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Brooks stability shoes better than ever

After testing plenty of stability sneakers from leading brands, Brooks are unrivaled in the stability category. 

I’ve been wearing stability running shoes since a gait analysis at my local running store revealed I’m an overpronator. Pronation describes how the heel distributes the body’s weight while walking or running. Overpronation is when the heel rolls inward excessively, distributing the body’s weight unevenly throughout the foot. This can misalign the joints used for running—usually the knees and ankles. Additionally, if you run long enough without support, your hips will also feel the ache.

After testing numerous stability sneakers from other leading brands, Brooks running shoes are your go-to support (GTS) for anything from speed and tempo runs to long runs and marathon training. They can also be heaven-sent while negotiating long, explorative walks while traveling.

Brooks offers a stunning array of running shoes to address distinctive running styles, surface preferences, and fashion senses. While having many choices is gratifying, it can be daunting to guess which is optimal. Brooks removes the guesswork from buying running shoes with their dynamic shoe finder webpage. Once you’ve determined which pair will suit you, run to your nearest running store for a test drive and purchase. Buying locally is better for the environment and the local economy! Plus, if you’re unsure what shoe suits you the best, you can almost always do a gait analysis at a running store.

The Brooks breakdown

In addition to being an overpronator, I’m a roadrunner with arthritic feet. I set out to improve my running by testing four different models of Brooks stability running shoes. The Adrenaline GTS provides cushion, stability, and endurance. The Levitate GTS is built with the most cushion and added springiness for an energetic ride. For speed, the Launch GTS is lightweight with standard cushioning that pads the extra pounding your feet will unleash on tempo or sprint split days. On long runs or for full-marathon running, the Glycerin GTS with the most cushioning is your go-to runner to protect your joints from the constant strain of long mileage.

Brooks categorizes their shoes into six specific experiences. Consider these when purchasing your preferred model:

  1. Experience type:
    1. Cushion
    2. Speed
    3. Energize
    4. Trail
  2. Experience level (directly related to your choice in #1)
    1. Cushion type: Neutral Cushion, More Cushion, Most Cushion
    2. Speed: Fast, Faster, Fastest
    3. Energize: Neutral Springy, More Springy, Most Springy
    4. Trail difficulty: Light Trail, Mountain Trail, Ultra Trail
  3. Surface: Road, Trail, Treadmill
  4. Support: Neutral, Support, Max Support
  5. Midsole Drop
  6. Weight

Brooks Stability Technology

What distinguishes Brooks stability running shoes from the competition is their GuideRails technology, which they liken to a bicycle’s training wheels. But I call it guardrails because they keep the foot from falling off the cliff—so to speak. Essentially, the GuideRails reduce the heel roll on the instep and the heel shift on the opposite side. Also, to easily distinguish which Brooks models include GuideRails, they’ve included the acronym GTS (go-to support) in all their stability models’ names.

The GuideRails are simply two pieces of stiff foam that cup the outer and inner curves of the back of the midsole. A long piece of foam wraps around the arch and heel on the instep. On the outer sole, the foam is half the size. Together, they stabilize the heel to keep it from rolling inward and moving laterally, holding the foot steady. 

Brooks Cushion Technology

Brooks offers three different types of cushion technologies. For a comfortable, plush run, wear a shoe with DNA LOFT. This model is built with foam, rubber, and air underfoot to keep the run effortless, weightless, and breezy. The responsive cushion technology gives the shoes enough softness and bounce to keep your long runs comfortable. Other manufacturers’ cushioned runners sometimes seem to splat when you hit the pavement, like walking in a bounce house. However, the DNA LOFT’s firmer cushion lands softly without the shoe feeling too spongy. The Adrenalines are ideal for running distances above five miles. Currently, Brooks features DNA LOFT in six models.

The second cushion technology is best for an energetic, springy run–the DNA AMP cushion, which packs a durable punch. The foam in these midsoles is enveloped in a rigid plastic casing that amply stretches and contracts as you run. This is the spring and bounce that are essential during faster runs.

