Brooks Glycerin 20 review

8 expert score
6 user's score
As editorial policy, we do not accept free samples. We purchased this pair at Running Warehouse with our own money.
Review written on 07th May by Michael Mason-D'Croz Long distance runner, shoe expert.
90 other reviews

Brooks Glycerin 20 Verdict

The Brooks Glycerin 20 is the newest version of the flagship neutral shoe for the brand. This shoe is made for all runners, no matter size or pace, and can log all the miles you could want, while not holding you back too much on pace.

The pros

  • Plenty of cushion for any distance.
  • The upper is soft and supportive
  • The build quality won't let you down.
  • Breathable upper when it's hot.
  • Good traction for multiple surfaces and wet conditions.

The cons

  • They are heavy, and even heavier when wet.
  • Sometimes felt unstable on corners (especially in the heel).
  • Aesthetically, they aren't very exciting.


Rating breakdown

Comfort
8.0
Build quality
10
Upper
9.0
Sole unit
9.0
Landing
8.0
Transition
8.0
Toe-off
8.0
Traction
9.0
Durability
10
Value / Price
7.0

Facts / Specs

Brand
Model
Glycerin 20
Family
Previous model
Weight
10.6 oz (301 g)
MSRP
$160.00

Heel
38 mm.
Toe
28 mm.
Heel drop
10 mm.
Carbon plate
No plate

Size/Fit

Sizing
True to size
Heel fit
Tight
Midfoot fit
Wide
Toebox fit
Normal

Cushioning & ride

Type of cushioning
Balanced/plush
Amount of cushioning
Highly cushioned
Stability
Not particularly stable
Flexibility
Medium

Usage

Racing
Speedwork
Daily training  
Long distance racing
Ultra distance racing

Who should buy the Brooks Glycerin 20 ?

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.

Who should not buy the Brooks Glycerin 20 ?

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.

Brooks Glycerin 20 Introduction

Picture of Brooks Glycerin 20

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.

They’ll go head-to-head against ASICS Nimbus 25, Saucony Triumph 20, New Balance 1080v12, Hoka One One Bondi 8, and more.

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.

Brooks Glycerin 20 First Impressions

Picture of Brooks Glycerin 20

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.

Brooks Glycerin 20 Upper

Picture of Brooks Glycerin 20

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.

Brooks Glycerin 20 Sole Unit

Picture of Brooks Glycerin 20

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.

Picture of Brooks Glycerin 20

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.

Brooks Glycerin 20 Conclusions

Picture of Brooks Glycerin 20

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.

How does the Glycerin 20 compare?

Adidas Ultraboost Light
Brooks Glycerin 20
Nike ZoomX Invincible Run Flyknit 3
Expert score
6
8
7
User score
Best price
Retail price
US$190
US$159.95
US$180
Weight
10.3 oz
10.6 oz
11.2 oz
Heel Drop
10 mm
10 mm
9 mm
Recommended for
Daily training
Daily training
Daily training
Cushioning type
balanced
balanced/plush
plush
Cushioning amount
Highly cushioned
Highly cushioned
Highly cushioned
Flexibility
medium
medium
flexible
Stability
very stable
not particularly stable
some stability
Sizing
true to size
true to size
true to size

Why you can trust us

As editorial policy, we do not accept free samples from companies.
We purchased this pair of Brooks at Running Warehouse  with our own money.

This page contains affiliate links. As an Amazon Associate we earn from qualifying purchases. Read more about our policy.

Reviewed by Michael

This review was written by Michael Mason-D'Croz on 07th May.
Michael Mason-D’Croz lives in Lincoln, Nebraska, working as a Spanish Teacher and soccer coach. Because training isn’t enough, he gets to chase around his almost 2-year-old daughter when he gets home from work and runs. On his free time — what little of it there is — he likes to play board games and sample tasty local beers.

User feedback (1)

  • avatar-comment-1029016
    Tom Quade
    12 months ago
    6 score

    I’ve run thru two pairs of the aurora and was hoping for something similar here. While the forefoot is soft, the rear portion feels very firm. Not sure if it will soften over time, as I only have about 25 miles in them….

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