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Finlay McAndrew  •  Running Gear •  15.05.2024 •  8 min read

Brooks Ghost 16 Running Shoes Review

The Brooks Ghost running shoes are one of our most popular models at Run4It. If you go to your local parkrun, or join a running club, there’s a high chance you’ll see a lot of Brooks Ghosts on other runner’s feet. The latest edition, the Brooks Ghost 16, have received some significant updates. However, previous wearers should be pleased to know that the ‘DNA’ of the Ghost has not been changed, despite an upgraded midsole construction.

In this article, we cover how the new Brooks Ghost 16 compares against the previous version, how they feel to run in, and what type of runs they’re best suited to. 

*Please note the Brooks Ghost 16 will be available to buy at Run4It from 1st June 2024.*

Brooks Ghost 16 vs Brooks Ghost 15

The main update to the Ghost 16 running shoes is a new nitrogen-infused DNA LOFT v3 midsole. What does this mean? Without getting too technical, Brooks makes the midsole using a large-cell foaming process to amplify the cushioning properties. The result? The Brooks Ghost 16 midsole should feel softer, lighter, and more energy returning than the previous version.

Brooks Ghost 16 running shoe sitting on wall

Previous Ghost fans might notice the altered midsole design. This is more for aesthetic reasons than anything. The new sculpting results in a more modern look, which was definitely needed. 

There’s also a new RoadTack rubber outsole. This lightweight and resilient material, made using a mix of rubber and recycled silica, should offer better durability. There appears to be an extra vertical flex groove in the middle of the outsole in the forefoot, which should improve the flexibility.

Outsole view of Brooks Ghost 16 running shoe

Subtle alterations to the upper help improve the feel of the mesh. The engineered air mesh upper offers a balanced feel between flexibility and structure. The heel collar still offers a plush and cushioned feel around the ankle area. However, the tongue feels slightly thinner than the previous model.  

Brooks sent a pair of the new Ghost 16 for us to try, so we can provide more insights into the changes. 

How do they fit?

The fit of the Ghost 16 feels very similar to the previous version. In reality, the shape of the last almost feels identical. If like the fit of the Ghost 15, you’ll like the Ghost 16. The main point of difference is that the upper feels slightly softer and more forgiving - which feels more comfortable.

Close-up of upper and laces on Brooks Ghost 16 running shoe

These are likely to suit runners who have broader feet, as the toe box feels spacious and roomy. The Ghost 16 are also available in a wide-fit version. Even though the midfoot and ankle collar offer lots of lockdown, these might not suit runners who have narrower or thinner feet.

How does the new midsole feel?

I took the Ghost 16 straight out on a 90 minute run at an average pace of 4.44 minute/kilometre pace. The cushioning didn’t really need any breaking in and felt comfortable from the get go. While the new DNA LOFT v3 cushioning feels softer than the previous midsole, it still feels quite responsive underfoot. There’s certainly a lot of protection on offer, but the experience is very different from what ultra plush, max cushioned running shoes deliver.

On a related note, at the end of this long run, my legs felt a little bit more fatigued than how they’d feel after doing the equivalent run in a higher-stacked, softer feeling midsole. There’s potential pros and cons of this, which are covered in the summary section. 

It’s sometimes the case that upgrading a midsole to a softer compound can impact the stability. While the Brooks Ghost are neutral running shoes, they have always been regarded as very stable and supportive. The good news is that the Ghost 16 feel just as stable as the previous version. 

The Brooks Ghost 16 are one of the few models that feature a 12 mm drop from heel to toe. This offers a lot of protection for heel strikers. You can see in the image below that I land prominently on my heel - and the cushioning feels very comfortable at landing. 

Foot strike sequence image

However, the Ghost 16 are unlikely to work as well for runners who strike further towards their mid to forefoot - as the cushioning simply isn’t in the optimum position. 

As the Ghost 16 have a 12 mm drop, it’s not really possible to make the midsole with prominent rocker. As a result, the midsole doesn’t feel as if it’s propelling you forward. Although, the transitions from heel to toe-off feel very smooth. 

Brooks Ghost 16 summary

If you’re looking for ultra soft, max cushioned running shoes, the Brooks Ghost 16 are not the shoes for you. This isn’t meant to come across negatively, we just think that’s a good way to highlight what they offer. Even though the midsole is softer than previously, they sit on the firmer end of the cushioning scale in comparison to comparable daily mileage options. 

Max cushioned running shoes have the potential to lower the stress more effectively on your working muscles than lesser cushioned models. However, going back to the point made earlier, there are pros and cons of this. If you run in ultra cushioned and propulsive shoes all the time, there might be an argument that some of your muscles become less trained. This is also the hypothesis with super shoes. The fact that you might feel as if you’re working slightly harder in the models such as the Ghost 16, in comparison to higher-stacked softer alternatives, is not necessarily a bad thing. It’s important to make it clear that the Brooks Ghost 16 offer a lot of protection and should take a lot of stress off your legs on daily miles.

Heel/rear view of pair of running shoes sitting on a wall

If we’re going to pigeon hole what the Brooks Ghost 16 are best suited to, they’re likely to perform most effectively on your lower intensity runs. We’re also considering duration in line with intensity. While some might only consider pace when it comes to the intensity of the session, long distance runs place a significant load on your system and muscles. If you want to make your long runs feel as comfortable as possible, we’d recommend choosing a model that offers even more cushioning and protection. 

This is a good moment to point out that there’s a lot of merit in rotating between different running shoes for varying runs. Using the Brooks Ghost 16 for slower paced shorter to moderate distance runs, and opting for higher-stacked softer alternative for longer runs could have a lot of benefits for your running. 

Having said that, not everyone enjoys running in ultra soft feeling midsoles. It’s safe to say a lot of runners will enjoy doing their longer runs in the Brooks Ghost 16. Additionally, you might not run for longer than 45-60 minutes as your longest run. While you might still benefit from some form of shoe rotation, the Brooks Ghost 16 should be great for all of your easy to steady paced runs.  

The best way to conclude this article is by saying that the Ghost 16 are a big improvement on the last version - and given the fact that these are one of the most popular running shoes ever made, that’s saying something. They’re brilliant daily mileage running shoes that deliver exactly what Brooks want them to, a reliable and balanced experience that should feel very comfortable on slower to steady paced runs. And if you’ve enjoyed running in the Brooks Ghost before, we’re very confident you’ll enjoy running in these even more.

brilliant daily mileage running shoes that deliver exactly what Brooks want them to, a reliable and balanced experience

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