Verdict from 27 experts and +100 user reviews

6 reasons to buy

  • Comfort: A great number of buyers are blown away by the step-in comfort. The upper and midsole adapt to the foot from the start, while the OrthoLite sockliner adds a lush touch.
  • Cushioning: Droves of runners adore Brooks’ softest DNA Loft foam. They describe the experience as plush, smooth, well-cushioned, reliable, and lasting for miles.
  • Upper: The stretchy mesh gives a cozy yet secure fit and accommodates well to the foot, many users say. It provides a lockdown with no hot spots or pressure points.
  • Heel hold: The beefy, padded collar clutches the heel well causing no slipping or rubbing, as stated by most wearers.
  • Style: A good number of buyers love the simple and unencumbered look of the Glycerin 18. 
  • Stability: Multiple experts note that the widened midsole creates a stable platform that keeps them surefooted on tuns and uneven terrain.

3 reasons not to buy

  • Not better than predecessors: Some Brooks fans think that the previous Glycerin iterations have a softer, more cushy feel.
  • No fun factor: A few runners wish for a livelier midsole with a tad more bounce.
  • Breathability: The shoe is not as breathable as some people have hoped. They also warn that it is a sponge for sweat and water.

Bottom line

If you want your running shoe to feel the same as that soft and cozy living room couch, then the Glycerin 18 is the shoe to consider. It is a high-cushion daily trainer that screams comfort from top to bottom. Most recommended for slower runs and recovery days, it can still handle any distance from 2 to 42 km. Not to say that it is also a reliable all-day wear companion.

Tip: see the best running shoes.

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Our reviews

99
/100 by , posted on .

The Brooks Glycerin 13 was one of my favorite running shoes of all time. I put 5000 (this is not a typo) miles into my pair of Glycerin 13s. I ran in that shoe until it had disintegrated into a few measly scraps.

As a shoe reviewer, I never have a chance to wear out my shoes; there are always barely used shoes laying around, but I couldn’t take my feet out of this pair. The Glycerin 14s and 15s had too firm of a midsole.

Despite the weird looks, Brooks regained the absolute plush comfort in the 16th, 17th, and now the 18th iterations.

 

 

This most recent edition has a similar midsole and outsole as previous versions, but Brooks has made a great update to the upper. I gave the glycerine 17 a 100/100, but they somehow have improved it again.

Anyway, the Glycerin might be the most comfortable and reliable daily trainers on the market. This shoe will go the distance.

Disclaimer: I love these shoes so much that It may sound as if Brooks is paying me to write this, or that I know nothing about shoes, but no, Brooks is not paying me, and I have experience with over 100 different running shoe models.

Comfort

Comfort is the highlight of the Glycerine 18. I have never run in a more comfortable shoe, and I cannot fathom that a more comfortable shoe exists on the market.

Of course, depending on the type of running you participate in, there may be more specialized running shoes that provide more comfort for that purpose, but as a general daily trainer, the Glycerine takes the prize, as long as the shoe fits.

The upper has a soft, sock-like feel which is pleasant even without socks. The upper is light and breathable, preventing hotspots and blisters, while still providing protection.

 

 

It is made of a synthetic moisture-wicking material that keeps the feet dry and happy. The tongue and heel cup are plush, but not overly padded, which feels great on foot and distributes any pressure points.

The midsole is as cushioned as possible while still not feeling mushy or slow. The Glycerine is the type of shoe that does not cause any problems for my feet, so I forget that they are there, even thirty miles into a run; and that is the true measure of a comfortable running shoe. 

Fit

The Glycerin has a standard fit in the heel and midfoot areas, and a wider toe box for a non-gimmick, standard running shoe. Brooks would only give me a 12 or a 13, despite my 12.5-foot size, and the shoe was roomy, but fit very well.

The toe box allows for a straight big toe and toe splay, which is biomechanically favorable. The laces are very adjustable, and the upper is slightly stretchy so the shoe can adapt to many different types of feet. 

