At this point, Brooks is synonymous with running. While they used to make an array of sports gear, they’re now all about getting out the door and putting one foot in front of the other. We’ve had our share of experience in the shoes, and even some gear, so we were excited to get back into it for this review of the Fall 2020 collection.
The highlight (no pun intended) of this fall is the Run Visible collection, pieces made to stand out in the dark without looking like a walking highlighter. To achieve this, Brooks added an excellent design touch to their apparel, with strategically placed 3M Scotchlite Carbon Black tape. While reflective elements in the past were either too obtrusive or not bright enough, the 3M tape seamlessly blends in with the fabric (it even stretches!). And it’s barely noticeable until it’s hit with a light, at which point it shines like a Clark Griswold Christmas display. Really cool, and we hope to see it in more products going forward.
Anyway, check out this year’s lineup and pick up some goods to keep you going through the fall and winter.
ROBBE: A comfortable Fit Knit upper wraps the foot snugly, while a lighter DNA Amp midsole provides a slightly firm ride in this daily trainer. For an in-depth performance review, check out our review of the shoe from earlier this year. The shoe is now available in new colorways (like the one pictured), as well as a slick-looking black and neon colorway as part of the Run Visible collection.
PRICE: $150Shop Levitate 4 – Men Shop Levitate 4 – Women
ROBBE: We were hyped on this key piece of the Run Visible collection when we saw it last year at The Running Event. Especially because of the revolutionary 3M Scotchlite Carbon Black tape. Instead of relying on ugly neon everyhwere (yes, it still has some neon hits), Brooks threw on a bunch of the reflective black tape in all the right places, and let me tell ya– when a headlight hits it, it’s visible.
The jacket is super light and breathable, so much so that it’s pretty much see-through. It’s also water-resistant with DriLayer Seal protection, so while it won’t keep downpours out, it will keep you dry in light rain. The construction is top-notch, with quality hems and cuffs (with thumb loops) that are also reflective. Also, it has two zippered hand pockets, thank God. Drives me absolutely insane when jackets don’t have pockets. Bonus points for the longer back hem to keep rain/cold out when bending over.
I also loved the oversized rubber-tipped zipper pull, a very nice touch that is often overlooked. When your hands are cold and wet, it’ll still be easy to move up and down. The only thing I didn’t love about the jacket was the overall fit. To me, it just felt a little… off? I prefer a very trim fit, and the jacket seemed a little baggy in the chest and upper arms. That’s just my opinion, and it’s not a deal-breaker, but thought I should point it out.’
MEAGHAN: The Carbonite Jacket is a thin, wind and water-resistant shell. It’s designed for the early morning and evening runs and features 3M Scotchlite Carbon Black Stretch reflectivity. Trust me when I say, no one will miss you in this jacket.
The jacket is breathable and features a 4-way stretch material for a full range of motion. You’ll also find vented panels in the back for extra airflow as you run. The cuffs are elastic, fit snugly around the wrist and come with thumb loops, which I love.
Since this jacket is so thin, it works for a variety of temperatures. You can pair it with a t-shirt for warmer mornings, or Brooks’ Notch Thermal long sleeve (more on that later) for the cooler mornings. It will definitely add some confidence (and hopefully motivation) for getting out for those early morning runs this winter.
PRICE: $180Shop Carbonite Jacket – Men Shop Carbonite Jacket – Women
ROBBE: The tight completes the bottom half of the cold-weather Carbonite set. And just like the jacket, the tight also has hits of 3M Scotchlite Carbon Black tape on it at key points to keep you super visible in the dark. I always appreciate a good flat-lock seam because it does double duty keeping both moisture and chafing away. The tights fit well throughout the butt and thighs, but seemed to have a little too much fabric around the ankles. I’ve had this issue with Brooks tights before, so it may just be the way they fit. To be completely honest, this was the only piece of the Brooks Run Visible collection that I wasn’t totally into it. For the reasons listed above, but also, because of the white swatches from the knees down. From a distance, you end up looking like an old-timey baseball player with the white socks hiked up to the knees.
Performance-wise, the tights work fine. The stretch is great, and like I said- no chafing. A rear zip pocket allows for storage of phone or other accessories.
