Editor rating:
8/10 on
JIM COULSON
User's rating:

PROS

  • More More flexible up front with a softer midsole making it less stiff than the 7
  • Well fitting and light weight upper.
  • Great value

CONS

  • Narrow and ill fitting tongue.
  • Boring and dated ride

OUR VERDICT

The Brooks Launch is a solid lightweight everyday trainer with incredible versatility and great price point.
SHOE INFO
Brand
Launch 8
Model
9 oz. (255 gr.)
Weight
100 US$
MSRP
10 mm
Heel Drop
Previous model
WHO IS IT FOR
The budget conscious runner seeking a solid one stop shop lightweight daily trainer.

Brooks Launch 8 Intro

The Brooks Launch is the company’s lightweight daily trainer that is known for its firm responsiveness, durability, and sweet price point of $100.

It features a new Air Mesh upper and additional rubber at the forefoot for a smoother transition.

This newest launch is nearly an ounce lighter with an enjoyable ride, a district improvement over the 7.

Also with this launch, we see a big change from Brooks with the emergence of GTS or “ Go To Support”. This is not strictly limited to the Launch but many other shoes soon to be released.

The GTS version is simply a stability version of the same shoe. In this case, the 8 GTS looks identical to the 8 with the only difference being the addition of a mid-foot support band.

This creative new concept eliminates the need to have two different shoes, and simply makes one model and platform with or without stability elements like guide rails.

In this case, the GTS 8 replaces the Ravenna. For this review, we will only be talking about the non-GTS version.

Brooks Launch 8 First Impressions

Brooks Launch 8 - pic 09

I would be lying if I said that I wasn’t skeptical when I received the newest Launch. I mean after the abomination that the 7 was can anyone really blame me?

Anyhow, after opening the box and placing the 8 on for the first time all sense of worry and nervousness began to slowly melt away. The new upper is very lightweight and soft on the foot.

The fit was comfortable but with a little bit more volume in the midfoot than I prefer, and are true to size.

I received mine in a white and black/Red clay color-way which I liked and appreciated its simplicity, but my daughter said that they were “so dad looking .” I guess I might be approaching that age.

Brooks Launch 8 Sole Unit

Brooks Launch 8 - pic 03

The launch 8 packed full of Brooks BioMoGO DNA thought the entire midsole. I definitely found this version softer than the 7. This foam is dense pushing it more to the firm side of the spectrum in terms of cushion.

This midsole has just a hint of responsiveness lacking any bounce or spring which gives it a pretty dull and traditional ride.

A much softer blown rubber, a lot of it, was used to create the outsole of the 8 which was definitely felt on the road. The configuration of the pads helped to improve flexibility and let me move cleanly through my stride.

The durability of the outsole is fantastic showing little signs of wear after about 50 miles.

Traction was not an issue and the shoe had a nice consistent grip across a variety of terrain ranging from pavement, dirt roads, and gravel bridle paths.

While the experience has improved greatly from the 7 the Launch 8 is just ok in terms of performance. This shoe really doesn’t bounce back and lacks the peppy ride like that of the 5.

That doesn’t mean it’s not capable of picking up the pace. The shoe handles faster paces fine they are just not that energizing or fun like you would find with more modern foams, or what the shoe was originally intended to be.

Please don’t take this as there is something wrong with the Launch 8 there is nothing wrong with the ride.

I think the point I’m trying to make is that the ride is quite good it’s just not top of the class good and more old school if anything.

Brooks Launch 8 Upper Unit

Brooks Launch 8 - pic 05

The upper is comfortable and constructed of a thin Air Mesh that is not very stretchy, but pliable and soft. There is nothing fancy about it, simple is oftentimes best, and the hold was decent.

Mid-foot hold was a tad wide which led to some slippage especially cornering at faster paces. The toe box is very spacious but not overly generous, so I have no issue there.

The heel collar is lightly padded and rigid which held my heel firmly in place. The elf heel was great as it didn’t rub or impinge on my Achilles.

My only real gripe is the tongue is thin and skimpy which makes it slip off to the lateral side of my foot, but this is more of an annoyance and not a significant issue.

The interesting thing is Brooks gusseted it on the GTS, so why not here?

Brooks Launch 8 Conclusion

Brooks Launch 8 - pic 11

During a time where super shoes and high-performance trainers are the rage, with responsive foams and carbon plates its easy to overlook the blue collar shoes that have brought us to this point. The Launch 8 is a great case in point.

While it may not be the shoe that adorns an Olympic hopeful or sub 3 marathoner the launch 8 is the kind of shoe that the sits on the foot of the high school cross country runner that has those aspirations, or the working parent that needs a good shoe for their daily running because that’s what their budget can support.

Will Launch 8 wow you? The answer is no not really, but it will get a runner confidently through most workouts.

This shoe is perfect for the runner that wants a lightweight and durable daily trainer without spending a small fortune to get it.

For $100 runners will get a durable and versatile lightweight trainer with a simple design and classic ride.

If you have been a long-time fan of the Launch I think you will be pleased to find a much-improved shoe from the stiff Launch 7.

If you happen to be a runner that has been spoiled by newer foams and are looking for a responsive and snappy daily trainer then the Launch 8 is not for you.

We purchased a pair of Brooks Launch 8 from runningwarehouse using our own money. This did not influence the outcome of this review, written after running more than 50 miles in them.

Brooks Launch 8 Price Comparison

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