This shoe reminds me the most of HOKA’s Clifton 2, but the cushion is a bit more firm, especially in the toe-off, and the Ravenna has a more secure midfoot fit -though not what I prefer in a tight lock-down.
Essentially to me it feels like a cross between the ASICS Gel-Nimbus (14 is the last model I’ve run in) and HOKA Clifton 2. Although the Nimbus is a neutral shoe, it offers a touch of stability, which is what I feel in the Ravenna.
Ravenna is secure in the heel (though not as locked-in as Gel-Kayano) and fits awesome (tight) at the start of the midfoot before gradually loosening through the midfoot into the toe box.
In comparing them with my HOKAs, ASICS, and the molded-height-upper of the Supernova Sequence 9, Ravenna 8 not only feels like a cross between the snug fit of ASICS and roomy fit of HOKA, the molded-height of the toe-box checks out to be half way between ASICS’ mold and adidas’ toe-box height for the Sequence 9.
Brooks Ravenna 8 General Info
Ravenna 8 follows the 7th shoe in this line and maintains the lightweight cushion that users enjoy. This latest model brings a more evenly-divided outsole pattern that offers a springier toe-off. Brooks also took .2 oz off the weight for this year.
In both price and feel, Ravenna 8 competes against Mizuno’s Wave Inspire and ASICS’ GT-2000 but I’d say beats these two competitors out in cushioning.
The sole unit of Ravenna’s toe box offers similar stability to Wave Inspire’s, with Inspire edging out ahead in this category, and Ravenna offers a medial midsole counter in its heel that gets close to the level of GT-2000’s stability (but not quite).
Brooks Ravenna 8 Sole Unit
My favorite thing about Ravenna 8 is its sole unit. The BioMoGo DNA foam cushioning plus quick Midfoot Transition Zone together bring a smooth and lightweight ride.
The forefoot midsole banks outward from a more narrow-fitting upper to bring some anti-excess-pronation into the anterior unit of the shoe.
The outsole is segmented into little squares this year (a bit reminiscent of Nike’s waffle design!) with additional blown rubber in the forefoot accounting for the springy toe-off that I notice.
Overall, this sole unit brings a very smooth ride with a midfoot post (only on the medial aspect) bringing just the right about of stability without stiffness.
Brooks Ravenna 8 Upper Info
My favorite aspect of Ravenna’s upper is the indigo and silver coloring with square-pattern design. The upper unit is a bit narrow in fit while also moderately roomy height-wise. The seamless design is comfortable and breathable.
When I tried to tighten the laces to get a more snug fit toward the toe box, I noticed the same issue that I had in HOKA’s Clifton 2 and Challenger ATR 2: the tighter fit pinched the lateral sides of my feet, and I had to be content with the moderately roomy feel that this shoe is designed to bring.
Brooks Ravenna 8 Conclusions
The cushion that Brooks brings in the Ravenna 8 feels great on runs of any length without being overly energy-sapping for speedier runs, and the drop of 10mm fits my comfort zone.
I wish the toe box was a bit more fitted, but I may end up wearing this shoe despite for the half marathon of the Goofy Challenge that I’ll be taking on in January!
It’s well-cushioned; offers light weight, light stability; and encourages a quick turnover.
If you want a shoe that brings cushioning with a responsive ride, some stability along with a smooth transition, and a toe box that is not overly roomy or overly snug, this is great fit.
If you’ve run in both the Ravenna 7 and try the Ravenna 8, let us know how they compare in the comments!
Update Feb 2nd 2017: My description of the shoe remains the same, but I felt that my rating was too harsh given how much I love this shoe. The slight “lateral slop” (as one commenter termed it) of the toe box upper is just that: slight. This shoe deserves 4.5 stars, and if a brand can get all of the things right about a shoe that Ravenna masters, and also hit my precise balance in toe box fit (hint, Kayano got this one), it’ll inspire 5 stars from this reviewer.
We thank the nice people at Brooks for sending us a pair of Ravenna 8 to test. This did not influence the outcome of the review, written after running more than 50 miles in them.