Brooks Ghost 4 General Info
After the highly-successful Ghost 3, Brooks went with a more conservative update for the Ghost 4, only improving on the Ghost 3’s advantages. Leaving the overall fit untouched, Brooks rebuilt the sole unit while trying and leaving the feel unchanged. The most noticeable changes from the Ghost 3 are the heel and forefoot cushioning, and the crash pad in the heel, which is more segmented allowing for additional flexibility. Another key change to the Ghost 4 is Brooks’ DNA system -a patented cushioning system that is designed to adapt to a runner’s foot. Overall, Brooks has created a more balanced and lighter trainer, which allows the foot to move naturally without sacrificing support and cushioning.
Brooks Ghost 4 Impressions
I admit that I was really excited to try the Brooks Ghost 4 from the beginning, and I wasn’t disappointed once I began wearing them. From my very first run in them I was hooked, and found myself reaching for them again and again. The Ghost 4 has a nice blend of support and flexibility, which is evident immediately. The soft, flexible sole and lightweight upper make for a smooth heel-to-toe transition, providing plenty of bounce and a great kick throughout the entire run. After running in them for about a week, I decided that they would be the shoes for my next marathon.
The Ghost 4 held up great throughout my 20-mile training runs, and even better during 26.2 miles through the streets of New York City. Never once feeling heavy -even through the long runs -the Ghost 4 was soft enough to protect my legs from the pounding, yet still allowed me to feel the road beneath me. I put them through quite a bit this summer, running through rain and heat, on pavement and trails, and the Ghost 4 never let me down. Brooks has struck a great balance with the Ghost 4, blending support with a lightweight construction. The end result is a trainer that protects runners from the impact of the road without interfering with the wearer’s gait.
Brooks Ghost 4 Sole Unit
The sole unit of the Ghost 4 has been updated for the new version to create a smoother heel-to-toe transition and a smoother ride. The caterpillar crash pad at the heel is more segmented in this version than in the Ghost 4, with wider “Omega Flex Grooves,” adding more flexibility to the heel section. The flex grooves are narrower at the top and are designed to open out with each step, allowing the shoe to flex with the runner’s foot and provide a more natural feel.
Replacing the HydroFlow system (plastic packets of a viscous fluid) as the primary cushioning in the sole, Brooks DNA cushioning is slightly lighter and is much more responsive. Unlike the older HydroFlow system, DNA actually adapts to each runner, reacting to the impact of an individual’s gait. The midsole also features the DNA system as well as a small plastic shank, meant to provide additional support by keeping the foot stable. When taking my first look at the shoes, I admit that I was concerned that they would make for a clunky ride, but Brooks has made the lateral side less stiff than the medial side, allowing for support without interfering with the ride. Ultimately, the sole unit is flexible and cushioned, allowing wearers to move naturally while remaining supportive enough for long runs.
Brooks Ghost 4 Upper Unit
Brooks has kept the upper unit simple on the Ghost 4. The upper consists of a microfiber layer, topped by an additional mesh layer. Overall, the shoe handles moisture well, and performs well under all conditions. Running through humid summer days -and even sudden October snowstorms in New York City -the upper held strong, and kept my feet dry in all but the soggiest of conditions. Even on a hot day, my feet stayed cool and comfortable. In the middle of the long hours put in while marathon training, this comfort makes a world of difference. The Ghost 4 performed well even on long tempo runs through the rain. Even more importantly, the upper dried quickly, and the shoes were ready for another session the very next morning.
Brooks Ghost 4 Opinion
The Ghost 4 would be a great option for a variety of runners—ranging from beginners and veterans alike. While the upper is without many of the bells and whistles so common in running shoes today, the sole unit has clearly been the focus of the design process, and Brooks has found a great balance between support and flexibility. Perhaps best of all, the Ghost 4 is a versatile shoe that performs well in a variety of conditions. I felt just as comfortable in them on the track as I did on my favorite roads or a light trail.
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