What You Need To Know
- We break down our 8 best Brooks running shoes to date
- From racing to tempo to slow days to trails, we got you covered
- Any questions? Drop it in the comments. Otherwise, let’s get you educated.
NOTE: This is an ongoing list and is constantly updated to reflect our current opinion.
If you’re only going to do one thing, do it well. At least, that’s the model that Brooks seems to follow as it eats, sleeps, and breathes running shoes. On the bright side, that means you should be able to track down a pair of Brooks shoes no matter what you’re looking for. We’re here to help you “run happy” with our guide to the best Brooks Running Shoes you can buy.
The Seattle-based company got its start over 100 years ago making ballet flats and bathing shoes (I know, right?) in Philadelphia. It made the move towards running shoes in 1972, and today, running is all they do. The results speak for themselves. We may not all get to call ourselves Brooks Beasts (their elite running squad), but at least our picks can help you dream of greatness.
We’ve picked our top eight shoes to get you going on the road or trail, so let’s get into it.
Brooks Running Shoes 101: What To Look For
Running shoes are packed with new types of technology every year, and that often means fancy new names. Brooks running shoes are no exception, and you might need a little bit of a linguistics lesson before you get shopping. Here’s a bit of basic information on Brooks’ most popular tech:
- DNA Flash: Brooks’ newest nitrogen-infused midsole. It balances weight with energy return and should last 200-400 miles. It’s also what made the Hyperion Tempo and Hyperion Elite 2 better than the original Hyperion Elite.
- DNA Loft: The softest foam you’ll find on a pair of Brooks running shoes. It’s typically used in a two-piece midsole, and you can find it on the Glycerin line.
- DNA Zero: Advanced foam designed to adapt to you as a runner. Introduced on the original Hyperion Elite, and but scrapped shortly after for the much better DNA Flash.
- BioMoGo DNA: Brooks’ adaptable midsole foam. Changes based on your surface, stride, and pace.
- DNA Amp: Updated foam for better energy return, now 20% lighter than previous versions. Found on multiple Energize models like the Levitate 4.
- GTS: In 2020, means “Go-To Shoe.” In 2021, means “Go-To Support,” as Brooks streamlines its stability models into existing mainstays (i.e. in 2021, there will be a Glycerin 19 and a Glycerin GTS 19).
- GuideRails: Think of bowling alley bumpers for your feet. They stabilize your stride to cut down on excess motion. You can see GuideRails extending down the sides of Brooks’ Adrenaline line
The Best Brooks Running Shoes
• Hyperion Elite 2
Use: Race day, your best Des Linden impression | Drop: 8 mm | Price: $250
We’ve written extensively about the problems with the original Hyperion Elite, which makes it that much more exciting to recommend the Hyperion Elite 2. The DNA Zero midsole of the original is gone and fast forgotten, and DNA Flash is packed in its place. Brooks also beefed up the stack height by about 2 mm and the full-length carbon fiber plate helps to keep things in check. That said, it still weighs a nice 7.5 oz. for a US M9.0.
The carbon fiber plate and the lightweight, breathable upper are the main holdovers from the original, and that’s just fine by us. Brooks claims that the DNA Zero should last between 200 and 400 miles, so you don’t really have to worry about saving these for special occasions. Overall, you’ll find a softer and more cushioned ride than a lot of other carbon-plated racers out there. Robbe called the original Hyperion Elite the “HE who shall not be named” more than once in our review, so it’s nice to call the sequel “the shoe who lived.”Shop Hyperion Elite 2 Watch On YouTube
• Hyperion Tempo
Use: Tempo or lightweight daily training | Drop: 8 mm | Price: $150
Remember how much we didn’t like the original Hyperion Elite? Well, the Hyperion Tempo is a perfect example of what it could have been. Where the Elite went for DNA Zero foam, the Tempo packed in the nitrogen-infused DNA Flash to the tune of far better results. The Hyperion Tempo is also feather-light, weighing in at 6.1 ounces for Meaghan’s W7.5.
Brooks’ DNA Flash foam really is the star of this show, and the blue glow is impossible to miss. It lends to a pair of sleek, simple colorways, throwing a wrench into the typical Brooks design. It runs as fast as it looks, but without sacrificing comfort. This baby can roll from daily training into tempo at the snap of a finger. Both Thomas and Meaghan called the Hyperion Tempo their favorite Brooks running shoe to date, and it’s one of Robbe’s top shoes of 2020.Shop Hyperion Tempo – Men Shop Hyperion Tempo – Women Watch On YouTube
• Ghost 13
Use: Comfy, cushioned road runs | Drop: 12 mm | Price: $130
No superstitions about the number 13 with this ghostly shoe. The Brooks Ghost has been kicking around for more than a decade, and it’s a perfect example of “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” Overall, the Ghost 13 isn’t much different from the 12, and the extended DNA Loft foam on the lateral side keeps the ride smooth and comfortable. It’s a padding double-whammy with BioMoGo foam all over the medial side.
