46 best Brooks running shoes

Based on reviews from 314 experts and 21,176 users. Learn how our rankings work or see our guide to Brooks running shoes. Updated Nov 2018.

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Brooks running shoes

The American based running company, Brooks, is one of the sports shoe manufacturers that have made a name in high performance running. Featuring a wide selection of men’s and women’s running shoes, apparel and other sports accessories, the brand continues its promise to meet the specific needs of runners and other professional athletes. With over hundreds of branches in a total of 60 countries worldwide, Brooks maintains its competitive edge in the running industry. Despite the mixed feelings of love and hate on Brooks running shoes in running reviews, it is still a popular market driven company that focuses on design, performance, and comfort in every pair.

The history of Brooks Running

best brooks running shoes
Best Brooks running shoes - November 2018

In the year 1914, John Brooks Goldenberg created Brooks Shoe Manufacturing Co., Inc. after he had purchased the Quaker Shoe Company. His brother, Michael, joined in a partnership, and for years they created footwear for specific activities, namely bathing and ballet. The brothers would eventually birth the Ironclad Gyms, a product they advertised as one of the most durable gymnasium shoes on the market.

The brand thrived for years with only the fundamental elements of the business being sold. But Brooks also made innovations that would have a ripple effect on today’s products. In 1938, the company crafted the Pedicraft, an orthopedic shoe that was explicitly modeled for children. Moreover, the quick stop, the rubber stopping mechanism of roller blades, was generated and patented by Brooks in the year 1944.

Michael Goldenberg eventually terminated the business partnership with his brother, John. The 1950s and ‘60s became years of restructuring and brainstorming as the Brooks Company desired to put its mark on the running category of sports.

By the ‘70s, collaboration with expert running enthusiasts was in full swing. The first running shoe to utilize the now-standardized EVA (ethylene vinyl acetate) foam, the Villanova, came out in 1975. After that revolutionary addition to the realm of running was the Vantage shoe, which featured a wedge that aimed to protect against overpronation. The tail-end of the decade saw Brooks’ popularity skyrocket, even becoming one of the three premier brands in the United States.

Brooks almost ended in the early ‘80s because of some matters regarding one of its production facilities in Puerto Rico. A Chapter 11 bankruptcy was filed, but the company was ultimately saved by Rockford, Michigan-based Wolverine World Wide. The bounce-back resulted in a renewed focus on providing specialty shoes for consumers. In 1982, the Chariot was released, and its medial stability unit of dense foam forever changed how support shoes were made. 1987 was the year the Brooks for Women, a roster of running shoes that were tuned to the natural anatomy of the female foot.

The 1990s were the age of The Beast and the Adrenaline models. The brand was, again, passed on in 1993, this time to The Rokke Group from Norway. After five years, Rokke sold most of the brand’s interests to a firm that specializes in private equity, J.H. Whitney & Co.

Brooks found its current home in Berkshire Hathaway in 2006. This transition gave rise to inventions that would significantly impact the efficacy and sustainability of the products within the brand’s banner. One such innovation is the BioMoGo, the very first cushioning unit that is biodegradable. The foam is mixed with an organic material that allows it to break down quickly when subjected to decomposition. This environmental-friendly mindset garnered the favor of all of Brooks’ consumers.

The year 2013 was a monumental leap for the Brooks innovation centers as it was the time of the DNA technology’s arrival. This cushioning system involves a foam-accommodating compound that adapts to the shape and motion of the underfoot. It is also tuned to accommodate the type of foot that is stepping on the shoe’s platform, thereby inherently having anatomically sound customizability.

The features that are prominent in the Brooks running shoes

Brooks is one of the leading innovators when it comes to technologies that grace running shoes. Many of the features that this company churns help in ensuring a comfortable and empowered step. And since it is a company that values the steadiness of the foot and the smoothness of the performance, the prominent aspects of the shoes’ designs emphasize kinematics and structural balance.

Here are some of the technologies that are placed in the best Brooks running shoes:

