Brooks Ricochet Running Shoe Review

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First Thoughts Of The Brooks Ricochet

I want to be up front that I have been a fan of the Brooks line of running shoes. I have tested several, and run many good pairs into the ground. Most of the Brooks models have always fit my foot rather well, and they do tend to last.

The Brooks Ricochet is a new introduction, and comes on the heels of the Brooks Levitate which hit shelves last fall. This is its lightweight cousin, and will surely be hit among the Brooks “Run Happy” fan base.

Technical Aspect Of The Brooks Ricochet

Brooks engineered a new technology called DNA AMP. It comes with this TPU-based material which offers a smooth run that has some spring to it. TPU is a polyurethane plastic that has properties like elasticity, transparency, and resistance to oil, grease, and abrasion. “They are thermoplastic elastomers consisting of segmented block copolymers composed of hard and soft segments.” I’m no engineer, and the main thing I took away from that quote was the elasticity and resistance to abrasion. Now those are words I can comprehend. Especially, how it would translate to a shoe and the rigors of running hundreds of miles.

Upon further research, TPU is used in the automotive industry, the medical world, and the mobile device industry. Do you have a case on your pricey smartphone? It is probably encased in TPU.

Midsole Of The Brooks Ricochet

Brooks put together thousand of tiny TPU pellets to create a comfortable, durable, and somewhat springy shoe. The Brooks Levitate had this, but there is a demand for this technology in a lighter weight shoe. Hence, the Ricochet was born. BioMogo material is also still used to create a fusion made for going the long run.

 

Outsole

The Brooks Ricochet outsole is designed with an arrow point. I’ve aptly nicknamed my Ricochet shoes, “Bullet” as it seems to always come to mind when I think of the name. The traction has been good, and the channels are narrow enough to avoid tiny rocks getting lodged in there. All the while, those grooves allow for the individual pods or lines to respond to variations in the road. Plus, they transfer power on each and every stride.

The Brooks Ricochet Upper

A thin fit knit upper creates a sock-like fit. This is important, because it diminishes the potential for hot spots. Of course, there are numerous factors at play. Depending on how tight you lace up, running form, mileage, etc., and the potential for blisters is always a concern. The elastic band hugs the ankle and/or sock to provide a snug fit, and provides plenty of flex to move as one.

Aside from all the fancy and innovative technology that’s been placed in the midsole and outsole, fit around the foot is where I have noticed great improvements. The sock-like internal bootie creates for a very comfortable fit even when pushing the limits for hours and miles on end. The stretchy heel wrap that the Brooks Ricochet sports is something I’ve really been wanting to put to the test. This is my first foray into a heel and ankle wrap like this. I am currently using all sorts of different socks to see how that will respond to the fit and comfort around my ankle. I always expect some rubbing, hot spots, or abrasion, but have yet to experience any of that. So far so good, and we’ll see how that plays out over the life of the shoe.

Taking The Brooks Ricochet Out On The Open Road

Rotating through a variety of shoes have allowed me to push the limits, and they’ve all stood the test of time. Hence, I can usually push them well past the recommended manufacturer’s mileage of 300-500 miles. Several thousand of those miles were put on their PureFlow series; which is considered a lighter weight shoe. That said, I do feel it provides decent support. I am a multi-sport athlete and weigh in at around 165 pounds on a 6’-1’ frame. I’m not necessarily small from a running standpoint, but as I have aged, the aches and pains have set in more frequently. Consequently, the PureFlows have helped me cross the finish line at many marathons and several Ironman.

After three to four weeks of solid training, I have really dialed in the fit. It’s almost as if there really was no breaking-in period. The Brooks Ricochet were quite comfortable from the get-go, and the in-sole has molded to my foot to provide for a solid ride. I run on a variety of trail surfaces to mix it up and alleviate the pounding that takes its toll on my body. These Brooks Ricochet are obviously made for the road where they’ve performed admirably.

The fore foot is pretty responsive and has a good feel for the road. You can sense the occasional pebble or inconsistency, but nothing to really worry about. The middle TPU cushioned area is really amazing. I won’t go as far as saying that they are bouncy or have springs in them, but the return from all that technology does feel like it propels me forward.

Maybe, it’s in my head, or maybe it is the slightest difference. In either case, I do feel energized by the enhanced TPU midsole. The heel has an adequate amount of cushioning to aid the more serious heel strikers. That 8mm drop is a good sweet spot as far as drops go. Even if you are new to running, then this is a great step to mimic what some will call a more natural running form.

Fit Of The Brooks Ricochet

First and foremost, the Brooks Ricochet are comfortable. I’ve said it before, and it warrants another mention. There are lots of technological advances at work here, and for me the ability to run long has been a positive experience. Personal feel can be dialed in by each individual runner thru the lacing system to provide a good fit for the Brooks Ricochet. The toe box has room enough to allow my toes to splay, and feel free to avoid those dreaded blisters. As a result, this creates for a natural running feel.

The lacing is simple and straightforward, and does the job of allowing me to dial in a comfortable yet secure fit. The laces are way too long in my opinion. There’s a lot of lace left over. I am running with some rather large loops that could come loose easier if caught on something. Cutting them down a couple of inches would be good.

Final Thoughts On The Brooks Ricochet

The Brooks Ricochet is a performance driven shoe with lots of bells and whistles. The technological focus on the mid and out sole is what really makes this a strong contender in its category. The fit is good all around, and the sock-like wrap hugs the foot and ankle without any rubbing. I expected some discomfort there, but that never materialized. The upper is clean and simple, and has an effective breathable mesh fabric. Therefore, I am truly impressed with the Brooks Ricochet, and can’t wait to see how durable they’ll be over the long haul. I’ll let you know in 5 to 6 years. Run Happy, ya’ll!

MSRP: $120

For more information visit www.brooksrunning.com

Niels Oomkes: I am a multi-sport endurance athlete, and love to get out into the great outdoors to push the body to its limit. Most of my weekend expeditions, adventures, trips, or vacations are planned around running, biking, snowshoeing, camping, or anything else that will allow me to enjoy nature's exquisite beauty.
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