I’ve been running in Brooks for decades. My favorite pairs were the Adrenaline GTS 14 for a half marathon and the Beast 14 for up to a marathon. But Brooks changed its formula, and the softer support doesn’t work for me. I’m training for the DC Rock ’n’ Roll Half, and I need new shoes. What current pairs will give me the same support as the old GTS and Beast?
—RW+ member dryice, on the Community Page
Hey there! My coworkers used to tease me about my Brooks loyalty—so I definitely understand your decades-long relationship. Up until the time I was hired, every shoe I half-marathoned/marathoned in was Brooks. Of course, my job requires me to test other brands’ shoes, and though I feel slightly guilty adding other non-Brooks shoes into my regular rotation (i.e., shoes I’ve tested in months past, yet still run in), I’m glad I’ve broadened my racing-shoe repertoire. And I think my Brooks pairs have finally forgiven me. (My shoes have feelings, okay?)
Brooks began replacing its version of the medial post, the Progressive Diagonal Rollbar, with its GuideRails system in 2018. If you want that old tech and firmer cushioning for support, you’ll have to do something brave: run in another brand’s shoes.
Option 1: Saucony Guide 14
My first non-Brooks recommendation is Saucony’s Guide. The shoe has a medial TPU guidance frame. It’s subtle and stable. The surrounding comfort of the trainer also feels like a Brooks shoe. The Pwrrun midsole is moderately soft like Brooks BioMoGo DNA, so you won’t feel lost in the plush.
Option 2: Asics Gel-Kayano 28
Also consider Asics’s Gel-Kayano. It’s slightly lighter than the Guide and has gel in the heel to absorb shock. The Trusstic System in the medial side of the midsole, along with an external heel counter, helps with support. I have yet to run in the Kayano personally, but this Adrenaline-wearing, over-pronating RW wear-tester gave it his seal of approval: “I haven’t run in the Kayano in a few years, but this is by far the best Kayano I’ve run in. Asics improved the weight, cushioning, and flexibility of this shoe to the point that I would call it a great daily trainer.”
Option 3: New Balance Fresh Foam 860v12
Lastly, there’s New Balance’s Fresh Foam 860. It has the traditional medial post, and a wear-tester said the ride was stable and the cushioning felt firm. “Fit and comfort were great,” said a tester who also ran in the Bedlam 3, a Brooks stability shoe with the guide rails system. “Long runs didn’t feel like long runs.”