Brooks Adrenaline GTS 21 review

Celebrating its 21st year, the Brooks Adrenaline GTS 21 is yet another daily support trainer from Brooks. It is perfect for road runners who suffer from overpronation.

With its 30-mm stack height, this running model falls in the maximalist stability category. 


What's new in the GTS 21

  • DNA loft cushioning extends from the forefoot to the heel for smoother transitions
  • More breathable engineered mesh upper
  • 3D Fit Print for strategic support on the upper
  • Lighter weight and 1-mm lower than the Adrenaline GTS 20

Adrenaline GTS 21 hugs your foot

This iteration really hugs the foot and is reminiscent of the Ghost 13’s fit. I really love the stretchy tongue gussets, which I did not find in the Ghost 12. However, they are pretty loose gussets and don’t do as much for holding the tongue in place as snuggly as hugging your midfoot. 


There are no heel slip issues with this one all due to the very plush ankle collar on the stiff heel counter. Brooks also has this odd cushioning on the outside of the ankle.

Not so sure what it’s for, so I called Brooks and they said it’s just for looks. Maybe lose this and drop another ¼ ounce!

Cozy upper

The Adrenaline GTS 21 has a very comfortable upper; it flexes very nicely. The added 3D print, meanwhile, helps secure the fit across the midfoot.

The flexible lockdown is also supplied by the shoe’s stretchy laces. It also doesn’t feel too tight over the top of your foot. 

Nice and soft, but not mushy—this is how I would describe the midsole. Not as plush as the Clifton 7, but a nicer ride than a more comparable shoe in the Gel Kayano 27. It could have had more pop, but it’s a daily trainer and not a speed shoe, so I won’t complain too much here. 

The Guide Rails Support System is not intrusive like some stability shoes with a medial post under your arch. It’s there in the background working but you don’t notice them, which to me, is key in a stability shoe.

Adrenaline has a long life-span

The shoe has plenty of rubber on the outsole which protects the softer midsole foam. I think this should have a long wear life. 


Is it heavy?

The Brooks Adrenaline GTS 21 weighs 288 grams. This is 10.2 oz, while Brooks says 10.4 oz, and the 20 was more like 10.7 oz, and the 19 was 11.1 oz! I must say, they are heading in the right direction.

A lower drop would be better

This has the same drop (12 mm) as the last version. I think this is headed in the right direction, but a few more mm would be ideal.


Typical Brooks style

It looks like many of the other running shoes Brooks is offering these days—there’s nothing about it that stands out. 

Facts / Specs

Terrain: Road
Weight: Men 295g / Women 258g
Drop: 12mm
Arch support: Stability
Update: Brooks Adrenaline GTS 22
Forefoot height: Men 18mm
Heel height: Men 30mm

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Paul Ronto
Paul Ronto

Over the past 20 years, Paul has climbed, hiked, and run 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 analyzes every detail of the shoes that you might buy.