The update to my Shoe of the Year last year has finally hit the market and I got to test it again. Going into the testing, I was excited to see what Brooks had done to the Ghost line, and they changed a lot.
Most of these changes are very noticeable and are great, while others are just there. In all, this update is still a great shoe and one of my “Go-To” shoes for all sorts of training.
Brooks Ghost 9 General Info
Brooks has a couple of staple “Go-To Shoes” in its catalogue, and for the neutral runner, that means the Ghost. The Ghosts represent the top of the line shoe from Brooks in the cushion neutral set.
And in this case the shoe hits almost all the marks you might want. The cushion is just enough for your long runs while still having an aggressive stack for when you want to push the tempo.
This model of Ghosts has been completely updated, from the ground up. The tread is slightly less aggressive than the 8s, which means a little less grip, but they are still very grippy for a road shoe.
The platform uses a full-length segmented crash pad and Omega Flex Grooves so that your toe off is consistent no matter where your foot lands. The stack height was also lowered for a little less cushion and closer to the ground feel.
However, the biggest update is the upper, where Brooks went completely seamless and used a new engineered mesh for the upper. They widened the toe box slightly for a more natural running feel.
Competing with the ASISCS Cumulus, Nike Pegasus, Saucony Ride and Mizuno Wave Rider in the mid-range trainer category. The Ghost 9 is a solid update on what was already a runner’s favorite shoe. Check it out.
Brooks Ghost 9 Sole Unit
The sole unit is the place that Brooks did the least amount of updating. The cushioning is largely the same as last year’s model, with the major change being the stack height in the heel dropping from 35mm to 30mm.
Although the heel-toe drop stays the same at 12mm, the lower heel stack makes the ride of these shoes feel more grounded.
Brooks uses their signature BioMoGo DNA foam to cushion your every step. This cushioning does a very good job of adapting to your stride and displacing pressure on the soles of your feet.
It also does a good job of transitioning momentum and energy from foot strike point to your toe off. This energy transfer makes the ride comfortable at all times, and at all distances.
On the bottom of the sole unit, Brooks has toned down the grip from previous models that almost felt like trail shoes at times. This is honestly a welcome change as the grip was almost a little ridiculous on the previous model.
The best update of the sole unit is the new full-length crash pad which helps keep your stride consistent on the longer runs when your form may break down.
With a fully segmented sole unit that promotes full flexibility, your stride can feel more natural from strike to toe-off.
Brooks Ghost 9 Upper Info
The new upper is really where the Ghosts have changed. The 9s are a fully seamless shoe with great breathability throughout.
Through the use of new engineered mesh and well placed overlays, the new upper hugs your feet in the right places without putting too much pressure on one spot over another.
However, this upper’s greatest strength can also turn into its greatest weakness on certain runs.
The breathability mean air can come in and keep your feet cool, but it also means that if the rain is falling, your feet are going to get soaked.
On one run — the only time it rained in a month of testing — my feet came back pruned and close to blistering because of the amount of water that entered the upper.
The other big change with the upper from the 8s to the 9s is a much wider toe box. This is something that I appreciate in any and all high-mileage trainers, as it allows your toes to spread out as is intended.
It is a small thing for a change, but one that can result in much more comfort on the long runs.
Thankfully, Brooks didn’t change one of my favorite features of the upper, the guiding eyelet on the tongue is still there.
It is a small detail for an upper with lots of engineering, but this one eyelet that assures that the tongue of the shoe stays put no matter how you twist your foot or how long you want to stay out.
Brooks Ghost 9 Conclusions
The Brooks Ghost 8s were my favorite shoe of 2015, and the 9s are making a case to be on the short list for 2016.
So far, the Ghosts are up there with my other favorite shoes of 2016 — the Salming Miles. The updates on this shoe almost all hit the mark from an already incredibly solid product.
They responded well to every test I conducted. When I went for a 14-15 mile run, they were well cushioned throughout.
When I went to the track for speed training, they were quick to respond. And when it was tempo day, they always met the challenge.
Are you in the market for a solid, high-mileage trainer? Did you enjoy the 8s? Did the 8s miss the mark with a higher stack and tighter toe box? To all those looking for a versatile “Go To” shoe, this may just be the one for you.
We thank the nice people at Brooks for sending us a pair of Ghost 9 to test. This did not influence the outcome of the review, written after running more than 50 miles in them.