When the Brooks Ghost 12 was released in July 2013, it was greeted with applause from across the board—most notably, Runner’s World honored it with the Editor’s Choice award in their Fall Shoe Guide the following September. This recognition is well-deserved for the most part; take a look at customer reviews anywhere on the Web and you’ll find that feedback has been overwhelmingly positive.
Of course, it’s difficult, if not impossible, to design a running shoe that works for everybody. Consequently, the Brooks Ghost might not be your top pick. Both physical attributes and personal preferences play into picking the perfect running shoe. It’s important to think about your gait, your feet, and how you’ll be using your shoes. Before you bring home the Ghost, make sure the decision won’t haunt you later.
The Brooks Ghost 12 May Be Your Sole Mate If…
You Typically Wear Neutral Running Shoes
The Brooks Ghost line is designed for the neutral runner. If you’re fortunate enough to have the most biochanically efficient pronation, your body is naturally absorbing the impact of your heal strike. This means you don’t need any extra stability, and the Brooks Ghost 12 might be the best pick for you.
You Never Grasped The “Minimalist Thing”
If minimalist shoes don’t provide the comfort you desire or if the trend just never made sense to you, you’ll love the Ghost’s more traditional style. The height of the heal (24 millimeters) in collaboration with a classic heal to toe curve and 12 mm drop provide the cushioning and mobility control to which many runners are accustomed. However, these shoes are also cutting edge—gone are the days of being weighed down by your shoes. At 10.7 oz or 8.6 oz (for men and women respectively), the Ghost 12 is lighter than any of its predecessors, and more importantly, it feels lighter than many of its contemporaries when you’re running.
You’re a Heavy Heel-Striker
I already mentioned the mountainous foam heel, but this is just the beginning of the technological features Brooks has put in place for heavy heel-strikers with the Ghost 12. The Anatomical Brooks DNA responds to each runner’s size and landing pattern to evenly distribute cushioning throughout the mid-sole. In the Ghost 12, Brooks also segmented the heel section of the shoe and enhanced the Caterpillar Crash Pad, which absorbs shock by spreading out the forces of impact as soon as your heel hits the ground.
Comfort Is Your Top Priority
In addition to comfort designed specifically to thwart the impact of the heel-strike, the Brooks Ghost 12 is comfortable all over. Testers at Runner’s World cited the Ghost’s glove-like fit and applauded the decision to remove the plastic shank under the arch and fill it with foam and rubber. Its breathable and smooth upper only adds to its likability.
The Ghost Might Be Just Another Nightmare If…
You Run Primarily On Trails
Simply put, the Brooks Ghost line is designed for road runners. This isn’t to say you can’t enjoy a few light trail runs with them recreationally, but if you primarily run on trails with rough terrain, you’ll want to get shoes specifically designed for that purpose—offering the stability, under foot protection, and traction that you’ll need. For instance, the highly anticipated Vasque Ultra SST hits stores soon, and Brooks also makes several shoes that are fit for trailrunners. In fact, Brooks Cascadia and the PureGrit 2 are both award-winning trail shoes.
You’re Prone To Overpronation Or Supination
Unfortunately, the Ghosts aren’t made for over or under-pronators. Though those with only mild irregularities might be able to make the Ghosts work, moderate to severe overpronators and supinators should look for a shoe with more stability and cushioning. Runners take heart; you won’t have to look far. The Runner’s World Spring 2014 Shoe Guide names the Adidas Supernova Glide 6 as the Editor’s Choice for both men and women—and it has the stability and motion control non-neutral runners need.
You’re moving towards minimalism (or you’re already there)
The Brooks Ghost is not only not a minimalist shoe – its far from it. Compare the 12 mm drop of the Ghost to the “zero drop” minimalists promote and you’ll understand why. Even though the Ghost is light for its class, its heavier than even transitional minimalist shoes. If you’re just setting out on the minimalist path or if you’re a proponent of minimalist shoes but need a bit more stability than they can provide, you might try something akin to Brooks’ PureCadence, a transitional shoe that’s part of the Brooks PureProject.
I’m a mild to moderate overpronator myself, and I wear these shoes for a variety of road runs. They’re much lighter than traditional shoes at 6.9 oz, and they feel comfortable and natural.
You Want A Natural-Feeling Run
The Brooks Ghost 12 is light, cushiony, flexible, responsive, and highly shock absorbent. However, you won’t get the organic feel some shoes provide. Featuring a plethora of technological advances often listed as benefits, the Brooks Ghost can hardly be expected to feel natural, too—after all, its not.
The Wrap Up On The Brooks Ghost 12 Running Shoe
The Brooks Ghost 12 is an “everyman’s” shoe designed for the traditional road runner, and it more than makes the grade in terms of comfort and cushioning. However, if you hit the trails hard or idolize Christopher McDougal, you might be looking for something more specific to your cause.