Brooks Trace Review

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First Thoughts on The Brooks Trace

Brooks and I go way back. Admittedly, I have really played the field. To put it nicely, I am a Brooks Philanderer. Having gone from the freeflowing and minimal Pureflow and Puregrit to getting dirty with the Cascadias. I’ve taken the sleek, flashy, and fancy Ricochets the distance, and “bounced” around with the cushioned Ghost. To be honest, the Beast has scared me with all of its heft, so I’ve stayed clear of that one.

Brooks is having great success with its wide variety of lines, and as such, you will see lots of numbers as successive shoes come out usually with small tweaks and improvements. In the case of the Trace, there are no predecessors. This is the first unveiling with a blank slate as far as reviews and history.

In an ideal world, one has the luxury of rotating through a handful of shoes to balance out the wear and tear on the shoes and body. Starting out fresh and then running a pair into the ground, could be detrimental to the body. I have reached an age where I do need to be careful of the pavement pounding, so I keep track of my mileage and wear a pair according to weather conditions, surface, distance, etc.

Technical Specifications

Support     Neutral

Midsole Drop   12mm

Weight: 8.9 oz. 252.3g

Arch: Medium, High

Experience Type: Cushion

Technology: Cushion

Soft cushioning

I can’t recall when Brooks introduced its lightweight BioMoGo DNA cushioning. Probably a good 10 years ago now, and it’s been refined over that time. BioMoGo adapts to your speed, stride, and weight to help deflect impact away from your body. In any case, it’s a very responsive material that really reacts to the way you run.

The Heel to Toe drop is 12mm. That’s the “biggest” drop you will see, and what many were used to over the past several decades. A minimal movement some 10 years ago, brought that down to 0mm in many brands and shoes. I have slowly but surely reduced that for myself as well. I have some 8mm drop shoes, and I really favored the Brooks Pureflow for many years which are at 4mm. And then, I do have some 0mm drop runners as well. You need to find out works for you, but I do caution and recommend to ease into dropping that down. For these Brooks Trace, most should be able to hit the ground running.

Brooks Trace Bottom Sole

The Brooks Trace has segmented crash pads on the bottoms to allow for a seamless transition as you go through a running stride. These are obviously road runners, but I tend to veer off onto local gravel paths and the occasional trail. A light and nimble Trace works fine on all those surfaces. For more rugged terrain, or muddy conditions something more trail worthy would be good, but for the everyday run around the neighborhood these are ideal.

They have medium arch supports which provides that extra little bit of support which may be a good thing even for a neutral runner. If you are a slight pronate runner, then these could be a solid crossover into the neutral territory. Food for thought.

Breathable Upper

The engineered mesh is nice and light and cool for when it does heat up. It keeps the feet dry and cool. Being that it is the dead of winter, I’ve had to pick dry and warmer days to test that theory. There’s been a couple of times, but summer will be when I get to really figure out that AC feature.

The lacing eyelets are paired into 6 separate pods. In essence, this allows different parts on both sides of the shoe to tighten around the middle portion of the foot. I feel like my feet have widened, so that extra play is welcomed.

The heel cuff is slightly thicker, and has these extra bumper pads. This may be slight overkill in my opinion, but you be the judge. I was able to tighten my laces properly to ensure there was no lifting or rubbing.

Taking the Brooks Trace Out For A Run.

My Trace came in on a Friday afternoon, and I literally laced them up and went for a quick easy recovery run. I always take my time to “break-in” my shoes by wearing them around the house for a while. I felt confident that the fit would be fine based on my experiences with other Brooks shoes. In any case, my recommendation is to take your time, and let them mold to your specific foot shape to see how they work.

In an ideal world, one has the luxury of rotating through a handful of shoes to balance out the wear and tear on the shoes and the body. Starting out fresh and then running a pair into the ground could be detrimental to the body. I have reached an age where I do need to be careful of the pavement pounding, so I keep track of the mileage and wear a pair according to weather conditions, surface, distance, etc.

Keeping with a common theme for this review, I do think these runners have a sexy look to them. They are shapely, toned, and don’t have a lot of excess baggage.  All good with a little light humor.

In all seriousness, these Brooks Trace are a solid addition to my stable of shoes. They provide my aging bones with enough cushioning and support, so I can keep enjoying my runs. I am becoming more leery of injury as the years go by, and I do hope these keep me going by absorbing the bumps and nuances of the road.

I’ve now put on about 100 miles, and that’s what I would call a nice breaking-in period. Time will tell how they fare for the long haul, but in my experience 500 plus miles is certainly attainable. My tempo runs have fared well to allow me to test these at faster speeds. There’s no real shifting or movement for me which has been very nice. My only initial take was that the heel cuff was a bit beefier than I would have liked. Those bumper pads as I like to call them on the sides may come in handy as I have been know to hit my ankles at times.

Final Thoughts On The Brooks Trace

This is the first version for the Brooks Trace, so it will be interesting to see how they will be received. Here’s to a long line of Trace’s. My introduction has been solid, and give them high marks (if they are a proper fit of course). The cushioning is quite soft and comfortable, and I am going longer distances as I am getting into a more concentrated training session.

If you are a newbie to Brooks, they do have a 90 day trail period. Try them out first, because they have to work for you. Run Happy!

MSRP: $100. That’s a good price for a solid shoe!

For more information and soon to be released Brooks Trace purchase, please visit amazon.com.brooksrunning.

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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