Brooks Glycerin 9 Review
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Run Happy… for a really, really long time.
Neutral shoes can be a lot of things. Some neutral shoes are designed for the fleet footed – energy efficient runners who skip along the road, hardly seeming to touch the ground. Some neutral shoes are tanks – they plow through just about everything you put in front of them, and no matter how tough the going gets, the shoes get going. Just one look at the Brooks Glycerin 9 tells you exactly which category these fall under. They’re big, they’re reinforced, and they mean business. Put them on your feet, and you find out just what kind of business they mean – needless to say, you’ll quit long before they do.
I’ve been a big Brooks fan for quite some time. I broke into the line up with the Ravenna, and haven’t looked back since. Brooks has a great design base going, and they don’t really need to change it. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it – and Brooks hasn’t broken yet. Every pair I test I end up using to run some sort of long distance race (I’ve run all my marathons in Brooks), and every pair ends up getting around 600 miles on them before I have to even think of giving them up. For a track record (no pun intended) that really isn’t all that bad. So it was no surprise to me that the Glycerin 9 was built to go the distance. And by built, I mean built. Since we’re already talking about the construction of the shoe, I’ll go a bit out of order, and start with the feel of the midsole/upper combination.
It wraps snugly around your foot, and right away you can tell that even though it’s a neutral shoe (meaning lack of whats Brooks calls Guidance – essentially another name for correction of your foot’s natural pronation), it’s not going to just waffle around without any support. It’s extremely supportive, to the point of being almost restrictive. If it didn’t feel so cushiony on the inside, it would feel fairly restrictive. Which leads me to my first beef with the shoe, actually. It’s so cushiony, you lose a little bit of feel for the road. I loved running in it for long, steady runs. Especially on flat terrain, where pace wasn’t changing, and there was no dynamic movement. The cushy feeling of it was great – but anytime dynamic pace changes are a factor (think fartleks or track workouts), I felt like I was in danger of breaking an ankle. The key to this has to be the extension of Brooks patented DNA system from roughly half the shoe to the whole shoe, as evidenced by their site. Due to this, it tends to lack rebound as well. While heavier footed runners will really appreciate it, I’d say anyone under 200 lbs will feel that it’s just too much.
The upper is more evidence that the shoe is built to hold up through just about anything. It’s reinforced in several areas with a construction that includes heavy duty mesh, solid panels, and even plastic webs running around the forefoot. This plastic web that hugs your arch for a secure fit is the main reason the shoe feels so supportive. I liked this portion of the shoe a lot, as it kept my foot in place, and I had no issues with shifting around like several shoes will. I really appreciate a secure forefoot in order to prevent blisters on any run over 6-7 miles, and the Glycerin had that in spades. It was really breathable, too, which shoes that Brooks really knows what they’re doing in terms of R&D – they aren’t gonna send you out with a shoe that causes swamp foot at mile 20 of a summer marathon. I stayed nice and dry through all but the hottest of my testing runs.
Last but not least, the outsole is constructed with the same idea in mind. When bullet proof construction is the name of the game, Brooks goes with their HPR material. To quote the website directly, it’s designed to be ” higher durability abrasion resistant” material that “wears longer.” In practice, it really does just that. After quite a few test runs in them, there wasn’t really all that much visible wear in them. I have every confidence that these shoes would go the full 600 miles and possibly even then some. What I really like about the outsole construction, however, was how it rolled on smooth pavement. Numerous shoes that feature a plastic set of exposed beams have issues with contact points, and feel very clumsy. Not so with the Glycerin 9 – it smoothly rolled from heel to toe, and provided great traction for a stable toe off.
The bottom line? Heavy runners seeking a stable neutral shoe need look no further. Fleet footed runners may feel that the cushioning is just a bit overdone.
For more info on the Glycerin 9 and other Brooks footwear, visit www.brooksrunning.com.
Zach has nailed it with his review! I too, have been testing and running in lighter weight shoes, so the Glycerin 9’s were a bit different for many reasons. For starters, the women’s model weighs in at 9.8 ounces and features the Brooks’ DNA running the full length of the midsole. The shoes, therefore, had way more cushion than I was used to and some added weight too (typically, wearing shoes under 8 ounces). The cushioning is great for long runs, but I would agree with Zach’s comments about loosing a sense for the ground underneath you. I tend to do a few tempo runs each week and found the Glycerin’s to be a little too much for such bouts.
I have about and average arch and foot width and found the toe box to be almost too roomy for me. I felt that the shoe was a bit sloppier on my foot than past Glycerin models. These may be great then for those with wider feet or those that use orthotics.
My mom has received my Glycerin 7’s and 8’s after testing and claims that they are her favorite shoes (and believe me she gets to try lots of shoes after I am done with them). For her, the cushioning is what keeps her happy while walking the dog. She may not “Run Happy”, but she definitely “Walks Happy”.
I just bought these and have only run about 8 miles in them. They are my first pair of runner’s (I’ve only been running since July. I chose them b/c they felt the nicest on my foot when I was at the running store. I tried on numerous brands but my worry is that the shoe is too much shoe for me. It runs great but feels kinda heavy. The store I was at didn’t have the Ghost 4 in my size and I didn’t get to compare it. I’m wondering if I should go back to the store and compare it to other brooks shoes??? I am only training for a 5k right now so my millage isn’t really anything crazy. Although I’m hooked on running now and plan to do a 10k after this race 🙂 I can run it in 28mins right now. As an ex smoker that has never run I think that’s pretty good 🙂
PS: I’m a female. Would you recommend a different shoe?? I am a neutral runner
It depends on how much cushion you want in a shoe. The glycerin 9 is a solid running shoe and it has been pretty popular among neutral runners for many years. The ghost 4 is a lighter weight shoe and with that comes a little less cushion. Both should work just fine for you, it depends on how light weight you want to go. My personal suggestion would be to keep the Glycerin 9’s and see how you like them down the road. This will also give you something to compare against if you ever buy a lighter weight shoe. Hope this helps and good luck in your races!
thanks that does help a lot. I already couldn’t hold back from my outdoor runs and ran in them – they didn’t disappoint. I guess I just thought the colour and style were a “bit much” for a beginner. I kind of felt weird having my feet stand out so much, but now I’m hooked. I find the extra cushioning really nice (especially since 80% of my runs are on concrete) Thanks for the great review 😀
That is great to here Ali. As someone who gets to see the designs for future seasons, loud colors will be more prevalent across a number of brands and running shoe lines.