Ride

Brooks uses a thick layer of a variation of their BioMoGo DNA in the midsole of the Glycerin 18. Biomogo DNA is an adaptive cushioning system that adapts to your specific foot strike every time you land.

DNA is made of a non-Newtonian compound, which means that it changes its state of matter when different amounts of pressure are applied to it. When you are running faster, you apply more pressure to the midsole.

The extra pressure causes the shoe to become more firm and responsive. When you are lightly jogging, you apply less pressure to the midsole. This causes the midsole to be softer and less responsive.

These adaptations happen every time your foot touches the ground. The Glycerin has a lighter and overall softer version of the DNA Midsole for an even more plush ride. 

 

 

This technology gives the perfect soft ride on slow jogs and a snappier feel on tempo runs. It is, of course, not universal, so a racing shoe will still trump the Glycerine during a race, but for a one shoe kind of runner, this adaptive ride is a great choice. 

The Glycerin has grooves in the outsole to improve flexibility. The midsole material itself is also flexible. With these factors, the shoe is moderately flexible to improve comfort and not restrict the foot’s natural movement, despite the thick cushioning. 

The Glycerin is a daily trainer, and for an experienced runner, the ride will feel a little bit slow on faster runs. However, the Glycerin has a more adaptive and snappy ride than other shoes with its level of cushion.

For less experienced and heavier runners, the Glycerin will be able to handle any kind of speed and distance. 

For those running in harsh winter conditions, the midsole does freeze a little bit. The ride becomes less soft, and you might be better off choosing a shoe with a TPU style midsole. The Glycerin is still a great choice. 

Traction

The Glycerin has exceptional traction. The outsole is updated from the Glycerine 17. Instead of having two different compounds of rubber, the outsole is made of a single density, sticky and durable rubber.

This takes a step backward from the last model’s functionality. Anyway, traction is still fantastic.

 

 

It will stick to wet roads without an issue, and all of the power from your push off will be transferred into forward propulsion. The Glycerin is not a trail shoe, so it works well only on light trails.

An issue with the traction is that the Glycerine has small grooves in the outsole which collect small pebbles. This decreases the lifespan of the outsole, disrupts the traction slightly, and just feels gross underfoot. This is only a small gripe since the pebbles it collects are so small. 

Durability

The Glycerin may be sleek, but it is certainly heavy-duty. All the materials in the shoe are very high quality and durable.

As I said in the introduction, I put 5000 miles into a previous model of the Glycerin. Was that a good idea? No, but this does speak to the durability of the shoe.

This shoe will outlast most other running shoes while staying in good condition. Brooks guarantees 300-500 miles and will replace them for free if they don’t last that long, but I’m sure anyone can easily double that figure.

Sustainability

The BioMoGo part of BioMoGo DNA means that in an anaerobic landfill, the midsole will decompose within 20 years, compared to the thousands of years that it takes other midsole materials to decompose.

You don’t need to worry about the midsole breaking down prematurely because you don’t live in an anaerobic landfill (hopefully)! The BioMoGo technology is not patented because Brooks wants other companies to be more environmentally friendly.

Best employment

The Glycerin works best for neutral runners looking for a comfortable everyday running shoe. The Glycerin has just enough structure to provide a little support to runners seeking a stability shoe.

Heavier runners and lighter runners alike will enjoy the Glycerin 18. The Glycerin works best as a daily road running shoe, but can really handle anything if you push it.

The Glycerin is also comfortable enough to buy as a casual shoe and comes in a completely black colorway if you need black shoes for work. 

 

Conclusion

In conclusion, buy the Glycerin 18. The comfort and ride of the Glycerin 18 are impeccable, with only minute details to improve upon.

If you want a shoe that won’t cause your feet any problems, these are the move. Brooks’ logo is Run Happy; the Glycerines make that a reality.

| Level 4 expert Verified
Avery has run for about 4 years on all types of terrain, totaling about 80 miles per week when he is not injured. He loves shoes from Brooks, Hoka One One, Altra, La Sportiva, and Merrel. Avery runs every distance, from 100 meters to 100 miles. Notable accomplishments include winning several 5ks and winning his age group in the Leadville 50 by an hour and forty minutes. This year Avery will be competing in the Boston Marathon and the Leadman Competition.

