Our verdict

Looks fast, runs fast. The Launch 9 from Brooks is a daily trainer that can handle any speed we put into our run. Whether we're going fast or slow, it performs. On top of this, it can handle any distance. From short runs, 5Ks to 20 miles, it doesn't disappoint. Ultimately, we recommend getting the Brooks Launch 9 if you're after a solid all-rounder that doesn't hurt the wallet or the feet.

Pros

  • Smooth heel-to-toe transitions
  • Lighter weight
  • Comfy ride for long miles
  • Perfect for any pace
  • Not tippy when cornering
  • Stable on gravel
  • Can double for casual wear
  • Quite breathable
  • Sustainable outsole
  • Great-value

Cons

  • Not as energetic as expected
  • Pricier than before

Audience verdict

88
Great!

Who should buy

The Brooks Launch 9 is an excellent perfect pick for runners in need of a: 

  • fun and lightweight running shoe that can go fast or slow 
  • road shoe built for any distance and can double for casual wear

Launch 9 on the track

Who should NOT buy

If you're looking for a dedicated, tried-and-true speed trainer that's ready to set and beat PRS, we think that it's better to go for the Brooks Hyperion Tempo or the Brooks Levitate 5.

And if you want something cheaper, the Brooks Revel 5 is our suggestion. 

Breathability

The Brooks Launch 9 proved to be a fairly breathable shoe. With very little in-shoe padding, the Launch 9 allows for some decent airflow.

Closeup of the upper on launch 9

Holding half of the shoe against the light, we could see that a large part of the upper is pretty transparent, keeping the interiors well-ventilated.

Weight

It's not just lighter than its predecessor; it's also lighter than most running shoes on the market! Based on our measurements, the Brooks Launch 9 is over an ounce lighter than average.

Launch 9 on the track

Test results
Launch 9 7.94 oz (225g)
Average 9.38 oz (266g)
Compared to 276 running shoes
Number of shoes
5.26 oz (149g)
Weight
12.56 oz (356g)

Cushioning

When checking the flexibility of Brooks Launch 9, what surprised us is how big of a difference it is when comparing the flexibility at room temperature (22.7N) and after the shoe has spent 20mins in the freezer (37.8N).

Launch 9 in the freezer

Launch 9 has a 66.5% difference in those 2 measurements, while the average difference for all the shoes in our lab is 32.9%. You've been warned: store your shoes at room temperature. 

Drop

In the brand's specifications, it says that the Launch 9 has a drop of 10mm.

Based on our caliper measurements, this is almost true! With the heel stack of 32.4 mm and the forefoot stack of 23 mm, we got a drop of 9.4 mm.

forefoot stack height of launch 9

Test results
Launch 9 9.4 mm
Average 8.7 mm
Compared to 275 running shoes
Number of shoes
-0.8 mm
Drop
16.1 mm

Midsole softness

Note: a low durometer measurement equals a soft material, whereas a high measurement means it's firm.

In our durometer measurement, the Brooks Launch 9 scored 22 HA which indicates that it has an average level of midsole softness - neither too plush nor firm.

We also felt a touch of pop that added fun to the shoe's ride. Meanwhile, for longer efforts, the cushioning felt quite forgiving, more so than its predecessor.

Test results
Launch 9 22.0 HA
Average 21.3 HA
We use an average of four tests. The photo shows one of those tests.
Compared to 202 running shoes
Number of shoes
9.5 HA
Midsole softness (soft to firm)
41.5 HA

Rocker

This shoe has a rockered shape that allows for fast and easy heel-to-toe transitions. It made the ride feel so seamless! 

rocker profile of launch 9

Stability

Lateral stability test

Despite its higher stack height for a speed trainer, the Brooks Launch 9 never felt tippy, even during sharp turns and when running on gravel.

Stretching in brooks launch 9

Torsional rigidity

Torsional stiffness appears to be the source of stability in this Brooks trainer. It took some serious effort to twist the shoe in our manual test. Thus, we rated its rigidity as 4 out of 5. Nearly the stiffest in our catalog!

Test results
Launch 9 4
Average 3.2
Compared to 253 running shoes
Number of shoes
1
Torsional rigidity
5

Heel counter stiffness

The shoe's heel counter is more on the pliable side, scoring only 2 out of 5 on the heel squeeze-and-push test.

Heel counter of the Launch 9

It may not be a stiff one but it held our ankle quite securely as far as speed-oriented shoes go.

back of the launch 9

Test results
Launch 9 2
Average 2.8
Compared to 237 running shoes
Number of shoes
1
Heel counter stiffness
5

Flexibility

Difference in stiffness in cold

When checking the flexibility of Brooks Launch 9, what surprised us is how big of a difference it is when comparing the flexibility at room temperature (22.7N) and after the shoe has spent 20mins in the freezer (37.8N).

Launch 9 in the freezer

Launch 9 has a 66.5% difference in those 2 measurements, while the average difference for all the shoes in our lab is 32.9%. You've been warned: store your shoes at room temperature. 

Test results
Launch 9 66.5%
Average 36.8%
Compared to 258 running shoes
Number of shoes
-100%
Difference in stiffness in cold
148%

Grip / Traction

It is amazing that Brooks managed to pull off a full-length rubber outsole while keeping the Launch 9 so light!

The grip made us feel very surefooted even on the slightly wet pavement.

Brooks Launch 9 outsole

Size and fit

Toebox width at the widest part

The brand's new Creel wrap upper made us feel very secure and locked in. For our medium-width feet, the shoe appeared to be well-fitted and the knit-like fabric had enough stretch to feel accommodating.

Forefoot width of the Brooks Launch 9

However, using a caliper, we measured the widest part of the forefoot at only 94.7 mm. While this is still in the medium range of toebox widths, wide-footers should definitely go for the wide version of the shoe.

Test results
Launch 9 94.7 mm
Average 98.3 mm
Compared to 276 running shoes
Number of shoes
89.5 mm
Toebox width at the widest part
109.1 mm

Comfort

It is amazing that Brooks managed to pull off a full-length rubber outsole while keeping the Launch 9 so light!

The grip made us feel very surefooted even on the slightly wet pavement.

Brooks Launch 9 outsole

Tongue padding

What definitely screams SPEED is the tongue: it is very thin.

Thickness of the tongue on Brooks Launch 9

In the lab, we measured its thickness: an astonishing 1mm. Compare it to the average of 6 mm and you really get a race-ready tongue!

Test results
Launch 9 1.0 mm
Average 5.6 mm
Compared to 273 running shoes
Number of shoes
0.5 mm
Tongue padding
14.2 mm

Misc

Reflective elements

While it's great that the Launch 9 has some, we think that it wouldn't hurt to make them larger. Some at the back would be nice as well!

Night run in Launch 9

Brooks Launch 9 vs. 8

This time around, the Brooks Launch 9 sees these updates: 

  • More cushioned ride, thanks to the additional 2mm stack
  • Lighter weight because of the new Creel wrap upper
  • Sustainability-driven design with the shoe's Green Rubber outsole

Brooks launch 9 cut in pieces

All these changes entail a price increase of £20. From £200, the Brooks Launch 9 now retails for £120. But despite this, we still think that the shoe offers excellent value for money.

Sustainable materials

To champion a more eco-friendly approach, the Launch 9 has a green rubber outsole that's made using sand instead of petroleum. This lessens its environmental impact.

Launch 9 in the lab