Summary

We spent 6.4 hours reading reviews from experts and users. In summary, this is what runners think:

6 reasons to buy

  • Several consumers welcome the snug yet secure fit of the Ghost 12, stating that the upper reliably hugs the foot.
  • The heel-to-toe transitions feel smooth and well-rounded, according to those who have tested this Brooks running shoe.
  • Wearing this product and taking it for a run is a sure way to get energized and powerful performances, based on a handful of reviews.
  • The upper unit has received praise for being breathable and able to disperse heat.
  • A couple of runners have emphasized that the traction capacity of the outsole is dependable and precise.
  • The shoelaces are able to preserve the intended fit preference because they don’t unravel quickly, according to some purchasers.

3 reasons not to buy

  • Several consumers have expressed their disappointment with the Brooks Ghost 12’s visuals, stating that the colors are bland and uninspired.
  • A few testers claim that the toe box is not roomy enough for natural toe-splay.
  • The midfoot part of the platform is criticized by some for having a noticeable bump that caused discomfort.

Bottom line

The overall feedback for the Brooks Ghost 12 has been overwhelmingly positive. Most runners welcome this running shoe because it has a comfortable and form-accommodating build. The highlights include the breathable yet secure upper unit, the traction-ready outsole, and the highly responsive midsole foam. On the other hand, the sizing scheme is criticized for being a bit small compared to the typical shoe-wrap.

Fans of neutral running shoes that are for the roads are the ones who are likely to have fun with the Brooks Ghost 12.

Facts

Rankings

A top rated Road running shoe
Top 1% most popular running shoes
Better rated than the previous version Brooks Ghost 11

Expert Reviews

88 / 100 based on 42 expert reviews

  • 97 / 100 |

    Glide smoothly and effortlessly with Brooks Ghost 12

    More photos

    After time off for surgery, followed by a menacing bout of plantar fasciitis, I was able to spend 3 weeks recouping in rural Tanzania, East Africa, watching the local runners, effortlessly running while making it so look easy.

    I am now happy to be resuming my own training routine with a renewed vigor and visions of a Half Marathon "personal best” in this new year.

    This review takes a close look at the latest Brooks Ghost, the 12th iteration, of what is a very popular and highly cushioned road running shoe.

     

    Company history

    Brooks Sports, Inc. was founded in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in 1914 by an immigrant from Russia, one Mr. Morris Goldenberg. The name Brooks was derived as an Anglicized substitute for his wife's maiden name of Bruchs.

    Brooks first produced bathing shoes. Later on, the company added baseball and football shoes. Today, Brooks Sports is known around the world for its quality sports shoes and apparel, with its headquarters located near Washington State.

    Specifications

    Size   12 D (US), 11 (UK)
    Weight  312 (g), 11.4 (oz)
    Heel to toe offset  12 mm
    Arch  medium to high
    Pronation  neutral
    Orthotic friendly  yes
    My weight  149 lbs

    Best suited for

    The Brooks Ghost 12 is best suited for neutral road runners with medium to high arches, which are not in need of any sort of motion control. Ghost owners value cushioning and comfort over setting records.

    Changes from last year's model

    This new version is just 5 grams lighter than the previous version. Less variation than there is between my two pairs of ghost 12s.

     

     

    The flex grooves in the outsole are a bit wider and deeper this year, but I cannot detect any difference in over-all flexibility. Reflectivity on the Ghost 12 has improved this year and still is not very effective.

    The collar on this model appears to be a bit more padded, joining many of the other annual changes that appear to be mostly cosmetic.

    Upper

    The upper on this Brooks model is what we have come to expect in a modern running shoe. The engineered mesh is breathable yet, not too cold in wintery temperatures. 

    It also wraps snugly over my feet and is nearly stitch-free. Strength and support are provided by the engineered mesh material which is woven more tightly across the mid-foot than it is elsewhere.

    There's also a 3D printed pattern that adds to the shoe's overall support structure. 

     

     

    The internal heel counter provides some structure in the rear, while the inner toe box stiffener provides structure and shape up front.