89
/100 by , posted on .

Whether you’re a long time seasoned runner or you’re embarking on a new running journey as part of your new quarantine fitness routine, the Brooks Glycerin 18 is a great shoe of choice.

 

 

More specifically, if you believe there is no such thing as too much cushioning, perhaps the Glycerin 18 is the perfect shoe for you!

Overview

If I had to describe the Glycerin 18 in one word, it would be COMFORT. It’s no secret that the Brooks Glycerin is a longtime favorite running shoe for many runners.

These shoes are designed to keep your feet comfortable mile after mile. With that being said, the Glycerin 18 debut couldn’t have come at a more perfect time!

I haven’t run in a Brooks running shoe in a while, so I was eager to try the Glycerin 18, especially since my weekly training mileage has dramatically increased.

The plush comfort of the Glycerin 18 made my feet happy on those long runs for sure!

Specifications

Here is a quick break down of the Glycerin 18 specifications:

Weight 9.0 ounces (W7), 10.2 ounces (M9)
Heel-to-toe drop 10mm offset
Shoe type Road running
Category Neutral
Cushioning Plush cushioning

 

First unboxing! Cornflower blue colorway :)

Sizing/fit

The Brooks Glycerin 18 fits true to size.

As for the fit, the toe box has a wider toe box, yet not as wide as a Topo or Altra model by any means. The overall fit was very comfortable, and I didn’t have any issues with hot spots.

Furthermore, the heel counter is amply cushioned for optimal comfort.

 

 

Here is my size chart of various shoe brands to be used as a comparison in choosing the right size for yourself:

Brooks 9.5
Nike 9-9.5
Reebo9 9
Asics 9
Salomon 9
Altra 9
New Balance 9.5
Topo Athletic 9.5
Inov-8 9.5
Mizuno 9.5
On Running 9.5
Saucony 9.5
The North Face 9.5

Midsole and outsole

Say hello to the reconfigured DNA LOFT midsole of the Glycerin 18! The full-length DNA LOFT midsole coupled with an OrthoLite sock liner increases the overall step-in comfort and cushioning of the Glycerin 18. As soon as you insert your feet in these shoes, the cushioning is very obvious!

 

 

Lately, many of the shoes in my shoe rotation have been on the firmer side, especially for speedwork and up-tempo runs.

With the changes to my training regimen, I needed a shoe that was cushioned for longer distance training. The Glycerin 18 provided the perfect amount of cushioning for what I desired.

Moreover, I feel as though these shoes would be an excellent choice for those who are on their feet for long periods. Thanks to the plush midsole and excellent underfoot cushioning, the Glycerin 18 would be a great option for prolonged walking or standing.

 

 

The rubber outsole of the Glycerin 18 is somewhat similar to its previous iteration with minor modifications. With over 132 miles in the Glycerin 18, the outsole has shown only minimal wear. All of my miles were only on the road or occasionally the treadmill.

 

 

The rubber outsole in the Glycerin 18 shows a diagonal tread pattern, whereas the Glycerin 17 has a straight pattern. I am not certain if the diagonal pattern increases traction, but I have run in wet road conditions, and the traction of the Glycerin 18 had no issues whatsoever.

The flex grooves in the outsole add an element of flexibility to the Glycerin 18, which enables heel-to-toe transitions to feel smooth, creating an overall comfortable ride.

 

Upper and laces

The upper of the Glycerin 18 is one of my favorite features of the shoe. Aesthetically speaking, I like the looks of the shoe, too. The upper is comprised of a double-jacquard engineered mesh which feels like a stretch bootie. The fit is not too tight or not too loose. It’s just right.

 

 

The stretchy feel of the upper increases the overall comfort. I have neither wide, nor narrow feet, but I feel as though various foot types could be accommodated by the upper of the new Glycerin 18.

The Glycerin 18 is outfitted with flat laces which are great because they evenly distribute pressure across your feet when lacing up.

