Brooks Ricochet 3 review and lab test

Ultimately this is a utilitarian shoe, it’s not screaming for attention, but as a daily trainer, it gets the job done without any fuss. This is a no-frills, get it done, neutral daily trainer, treat it as such.

  • Buy this shoe if you are looking for a sturdy, consistent workhorse, that’s not overly plush or overly hyped. 
  • Don’t buy this shoe if you’re looking for a super-fast, ultralight, carbon-plated shoe. If that’s the case, look at Hyperion Elite 2 - a race shoe, or Hyperion Tempo - a fast shoe. Also, if you want a super soft, plush riding shoe, look at Brooks cushioned line up (Ghost, Glycerine, Adrenaline). 

Ricochet 3 torn apart

Super stretchy and super breathable!

The knit upper is fantastic on this shoe. Sure, it’s not cutting edge, but I like it. It’s amazingly stretchy, I thought this shoe would be way too narrow for me when I pulled it from the box (it's only 113.7mm across in the midfoot), and while it accommodates my slightly wider foot, it also retains great lockdown. 

Upper thickness on Brooks Ricochet 3

It’s not overly stretchy like the NB 1080 V11, and never did I fear rolling out of this shoe on sharp turns or varied terrain. 

Transparency test on Ricochet 3

What I like about this upper is it’s super breathable, allowing 17.4 LUX through on our light test. There’s no extra padding, well, actually there’s no padding at all to be honest, other than the subtly tapered foam ankle collar which increased from a very slim 4mm to just slightly thicker 11.2mm, gently hugging my achilles with every step. 

Heel stays put

Sitting atop of the lightly padded ankle collar, the Ricochet 3 has a flexible knit edge that hugs your ankle nicely keeping debris out. The thin, 1.2mm fiber-board heel counter was medium stiff and kept my heel secure. I hate shoes that have any heel slip, and happily, the Ricochet 3 locked my foot down well. 

Heel collar design on Brooks Ricochet 3

Excellent midfoot lock

I’ve never understood the need for a heavily padded tongue, and this shoe reminded me that with the right design, superfluous padding is unneeded. The flexible knit tongue paired well with the matching upper which thanks to its ample 98.8mm forefoot had enough room to keep my toes happy without feeling sloppy at all. 

The Ricochet 3 hugs the top of your foot nicely thanks to its stretchy mesh gussets which extend from midfoot all the way through the toe box and have a nice smooth finish to them making it easy to slide your foot in and out of, which can be an issue on these sock-like uppers at times. 

Laces work (no wow factor)

The lacing system is fairly simple, complete with braided flat nylon laces. Not super light, but not heavy either at 4g, and they have a touch of stretch (.117 stretch ratio), just enough to be comfortable over the top of your foot. 

One issue with the laces is at 47’’, they are a bit short if you want to use the extra lacing hole at the top. Although there wasn’t any heel slip to fix, you still don’t have that option without abandoning the standard top lacing hole. 

Lacks the pop during the toe-off

The midsole is constructed from an interesting dual-layer construction, primarily of dull, firm BioMoGo DNA (36ha on the durometer) which I am not a huge fan of, and then a thin layer of softer DNA AMP (23.2ha on the durometer) midsole under the forefoot gives this shoe a bit of sensitivity by adding this thin, white layer of softer, springier foam. 

It’s not quite that of the pep of the Hyperion Tempo and the DNA Flash material that I love, but it feels more a little more peppy on toe-off and a bit softer on landing (if you are a forefoot striker) than the brickish BioMoGo. 

Brooks Ricochet 3 cut in half

Although adding a dual-density layer of foam makes this shoe more interesting to run than other Brooks road shoes, it may come with some added weight and ultimately a more peppy sensation would simply be accomplished with a better midsole all together. 

This is not a plush shoe by any definition but it does feel better than the past two versions of the Ricochet which were heavier and less enjoyable under foot. Brooks is heading in the right direction here for sure. 

Smooth ride

Brooks says the “arrow point” outsole is meant to help speed up transitions in a smooth manner, and although I don’t know if the arrow-shaped design really helps speed, I will admit I liked the full-length rubber outsole. It is firm enough (82.8hc) to keep this shoe running for hundreds of miles, and with a narrow profile through the middle there’s not much drag to be noticed.

The outsole is very consistent in firmness (as confirmed by a durometer) and height (2.8mm) from heel to toe, and rolls smoothly underfoot as expected for a daily trainer. The goal of an outsole is to not be noticed, and this outsole does that well in my book. 

Comfort level: hugs your foot

The fit was great for me. The upper hugged my foot nicely and I didn’t have any slip or hot spots. I think this shoe will work well for narrow and wider feet. And although there is no padding in the upper I didn’t want for any. The Ricochet 3 proves you don’t need all that padding and added weight to get a comfortable fit. 

Fortunately, it doesn’t feel tall

Brooks claims this is an 8mm drop shoe but our measurements came in at 6.8mm, and it didn’t feel overly steep, I think the factory stats could be skewed a touch, in an acceptable way. 

Stack height on Ricochet 3

With 27.6mm of stack in the heel, I also really like how this shoe feels close to the ground. It’s not overly tall, in a world where tall shoes seem to be everywhere, and that gives this shoe a sense of balance underfoot without fear of any instability.

