When the Brooks Beast GTS 23 arrived, I was confused. How was it different from the Brooks Glycerin 20 GTS? The differences (including the looks) are so small.
Now, after running over 50 miles in the Brooks Beast GTS 23, I’m not sure this shoe is necessary. It’s so close to the Glycerin 20 that I find it difficult to figure out why it exists. That said, you may be the target audience if the changes from the Glycerin are what you need in a running shoe.
One clarification before we get into the review. The Brooks Beast GTS 23 is a men’s only shoe. The women’s version is called the Brooks Ariel GTS 23, which we reviewed last month. If you click that link you can read that review from one of our female running testers, Annie Keris.
Now let’s tame this Beast! (Editor’s Note: ugh, please stop)
Brooks Beast GTS 23
Release Date: September 1, 2023
Weight: 11.9 oz.
Sizing: True to size
- Rundown: The Brooks Beast GTS 23 is a men’s only shoe with max support and protective cushioning.
The Brooks Beast GTS 23’s midsole is DNA Loft v3 but it’s not as soft or bouncy as when the same foam was used on the Glycerin 20. It looks similar, but even after a break-in period, it’s just denser than the DNA Loft v3 I’m used to.
This is partially due to less foam being used in the Beast GTS 23. The Glycerin 20 features 38mm in the heel and 28mm in the forefoot while the Beast GTS 23 has only 26mm in the heel and 14mm in the forefoot.
This does help with stability, which is one of the main goals of the Beast GTS 23, but it’s off-putting if you’ve ever enjoyed DNA Loft v3 before. I don’t understand why brands keep the foam name the same when they’ve tinkered with the formulation. It’s confusing for consumers who get used to a certain feel.
And even though the midsole doesn’t deliver as billed, it’s a solid midsole. The protection is good and it works as an easy day shoe and can even pick up the pace a little. But at the same price as the Glycerin 20 GTS I’m not sure why anyone would recommend the Beast over the Glycerin, especially anyone concerned with cushioning.
Chris Chung’s take on the midsole: The ride of the nitrogen-infused DNA loft v3 midsole was smooth but not cushioned. I personally didn’t feel any bounce or responsiveness in the foam. It just felt a little stiff for me. I read a lot about the midsole breaking in and softening up after approximately 25 miles, but I just didn’t find that to be the case.
For a shoe with a pillowy tongue and padded upper, that design did not translate over to the midsole.
Stability is the name of the game. Everything from the wide outsole, stiff midsole, and GuideRails support system with a structured and padded heel counter screams stability in the Brooks Beast GTS 23.
The Brooks Beast GTS 23 sports a typical ho-hum engineered air mesh upper. It’s basically the same as you get with other Brooks models. Fairly comfortable, nicely padded, etc. If you like Brooks’ usual uppers, you’ll enjoy this one too.
As is typical with high-end Brooks outsoles, the rubber on the Brooks Beast GTS 23 is great at preventing slips. However, the rubber wears quickly, unlike the equally priced Brooks Glycerin. This will be a deal breaker for runners who want a more abrasion-resistant outsole. Annie did have better results with the outsole on the Ariel GTS 23 (which is essentially the same shoe) so your mileage may vary (Editor’s Note: these corny jokes are awful).
Is the Brooks Beast GTS 23 wide foot friendly?
Yes, the Brooks Beast GTS 23 is wide foot friendly. The upper is accommodating and will work for a wide range of foot types plus Running Warehouse carries it in both 2E and 4E widths if you need extra room.
Is the Brooks Beast GTS 23 worth $160?
The Brooks Beast GTS 23 just doesn’t have quite enough cushion for the pushing (Editor’s Note: that doesn’t mean what you think it does). Why pay for less cushioning when you can get similar support from the Brooks Glycerin GTS 20 at the same price? There’s no reason not to upgrade to the Glycerin line.
Brooks Beast GTS 23 Summary
The Brooks Beast GTS 23 is a solid shoe with fantastic stability. But at $160, you might as well buy the softer, bouncier, top-of-the-line Brooks Glycerin GTS instead.