We hit the road to test out the latest Brooks Running styles
Last summer, when a pandemic and new parenthood made it near-impossible to work out at my local gym, I took up the only form of exercise I had the energy and time to do, an afternoon walk.
But within a couple of weeks, those walks weren’t proving strenuous enough to close the activity rings on my Apple Watch, so I started to slowly jog instead of walk.
Of course, cause and effect meant that even jogging wasn’t enough to hit my daily activity goals, and I ended up running.
I got with a physical therapist who taught me better running form, and I soon went from “needing a walk break every few minutes to catch my breath” to running two, three, four, five miles at a time.
As a Finish Line employee and a longtime sneakerhead, I had plenty of shoes kicking around my apartment that I could wear out on the road for workouts, but nothing that I had specifically bought for the purpose of running in.
Since last summer I’ve put almost 450 miles on a couple pairs of a particular brand’s shoes during training for 5K, 10K and half-marathon distances.
But when Brooks offered me the chance to give three of its new running models a (literal) test-run, I could hardly pass it up.
Brooks sent me pairs of three silhouettes from its running catalog:
- Brooks Adrenaline GTS 21
- Brooks Glycerin 19
- Brooks Ghost 13
The road test
At the time of writing, I’m less than two weeks away from running in my first ever half-marathon, so I didn’t want to throw my training program off too badly by throwing a few new pairs of shoes into the mix.
But in saying that, I wanted to be able to give these bad boys all a good chance to shine the way they’re designed to: between the bottom of my foot and the surface of the road.
I decided to run an easy 2-mile loop around my Uptown neighborhood in Denver to give myself plenty of time to warm up and build up some pace to see how each pair performed. It ain’t scientific, but I’m not a scientist, or an Olympian, just a regular mid-30s dude who likes to run.
Alright, with that out of the way, let’s get into it.
Brooks Adrenaline GTS 21
The Adrenaline GTS 21 is, as you can probably guess from the name, the 21st edition of what Brooks says is its most popular shoe. But after more than 20 years of production, the company isn’t resting on its laurels and is constantly improving the runner.
The Adrenaline GTS 21 features Brooks’s GuideRail technology to eliminate lateral movement and protect the knees, DNA LOFT and BioMoGo cushioning for comfort and responsiveness on the road, and an upper made from 3D Fit Print Air Mesh for breathability and a secure fit.
These were the first pair I laced up, and size-wise they would’ve been perfect had I remembered to put my running insoles in them. On-foot it’s a sturdy shoe and before I even got out the door it felt as though this sneaker means business.
Traction on the road felt good even in wet, post-winter storm conditions, and I felt plenty of support as I got going. The 3D Fit Print Air Mesh was snug without being tight, and the vented materials meant there was no chance my feet were going to overheat.
Brooks Glycerin 19
Brooks touts the Glycerin 19 as the most cushioned running shoe it’s ever made. The same DNA LOFT cushioning runs from toe to heel in the midsole but doesn’t sacrifice lightness for comfort, weighing in at just 10.2oz.
Updated materials in the mesh upper are designed to provide a better fit while you’re out there pounding the pavement, whether you’re a weekend warrior or deep in a training program.
I was a little nervous about these, as they arrived from Brooks in a size 13 and I didn’t have my insoles with me for the workout. It didn’t matter a bit, because they fit perfectly and felt fantastic. While there’s only a 0.2oz weight difference between the Glycerin 19 and the Adrenaline GTS 21, I barely even noticed these on my feet.
I won’t divulge my mile splits or pace (like I said, I’m just an average dude who likes running, not an Olympian) but these carried me to my fastest run of the road test. Lightweight, super comfortable, and on top of that they look great. Road running can quickly turn white uppers grey, but with these it’d be worth the risk.
Brooks Ghost 13
The Ghost 13 is somewhere in the middle of the Adrenaline GTS 21 and the Glycerin 19, blending just the right amount of cushioning with a smooth, even ride.
Featuring DNA LOFT and BioMoGo midsole cushioning and the new Engineered Air Mesh upper, you’ll be eager to lace ’em up and get after it.
Despite test-running the Ghost 13s on the final leg of my workout, or perhaps because of it, I clocked an identical mile pace this time around.
The shoe itself felt snug and sturdy, with a mesh upper that offered plenty of flex and breathability, while the midsole cushioning combination of DNA LOFT and BioMoGo ensured I had plenty of drive and response through each stride.
Obviously I’m no expert or coach, so your mileage may vary. Everyone’s feet are different, but based on my training program here’s how I see myself deploying these runners in the future.
For long runs: I’d choose the Adrenaline GTS 21. Sturdy, supportive, breathable and comfortable, these bad boys gave me confidence from step one.
For tempo and recovery runs: This is where the Ghost 13 came into its own for me. I was on the final interval of this road test and starting to feel like it, but the Ghost 13 had the right combination of comfort and responsiveness to keep me running through the finish line.
For speed workouts: Hands down, the Glycerin 19 felt fastest of the three. If the local high school track wasn’t covered with a couple inches of snow, I’d have gladly stepped up my pace and put these babies to the test.
Don’t just take it from me, see how Brooks can elevate your running with the Adrenaline GTS 21, the Glycerin 19 or the Ghost 13. All three of these models are available now in Men’s and Women’s sizing at finishline.com and in stores.
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Want to elevate your workouts even further? Brooks and JD Finish Line are giving STATUS members the chance to win one of six prize packs including a pair of Brooks running shoes, a Garmin running watch and a running arm band for your smartphone. Hit the Rewards Catalog and redeem your STATUS points to enter. Not a member? Sign up here. Last day to enter is 3/29! Official Rules apply.
STATUS members can earn bonus rewards points by purchasing select Brooks running styles. Terms and conditions apply.