versions.
The shoe features a completely redesigned outsole unit. It comes with a new rubber configuration designed to deliver an enhanced traction and the omega flex grooves are also modified for added flexibility. The updates in the outsole provide every runner an extra springy toe-off.
The Ravenna 8, same as with its latest version, the Ravenna 10, still utilizes the BioMoGo DNA midsole that deliver reliable underfoot protection and responsive feel. This works perfectly with the Diagonal Rollbar that aids the foot to move naturally for a more responsive ride while giving necessary support.
In order to provide a fast and smooth heel to toe transition, the Brooks Ravenna 8 uses a new midfoot transition zone.
The Brooks Ravenna 8 features a seamless design for a comfortable running experience. It uses a new air mesh material that provides a breathable foot coverage all throughout the run. The mesh upper is also designed to keep the foot dry.
The shoe also comes with a modified adjustable saddle that pulls from the heel, providing a secure fit in the midfoot area.