  • BioMoGo – Brooks devised a cushioning unit that was meant to last a long time. The MoGo, as it was called, was well-liked as it delivered on that promise. But environmental consciousness caused the reinvention of the MoGo. The ‘Bio’ part of the name entails an organic element that’s mixed with the foam. When subjected to the natural process of decomposition (via soil, moisture, and microbes), the BioMoGo foam is able to degrade much faster (by up to 50 times) than plastics and other types of foam.
  • DNA midsole – This full-length piece is situated underneath the foot. Its purpose is to provide constant and reactive cushioning. Its design philosophy stemmed from the notion that most midsoles have a one-size-fits-all configuration, which means that the form of the stepping surface is tuned for every foot shape and stride. The DNA midsole, having the characteristics of non-Newtonian fluids, conforms to the shape of the wearer’s foot, thus giving a customized ride that feels like it’s made just for them.
  • BioMoGo DNA – This technology is born out of the amalgamation of both the BioMoGo and DNA foams, which means that instead of layering both features on top of each other, Brooks decided to decrease bulk and potential material stiffness by fusing them and turning them into one cohesive product. BioMoGo DNA is also touted to provide 30% more cushioning than the regular midsole options that are on the market.
  • Segmented crash pad – Many of Brooks’ offerings come with sectioned midsole designs, which means that grooves and textured separations fundamentally pockmark the external outline of the foam. Such a configuration allows the foot to move naturally as it goes through the gait cycle. It also permits runner-generated running styles such as midfoot or forefoot striking because it doesn’t restrict movement or flexibility. The segmented scheme even isolates impact shock to the contact point, preventing the landing force from straining other areas of the foot-pad.
  • Guide rails – The midsole units of a majority of Brooks running shoes for men and women are graced with dense surrounding walls called guide rails. These pseudo-barriers are made to center the foot on the platform and help it in achieving natural progression through the gait cycle. They’re not meant to correct overpronation; instead, they maintain the habit of staying within the natural motion, thus easing any discomfort on the joints, tendons, and
  • Rounded heel – The back part of a Brooks running shoe outsole has a bowed construction that mimics the heel of the foot’s smooth arc. This emphasis on the design allows the heel striking phase to feel as natural as possible. The foam’ slant also centers the impact site, thus causing the landing force to be distributed evenly.
  • 3D hex lugs – Some of the trail running shoes from Brooks have hexagonal outsole lugs. These 3D-printed protrusions are meant to heighten the grip on the surfaces while also preventing various trail hazards from causing discomfort to the foot.
  • Ballistic rock shield – A layer of thermoplastic EVA is placed between the outsole and midsole to protect the underside of the foot from sharp debris and rough surfaces. Such an add-on also contributes to the overall resilience of the foam midsole, preserving its structural integrity and preventing early material sagging.
  • Gore-Tex® - There are running shoes in the Brooks roster that are fashioned with waterproof uppers. These options are definitely optimized for rainy weather and paths that are strewn with sources of water. While most Gore-Tex®-lined shoes are specially made for trails, there are some that are created for the roads.
  • Fit Knit upper – A dynamic, sock-like fit is offered by the Fit Knit, a technology that resembles woven cloth. This fabric has a stretchy and form-fitting configuration that accommodates the natural bending and swelling of the foot as it goes through the act of running. The collar is even likened to the gartered opening of a sock, thereby demonstrating a consistent and secure wrap.

The best Brooks running shoe series

Over the years, many Brooks running shoes for men and women have been created. Some of them went on to become high-tier series that people continuously enjoy. One is able to determine a famous group of offerings from Brooks through the version numbers that come after the model names. Some of them have even endured nearly or over a decade of evolution. Also, both trail adventuring and the road running are represented.

Here are some of the best collection of running shoes from Brooks Sports:

Brooks road running shoe series

  • Brooks Ghost - The Ghost series has enjoyed years of existence as a neutral running shoe that can provide full-bodied cushioning and a secure yet eye-catching coverage. One of the prominent features of this series is the use of two-toned mesh, a visual trait that makes for a unique-looking façade. The later versions of this series have enjoyed prominence among runners, even years after they were initially released. But the models that apparently took everyone by surprise were the Ghost 11 and its immediate antecedent, the Ghost 10.
  • Brooks Transcend - Holistic stability is the purpose of the Transcend series. The shoes within this group are designed to keep the foot at a neutral position when idle and running, but they’re not explicitly configured for those who have problems with pronation. In fact, neutral runners can enjoy the pairs that are within the Transcend banner as they lean towards assisting the foot in maintaining a well-rounded step. But that doesn’t mean that overpronators won’t get their share of benefits; features such as the substantial Guide Rails and the external heel counter prevent the improper rolling of the foot as it goes through the gait cycle. The fourth and fifth iterations of the Brooks Transcend are the outstanding ones in the series.
  • Brooks Glycerin - As one of the premier names in the Brooks stable, the Glycerin bears a lot of weight when it comes to the brand’s reputation. Therefore, the shoe-iterations under this banner are the ones that are usually first to try any new features that the company’s innovators concoct. New upper fabrics, revolutionary midsole technologies, and updated designs are the bread and butter of this series, and people tended to love such brave steps. A bevy of shoe enthusiasts look forward to each new Glycerin shoe, and many aren’t dissatisfied. The Glycerin 14, 15 and 16 all enjoy praise from neutral runners who desire comfort and efficient movement in stylish packages.

