|Update:||Brooks Ghost 12|
|Weight:||Men: 309g | Women: 269g|
|Heel to toe drop:||Men: 12mm | Women: 12mm|
|Fit:||Medium forefoot, Medium heel, Medium toe box|
|Arch type:||High arch|
|Use:||All-day wear | Jogging|
|Material:||Mesh upper, Rubber sole, Vegan|
|Features:||Breathable | Orthotic friendly | Cushioned | Comfortable|
|Strike Pattern:||Heel strike|
|Foot Condition:||Back-pain, Bunions, Foot pain, Hip pain, Knee pain, Plantar fasciitis, Shin splints|
|Distance:||Daily running | Long distance | Marathon|
|Heel height:||Men: 29mm | Women: 29mm|
|Forefoot height:||Men: 17mm | Women: 17mm|
|Type:||Heavy | Big guy|
|Width:||Narrow, Normal, Wide, X-Wide | Narrow, Normal, Wide|
|Colorways:||Black, Blue, Green, Grey, Pink, Red, White|
|SKUs:||003, 006, 017, 037, 069, 071, 192, 428, 461, 493|
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91 / 100 based on 21 expert reviews
Brooks Ghost 11 – Everyday comfort with a good turn of speedMore photos
The Brooks Ghost 11 is a fantastically comfortable neutral running shoe. Improvements to the look of the shoe are combined with tweaks in the midsole to offer even greater cushioning under the heel as well as a smoother transition and greater responsiveness for faster tempo sessions and even for racing.
Leaves your feet feeling as fresh at the end of a run than when you started. I’d have no hesitation in recommending this shoe.
- Extremely comfortable
- Improved Cushioning
- Secure fit and hold
- Breathable Upper
- Roomy Toe Box
- High ride height may not suit everyone
Last year, I reviewed the Brooks Ghost 10 – the first time I’d worn any Brooks shoe, let alone their ever-popular prime cushioned shoe. I was immediately impressed by its comfort and versatility, and went on to describe it as being “Built for Comfort and for Speed”.
Almost a year on, my 10s had over 800 miles on the clock, but still remained my go-to choice for long, easy runs. Needless to say, I eagerly awaited the delivery of my Ghost 11s, which goes some way to explain why this review contains no pictures of shiny new shoes fresh out of the box. The day after they arrived, I laced them up and headed out the door for a 10 mile run at marathon pace.
Eight weeks later, I’ve run approximately 350 miles in these shoes, including most of my longer marathon-training runs, but also a fast trail 5k which resulted in a Parkrun PB. Training has also included faster interval sessions, as well as easy recovery runs, and I’m happy to say that the whilst there have been some changes, the Ghost 11 impresses just as much as its older brother.
Throughout this review, I will inevitably make comparisons with the Ghost 10; apologies if you haven’t worn the previous version of the shoe, but I felt it necessary to describe the evolution of the shoe and recognize that many readers will have previously worn the Ghost 10. I have tried however to make sure that the review stands on its own.
The Ghost 11 is available in four of five colorways in both men’s and women’s shoes, including a plain black for the understated look. You can judge for yourself whether my choice of “Black-with-a-hint-of-orange” (not the official colorway name) was the best choice, but I liked it!
Even more than its predecessor, the Ghost 11 feels like a premium, well-designed shoe from the moment that you take it out of the box. Many of the midfoot overlays present on the 10 have been removed, together with the vinyl toe bumper, and plasticky looking trim around the lace holes and the ankle.
The result is a much simpler, fresher looking upper comprised of engineered mesh, with “overlays” reduced to colored dots which seem to improve structural support around the midfoot as well as the toe bumper. The shoe is also more breathable than its predecessor.
Brooks has increased the reflective detail in the Ghost 11; the small tab on the back of the heel remains reflective and is joined by the larger logo on the sides of the shoe as well as the detail around the eyelets. This is a welcome improvement as we head towards darker mornings and evenings.
The Ghost is not a budget shoe, but with a price point of around £120, and with some savings often to be found, it is cheaper than many premium cushioned shoes on the market. Its feel and appearance, however, are easily comparable to many pricier shoes, with its new style combined with materials and construction of the highest quality.
A slightly lower, external heel cup has replaced the one used in the 10. Despite this, the heel still feels well locked in, as does the midfoot. This provides a good feeling of security without the foot feeling confined, and is especially apparent when running over uneven surfaces, or taking steep downhill sections at speed (when lesser shoes can allow the foot to move sufficiently) for the toes to hit the front of the shoe.
The lower heel cup seems to allow for even more cushioning around the top of the heel and continuing around to the front of the ankle, where it meets the well-padded tongue.
