|Full Name: Brooks Defyance 4
|Weight: 10.9 oz (M) 8.9 oz (W) (309 gr. (M) 252 gr. (W))
|Suggested Price: $100
|Recommended For: neutral runners with higher arches that prefer a snug fit; neutral runners looking for additional support
Brooks Defyance 4 General Info:
The Brooks Defyance 4 was designed for neutral runners looking for a bit more support without added bulk. The midsole, which is based on the wildly popular Adrenaline GTS, features an asymmetrical design that hugs the natural outline of the foot and makes for a smooth ride. The Defyance 4 does not have the firm support post found in the midsole of the Adrenaline GTS, keeping it from providing too much support and allowing for added flexibility.
While runners with wider feet or lower arches may have some issues with the fit of the shoe, Brooks’ slightly narrower toe box and excellent arch support makes for a snug, comfortable fit for high-arched runners, wrapping and supporting the foot. The hallmark of the Defyance 4 is balance. Though the Defyance 4 does not get the same level of attention as some of Brooks’ other offerings, it was named a Runner’s World Editor’s Choice in Spring 2011, and can be an excellent choice for an all-around trainer for neutral runners.
Brooks Defyance 4 Sole Unit:
A key feature of the Defyance 4 sole unit is the caterpillar crash pad at the heel, which helps absorb shock on heavy strides. The Defyance 4 also features Brooks’ Hydroflow at the heel and forefoot, enhancing cushioning and shock absorption, as well as the MoGo midsole, designed to lengthen the life of the cushioning. The forefoot also features a blown-rubber construction, which some runners may find too thin. While running on city streets and dirt trails however, the shoe’s treads provide plenty of traction, even in wet and slippery conditions.
Overall, the sole unit provides a smooth ride, striking a balance between softness that allows runners to feel the terrain, and firmness which provides enough support to run long distances comfortably on both roads and dirt trails. Providing support without overcorrecting form, making the Defyance 4 an option for runners who need support, but still want to avoid heavy interference from their shoes.
Brooks Defyance 4 Upper:
Most notably, the Defyance 4’s upper features a snug fit, hugging the foot nicely and holding firm, but does not prevent natural movement of the foot, creating a balance of support and freedom of movement. The general construction of the upper consists of Brooks’ profile sockliner, layered with both a mesh and lining for moisture management. Brooks was successful in creating a breathable, comfortable upper unit without sacrificing weather protection. The upper unit keeps feet comfortable, even in hot and humid conditions. Where some trainers may not stay dry even in drizzly conditions, the Defyance 4 will keep feet dry in light rain and through puddles, and dry quickly when they do get wet. While some users have reported durability issues with the sole unit, the upper holds up nicely.
Brooks Defyance 4 Opinion:
The Brooks Defyance 4 is a great high-mileage trainer for neutral runners looking for a little more support without added bulk. The comfortable, versatile design makes it a great option for runners looking for a workhorse shoe, appropriate for recovery runs, long runs, and tempo runs. Performing well on the long runs and the daily beating of marathon training, the Defyance 4 could also be a solid option for those coming off of an injury. The Defyance 4, while providing stability, are light enough as to not add to fatigue at the end of a long run. One caveat may be that the sole wears slightly more quickly than other trainers, showing visible wear and tear rather early into their life, and is definitely something that runners using the Defyance 4 should be aware of.
A snug fit and low slung profile allows the Defyance 4 to support the foot without too much bulk and weight, hugging the foot. In personal experience, the Defyance 4’s biggest advantage is the fit and support that does not interfere with natural gait. After testing various similar models, the Defyance 4 stood out as a shoe that felt natural and supportive, without the sense that my gait was altered by the construction or a feeling of heaviness that can sometimes come with added support. The Defyance 4 has stood up to the daily grind of marathon training both on city streets and dirt trails. Overall, it is a solid choice for neutral runners looking for a little extra support or for those coming off of an injury
Review by Courtney Roy
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Brooks Defyance 4 Price Comparison: