I was actually quite excited to try the Adrenaline ASR 12, as I have worn the Brooks Cascadias for years, but have always found them to be stiff, heavy, and clunky.
The Adrenaline ASR is lighter in weight, and is purported to be more flexible than the Cascadias. I found both of these things to be true.
Brooks Adrenaline ASR 12 General Info
The Adrenaline ASR 12, is, as its name suggests, the trail version of Brooks’ Adrenaline series. It is intended to display the fit and cushion of the Adrenaline, with a more rugged outsole and increased traction.
I was quite happy while opening the Adrenaline ASR 12 for the first time, as I liked the color scheme and overall look of the shoe, and the sole had the look of good traction, yet it still looked lightweight and flexible.
Trying them on, they were quite comfortable, and felt very cushioned underfoot, much more so than other trail shoes I have worn recently.
Brooks Adrenaline ASR 12 Sole Info
I have few complaints regarding the sole. Once wearing them out on the trails, I was appreciative of the flexibility as well as the traction and lightness. Compared to the Cascadias, they were definitely lighter and much less clunky feeling.
Wearing these through the summer, I didn’t have a chance to wear these in wet conditions, but they gripped well on dirt trails as well as medium to fine gravel. The gait cycle was smooth, and the ride very comfortable, particularly while on flat terrain.
However, on larger gravel and rocky trails, the underfoot protection was lacking, and I received a few stone bruises due to this.
Brooks Adrenaline ASR 12 Upper Info
The upper is designed of primarily water-resistant mesh, which was entirely comfortable when first trying this shoe on. Again, wearing through the summer, I am unable to comment on its water-resistant properties.
With wear, however, a few issues popped up. While the mesh was comfortable, there is a firm plastic outer structure that wrapped over my 5th metatarsal joint (outside pinky toe) and irritated my foot on longer runs of 6+ miles.
There is also too much foot slippage. While running on flat ground or uphill, I had no problems, but downhill, despite a proper fit and different lacing techniques, my toes kept running into the front of the shoe.
I have lost 2 toenails due to this. Unfortunately, I run in the foothills of a mountain range and have only hills to run, so I’m unable to run in these.
Brooks Adrenaline ASR 12 Conclusions
I’m a bit disappointed in the Adrenaline ASR 12s, unfortunately. While they are quite comfortable, with minor issues, and I quite enjoy the degree of cushion and excellent traction, I am unable to wear them in the terrain I run in.
I cannot run downhill or on rocky trails, and easily greater than 50% of my terrain is one of those two things. For someone running flatter, non-technical terrain, I can see them working very well.
We thank the nice people at Brooks for sending us a pair of Adrenaline ASR 12 to test. This did not influence the outcome of the review, written after running more than 50 miles in them.