Brooks Ravenna 9 Performance Review
By Austin Bonds
I’ve watched the Brooks Ravenna closely over the last few years, and the Ravenna 9 is unrecognizable compared to its eight predecessors. It’s an entirely different shoe in every sense of the word. In a September 2017 Running Warehouse First Look, the Ravenna 9 was described as a shoe that has “a completely new design that should help revamp the line.” Revamping any line is no small task, but it’s clear that Brooks is moving in that direction between the stellar updates to the Adrenaline GTS 18, Launch 5, and the introduction of an entirely new line in the popular Levitate. Based on superb step-in comfort and a snappy ride, the Ravenna 9 is one more glimpse into the future of the Seattle company.
The Ravenna 9 is situated in the “Energize” silo of the Brooks Run Signature philosophy, which means that it is meant to be “responsive and springy; to add a lift to every stride.” One of the recurring comparisons I’ve heard about the Ravenna 9 is that it’s very similar to the Launch 5 (which is another “Energize” model). Both the Launch 5 and Ravenna 9 use BioMoGo DNA in the midsole for cushioning, though the Ravenna incorporates a Diagonal Rollbar (DRB), comprised of dual-density BioMoGo, to provide a touch of stability for runners with mild overpronation.
Though I’ve never run in the Ravenna, I studied the Ravenna 8 as a reference point on the Running Warehouse website – and the changes are drastic. In a men’s size 9, the Ravenna 8 weighs 10.2 ounces; the Ravenna 9 is 9.3. The upper has been stripped of overlays for a fresh, breathable design. The outsole in the Ravenna 9 appears to have a slight reconfiguration with less rubber, thus lowering the overall weight. In summary, the shoe has been stripped down to what works well: simple design with a soft, responsive ride. I used the Ravenna for easy runs and occasionally picked up the pace to gauge responsiveness. I liked the ride, and my feet felt secure in the shoe.
Regarding design, Brooks is making progress. I recently looked at their website and realized how much I disliked the look of the Adrenaline GTS 17 and Ravenna 8. But lo and behold, the Adrenaline 18 wowed. The Levitate wowed too (energy return is another story). The Ravenna 9 wowed. Will the Ghost 11, due out in August, wow? Suffice it to say that running shoe design is mattering more and more to runners.Brooks Ravenna 9
Thirty miles in with the Ravenna, and I have no significant issues to document. The toe box feels slightly narrow, but not enough to the point of any pain or discomfort. The heel sporadically clipped the road when I fatigued, though this characteristic of the shoe, a 10-millimeter drop, is unlikely to change in subsequent updates.Brooks Ravenna 9
Brooks Ravenna 9 Conclusion
At $110, the Ravenna 9 is an excellent shoe for any distance. I have nothing but good marks to give it right now, and I love the simple look and soft, springy ride. Have a look yourself at Running Warehouse.Brooks Ravenna 9