"The hype is real." This is how runners find the Glycerin 20 from Brooks. They even hail it as the best Glycerin to date. With its luxe comfort and a touch of pop, it's a fun and lively workhorse that works perfectly for recovery days and long miles on the road. Overall, the Brooks Glycerin 20 is a tried-and-true daily trainer that's a cozy and reliable pick for both beginners and seasoned road runners.
- Plush cushion
- Awesome step-in feel
- Responsive ride
- Breathable for hot days
- Tank-like build
- Weighs less than looks
- Awesome value for money
- Comfortable fit
- Grippy on wet road and gravel
- Laces don't stay tied
- Blocky ride
Who should buy the Brooks Glycerin 20
Don't pass up on the Brooks Glycerin 20 if you want a:
- comfy and great-value option for both beginners and running veterans
- reliable daily trainer for long miles and mellow days on the road
Who should NOT buy it
If you're a sucker for responsiveness and speed, you can skip the Brooks Glycerin 20. For a smoother, speed-oriented ride, you can go for the Brooks' Aurora-BL or the Brooks Hyperion Tempo instead.
Those who want a set of trusty laces plus the energetic ride, go for the Brooks Revel 5.
Brooks Glycerin 20 vs. 19
To cut the long story short, the Glycerin 20 from Brooks is definitely a better version than the 19. To this, both experts and long-time Brooks fans agree, all thanks to these changes:
- Lighter and softer: The new midsole compound amps up comfort even more. Even better, it sheds off a few grams, going from 289 grams to 286 grams.
- More pep: Apart from elevating comfort, the midsole also makes the Glycerin bouncy, making the ride a lot more enjoyable than before.
- Sturdier and stickier: In the outsole, there's plenty of rubber coverage. And for better grip, the flex grooves have also been revamped.
- Added comfort: Midsole aside, the upper is also more padded in the heel and the tongue. These do not only make the shoe cozier; they also better the support.
Experience upscale comfort
"A beast of comfort" — This is how nearly every reviewer describes the Glycerin 20. They say its new midsole is "way better" than the foam used on the past versions of the Brooks Glycerin.
It's soft with a touch of bounce; it's definitely more fun to run in. Not to mention, it's not the type of plush that bottoms out.
The foam on the Glycerin 20 is on the softer end of the spectrum. It is 27% softer than the average.
Disclaimer: We take 5 measurements before noting down the results. The photo shows one of them.
The shoe's foam also doesn't get much softer in cold temperatures. After 20 minutes in the freezer, it only got 23% firmer. Some shoes get up to 60% firmer in the same test.
A shoe that breathes
During warm days, hordes of testers agree that the shoe remains light and breezy. The upper doesn't restrict air; their feet don't feel toasty at all. So much so, they recommend it for summer runs.
See how easily the smoke passes through the fabric in our breathability test below.
In the light test, you can also see the areas of the upper which tend to be more breathable.
Even more comfort
Upon step-in, the foot is welcomed with plush padding from the heel and ankle collar. On top of this, the tongue remains cozy with its amply padded design. Even better, it steps up the shoe's lockdown and security.
The tongue is indeed generously padded on the Glycerin 20. It is 7.8 mm thick, while the average for running shoes is 5.8 mm.
The shoe also has an amply padded heel collar which has a medium level of stiffness; 3 out of 5 on our subjective assessment.
If you want value for money, take the Brooks Glycerin 20
At $160, it may not be the most affordable running shoe. However, if you want a shoe that screams comfort and durability, the Glycerin 20 is a must-have.
It's built like a tank; it still doesn't have any dent or scratch after 47 miles of rough wear testing. This said, runners expect it to go beyond 300-400 miles.
Looks can be deceiving (it's a light shoe!)
The Glycerin looks bulky with all the cushion it gets. However, on paper and on foot, it's the total opposite. It feels light and IS lighter than ever.
Compared to the Brooks Glycerin 19 (289 g/10.2 oz. in US M 9), it only weighs in at 286 g/10.1 oz.
Fit is A-OK
It's neither too snug nor too loose. It's just the right fit. The majority find the fit relaxed and comfortable; they don't feel constricted in the shoe.