 

 

As far as lockdown goes, I didn’t have any issues with heel slippage or discomfort. I felt as though my foot was secure in the Glycerin 18.

Performance/comfort

I had really high hopes for the Glycerin 18, but my overall experience was simply just okay. Right out the box, I took the shoes for a 10-mile run, and I absolutely applauded the cushioning!

As for the ride of the Glycerin 18, it feels a bit slower and less responsive than other cushioned running shoes I’ve tested.

 

 

Now, the Glycerin 18 isn’t a bad trainer at all. I’m just not exactly sure if it’s the right shoe for me and my running needs. For long easy runs or recovery runs, I believe the Glycerin 18 is perfect.

Additionally, I did find myself wearing the Glycerin 18 out-and-about because of the overall comfort of the shoe was phenomenal. I simply prefer a shoe that encompasses both cushion and responsiveness.

Furthermore, comfort is a 10/10, but there was a lack of responsiveness and energy return. I also personally found the Glycerin 18 to feel somewhat heavy. Many of the shoes I’ve been running in lately weigh no more than 7 ounces which made the Glycerin 18 feel heavy.

I completely understand that sacrifices need to be made in the name of cushioned comfort, so the few extra ounces in weight weren’t the end of the world, but something to note.

I suppose the Glycerin 18 would be suitable for midfoot strikers and heel strikers alike due to the abundance of cushioning. A 10mm stack height is pretty typical of many trainers, yet my “sweet spot” is more around 6-8mm.

Realistically, shoe stack height is more of a personal preference though. The Glycerin 18 isn’t a bad shoe! In a nutshell, I suppose I just wanted a little more ground feel than the Glycerin 18 offered.

Pros

  • Well-cushioned and comfortable fit
  • Great for distance running/recovery runs
  • Comfy updated engineered mesh upper

Cons

  • Lacks desired responsiveness
  • A bit on the heavy side
  • Not as versatile as other running shoes on the market

Final thoughts

Ultimately, the Glycerin 18 is a well-constructed shoe that is designed to keep you comfortable. If cushioning is what you’re after, the Glycerin 18 may very well be your next go-to shoe.

 

 

Though I found the Glycerin 18 to lack responsiveness and energy return, I still found the shoe to be comfortable enough for slower and longer runs where pace wasn’t my priority.

I applaud the comfort of these shoes and choose them for when I need to be on my feet for long periods and even for daily wear. Brooks is moving in the right direction for sure!

Small updates to the responsiveness could be a game-changer for the Glycerin line!

| Level 4 expert Verified
I'm Nikki! Like many, I started running in grade school loathing "the mile" in gym class. Over time, running began to grow on me. I fell in love with the 800m dash which eventually led to my career as a former NCAA Division I track and field/cross country athlete. Fast forward, I now race as an elite/pro obstacle course racer! In 2017, I was ranked #14 female elite racer in the United States. Racing is my world and true passion. I compete in 20+ races all across the nation each year and can’t wait to race internationally in the future.

88
/100 by , posted on .

The Brooks Glycerin 18 is a neutral, well-cushioned everyday trainer. It doesn’t do anything unique, nor a spectacular fashion, but it’s damn solid at what it does.

 

brooks-glycerin-18.jpg

Fit

The Brooks Glycerin fits true to size and has a fairly standard fit. There’s almost nothing to write about here, and that’s a good thing.

The shoe fits as you’d expect, and after a while, you forget about it entirely. If your shoe makes you think about how it fits while you’re running, there’s something wrong. That’s not the case with this Brooks shoe.

Upper

The upper is made of a fairly standard material, which, as noted above, provides a good fit. There’s no stretch to the upper, but it’s not necessary.

While it’s not the most breathable upper you’ll find, it’s certainly breathable enough.

 

brooks-glycerin-18-mesh-upper.jpg

Tread

At the risk of sounding like a broken record, the tread pattern feels fairly standard for an everyday trainer.

The outsole is mostly flat and covered in rubber. That means it’s meant primarily for pavement, but there’s enough tread to handle gravel/dirt roads or a city park trail. 

