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Brooks is moving away from using degrees of stability as the key differentiation for models in their range. Other brands are moving in this direction, with Nike being the largest example at this time.
"Run Happy" is Brooks motto and their running shoe philosophy is that there is no right or wrong way to run. That a running shoe is not intrinsically right or wrong for you, but that each runner should choose the shoe they want based on their individual preference and the experience they want to get out of a run.
They therefore split their running shoe collection into 4 "silos" that reflect 4 different kind of runs (Brooks calls them "experiences"):
Don't let the name "Cushion" fool you into thinking these are Brooks neutral shoes. The Beast and the Adrenaline - two of Brooks most popular stability running shoes - sit in this category.
Cushion is about the feel the shoe has during the run. The emphasis is on delivering a soft landing of the foot to protect each step.
Here are the shoes that make up this category, and for clarity I will explain which ones are in the traditional "neutral" or "stability" class.
"Energize" shoes are characterized by a more responsive cushioning and higher energy return compared to the "cushion" shoes.
They place an emphasis on speed and fast foot turnaround and are generally more lightweight than their counterparts in the "cushion" category. They are meant for faster training or racing.
Running shoes in the "Connect" category are the lightest and most flexible shoes in the Brooks range.
Look into these shoes if you are looking for a natural feeling or to perfect your running technique.
As the name suggests, "Speed" are the racing shoes. Here are the options:
Launched in 2008, BioMoGo is the material found in virtually all Brooks midsoles. Due to its formulation, BioMoGo is completely bio-degradable. While a standard EVA foam will take approximately 1,000 years to fully degrade in a landfill, BioMoGo can biodegrade in roughly 20 years when placed in the same environment.
What makes this technology incredible to me is that Brooks decided not to patent it, but to offer it as a “open source” innovation for any other shoe producer to use. Way to go!
Launched in 2010, DNA is a cushioning technology that is also present in most of Brooks’ running shoes.
Brooks claims that DNA is the first cushioning technology that dynamically adapts with each foot strike to the ever-changing amount of force placed on the foot during the run. No matter what the age, weight, gender, gait… DNA adapts itself to deliver the right amount of cushioning.
How’s that possible? DNA is a non-Newtonian compound.
A non-Newtonian material is a material that behaves very differently from what we expect, based on the impact applied to it. Although it sounds crazy at first, it is a real thing! Please watch the video below. It’s from Brooks, it’s quite cheesy, but the demonstration give it justice more than I could by writing about it.
Super-DNA is the latest version of DNA and we can expect in the near future most of Brooks’ running shoes to be featuring this new compound. Still based on the same principle of the DNA, a non-newtonian based material offers different amount of cushioning based on the force of the impact applied.
This new version adds 25% cushioning to the previous BioMoGo DNA material while preserving all the other specs, including the bio-degradability.
Shaped like a caterpillar, the Segmented Crash Pad is a midsole made up of independent, yet fully integrated shock absorbers.
As your foot strikes the ground, the segments work together to customize your individual lay down to provide the right amount of cushion and seamless heel-to-toe transition for you – making the most of all that effort you put into each stride.
Guide Rails are the latest introduction in Brooks technology and like all the others, it seems to veer in the direction of “we don’t correct your stride, we let your body define how to run”. This latest is about providing some stability without traditional stability technology (ie. dual posts).
Guide Rails are specialized plates built into the midsole that allow your hips, knees and joints to move along their unique motion path while you run – all without any traditional posts. What they do is to wrap around the edge of your foot in order to keep it aligned. The illustration below, from the Brooks website, might help clarify what they are.
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