While some shoes fall victim to overthought uppers that cook your feet, the Ghost 13 is light and plush for an overall fun run. Our reviewer Adrienne took a few years off from Brooks, yet she described the Ghost 13 as “reconnecting with an old friend.” Or, in the case of a ghost, a really old friend. You won’t confuse the Ghost 13 for a zero-drop shoe though. The 12 mm drop is a bit steep compared to the others on the list.Shop Ghost 13 – Men Shop Ghost 13 – Women
• Adrenaline GTS 21
Use: The Go-To Shoe, daily training | Drop: 12 mm | Price: $130
We’ll be completely honest here — we haven’t actually reviewed the newest Adrenaline GTS 21. However, it’s another example of Brooks sticking with what works. The overall shape and structure are the same as the Adrenaline 20, but the BioMoGo foam is gone in favor of a full DNA Loft midsole. Austin had his issues with the midsole drop of the Adrenaline 20, but Brooks hasn’t adjusted anything on the latest version.
One look at this Brooks running shoe, and you’ll see that it’s a who’s who of stability tech. Brooks packed GuideRails, a segmented crash pad, and even a 3D Fit Print upper to keep you churning out the miles. While the Adrenaline GTS 21 (which stands for Go-To Shoe) may not be the one to grab for speed, it should serve you well on long, slow recovery days.Shop Adrenaline GTS 21 – Men Shop Adrenaline GTS 21 – Women
• Levitate 4
Use: Short road miles | Drop: 8 mm | Price: $150
We’ve been living in either socks or running shoes for most of the pandemic, and the Levitate 4 brings the two together. It does this well too, as long as you’re good with feeling like a burrito. While previous Levitate models have been on the heavy side, this latest version takes steps towards shedding ounces. The sock-like upper is a key part of the redesign, and the outsole rubber is thinner too.
If you ask Robbe, the ride is a bit firm, but Austin will paint a different picture. He’s been a Levitater since the first edition, and he can attest to the improved responsiveness of the new model. Brooks says the new, revamped DNA Amp is 20% lighter than before, but you’ll have to try them on and find out for yourself.Shop Levitate 4 – Men Shop Levitate 4 – Women
• Revel 4
Use: Daily training on a budget | Drop: 8 mm | Price: $100
There’s something to be said for a reliable trainer that doesn’t bust the budget. For Brooks, the Revel 4 is that shoe. Unlike a number of daily trainers, the Revel 4 keeps things light and springy, and the Fit Knit upper molds nicely to your foot as you break it in. The Revel is still rolling with BioMoGo foam, and both Dave and Gray decided it was just the right move.
Overall, the consensus was that the Revel 4 is good for “blue-collar miles at non-union wages.” Basically, you can let ‘er rip and it won’t hurt too bad when you need a new pair. It even relies on a similar outsole to the Levitate 4, so the arrow pattern should have you bouncing from one foot to the next with a smile on your face. The 8 mm drop is also more reasonable for most people.
Robbe thinks it’s one of the best buys out there, especially if you’re looking for style, comfort, and performance all in one package.Shop Revel 4 – Men Shop Revel 4 – Women
• Glycerin 19
Use: Road training | Drop: 10 mm | Price: $150
Last year, the Brooks Glycerin 18 became old enough to vote. In 2021, it’s one year closer to drinking age. The Glycerin 19 retains that luxurious, runnin’-on-marshmallows ride in a sturdy package. That plush feel is, of course, due to a full-length DNA Loft midsole that yet again sets the bar high for cushioned daily trainers. Our reviewers compared it to the HOKA ONE ONE Mach 4 and Torin 4.5 Plush, but they said it’s a touch more responsive. The outsole is covered in rubber for good traction to keep you confident with your feet in the clouds.
Looking at the upper, a super breathable mesh and gusseted tongue provides solid lockdown and wrap around feel. It’s plain soft, with a liner in the heel to further build on the comfort factor. The Glycerin 19 is a cushy but not mushy daily trainer that Adrienne compared to riding in a Mercedes G-Wagon.Shop Glycerin 19 – Men Shop Glycerin 19 – Women
Use: Trails, trails, and more trails | Drop: 6 mm | Price: $160
Remember how we just finished talking about the beautiful blue DNA Flash on the Hyperion Tempo? Well, it’s back and this time it’s ready to hit the trails. Your best bet to go off-road with Brooks is the Catamount (sorry, Cascadia). Other than the Brooks badge, the two have basically nothing in common. The TrailTack rubber and DNA Flash midsole are just the right combo that made us want to keep the Catamount on forever.
If you’re one to document new running shoes on the ‘gram or elsewhere, be sure to grab your pictures ahead of time. The Catamount is one sleek looking shoe with blue foam and a gum outsole, but someone decided to make this high-tech trail shoe in white and only white. There’s a good chance that it’ll be white for all of five minutes out of the box, but you’ll be too busy enjoying the run. (FWIW we think it looks badass all muddied up.)Shop Catamount – Men Shop Catamount – Women
How We Make Our Picks
If we could let our toes do the typing, we would. We get tons of shoes through the doors here at Believe in the Run, and we let our own experiences guide the list. Of course, we also consider other reviews and our beloved Believe in the Run community as we make our picks. We try to limit ourselves to picking shoes that you can currently buy, as they’re kinda useless otherwise.