The Brooks Launch 8 is a lighter weight, neutral shoe with minimal cushion priced at the $100 sweet spot. With most shoes on the market opting for MORE cushioning, this was an interesting shoe to test.
Can a firmer ride compete in today’s ultra-cushioned world? Let’s find out.
Drew: Plenty of rubber coverage with plenty of flex grooves. The heel rubber is a bit too hard for my liking and I got a little slippage there. On the other hand, the blown rubber in the forefoot grips really well. Some blown rubbers have horrible durability, but Brooks’ blend of blown rubber is holding up well.
Jodi: I used these for winter miles, in our ridiculously foggy little town. I can attest that I didn’t ever slip and eat it. Which I feel sounds about right, given that on the traction itself it says “Designed in Seattle”. If anyone knows how to deal with wet weather, it’s Brooks.
Drew: It’s a very basic materials set with an all mesh upper with some fuse used around the eyelets and for the logo. It’s a simple, no frills upper construction that fits and feels good.
Jodi: The upper is built with this great double layered mesh. You’re getting plenty of air running across your toes and it stretches with your foot but it still keeps you on top of the base of the shoe. The tongue is not locked down with bungees so you can really adjust everything to your personal fit. The laces are a bit of a miss for me personally. If I forgot to double knot them they would come undone within the first mile.
Drew: The Brooks Launch 8 fits true to size. If you’ve worn Brooks before you’ll know you get ample room for toe splay and a shoe that’s not too narrow (like some other brands, ahem). The mesh is stretchy and accommodating. There’s not a ton of padding around the collar, but it still fits and feels fine.
Jodi: Absolutely loved the fit on the Brooks Launch 8. My wide feet had plenty of room for toe splay and swelling.
Drew: All the support comes from a standard internal heel counter and the fuse logos at the side. The Launch 8 also has a wide base and stiff midsole which helps avoid any tippiness. The shoe corners well and I felt completely stable while wearing it.
Jodi: As airy as the front of the shoe is, Brooks really sculpted and padded the back half. Your ankle and heel are locked into place and kept comfortable. I didn’t have any heel slippage or chafing. And the whole upper is on a base that splays out nicely.
Drew: BioMoGo DNA feels very…average. You don’t get any bounce…but you also don’t sink into the midsole. I’d say it’s similar to the On Cloudflyer, but a bit firmer and doesn’t include a plush insole. Heavier runners won’t feel like there’s much cushion at all below their feet. The Launch 8 is meant for smaller, lighter, and efficient runners who don’t need much impact protection. Everyone else won’t like how rough these are on their joints at any speed above a walk.
Jodi: This is where the shoe lost me. Brooks’ website says this is “our lightest BioMoGo DNA midsole cushioning and provides a fast ride without any extra weight.” I will say that the shoes are incredibly light. And heading out the door I instantly forget the shoes were even there. I felt light and quiet. But without fail, around the 25 minute mark of every run, it was like the cushion disappeared from under my forefoot. This left me counting down the minutes till I could get back home and out of the shoes. My feet would feel raw and tired after each run.
Drew: The Brooks Launch 8 chooses less cushioning and I think that’s a mistake. I just don’t see many people opting for the Brooks Launch 8 when spending $30 more on another Brooks model like the Ghost 13 or Glycerin 18 can get you a much better feeling ride along with an even nicer upper.
Jodi: So many boxes were ticked for this shoe, but unfortunately one major box was not, the cushion. Cushion and Fit are probably the most important factors I look for when it comes to any footwear. With that being said, the Launch 8 will not be a go to for me going into 2021. I won’t make them yard shoes, they’re too pretty for that. But maybe if gyms ever open again they might make an appearance. As for a daily runner though, I’m going to pass.
Thanks to Brooks for sending pairs to test. Brooks was not given any editorial control of the review. This review is based on our weartesters’ experiences using the shoes for speed workouts, trail runs, treadmill training, long runs, casual wear, and more.