Brooks Launch 3
By Austin Bonds
“Ground Control to Major Tom.” Though the words that follow in this article are centered on the recently updated Brooks Launch 3, I realized that a shoe with the name “Launch” would provide me with the perfect opportunity to pay homage to the late David Bowie and the 1969 hit that speaks of Major Tom: “Space Oddity.” Thanks for the amazing music Mr. Bowie.
“Space Oddity” and “Launch” make for a good pairing as they are words that point towards conditions beyond earth. As to a shoe that is based on this planet, however, “oddity” would not be the first word I would choose to describe the Brooks Launch 3. This is due to the fact that the latest version of this fan favorite underwent minimal changes from last year. This is good news for runners who like the Launch, and I believe that version three will not disappoint in the least.
Before outlining what changed, I’ll highlight a few points of note that didn’t. Why not begin with a price? The Launch 3 stays at $100, a great round number as many running shoe models have trended upwards in price for the past several years. As to weight, I pulled out the postage scale and weighed both versions in a size 12 (since I wear this size). I observed the same number: 11.3 ounces. I weighed the left and right shoe for the Launch 2 and the Launch 3 – and saw identical measurements.
The BioMoGo midsole stays, as does the ten-millimeter offset. As I noted earlier, the changes are few, but no running shoe updates without a few revisions each year. These are the ones that stand out in the Launch 3. The upper in the Launch 3 is the most significant change as heated overlays are replaced by a 3D Fit Print and no seams. The mesh is lighter and more breathable.
Since I’m on the subject of the upper, I will also point out that the laces changed. This seems minimal, yes, but it’s noticeable. The Launch 2 laces were flat whereas the Launch 3 laces are rounded. This is a marginal revision, but I have always gravitated towards round laces as I believe they improve the fit more (and are easier to tie). Speaking of laces, that text is still on the end of each one too: “Dig Deep.” Let’s call this added motivation before you step out the door and hit the roads (or trails).
Brooks also revised the forefoot on the outsole (an “energy zone”) by increasing the cushioning a touch more. This translates into a softer feeling underfoot; the Launch 2, in comparison, felt firm in the forefoot, though some runners may not perceive the difference.
With all of this in mind, the Launch 3 is a great extension of the Launch 2. To put another way, minimal changes should translate into minimal complaints from runners who don’t like this or that. And a price point of $100 is icing on the cake. This is a fantastic running shoe.
The right running shoe, be it the Launch or otherwise, ignites our propensity to go far and fast and free. We lift off the ground like Major Tom and have those occasional runs that feel effortless like we are floating across the roads, sidewalks, and trails. And maybe that is the heart of running – that we feel free. We are free to explore all that is around us courtesy of two legs that possess great propulsion, great power, and great precision.
Three. Two. One.