Feels light(er than it is)

It’s shaved almost an ounce from the past versions, which has made the Ricochet 3 a bit more nimble, and a bit more worthy of being in my daily lineup. Now weight is not everything, but when you can feel your shoes weighing down your legs, they are too heavy, and luckily these were hard to notice even though 9.15 ounces is nothing groundbreaking.

Brooks Ricochet 3 on a scale

Although some would still scoff at a 9+ ounce shoe in these days of the ultralight and ultra-expensive footwear, thanks to the slim design and form-fitted upper you forget this metric the second you lace them up. 

Running experience: perfect middle in the world of daily trainers

The Ricochet 3 has smooth transitions on pavement and asphalt thanks to its consistent, full-length outsole and that subtle pep and cushioning you get from the DNA Amp foam in the midsole. 

Daily trainers are not meant to blow your mind, they are designed to work every day without fuss. Sure, it’s not a Hyperion Tempo which is fast and light, but it’s not a Glycerine which is overly cushioned and slow. There’s a happy middle ground here for those looking for a shoe that works well on hard-packed surfaces, without being on either side of an argument. 

Worth the money

At $120 I think this shoe is a value. It’s not super sexy or boasting the best tech, but it works, it’s comfortable, and if you like the classic, simple look, and the stretchy knit upper of the 2016ish era, it may be the right shoe for everyday, consistent training. 

Conclusion

I don’t have much to add to my conclusion, it’s balanced well, I like it on my foot, and I was honestly a bit bummed to be cutting it in half. I wanted to run more in this shoe if that says anything. But duty calls, time to turn on the saw!

Complete lab-specs overview 

Brooks Ricochet 3
Weight - Left 258g
Weight - Right 258g
Weight - Insole 18g
Weight - Lace 4g
Length - Overall 288mm
Length - Insole 279mm
Width Midsole - Forefoot  113.7mm
Width Midsole - Heel 88.9mm
Width Midsole - Middle  60.4mm
Width Upper - Forefoot 98.8mm
Width Upper - Heel 77.3mm
Width Upper - Middle 73.1mm
Stack - Forefoot with insole 20.8mm
Stack - Heel with insole 27.6mm
Stack - Forefoot without insole 14.8mm
Stack - Heel without insole 21.9mm
Drop 6.8mm
Outsole thickness (Forefoot) 2.8mm
Outsole thickness (Heel) 2.8mm
Lugs Depth NA
Insole Thickness 5.8mm
Laces (without stretch) 47inches
Laces (with stretch) 52.5inches
Lace Stretch Ratio 0.117
Laces - Thickness (Height) 0.9mm
Laces - Width 5.5mm
Durometer Outsole Forefoot (Room Temp: 59.5 F) 75.5HC
Durometer Outsole Heel (Room Temp: 59.5 F) 82.8HC
Durometer Midsole Forefoot (Room Temp: 59.5 F) 36.0HA
Durometer Midsole Forefoot 2nd layer (Room Temp: 59.5 F) 23.2HA
Durometer Midsole Heel (Room Temp: 59.5 F) 23.5HA
Durometer Insole (Room Temp: 59.5 F) 38.3HA
Flexibility of the shoe (Room Temp: 59.5 F) 25.8N
Durometer Outsole Forefoot (Freezer 1 hour) 79.2HC
Durometer Outsole Heel (Freezer 1 hour) 83.5HC
Durometer Midsole Forefoot (Freezer 1 hour) 45.5HA
Durometer Midsole Forefoot 2nd layer (Freezer 1 hour) 26.5
Durometer Midsole Heel (Freezer 1 hour) 29.8HA
Durometer Insole (Freezer 1 hour) 35.7HA
Flexibility of the shoe (Freezer 1 hour) 31.0N
Durometer Outsole Forefoot (% change with temperature) 4.86
Durometer Outsole Heel (% change with temperature) 0.8
Durometer Midsole Forefoot (% change with temperature) 26.39
Durometer Midsole Heel (% change with temperature) 26.95
Durometer Insole (% change with temperature) -6.96
Flexibility of the shoe (% change with temperature) 22.59
Thickness - Heel Counter/Insert 1.2mm
Thickness - Ankle Collar (min) 4mm
Thickness - Ankle Collar (max) 11.2mm
Thickness - Ankle Collar (Range of taper) 7mm
Heel counter material fiber board
Thickness - Tongue 1.8mm
Flexibility of the heel counter  71.6N
Light test (transparence) 17.4LUX
Lace slip test with the knot 31.6N
Longitudinal flexibility (0-5) 3
Torsional flexibility (0-5) 3
Tongue: gusset type Gusseted (both sides)
Laces: profile  Flat
Laces: extra hole  yes
Laces: are they long enough to use the extra hole  no
Heel: pull tab  yes
Insole: removable yes
Control devices:
Multi-density midsole
Rigid heel counter
Elevated medial insole under arch
Supportive tensioned medial upper
Medial flare
Thermoplastic medial post
no
yes
yes
no
yes
no
Longitudinal flexibility (on a 1-6 scale) 3
Torsional flexibility (on a 1-6 scale) 3
How minimalist the shoe is in % 32

Note: all the tests were done on a men's shoe US size 9. 

Tip: see the best running shoes.

Rankings

How Brooks Ricochet 3 ranks compared to all other shoes
Top 41% road running shoes
All road running shoes
Top 42% neutral running shoes
All neutral running shoes

Popularity

The current trend of Brooks Ricochet 3.
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Author
Paul Ronto
Paul Ronto

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