    This upper also has a newly redesigned collar, which is plusher than last year’s model and a tongue that is long, thick, and comfortable. There are also two lace keepers on each tongue, which helps keep the tongue from slipping. 

    Personally, I almost always remove the smaller offset lace keeper on my Brooks shoes and almost always find it necessary to shorten the laces.

    However, the laces are very elastic, allowing them to conform to the shape of your upper foot and they do cinch down reassuringly, they also stayed firmly tied during my runs.

    Midsole

    The midsole is the heart of any good running shoe. Majority of the Ghost midsole is made up of the well-known and well-proven BioMoGo DNA, a non-Newtonian material that adapts to the runner's weight and gait.

     

     

    This newer "DNA Loft" is used in the heel area on the lateral side only. This softer foam is made up of EVA with rubber, and air added, making this material very soft, perhaps too soft for some runners.

    The combination of BioMoGo DNA in the forefoot, and the added Loft DNA under the heel, work very well together. It provided me with very effective cushioning and a smooth transition.

    Outsole

    Blown rubber is used in the forefoot, offering fairly good durability and very secure traction, while adding to the outstanding forefoot cushioning.

    The blown rubber also helps dampens the sound of your footfalls. The carbon rubber material is used under the heel area for added durability with plenty of rubber under your feet to ensure you that this Ghost variant will endure many miles.

     

    Performance

    First day out, and it is 17 degrees F (-8 C) with no wind. At such low temperatures, I found out quickly that they are not “too” well ventilated for this blustery season.

    Today's run was totally enjoyable, and the Ghosts 12s were comfortable. Personally, I think the Ghost 12 is the smoothest running shoe I have ever experienced.

    You can run very quietly in the Brooks Ghosts 12 without even trying. There also appears to be enough room for a slightly heavier winter sock, if needed.

    Initially, this new Ghost seems to confidently isolate the runner's feet from the harsh road surfaces, promising fewer injuries with a pleasantly compliant cushioning.

    Traction on wet surfaces is excellent; even those painted roadway markings are no obstacle for my Brooks Ghosts. I enjoy running the hilly roads, and the Brooks Ghost makes those hills more enjoyable. They have a springy and lively feel when running uphill.

    The combination of my weight, the forefoot cushioning, and flexibility/stiffness of the Ghost come alive on the hills with a lively spring, a resonance that worked well for me.

    Someone watching me run along a flat road could easily fall asleep, while in the hills, they might say "look at that guy go, he's having fun." Repeated short hill efforts are an enjoyable way for me to do a sort of interval training.

    Today was another cold day, allowing me to run in heavier socks, and the Ghosts passed yet another test in comfort. Overall, the shoe is wearing very well, as I had expected, with almost no wear showing after nearly 100 km.

    Summary

    The Ghost trades a little speed for a lot of comfort. For many runners, the Ghost is a go-to-shoe for the longer training runs and racing distances.

    On a side note, this version of the Ghost may not be the best choice for heavier runners. Perhaps over 200 lbs/ 91 kg, as the Loft foam cushioning may simply be too soft to protect a heavy heel striker.

    Personally, other than the DNA Loft being a bit too “cushy,” there is absolutely nothing in this shoe that does not fail to please or suit me. The overall quality of the materials and excellent workmanship will assure the owner that both durability and reliability.

    Glossary

    Here is a brief break-down of the Brooks Ghost’s Midsole Technologies.

    BioMoGo

    A special environmentally-friendly E.V.A. (ethyl vinyl chloride) foam, manufactured with a natural, non-toxic additive which allows discarded shoes to degrade 50 times faster than regular E.V.A.  

    Once in the landfill, these shoes will biodegrade quickly and are not harmful to the environment. They will not biodegrade while in use, no worries there!

     

    DNA

    This is the gel-like material used in the midsole of many of Brooks’ models. DNA cushioning material becomes firmer, and more responsive for runners during sprinting or a hard effort, and softer and more complaint when running easily.

    This adaptive nature is referred to as being non-Newtonian.

    Loft

    The loft is another variation of E.V.A foam, with added rubber and air, to produce a softer, and likely longer lasting cushioning.