PRICE: $130Shop Carbonite Tight – Men Shop Carbonite Tight – Women
CARBONITE 2-IN-1 SHORT
NICK: I have never owned a single piece of Brooks product, but the Carbonite Short was a great introduction. The 2-in-1 short is super lightweight and almost unnoticeable once you get in your groove. The built-in boxer brief liner might be the most comfortable liner I’ve worn in a pair of running shorts and there is no ride up whatsoever. The liner stays in place the whole time.
While there are no side pockets to be had, a rear zipper pocket provides plenty of storage for keys and a card or ID. But a surprise stretch pocket on the right side of the liner also has more room for any of the previous items, and it even stretches enough to fit a phone. But depending on the size of your phone, you could feel a hefty bounce.
The Carbonite Short is a solid piece. My one real gripe is with the drawstrings on the inside of the waistband. You pull them outwards (away from each other) in order to tighten the waistband before tying them together. It’s a strange system that makes it difficult to make them not feel sort of loose. Not the biggest problem ever, but certainly annoying.
PRICE: $75 (men’s), $65 (women’s)Shop Carbonite Short – Men Shop Carbonite 2-in-1 Short – Women
SHIELD HYBRID VEST
JARETT: The shield hybrid vest is made for those chilly days where you want to stay warm but not overheat. It’s a lightweight, insulated vest, that’s also windproof and water-resistant. Aka it can handle all of the elements.
I think Brooks is spot on with the semi-fitted sizing as the medium was perfect. It doesn’t bounce around, nor does it hug me all sausage-like. The vest features two front zippered pockets as well as a zippered chest pocket. With the current state of life and extra accessories, I kept my key in the hand pocket and put my mask in the chest pocket. Maybe when things go back to “normal,” you can keep your credit card or ID in that chest pocket.
I wore the vest on my early morning runs and since it’s early fall, the temperature would only get as low as 60 degrees Fahrenheit. It started great, but I would get warm a few miles in. This would be a go-to option during low 50 degree runs. I’m really enjoying the shield hybrid vest and I really don’t have anything of issue to note. In fact, Brooks uses recycled polyester, which they claim reduces carbon emissions by 40% compared to regular polyester. So like if you don’t buy this, one could argue that you hate the world.
PRICE: $110Shop Hybrid Vest – Men Shop Hybrid Vest – Women
NOTCH THERMAL LONG SLEEVE
ROBBE: I’ve collected my share of hoodies and jackets over the years and I have to say– this is one of the more comfortable and warm tops I’ve come across. I actually had last year’s version and made it a part of my regular lineup just for everyday wear. Made of 90% polyester and 10% spandex, it’s super soft but stretchy, allowing for good movement on a run. You will want to save this for those really cold runs– this thing is W-A-R-M. Even though it’s pitched as a midweight layer, it keeps you cozier than a mittened-cupped mug of hot chocolate.
No detail is overlooked on this thing. The thumb loops and shoulder stash pocket are both useful, and the scuba-style hood locks in that head heat without limiting your scope of vision. The fit molds the body but not in a weird way as the stretch provides good form to the hoodie.
MEAGHAN: The Notch Thermal has easily become one of my favorite long sleeves. This super-soft, cropped fleece is not only extremely comfortable, but it transitions into casual wear as well. Designed with thumbholes and a small stash pocket on the left cuff, it’s the most simple, versatile, long-sleeve you didn’t know you needed.
PRICE: $90 (men’s hoodie), $80 (women’s long sleeve)Shop Notch Hoodie – Men Shop Notch LS – Women
MOMENTUM THERMAL TIGHT
MEGHAN: Unlike the Carbonite Tight, the Momentum thermal tights are perfect for those very cold mornings. They’re designed with a really soft thermal interior that keeps you warm and cozy. There are two large mesh pockets at each hip and an internal pocket within the waistband so you’ve got plenty of places to store a phone, keys, GU, etc. I loved these on the run when the temperatures got below 40 (for a couple days recently).
PRICE: $95Shop Momentum Tight – Women Shop Momentum Tight – Women