Brooks is a running-focused brand out of Seattle, Washington. Originally focused on many different sports after its founding in 1914, the company pared back to focus on running in 2001. Nowadays, Brooks competes with Nike for market share and is often the running shoe market share leader (though this can change depending on the time period). What’s important for you to know is that Brooks is a great running shoe company and makes high performing shoes. We keep this page updated with the Best Brooks Running Shoes.
We put each shoe in the category that makes the most sense (trail, cushioned, everyday running, racing, etc.). Then we highlight what made the shoe great along with any issues it may have. The idea is that you can easily read through this article, understand which of the shoes will work for your feet and buy the best Brooks running shoes for you.
Last updated 9.10.2021
Best Neutral Cushioned Brooks Running Shoe
The Brooks Glycerin 19 is the Cadillac of Brooks Running Shoes. It’s a do everything, well-cushioned roadster. Both of our testers loved it for the max cushion, comfort and accommodating fit. You’ll be hard pressed to find a more comfortable daily trainer. As usual with Brooks, the Glycerin line is wide foot friendly. You also get some fun extras like super soft stretchy laces and high end support/lockdown. Running shoes don’t get much better. Read the full review.
Best Space Age Brooks Running Shoe
The Brooks Aurora-BL is an awesome shoe that’s the result of Brooks’ experimental BlueLine Lab. Hence the BL in the shoe’s name. At $200, this is not a shoe for weekend warriors or beginners. It’s aimed squarely at early adopters. And for those running shoe geeks, it’s super fun. It’s got soft, bouncy DNA Loft v3 cushioning, an unusual but effective fit and really solid stability. The Aurora-BL can also easily pick up speed and feels as good on your fast days as your recovery days. The heel has some fit issues for some people and the outsole rubber wears quickly. But, if you’re into shoe tech, those small issues won’t bug you. You’ll just enjoy the many “what are those” looks you get on the local greenway. Read the full review.
Best Affordable Brooks Running Shoe
The Brooks Ghost 14 is Brooks’ award-winning mid-tier neutral cushioned shoe. It’s the little brother to the Glycerin 19 and a great starter shoe for anyone new to running. While the Ghost is not as plush as the Glycerin 19, it still packs plenty of impact protection. It’s got a thick, durable outsole that rarely suffers any slippage. The upper is comfortable and accommodating if a bit boring. This isn’t a flashy shoe. Instead Brooks aims to achieve the goal of reliability and consistency. And to top if off, if you run in wintry or wet conditions, Brooks offers a GTX version which includes a GORE-TEX membrane that’s waterproof. It will keep your feet dry. Well, assuming you don’t submerge your foot in an ocean-sized puddle.
Best Brooks Trail Running Shoes
We couldn’t pick just one because Brooks makes two impressive trail shoes, the Brooks Catamount and the Brooks Cascadia 16.
The Brooks Catamount is a trail shoe, but a trail running shoe made for going fast. It’s light and springy with great traction. There’s no rock plate but the thick midsole protects the wearer from most rocks and roots. It does everything well and is a shoe I reach for when I want to turn my trail run into a fast workout. Read the full review.
The Brooks Cascadia 16 has everything you need out of a trail shoe. Ballistic Rock Shield, ample cushioning (the most they’ve ever put in the Cascadia), a wide base and ample room for your foot to expand on long runs or hikes. These have become my go-to hiking shoes when tackling a trail with family or friends. They feel and perform like a trail running shoe but protect as well as a good hiking boot. The only potential issue is the Cascadia 16 may be too wide for some people. Narrow footers will need to either wear thick hiking socks or go down a half size. Oh, and one other thing. Ok, two. First, the Cascadia 16 comes in some awesome, flashy color combos. And second, there’s a GTX version with an enhanced GORE-TEX upper that will keep you feet dry during rainy season. At $130 retail, the Brooks Cascadia 16 is comfort, stability, and protection wrapped up in a reasonably priced package.
Best Brooks Marathon Running Shoe
Ok, this one is kind of a cop out. Brooks only has one marathon-focused shoe, the Brooks Hyperion Elite 2. It’s price tag is high at $250, but the thick, bouncy DNA Flash midsole competes well with other modern marathon shoes. The upper is comfy, but the fit, especially in the heel, is sloppy. Some people don’t have any problems with the fit but some (like our tester) got hot spots on the achilles area unless he was wearing higher cut, thicker socks. If you prefer running in Brooks, then this is the marathon shoe for you. Read full review.
The Brooks Levitate 5 comes in two fits. StealthFit and Classic. Classic is your typical running shoe fit and StealthFit is a sock-like knit upper. You can also order the more supportive GTS version (if you need it to control excess pronation). The Levitate 5 doesn’t have a ton of the DNA Amp cushion under foot but what’s there is super springy. It feels springier then previous versions even though Brooks doesn’t state any differences in the foam. So if you’re light on your feet or light in general, the Levitate may be perfect for you. At $150, it’s on the high end of Brooks’ everyday running shoe price range, but from the copious rubber on the outsole to the upper materials, the Levitate 5 is built to last a ton of miles.
Brooks Running Shoes to Avoid
As of right now, we don’t have any Brooks shoes to put on this list. All the currently available Brooks models we’ve tested are solid running shoes. What would appear in this section are any shoes with big issues or flaws that prevent us from recommending them.
Got any suggestions for this list? Message us on Twitter with the shoe(s) we should add.