I tested the Adrenaline GTS, which uses DNA LOFT cushioning for mid-distance runs. For sprints, I tried the Levitate GTS, which is fashioned with DNA AMP cushioning. The Launch GTS is built for tempo at longer distances. Lastly, if you’re marathon training, you’ll want to support your joints with the Glycerin GTS. These have the most cushioning with DNA LOFT v3 cushioning technology.

Brooks Adrenaline GTS 23 overview

At 10.1 ounces, the Brooks Adrenaline GTS 23 seems floaty but sturdy. These shoes are categorized under ‘More Cushion’ under Experience Type and are stable and protective. They’re snug around the ankle and midfoot for tight support without feeling constrained. The toe box is breathable and spacious, keeping your piggies blister-free. Moreover, they’re dynamic on the takeoff and pliant on the landing. They’re the quintessential Goldilocks fit. Plus, with slightly longer laces, double-knotting these puppies are a cinch.

Released in late 2023, the new fabric upper is breathable mesh and can take a puddle splash without soaking your toes. The heel tab and collar at the back provide suitable padding prolific in protecting the ankle and absorbing sweat.

The rubber outsole is thick and best suited for constant long-run pounding. What’s more, the wavy ridges and grooves provide traction with smooth transitions. In other words, you won’t be slipping around in these sneakers because the sole sticks to the road from landing to takeoff.

Although Brooks continuously updates their DNA LOFT technology, the distinctions between the Adrenaline GTS 22—its predecessor—and the 23 are subtle. They look marginally different around the sole and have increased the size of the reflectors at the front end, but the test comes when you lace them up. The 23s contour the foot better. They’re also lighter and springier than the previous iteration. Regardless, the Adrenaline line is a dependable shoe built to withstand hundreds of miles of pavement pounding. 

Brooks Levitate GTS Overview

For an ‘energize’ shoe, this comes in at 9.9 ounces, and it’s apparent from the onset. It might be the only drawback I’ve experienced with the Levitate. However, these shoes are phenomenal for speed-run days with less cushioning, a tougher midsole, and increased ridges on their outsole. Like the Adrenaline, Levitate’s uppers are stretchy, providing more flexibility for a swift transition.

Levitate’s midsole’s cushion and heel padding are its distinct characteristics. The DNA AMP in these gives each stride the dynamic push that keeps you steady. Furthermore, its bounce is like a return on energy when landing.

The Levitate line comes with more technical options to choose from than the Adrenalines, though. They’re offered with or without GuideRails and with or without StealthFit. StealthFit is the elastic fabric that contours the foot, mimicking the slide-on feel of a sock.

If you’re looking for an impact shoe to improve your speed, give these a spin.

Brooks Launch GTS Overview

Unlike speed runs, which are short-distance sprints, tempo runs are fast-paced runs between three and seven miles. These can be tough on the joints if you’re not wearing the proper footwear. Brooks Launch is the perfect shoe for the mid-distance range and tempo runs. The lightest shoe of the pack at just 7.8 ounces, these runners will support the more brutal strikes of your foot as you chase down your PRs. The only drawback to these is the lack of choices. Brooks only offers three styles for these workhorses.

Brooks Glycerin GTS Overview

Mile after mile, get lost in your marathon training with these super-cushioned stability shoes. Whether you’re training for a half or a full marathon, the extra cushion is perfect to push you over the finish line. At 9.1 ounces, these award-winning runners will help you maintain your energy to keep you going. Seven fantastic style options are available with these, so you can coordinate them with your outfit whenever you hit the pavement. The only drawback is the slight energy absorption after your foot hits the pavement when your stride transitions.

Runners are a diverse group of people with individual running goals. So if you’re a roadrunner, trail runner or hiker, treadmill junkie, track-racing enthusiast, or walker, Brooks has you covered.

Check out my other reviews on running apparel here.

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