I was fortunate enough to win the Brooks credit in the 2018 Lottery. As somebody that is relatively new to running (about 2 years), I’m still searching for the “best” shoe for me. I put that in quotes, knowing that there probably isn’t just one “best” option. But, that’s not going to stop me from trying as many as possible. I guess now is as good of a time as any to admit that I’m a bit of a gear addict. So this lottery opportunity was really exciting for me. Especially since I had never run in Brooks shoes before. I had wanted to try them for while, but was having a hard time finding a way to convince my wife that I needed to add another set of shoes to the collection of shoes currently in active rotation (7 sets with plenty of life still on them). Brooks lottery you say? Excellent!
As I always do; I started out by doing research online. I’m a neutral runner, that primarily runs distance of 10 – 16 km at a time. I’ve had some Plantar Fasciitis issues in the past, so, I tend to lean more towards a cushioned shoe for training. The Brooks Ghost, and Brooks Glycerin seemed to check all of the boxes. But I was also curious about the Levitate. All seemed to have great reviews online, which didn’t make the decision any easier. So, obviously the next step was to try them on.
I headed to Running Free, and as usual, was greeted by friendly staff, anxious to help out. Unfortunately, the Ghost 11 was sold out in my size. But, that made the decision a bit easier, so, I was ok with that. I tried on the Glycerin 16, as well as the Levitate 2. Both felt amazing, and I really struggled to decide. What ended up tipping the scale for me, was the fact that the guy helping me out, spoke very highly of his Glycerins. Knowing that they were a more cushioned shoe than the Levitate also made them the natural choice.
Since purchasing the Glycerin 16s; I’ve put about 100 km on them. I am very happy with the shoes.
My biggest observations are as follows:
* Fit true to size
* Comfortable right out of the box, without any breaking in required
* Not the lightest shoe I’ve worn by any means, but they look heavier than they feel (and I wouldn’t expect them to be super light as a cushioned shoe anyway)
* Awesome shoe for daily runs and just putting in the training miles (probably wouldn’t wear them on race day, and would opt for a lighter less cushioned shoe for that)
* DNA Loft sole has just the right amount of cushioning for me, while still feeling very responsive. I’ve worn some cushioned shoes that just feel like you’re running on marshmallows. Not the case here. Still nice and springy with each step
* The mesh upper is very breathable, and gives the right amount of stretch without feeling sloppy or loose
* Toe box feels great for me (plenty of room for toe splay, and / or swelling on your long runs)
* Nicely structured heel counter, but with plenty of padding (I suspect these would be very good for anyone with achilles issues)
* I haven’t noticed any hot spots or rubbing areas inside of the shoes
* I can’t fully speak on durability, as I’ve only put limited mileage on them. But they look very well built, and I don’t anticipate having any issues whatsoever in this department
* Plenty of tread on them, and I would expect that they will last many many miles
Potential caution areas:
* The outsole on the heel area is a little bit wider than I’m used to. This didn’t cause me any issues, but did take a little bit of getting used to. I accidentally kicked myself a couple of times when running, but only on the first run with them, and quite possible due to bad running form. No issues with that after the first run.
* The laces are a round, slightly stretchy material. If you are very picky about getting an exact tightness when lacing, you might want to swap out laces (easy fix). But, it wasn’t an issue for me in any way.
* The tongue is padded. I personally liked this, but I know that some prefer a more minimal flat tongue. So, just a general note.
Overall, I am very satisfied with the Glycerin 16s, and would happily recommend them to runners looking for a neutral cushioned shoe that they can put lots of miles on. I didn’t really find any of the “caution areas” to be anywhere close to deal breakers. Every shoe has good and bad points. I just felt it was important to include all thoughts for a well-rounded review. They are already part of my regular rotation, and I’m looking forward to trying some other models in the Brooks lineup when I get that itch to add another set of shoes to the collection.