Shoe Review: Brooks Ghost 12

The not so regular shoe review is back! This time with the tried and true Brooks Ghost version 12. With many brick and mortar stores closed around the world, we'll all be relying more and more on people's internet opinions to help us make decisions (scary I know). So until you can safely try on shoes again in a store, I'll be providing my unsolicited shoe advice. What makes me qualified to review running shoes? I've been running for over 21 years (all of them in shoes) and worked as a shoes salesman for 6 months until a certain virus shut us down. Whether you tried the shoe yourself or whether you had to listen to your training partner rave about the newest model, I'm sure you will at least be familiar with the Ghost. Since it's inception, the Ghost has been one of the best selling shoes in the industry. Taking down industry giants like ASICS and Nike, which is no easy feet (pun intended). Let's cut right to it. I've put over 400 miles on the pair pictured here, so the shoe has been put through it's paces. While it's not my personal favorite, I do have a lot respect for this shoe.

Sliding your foot into this neutral cushion trainer, you will immediately find your foot at home in the DNA Loft and BioMoGo DNA foam. Initially I found the Brooks foam combination soft in the heel, firm in the forefoot, and just little bit clunky. Not too clunky, but definitely noticeably heavier than my other recent trainers. I'm not a fan of shoes that don't bend or provide some flexibility in the midsole (which is why you won't see a ASICS Kayano reviewed here). I was worried that this shoe would just be a little too much for my liking. After wearing Nike, Skechers, Saucony, and Adidas over the last several years, this Brooks foam doesn't quite have the flexibility and responsiveness that I've been used to from other flagship models. Weighing in at over 10oz, it's definitely on the heavier side of modern trainers, so my initial thoughts weren't misplaced. After walking around in the shoe I was skeptical that it would be a shoe that I would enjoy. 400 miles later it's still in my weekly rotation. My first impressions were certainly curtailed after logging in a few easy runs in the shoe. My foot felt secure striking the ground. The ride is soft in the right places and firm where it needs to be. I can honestly say the ride has not wavered 400 miles later.

It fits like a glove! Or is it a sock fit since it's a shoe? I know that analogy has been used far too often. But I think the biggest selling point of this shoe is the upper. It's plush, soft, and secure. The tongue is just a slice of heaven. It's also one of the few shoes I've ever laced up and had the tongue stay in place. Finally after all these years of research and development a company has managed to find a way to keep the tongue in place after you tie it. The engineered mesh upper gives your feet a nice little hug. Your foot sinks right into the molded heel cup, helping to secure the shoe as you pound the pavement. The toe box is wide enough to give your foot the space it needs to spread out on impact, yet isn't huge and roomy. I honestly can't rave enough about how the upper fits on this shoe!

Ground reaction:
at home in a little grass and mud
The Ghost 12 platform really grips the ground. The amount of rubber on the the bottom of this shoe really allows you to get maximum traction. Your foot strike will feel secure on a variety of surfaces. It's certainly not a heavy duty trail shoe, but with the all the rubber and giant grooves this shoe can certainly get the job done on trails that aren't too technical or muddy. I must say that after 400 miles, I've never seen a bottom hold us this well over the life of the shoe. Using high quality rubber has really paid off. Normally by 250-300 miles you can see wear patterns from your foot strike and start to see the rubber wearing down to the sole. Not for the Ghost 12. Using such a quality bottom has also increased the value and life span of the shoe.

Looks: I'll admit the Ghost 12 isn't going to be winning runway fashion awards any time soon, but we don't wear running shoes for looks, we wear them for function. It comes in a variety of colors that have been updated several times since the shoe landed in the fall of 2019. If you don't like the minimalist design and want something a bit more fashion forward you can always go with the neon nightlife yellow or Christmas quilt design.

Wallet pain: The Ghost 12 comes in at $130, which seems to be the new industry standard for flagship models. While I might personally think shoes are getting too expensive, the Brooks Ghost 12 has the best durability of any current flagship models at the $130 price point and outlasts many models with higher price points. This durability and reliability you get from an industry standard, is great reason to invest in this shoe.

Who: From walker to professional runner, the Brooks Ghost is an everyday trainer that will find walkers and runners of all different shapes, sizes, and abilities right at home. If you are in the market for a neutral cushioned trainer, and haven't tried any version of the Ghost, the 12 is certainly a great introduction. If you've been away from Brooks or the Ghost in recent years I'd recommend giving this shoe a run.