 

brooks-glycerin-18-outsole.jpg

 

After 200 km, the outsole is proving durable enough, and there’s no worry about wearing it prematurely.

Cushioning

Ah, finally, something worth talking about! What makes the Glycerin stand out is its cushioning.

The Glycerin uses Brooks’s DNA Loft midsole. It’d be nice if Brooks would provide a table or chart that precisely described the differences between their midsole materials and the pros and cons of each but instead, we get marketing terms.

From what I can gather, and from experience, DNA Loft is Brooks’s most cushy midsole material.

 

brooks-glycerin-18-midsole.jpg

Performance

As a result, the ride is well-cushioned. There’s not a lot of energy return; it’s almost the opposite, in fact.

At times, it can almost feel as if you’re sinking into the shoe, especially if you’re running on a soft surface (like gravel) to begin with. If you’re looking for a shoe with a snappy ride, keep looking.

That said, I wouldn’t consider the cushion a fault. Because they feel soft underfoot, they encourage you to run without abandon, and you might find yourself pushing the pace!

In addition, 10.4 oz. is about as light as it gets for a shoe with this amount of cushion underfoot. They feel cushy, but they also feel fast.

The Glycerin is most certainly a neutral shoe and allows you to run naturally. It’s supportive enough, but it’s not a stability shoe.

Design

Overall, it looks fine. It’s nice that it comes in eight color patterns, but seven are either black, white, or grey. Hardly exciting.

I wish it had more reflectivity.

 

brooks-neutral-running-shoe.jpg

Pros

  • Well-cushioned
  • Comfortable
  • Relatively lightweight
  • Simple

Cons

  • Nothing special

Conclusion

The Glycerin overlaps with many other shoes in the Brooks lineup: the Anthem, Dyad, Ghost, Launch, Levitate, Revel, and Ricochet could all be used for the same type of running. So why keep this one around when it’s so... standard?

For that exact reason. There’s always room for a simple, well-cushioned everyday trainer. And besides, this is the 18th iteration of the Glycerin. Brooks knows they’ve got a good thing going with a shoe that’s been loved for nearly two decades.

The Glycerin 18 doesn’t stand out for any specific reason, but it stands as a model for what a running shoe is supposed to be like.

| Level 3 expert Verified
Robert "Coyote" Landauer is an ardent long-distance runner on both road and trail, with 27 marathon-or-longer races under his belt. Robert is a mild pronator and generally favors "ordinary" shoes with a touch of cushion and stability, but close to a neutral strike.

88
/100 by , posted on .

I was so excited to get the latest and greatest Glycerin 18. I was so ready to start the Spring running season with a new pair of Brooks. This is my 4th pair of Glycerin, starting with the 15, and I have loved every pair.

 

Brooks-Glycerin-18-upper-1.jpg

 

They felt great slipping them on with the familiar feel of a Brooks running shoe. I also wear custom orthotics, and they slip right in and are immediately comfortable.  

I decided to go out for an easy 5-mile run, and they felt good with no rubs or weird seams rubbing.  However, I did not feel they had the bounce or cushion I was used to.

I have continued to alternate between my Glycerin 18 and my Glycerin 17. I kept trying to compare what the difference was—so I concluded: the forefoot does not seem to have enough cushion.

Even after a mile, I was able to feel the lack of cushioning in this area. When I ran 10 miles in these shoes, my feet were sore. It did not feel like “a good run”.

They seem to be a bit stiffer than the previous model overall and just not as plush, so I am not sure why Brooks states they are more cushioned.  

It’s not all bad

There are some really great things about this running shoe.  For one, the fit is amazing, right out of the box they were not too tight or to loose. They are very true to size, which is a huge plus, so it seems that Brooks is definitely consistent with their sizing.

 

Brooks-Glycerin-18-toebox.jpg

 

The toe box feels roomy enough to allow room for foot swelling for those long runs but not too big where your foot would flop around. The heel cushion felt right on, similar to previous models. They also felt light enough that I was able to do some speed workouts.