Brooks trail running shoe series

  • Brooks Caldera - Even though it’s a new line of trail shoes, the Caldera has seen quite the welcome. People were generally happy with the series debut and its update, the Caldera 2. Definite protection is the core of this roster because its offerings have technologies that are meant to stave away the elements. A steady and cushioned midsole mitigates impact shock; a double-layer mesh exterior simultaneously offers breathability and protection against debris; finally, semi-prominent gripping lugs bring multidirectional traction over both uneven and flat paths.
  • Brooks Cascadia - The Cascadia series of trail companions has provided runners with confidence and sure footing when adventuring on the great outdoors. People have always looked forward to these shoes because of the impact they made on the sense of balance when tackling unpredictable terrains. Also, the vibrant designs have been met with positive feedback. The Brooks Cascadia 12 and Cascadia 13 are two of the roster’s most prolific models.
  • Brooks PureGrit - The PureGrit line has enjoyed the distinction of being a reliable group of shoes designed for those who don’t want a bulky façade or a tech-stuffed trail companion. A close-to-the-ground experience on the trails is one of the fundamental aspects of the PureGrit shoes. Moreover, the Rounded Heel Design that evenly distributes landing force and staves off stress is a staple in the design of these products. As the series evolved, people also grew accustomed to the minimalist feel of its iterations. The PureGrit 6 and PureGrit 7 relish in the favor given by their consumers.

Frequently Asked Questions

Are the Brooks running shoes for women and men resistant to slipping?

The outsole units of the running shoes from Brooks Sports are designed to grip the ground with ease. These external layers are made of rubber compounds that are always ready to provide traction. Road shoes have consistent and understated tread patterns to heighten surface control while the options for the trails have prominent gripping lugs that are crafted for irregular terrains.

But it is also worth noting that the shoe’s capacity to resist skidding isn’t indicative of complete safety when traversing the various types of topography. Spatial awareness, natural sense of equilibrium, and surface control are responsibilities of the runner. Testing out the traction capacity of a shoe’s outsole and determining personal preference regarding performance may contribute to a well-rounded running experience.

How do I determine the right Brooks shoe/size of shoe for me?

Your sizing scheme depends on your perception of comfort, pleasant snugness, and accommodating in-shoe experience. A too-long piece of footwear may cause your foot to slide down the forefoot section, thus eliminating heel security and stability; a too-short one may cause the toes to clump together uncomfortably. A just-right sizing option entails a form-fitting hug of the upper unit, a secure heel coverage, and enough wiggle room in the toe-box.

Furthermore, the best means of determining the shoe that you need and the size that comes with it is actually trying out multiple shoes from Brooks retailers. You can take a gander at the styles and match your preference with your own aesthetic flair. You can also check out user reviews and online feedback for opinions about the fit and feel of particular models within the Brooks roster.

Why do people sometimes complain about the upper unit’s fabrics tearing apart? How can I avoid such incidences?

The fabrics of running shoes are designed to fully support the foot through many running sessions. Years of innovation has also permitted manufacturers to produce uppers that are form-fitting, flexible, and resistant to abrasion.

With that point in mind, you must know that a shoe isn’t traditionally made to last a lifetime, particularly when used frequently. Footwear that is specially constructed for running has an upper that is most likely going to permit the natural bending of the toe joints. The threads of the silhouette naturally loose integrity as time goes by, though Brooks shoes are touted to last 300-500 miles with constant use. You’ll know you’re using your shoes well if they’re showing signs that they are actually being utilized.

But if an upper unit tears apart after only a few runs, then it may mean that you’re sizing choice/width variant isn’t in line with the dimensions of your foot. The edges of your toes or the outline of your foot may rub against the fabrics, thereby causing them to get damaged. So, make sure to leave some wiggle room to allow your foot and the textiles to relax.

How can I extend the lifespan of my Brooks running shoes?

Being able to enjoy your choice of Brooks shoe is your personal right. You’d want to bring your Ghost, Launch, or Glycerin to many of your adventures. You can be assured that the brand is meticulous when it comes to the quality of their products. Yet it is worth noting that constant use and high-impact activities are elements that naturally diminish the life of an object.

Various factors like natural wear-and-tear come into the picture when checking for the efficacy of your sports apparel. It is always recommended to swap between pairs of running shoes to avoid early material breakdown or any unforeseen consequence that might result from pushing the products to the limit. Having other shoes also broaden the visual aspect of your active lifestyle. After all, health-related contraptions in this day and age aren’t only limited to functionality.

This shoe has recently been added to RunRepeat. There are still not enough reviews for us to assign it a Corescore.
Corescore
A score from 1 to 100 that summarizes opinions from users and experts. The average Corescore is 78. More...