The midsole of the shoe appears substantial, and the knitted mesh provides sufficient stretch to lock in the foot as mentioned above.
The Brooks Ghost 11 is listed at 309g, which is a little heavier than its predecessor (295g), though not significantly (the Ghost 9 was listed at 305g which suggests that the Ghost fluctuates a little around the 300g mark). Once again, the Ghost isn’t trying to be a light racing shoe and compares favorably with premium cushioned shoes from other manufacturers such as the New Balance 1080 v8 which is listed at 314g.
As expected, my UK 13 (14.0 US) shoe weighed in heavier at 369g, compared to the Ghost 10 at 361g and New Balance 1080 v8 at 381g. Most importantly, the Ghost 11 does not feel like a heavy shoe, even towards the end of a long run.
I found the Brooks Ghost 11 to be true to size and not surprisingly, almost identical in fit to the Ghost 10. That is, I wore a UK 13 (US 14) which is what I’d wear in a normal, everyday shoe, and in an ASICS or Inov-8 shoe. For comparison purposes, in shoes from New Balance, Hokas, and Salomon I’d generally need to go for a ½ size larger (UK 13 ½).
The shoe felt very comfortable right out of the box. As mentioned above, my first outing in the shoe was a ten-mile run, with the option to cut it short if the shoe caused any issues; there was no need for the backup plan!
My foot was held securely and comfortably throughout, but with plenty of room in the toe-box. If anything, the toe box feels marginally smaller than the Ghost 10, but there’s still more than sufficient room for movement, which is especially important as I have a tendency for an ongoing Morton’s Neuroma issue to flare up where toe room is limited.
As with the previous Ghost 10, I’d again have no hesitation in recommending the shoe to triathletes and other runners prefer running sock-free with its seam-free, comfortable inner.
As mentioned above, Brooks has ditched the overlays used in the v10, claiming that by “placing stretch and structure where you need it most, the newly engineered mesh upper practically disappears on your foot”.
I’m not sure about the “practically disappears” bit, but I really like the new, simple upper, which does seem to provide all the support needed in a neutral shoe, and I’ve already mentioned above that the foot is held comfortably and securely. Furthermore, the new upper does allow the foot to breathe far more effectively than the Ghost 10.
At the front end of the shoe, is a double layer of mesh. The inside layer is tightly woven, whilst the outer has larger holes, which in this case are a little more open than the 10.
These layers move independently of each other, allowing sufficient movement of the foot during the various components of each stride. The external vinyl toe bumper is replaced with a little internal strengthening, together with the overlaid dots to provide more than sufficient protection, with greater flexibility (and an improved look).
Moving towards the back, the lace loop at the front has been eliminated, which seems to make little difference, and then the mesh becomes more dense, with the overlaid dots, as and the inner layer becomes more cushioned around the midfoot which is held well. Being a neutral shoe, there is little arch support although the shoe liner supplied does provide a little.
The dense mesh and cushioning continues around the ankle and to the back of the shoe where it meets the external heel cup mentioned above. Once again, there is a generous level of cushioning around the ankle, and a well-cushioned tongue (the Ghost 11 opts for a single lace loop at the top of the tongue, but there’s never any danger of the tongue moving).
The laces themselves are flatter than in the Ghost 10. I’m really not too sure of the significance; as previously, you lace them up and they stay tied, which does the job by my book.
Once again then, the latest incarnation of the Ghost has provided a supremely comfortable shoe that I always looked forward to putting on ahead of any run.
The sole of the Brooks Ghost 11 again provides 12mm heel to toe drop, from a heel height of 29 mm. I’m sure I’m not alone in the fact that this is the largest drop of any of my running shoes, but after experiencing the Ghost 10, I had no concerns.
Once again, the shoe feels great to run in; it certainly doesn’t feel like a 12mm drop, and I had no issues switching between these and my Zantes (6mm) or any of my zero-drop fell shoes.
If you have any concern, I do suggest trying out the Ghost 11 at your local running store rather than dismissing them because of the higher-than-usual drop. My own view is that in this shoe in particular, the additional heel-toe drop has little real significance.
Most of the midsole cushioning is provided again by Brooks’ BioMoGo DNA foam to provide what Brooks described as “just-right softness underfoot”.
The big difference with the Ghost 11 is that it incorporates an improved crash pad made of DNA Loft Foam to the lateral side of each heel.
The location of this crash pad is indicated by the pattern of pentagons on the side wall (the remainder of the midsole is standard BioMoGo DNA Foam). The DNA Loft Foam used in the crash pad was introduced earlier this year in the more expensive Glycerin 16. It is designed to provide even greater cushioning for a smoother landing, and improved transitions, but crucially to do so without any increase in weight, utilizing a butilizingVA, rubber, and air.