I have no complaints about the lacing system as I have never had problems with slipping or being too tight. There is room to lace using various techniques, which I always appreciate.

I also have been using “lace locks” for years on my running shoes, and there are enough laces to slip through to keep them from flopping.

 

Brooks-Glycerin-18-lacing-system.jpg

Looking good on the run

Color and style are not always important to me, because really, I just want an awesome running shoe that fits perfectly and feels great. However, if you can get great colors and sharp style, this is always a plus.  

The selection of colors for the Glycerin was fair. I feel Brooks tends to be slightly conservative with their color selections. I often prefer the colors offered on the men’s shoes, but due to my size, I could not wear the men’s.

They are stylish in the sense of a nice running shoe, but you will not get that comment, “Wow, nice shoes”. I do like to add a splash of color with my lace looks, and as the summer season approaches, I will probably add a few ribbons for those charity runs.

 

Brooks-Glycerin-18-midsole-1.jpg

 

Overall, the Glycerin 18 is a great running shoe, and it may possibly be my “foot” issue and not the shoe with the less cushiony feel. I will not give up on the Glycerin’s as I feel they deserve another chance.

They are a solid shoe and will give you lots and lots of miles. I am willing to do some modifications, such as adding a metatarsal pad to see if that helps with the cushioning in this area. Sometimes, no change is better when it comes to the old favorite Glycerin.

| Level 2 expert Verified
Hi, I'm Susie, a certified running coach & a competitive runner for over 30 years! I've coached college, Division III cross-country, running clubs for children, and has been the race director/founder of a local 5K run. For the past 5 years, I'm also involved in coaching adults of all levels reach their fitness goals while fundraising for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society.

Good to know

The Brooks Glycerin 18 is an everyday running shoe that is built to handle any distance on the roads. This shoe has undergone several improvements to provide a softer and more comfortable ride without sacrificing performance.

This road running shoe now features more DNA Loft foam, which is responsible for providing excellent cushioning for extreme plushness. Another update that is incorporated into the shoe is the new stretchy double-jacquard mesh top. The mesh material and 3D-printed overlays are used to provide an adaptable fit and breathable comfort. 

To continue providing durability and protection, this edition still uses the HPR Plus and blown rubber materials.

A full-length, green rubber outsole is integrated into the Brooks Glycerin 18. This outsole material boosts the midsole’s cushioning performance while enhancing traction and decreasing the platform’s overall weight. 

The HPR Plus rubber is positioned in the heel section of the outsole. It is a high abrasion-resistant rubber that promotes durability for long term use. This element also offers a firm grip on various paved surfaces. 

The blown rubber material is placed in the forefoot for exceptional durability. It is a responsive rubber material that also allows for flexibility.

Providing plush comfort is a soft midsole material called the DNA Loft foam. This technology delivers luxurious cushioning while maintaining durability and responsiveness. The DNA Loft transition zone also makes moving heel to toe feel remarkably soft and smooth.

An OrthoLite™ sockliner is placed above the DNA Loft foam for premium step-in comfort. This component offers another layer of cushioning and underfoot protection.

This Brooks running shoe utilizes a stretchable double-jacquard mesh for a comfortable in-shoe wrap. The mesh fabric allows for continuous airflow to keep the foot dry and cool throughout the day. It also offers flexibility and added support. 

The 3D Fit Print technology is also infused in the upper for an enhanced fit. This technology applies strategic overlays to give a seamless and secure fit.

For added comfort, a plush interior lining is used to complement the soft mesh fabric. The padding that surrounds the foot is designed to move and expand with every stride.

The traditional lacing system is featured in the Brooks Glycerin 18. The shoelaces help ensure a secure and customized fit every time. 

A padded tongue and heel collar are also included to offer added comfort and support while running. The padded tongue prevents the small rocks and other elements from getting inside the shoe. It also protects the top of the foot from getting pinched by the shoelaces.

How Glycerin 18 compares

This shoe: 92
All shoes average: 81
54 93
This shoe: £150
All shoes average: £120
£40 £330
This shoe: 289g
All shoes average: 270g
100g 437g
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