  • 90 / 100 |

    Brooks Ghost 12 - A very versatile ride

    More photos

    My first running shoes from Brooks were the Levitate 2 and I was very impressed by that shoe and its midsole material, which made me wonder. Because I know so many runners that are so happy with their Brooks running shoes, why is that?

    When I put the Ghost 12 on they were comfortable right out of the box and I thought to myself “I think I’m starting to understand why people love Brooks”.

    The Ghost is their most popular shoe. It’s a neutral road running shoe which has a 19 mm forefoot stack and 31 mm in the heel, giving it a 12 mm drop.

     

    Upper

    The upper is made from an engineered mesh. It’s a pretty simple and quite a sleek look, which I actually like.

    There are some simple overlays on the lateral and medial side, but nothing too obvious or weird looking.

     

     

    It has a wide and roomy toe box. And the upper has a bit of stretch to it so it will form to your foot, but at the same time, I had no issues with locking my foot down correctly in this shoe.

    In that sense, I find this shoe quite effortless. It was comfortable straight out of the box and I didn’t need to do a lot of adjustments to get the right fit.

    It has a detached tongue, but it does have an extra loop on the tongue to put the laces through to hold the tongue in place.

     

     

    The fabric of the heel collar spills over onto the outer layer of the upper. There are two seams, one on either side of this fabric.

    This seems to be mainly for aesthetic reasons since the lining of the Glycerin 17 didn’t have any seams and the middle piece of fabric on the Ghost 12 has a different color than the rest of the collar.

    Although it didn’t create any hotspots for me, I think it would have been better if Brooks made the collar of the Ghost out of one piece like in the Glycerin 17, just to make sure it would not create a hotspot.

     

    Midsole

    The Ghost 12 has a dual material midsole. Part of the heel and the lateral side of the midsole are made with Brooks DNA LOFT material which is a blend of EVA foam with rubber and air.

    This is the same midsole material as they use in the Glycerin, while the faster Brooks shoes like the Levitate use DNA AMP material.

     

     

    The rest of the midsole of the Ghost is made up out of BioMoGo DNA which is a bit more of a responsive material.

    I had to get used to the dual-material midsole in the beginning and personally, I probably would have made the DNA LOFT part a bit bigger and have extended it further on the medial side of the heel to get a smoother heel to toe transition, but I did get used to the dual-density after a while.

    Outsole

    The outsole of the Ghost 12 is made from blown rubber and pretty durable. After about 50 miles in the shoe, there is still hardly any wear on the outsole.

    The flex grooves together with the upper help to maintain pretty good flexibility in this shoe.

     

    Performance

    The Ghost 12 has a bit of a wider platform than for example the Glycerin 17, which gives you a bit more stability while still maintaining that neutral running shoe feeling.

    The dual-density midsole makes for a quite snappy ride, while still providing some cushioning in the heel. It does give you enough cushion for those medium runs but is also snappy enough for some faster runs.

     

     

    Whether you can use the Ghost 12 as a long-distance running shoe depends on your own preferences, for me this shoe is a bit too firm. It’s not a max cushioned shoe which is what I prefer for longer runs.

    But if you like a bit firmer and a bit more responsive ride you could use the Ghost 12 for longer runs, as well as some shorter and a bit faster, runs. It is a versatile shoe when it comes to the fit and ride of this shoe.

    Conclusion

    I can see why so many runners like the Ghost series. It’s a very versatile shoe with a wide platform that gives you a stable base.

    It’s pretty simple yet pretty elegant in design and has a roomy toe box, while still nicely locking in your heel with some nice padding which prevents hotspots.

     

     

    It’s a great everyday training shoe that can accommodate lots of different runners. The platform can accommodate a lot of different feet and the dual-density midsole makes for a quite versatile ride.

    It’s a good shoe to have in your rotation, but it is also a good shoe to have if you are a beginner, since it is so versatile and durable. 

  • 90 / 100 | Fordy Runs | | Level 3 expert

    I'm really pleased that I got this and I really recommend you checking them out.

  • 90 / 100 | Mark Wood | Level 3 expert

    This shoe should have neutral runners coming back for more and more miles.

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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