So what does that mean?
In a nutshell, the Ghost 11 offers even better cushioning than the 10 for heel-strikers such as myself. This will become more important on longer reruns as research suggests a tendency for a greater proportion of runners to heel strike as they become fatigued on longer runs.
The Loft Foam in the crash pad will protect the legs and feet from repeated landings and helps to ensure that the foot feels just as comfortable, and the stride as smooth at the end of a long run as at the beginning (if only the legs did), while also helping with faster transitions during when it’s time to increase the pace.
The outsole of the Ghost 11 is very similar to the Ghost 10, although there are some minor changes. The outsole is broken up into fewer segments which increases the contact between the sole and the ground (it may be difficult to see in the picture as Brooks used black foam beneath the crash pad in the 10 shown). Other than that, there appears to be very little change.
Whilst the Ghost 11 is essentially a road shoe, the structure and design of the outsole do lend itself to an element of trail running (and in one case for me, even a short trot up a mountain partway through a long run).
It’s obviously not going to be suitable for technical stuff, but it’ll easily handle those part-road/part-trail runs and races.
The outsole is again formed of blown rubber below the forefoot, and a harder carbon rubber under the heel.
This is a very durable combination, and whilst the Ghost 11 is to be showing some heel wear at the 350 miles mark, this was fairly similar to the wear pattern experienced with the 10s. I’m confident that I’ll be wearing the shoes well beyond the 600-mile mark, and if the 10s are anything to go by, they’ll retain the cushioning as the miles tick over.
Lighter runners and those without such a pronounced heel strike should see the shoes last even longer than mine.
My experience of shoe performance should always be balanced against my own characteristics, so I should mention at this stage that I don’t fit the stereotypical image of a lithe, sleek runner.
Just for the record, I’m 47, about 6’2”, approx. 87kg (190lbs), running 50-60 miles pw.
I’ve been using the Ghost 11s in training for my next marathon where I’m chasing a 3:10 goal and the Parkrun described below was completed sub 19’. In light of this, I can’t really comment on the performance of these shoes for the elite but hopefully, this can be of use to most runners.
I’ll put my cards on the table at the beginning: I loved the Ghost 10. I described it as being able to run in your most comfortable pair of shoes or slippers. What’s more, they’re a go-to shoe for almost any training run. So unless Brooks had completely redesigned the Ghost, it was pretty well a sure thing that I’d love the Ghost 11s too.
I wasn’t disappointed. The shoe has the comfort I’d appreciated in the 10, as well as the opportunity to turn up the pace during an interval session. The improvements that Brooks have brought to the Ghost have further enhanced the experience. The DNA Loft Foam provides a welcome extra little bit of cushioning to the heel. As you transition forward the front of the shoe feels marginally firmer contributing to a slightly more responsive take-off.
For marathon training, the shoe has been fantastic. I’ve used it for pounding out the miles on a long slow run, stepping up to marathon pace, and for all of the faster interval sessions with which anyone training for a marathon will be familiar. I’m not sure yet whether I’ll wear them for the race itself but would have no qualms about doing so.
The only “race” I’ve done in them to date was a local Parkrun (okay, it’s not a race, but you know…). It was a new Parkrun, so all I knew was that it was on a mix of hard-packed trail, sand and forest tracks. I figured that the Ghost 11 would cope with the terrain and off I went. I was amazed to finish with a new 5k PB despite the terrain and really pleased with the feel and responsiveness of the Ghost 11s throughout the run.
The Brooks Ghost 11 compares exceptionally well with other neutral cushioned shoe such as the New Balance 1080 v8 (pictured), or the Hoka Clifton which has a similar ride height and will appeal to the same market.
The Ghost 11 would be my first choice over each of these shoes, as I found it more comfortable and responsive than either of the other shoes, leading to the improved performance at all paces.
In Ghost 11, Brooks has again managed to make an everyday running shoe that you’ll look forward to wearing for almost any training run. The shoe will look after your feet for you and leave you to concentrate on pace, form, traffic or simply to enjoy the view.
I would recommend this shoe to any runner looking for a neutral, cushioned shoe, for both daily trainings and for racing anything from 5k to marathons and beyond.
In my own opinion, it is especially suited to higher mileage runners, and its superior cushioning makes it ideal for the heavier runner too.
Ghost 11 review: DNA feels supernaturalMore photos
This shoe comes out of the box looking every bit an athletic shoe, Brooks made no attempt to make it look casual or fashionable so that you can throw it on with your jeans and still look cool. Instead, they’ve made a shoe that looks like it means business! From the second I put it on, I felt like it means business too.