We measured the toebox at 95.9 mm in its widest part. Even though it is 2.3 mm narrower than the average, it still falls into the medium-width range.
Look away if you're expecting a smooth ride
This is largely because of the rubber-filled outsole. Experts say that there's just "too much" rubber; it hinders a smooth heel-to-toe transition. If anything, it feels "blocky."
On the upside, because of the whole rubber situation, the Glycerin sticks so well on pavement, gravel, and slick surfaces.
The Glycerin indeed has an insane amount of rubber for a road shoe. Even some trail shoes don't have an outsole that thick. We measured it to be 3.5 mm.
A generously cushioned shoe with a high drop
The Glycerin 20 has a mighty heel stack height of 37.1 mm which is 4.5 mm thicker than the average.
Disclaimer: We measure the stack height with the insole included. In this Brooks shoe, the insole is 5.5 mm thick, which is also above average.
The heel-to-toe drop turned out to be even bigger than claimed by the brand. We measured it at 12.8 mm, while the officially stated drop is 10 mm.
It is moderately flexible
Because of the high stack and pretty thick outsole, the Brooks Glycerin 20 loses a bit in the flexibility department. However, it still remains slightly more flexible than the average (by 8%).
Disclaimer: The video shows 1 out of 5 measurements that we took to ensure accuracy.
The shoe also has a moderate level of longtitudal and torsional flexibility.
Brooks Glycerin 20 keeps you steady
For a neutral shoe with soft cushioning, the Glycerin 20 shows up as a pretty stable running shoe.
In part this is due to the extra-wide footprint of this Brooks shoe. Based on our measurements, it is wider than the average in both the forefoot (117.4 mm) and the heel (94.2 mm).
But if you gave flat feet and/or overpronation, we recommend going for the shoe's stability version, the Glycerin GTS 20.
Laces: From yay to nay
"Awful" is a word thrown around by critics over the Brooks Glycerin 20's laces. Contrary to the past editions, the laces in this iteration come undone mid-run. Double-knotting is a must if you don't want to keep re-lacing them.
Other versions of the Glycerin 20
Apart from the standard Brooks Glycerin 20, there are three other versions of Glycerin 20, including:
- Brooks Glycerin 20 StealthFit - It is a sleeker, snugger version of the standard Glycerin 20.
- Brooks Glycerin GTS 20 - It is the Glycerin 20's Go-To-Stability version, perfect for mild to moderate overpronators (whose feet roll inward excessively).
- Brooks Glycerin GTS 20 StealthFit - Like the Glycerin 20 StealthFit, it has a more foot-conforming wrap than the regular GTS version.
Complete lab-specs overview
|Brooks Glycerin 20||Average|
|Flexibility of the shoe (N)||28.2||30.7|
|Flexibility of the shoe (Freezer 20 min) (N)||36.7||43.0|
|Flexibility of the shoe (% of change)||30.1||43.0|
|Longitudinal flexibility (1-5 scale, 5 being the stiffest)||2||3.2|
|Torsional flexibility (1-5 scale, 5 being the stiffest)||3||3.3|
|Thickness - Tongue (mm)||7.8||5.8|
|Width Upper - Forefoot (mm)||95.9||98.2|
|Width Upper - Heel (mm)||77.9||75.4|
|Flexibility of the heel counter (1-5 scale, 5 being the stiffest)||3||2.8|
|Tongue: gusset type||none||-|
|Heel: pull tab||none||-|
|Width Midsole - Forefoot (mm)||117.4||111.8|
|Width Midsole - Heel (mm)||94.2||88.8|
|Stack - Forefoot with insole (mm)||24.3||24.4|
|Stack - Heel with insole (mm)||37.1||32.6|
|Durometer Midsole Heel (Room temperature) (HA)||20.0||27.4|
|Durometer Midsole - Heel (Freezer 20 minutes)||24.6||34.6|
|Durometer Midsole - Heel (% of change) (TEST)||23.0||24.5|
|Outsole thickness (Heel) (mm)||3.5||3.5|
|Durometer Outsole Heel (Room temperature) (HC)||79.5||80.9|
|Insole Heel Thickness (mm)||5.5||4.5|