Brooks Transcend 6 Intro
Transcend is Brooks’ attempt to build a shoe focused beyond the feet: to the knees, and 2019 bring us a new and improved model, now with a 10mm drop, up from 8mm in past models.
There are a lot of positive changes this go-round, thankfully without a price increase for this $160 premium shoe.
Transcend offers more stability than the brand’s Ravenna, while bringing in the comfort users love in Glycerin, Brooks’ premium cushioned model.
“Stability” is essentially an effort to help the foot move efficiently, which guides the knees, hips, and overall movement toward injury-free performance, and Brooks has tried various technologies past into present.
Medial posts have proven unhelpful; GuideRails are the brand’s latest innovation, to begin again at the beginning with the basic design of a shoe, and change what had become industry standard for “stability.
It works — I like it better — Review over. 😉
Brooks even replaced the medial post Rollbar with GuideRails on their beloved Adrenaline GTS 19 last summer.
Transcend and Adrenaline have a lot in common: a supportive, cushioned ride and GuideRails in the same position.
Transcend’s offset is 10mm, compared with Adrenaline’s 12, and Transcend features a full-length DNA LOFT midsole: it’s more plush and weighs about half-ounce more.
Transcend’s latest design highlights DNA LOFT midsole material—also better—for comfort that springs back, together with a longer “vertical” flex grove in the outsole.
The sole design has a more narrow midfoot (less “blocky”), a touch more flexibility, and lacks a blown-rubber coating on a small patch of the lateral midfoot.
The soft-lined Double Jacquard Mesh upper is still 3D-printed, but in Transcend 6, lacks the stiff strips that ran along the sides of 4 and 5, which means it NO LONGER takes 70 MILES TO BREAK IN!
Brooks Transcend 6 First Impressions
First walking around in Transcend 6 felt almost like flopping on those old waterbeds: Ooh, soft—but watch out for the wood frame!
In this case the “frame” is a good thing and not a rude awakening to the physics of a board: the guide rails bordering the midsole keep the “soft” from being “squishy” (Saucony Hurricane, I’m lookin’ at you), which is what we need in a support shoe.
I knew right away that I made the right decision to go up a half size from what I ran in for Transcend 4. The length is true, to slightly small, to size, but the width is narrow.
A half size bigger still works for me, still hugs my heel securely, even though I had to go up, for the forefoot fit.
After my first run, I re-weighed the shoe, to make sure it really was as heavy as I’d initially found it (it is), since the ride is much lighter than ASICS Gel-Fortitude (which was .3 oz. lighter), New Balance 1260 v6, and adidas Supernova ST, the latter two of similar weight.
So there you have it: a logistically heavy shoe that I look forward to running in, even for long distance!
Brooks Transcend 6 Sole Unit
GuideRails! Brooks keeps making them better. Transcend 4’s chafed my lateral midfoot ever-so-slightly (along with the fact that I wore a half size smaller, and the upper was unforgiving).
The Rails on 6 are softer (on the lateral side only) and put more emphasis toward the lateral heel, thereby working together with the upper’s heel counter to rein in movement.
Medially, the GuideRails bolster the arch of the shoe to direct foot motion forward rather than inward.
This just in: the Brooks DNA LOFT midsole, which lives up to its claim of “soft, luxurious” comfort underfoot “without losing responsiveness or durability”.
It’s comfortable yet firms-up when force is applied, is softer and more springy than their original DNA midsole, and I much prefer it to their “SuperDNA” that was in Transcend 4 an 5 (which felt like a move backward, to me).
An OrthoLite™ sockliner enchances a snug feel and low-medium arch.
The outsole is covered with blown-rubber interspersed by flex grooves.
The biggest changes coming in a more hourglass shape, no rubber over the lateral midfoot, and only one groove in the tip, to maintain a firm toe-off despite an overall more-flexible sole unit.
The guidance-line extending from the heel has lengthened ever-so-slightly in each of the past two models, to now extend through the midfoot, and more heel support comes by way of a 10mm drop.
Brooks Transcend 6 Upper Unit
Brooks maintained support in this upper while stripping away the overlay stripes that made Transcend 4 so unbreak-in-able, for me, which were partially maintained into the 5.
A 3D Fit-Print saddle over the midfoot applies stretch and structure to the stretch-bootie-lined Double Jacquard Mesh body of the shoe.
Fun bicolor patterns peek through breathable holes in the forefoot; a top-notch heel counter rounds out the posterior and works synergistically with the now better-positioned GuideRails, to direct foot motion.
Similar to past versions, the tongue is one with the shoe’s internal sheath, this year attached all the way to the top of the lacing system.
It consists of a double-layer of the same material, reinforced by the smooth synthetic fibers that pad the heel collar.
It’s breathable enough for no overheating issues when running inside, but not so thin that cold air rushes right through, when facing temps well below freezing, outside.
(I even tested some miles with these strapped into snowshoes—Transcend’s structure is great for this—but I place another layer of protection on top of the shoe, to keep cold and melting snow, out.)
Brooks Transcend 6 Conclusion
It’s time to give Transcend another shot. I liked the shoe two years ago but wasn’t excited to run in the 5 and can understand why this shoe hasn’t taken off.
However, the latest rendition combines better placement of GuideRails onto newly formulated DNA midsole material, with a super-supportive yet not-so-restrictive upper, all of which is softer and more flexible without sacrificing necessary support.
Kudos to Brooks for doing all of this with no price increase. True, it’s expensive enough already, but they pack a lot into this shoe, including durability, to make the price worth it.
The objective weight of Transcend makes it suitable for Clydesdales, however the propulsion design and soft-stable function make Transcend 6 work well for all runners: the ride is soft, supported, and feels light.
Have you tried past models and can tell us what you think of the changes? New to Transcend? Let us know in the comments.
We purchased a pair of Brooks Transcend 6 from brooks using our own money. This did not influence the outcome of this review, written after running more than 50 miles in them.