Each component of the shoe works in the complete symphony, its true strength, however, is the midsole, Brooks DNA + BioMoGo with DNA Loft heel crash pad. This midsole combination makes the aptly named Ghost feel supernatural.
Engineered air mesh warp knit upper. This multi-layered upper hugs my foot and feels secure throughout with absolutely no pressure spots that feel uncomfortable. My longest run to date in these shoes was 10km through the Adelaide Hills on a warm sunny day, the mesh was breathable and snug from start to finish.
The cool looking snakeskin scales around the toe cap, the seam where the mesh joins the midsole and around the ankle area reinforcing material that toughens the upper in key areas of stress.
The upper of this shoe delivers width and depth, enough depth in fact for a good thickness orthotic even with a reasonably high instep. They have a nice deep toe box and are a generous D fit, not so much that they feel too wide but wide enough that if the foot is a little wider they will not be constricting. I also love the quality of the laces Brooks uses in these shoes.
Brooks DNA + BioMoGo with DNA Loft heel crash pad certainly is a mouthful but each component is relevant and worth a mention. The base being the iconic Brooks DNA claims to be improved cushion but still responsive and it delivers in spades.
Almost difficult to describe but as I stride I can feel the slight give followed by the springy return feel, it’s not so soft that it feels like my energy is being drained by the shoe but not so hard that it jars my knees, it’s literally just right.
The BioMoGo element is an addition to the composite that allows the midsole to degrade swiftly in an active landfill, just like its namesake the Ghost fades into the night without a trace!
The Loft Crash-pad gives us heel strikers a blissful landing, giving just enough but still explosively driving that heel off the ground ready for the next stride. Running downhill in these shoes is incredible, even downhill and off-road. This midsole acts like a firm suspension system that absorbs shock and drives me forward.
It’s firm enough to facilitate the body’s own suspension system through the joints (which evidence has found midsoles that are too soft don’t allow due to how unstable they can be) and soft enough to absorb any unpleasant shock keeping the sole of my feet feeling relaxed and protected. This shoe is a neutral base meaning they’re still a fantastic choice if you wear orthotics.
The heel counter is a firm cup helping to keep that heel locked squarely over the midsole, it provides me with great support on the medial and lateral side (inside and outside of the foot).
It is comprised of an internal rigid C shape brace with an external component around the top edge for additional support. The Brooks heel collar that sits between the Achilles tendon and the heel counter is my favourite of all brands; it is plush, thick and beautifully hugs the foot just above the ankle.
The Ghost 11 sports a segmented blown rubber crash pad with Omega grooves around the lateral heel and a plush transition zone through the mid to forefoot.
The blown rubber durability is unquestionable, I’ve run 120km in these so far and I’m over 90kg, there is no sign of wear on the outsole or anywhere on the shoe for that matter.
Heel striking and midfoot striking running is blissful, I’m not an adept toe striker so I cannot say regarding that but I’m confident they’d be great for those of you capable of such a feat.
The ground-feel is sensational, I get a good sense of what is going on without feeling every stone and crack, I’ve run on road, mud, light gravel and medium gravel up to 20mm rocks and the grip holds beautifully, any larger and I’d be suggesting a dedicated trail shoe anyway.
Even running down steep hills on gravel feels great between the midsole and the outsole I feel stable and comfortable with enough energy return to drive forward and really pick up the pace. The outsole transitions smoothly from heel strike to toe off and the segmented crash pads are a generous thickness comprised of a rubber that is dense and durable.
The inner lining is seamless and smooth even on bare feet. My foot feels snug, secure and supported throughout, the lining of the upper around the hindfoot is lightly padded giving lightweight comfort without excessive weight.
The tongue is nicely padded and protects the foot from inclement conditions and from the laces, it is not a gusset style which means that if you have a high instep it doesn’t constrict the midfoot.
It is nice and broad and wraps around the top of the foot thus having the same advantages as a gusset, unlike some of the more traditional style tongues it does not collapse around the side of the foot.
The first feel of this modern athletic running shoe is smooth, crisp and supportive, it delivers seamless comfort and propulsion throughout my run on every surface wet or dry.
Weighing in at 309g and with a comfortable 12mm drop, I highly recommend this shoe for running any distance and for a runner of any size or weight.
The upper offers generous depth for a high instep or a thick orthotic, neither of which I have but I have sold many of these to customers who have. The Brooks Ghost like its’ namesake needs to be seen to be believed.
Besides that, it's just a great all-around shoe. It's one of the reasons why it's Brooks probably best selling shoe year after year.
They're comfortable. I probably done 20 to 30 miles in them and it feels like you're just running on pillows.