This shoe is for any neutral runner. It’s best for longer runs and when you don’t have to hammer the pace, but it can handle almost any workout.
If you need support, this isn’t the shoe for you. Also, if you are of a slighter build, they can be a little hefty.
For the past 20+ years, the Brooks brand has been synonymous with the Glycerin line of shoes. This high-cushion trainer was designed to help runners log long miles while training for marathons.
It has always been a workhorse that will pound the pavement for multiple training cycles, and that has not changed in the last couple of decades. In this iteration, there are some new technologies introduced, most notably the nitrogen-infused DNA midsole which offers a little more spring to the step.
At $160, this shoe is a direct competitor with most brand’s high-end regular trainers.
When it comes to competing against these shoes, the Glycerins won’t turn any heads, but they will keep smiles on the faces of those using them.
When these shoes arrived, I was very excited to give them a go. And to be honest, I was a little disappointed when I opened the box. Visually, they are nothing special. This is especially true when compared to some of the more exciting visuals offered by competitors. However, the disappointment quickly went away when I put the shoes on. They felt buttery from the beginning.
On my first run, they were soft but still firm enough that I didn’t feel like I was sinking into the shoe. I loved the ride. And when I wore them to school, my feet felt fresh at the end of the day.
There is cushion there to last however long you need.
The upper on the Glycerin is nothing spectacular. It will get the job done, but won’t be turning any heads. This upper uses an engineered air mesh to help keep the shoe breathable, while also allowing for a comfortable and flexible fit. Brooks uses 3D print saddle to overlay and help lock in the midfoot, while not applying pressure to the foot. Inside the upper, Brooks uses an OrthoLite sock liner that makes sure the fit is soft, no matter the thickness (or existence) of socks.
The fit of the upper is true-to-size in length, and felt comfortable on all parts of the foot. In the heel, the shoe secures well, and is tight enough to feel confident. Moving into the midfoot, the feel is wide, which could feel as though you’re not locked in, but the overlays help lock the foot in. The toe-box is wide enough while not being overly roomy.
This is the one place I have a complaint with design, and that would be the low-profile heel collar. This heel collar, coupled with height of the heel of the midsole, caused me some consternation. I had three different runs where, when turning a corner, my ankle felt like it bent and almost gave out. I just wish the ankle collar was slightly higher and locked my leg in more.
The sole unit is where this shoe shines. It’s not visually impressive, but it sure feels impressive under the foot. The heel stands at 38mm with a 10mm drop to the toe (pretty standard for this level of shoe).
The midsole uses a new nitrogen-infused DNA foam that offers a lot of cushion and bounce. This foam goes the full length of the midsole, and gives a very comfortable ride, including an energy filled toe off.
Under the midsole, there are flex grooves used to help the sole bend and help you transition into your toe-off. These grooves are coupled with a very grippy blown rubber outsole that will leave you confident on almost any surface or condition.
When compared to some of the other shoes in the same category, the sole unit is sturdy and nice, but not a head turner. This is especially true when comparing to the New Balance 1080 v12, which has more bounce, but less cushion. It’s maybe a little less “fun” than the ride of the 1080 or of the Saucony Triumph, but I found it to be more comfortable for the longer runs.
The Brooks Glycerin has been on the shelves for 20+ years for a reason. Although it isn’t flashy, it gets the job done. And frankly, I don’t know that I’ve been more comfortable on my long runs this year than I have been while in this shoe.
When comparing these shoes to other offerings in the same category, like the New Balance 1080 or Saucony Triumph, the Glycerins were less exciting. They struggled more on the faster-paced runs than those other two offerings. But when looking for a long-distance trainer, I put more emphasis on the comfort of the shoe and the ride.
In 2022 and 2023 there has only been one shoe that I’ve run in that felt as comfortable as the Glycerin 20s, and that was the New Balance More v3 (not the v4).
With rising prices on all shoes, the $160 price tag seems in-line with the competition. And I feel you’re getting plenty of shoe for the price.
If you need a comfortable ride for your long runs, maybe you should take a spin in the Brooks Glycerins.