The world's most in-depth and scientific reviews of outdoor gear

Brooks Ghost 11 - Women's Review

Strikes an awesome balance between comfort and responsiveness.
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Price:  $120 List | $74.83 at REI
Compare prices at 2 resellers
Pros:  Supportive, protective, comfortable
Cons:  Less breathable, less responsive
Manufacturer:   Brooks
By Brittney Ahrens and Lauren DeLaunay  ⋅  Aug 14, 2019
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77
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#3 of 14
  • Landing Comfort - 25% 8
  • Upper Comfort - 25% 9
  • Responsiveness - 20% 7
  • Stability - 20% 7
  • Weight - 10% 6

Our Verdict

For many years, the Brooks Ghost was one top scorer, and we still find this shoe to be a highly versatile, user-friendly, and extremely comfortable shoe. We love to recommend this model for anyone looking for serious comfort and a neutral stride. We thought it was slightly less responsive and a bit heavier than the Brooks Adrenaline GTS which ultimately won our top award, but if you've fallen in love with previous iterations of the Ghost, you won't be disappointed in this newest rendition.

Ghost 12 Available Now

Brooks released the Ghost 12; read more below.

August 2019


Compare to Similar Products

 
Awards  Editors' Choice Award Top Pick Award   
Price $74.83 at REI
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$149.95 at Backcountry$89.48 at Amazon
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Overall Score Sort Icon
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Star Rating
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Pros Supportive, protective, comfortableComfortable, responsive, supportiveLightweight, comfortable upper, very responsiveSuper comfortable, good supportHighly responsive, supportive
Cons Less breathable, less responsiveNot as light as some other contendersLess cushioningLess breathable, not as responsiveLess comfortable upper, not as light
Bottom Line Strikes an awesome balance between comfort and responsiveness.An outstanding all-around shoe that finds the balance between all metrics.A quick shoe with a one-of-a-kind balance between comfort and responsiveness.An amazingly comfortable shoe with ample cushioning.The Air Zoom Pegasus is a supportive shoe with a highly responsive sole made for speed.
Rating Categories Brooks Ghost 11 - Women's Adrenaline GTS 19 Sonic RA Pro 2 Brooks Glycerin 17 - Women's Air Zoom Pegasus 35
Landing Comfort (25%)
10
0
8
10
0
8
10
0
7
10
0
9
10
0
7
Upper Comfort (25%)
10
0
9
10
0
9
10
0
8
10
0
8
10
0
7
Responsiveness (20%)
10
0
7
10
0
8
10
0
9
10
0
7
10
0
9
Stability (20%)
10
0
7
10
0
9
10
0
7
10
0
7
10
0
7
Weight (10%)
10
0
6
10
0
5
10
0
10
10
0
6
10
0
8
Specs Brooks Ghost 11 -... Adrenaline GTS 19 Sonic RA Pro 2 Brooks Glycerin 17... Air Zoom Pegasus 35
Weight per shoe (ounces) 8.8 9.4 6.8 9.1 7.9
Weight per pair 17.6 18.8 13.6 18.2 15.8
Width Options Narrow, Regular, Wide Regular Regular Narrow, Regular, and Wide Regular and Wide
Sizes Available 5 - 12 5 - 13 5 - 12 5 - 12 5 - 12
Midsole Material BioMoGo DNA DNA LOFT Textile DNA Loft EVA Cushlon ST, Zoom Air
Sole Rubber Rubber Rubber Rubber Rubber
Toe to Heel Drop 12 mm 12 mm 6 mm 10 mm 10 mm

Our Analysis and Test Results

Ghost 12 vs. Ghost 11


Technology and fit-wise, the Ghost remains largely unchanged with this update. The main tweaks were to the 3D Fit Print upper, which has engineered mesh designed to provide stretch and structure in strategic areas of the foot. Compare the two models below; the new Ghost 12 is shown in the first image.


We are still linking to the Ghost 11, as it is more widely available as this time. You may even find it on discount!

Hands-On Review of the Ghost 11


Brooks crafted another exceptional shoe in this newer version, staying true to the positives that were found in older models. The Ghost 11 secures high scores in overall comfort when we averaged landing and upper comfort with breathability. It combines a comfy midsole with the new plush heel zone, and these features work together to create a highly adaptive ride that functions for individual stride variations as well as different runners.

Seeing how the Ghost stacked up against the competition, it is clear to see why it remains one of our all-time favorite products.

We love the comfy Brooks Ghosts for a sunny day in Yosemite.
We love the comfy Brooks Ghosts for a sunny day in Yosemite.

Landing Comfort


With a heavy amount of underfoot padding, the Ghost was only out-performed by the HOKA Bondi, whose maximum cushioning design is unique in this review. Scoring one of the highest numbers in this category, this shoe was tied with the HOKA Clifton, Brooks Adrenaline, and Brooks Glycerin.

We put our feet through a lot of miles, but with the DNA BioMoGo midsole, the cushion helped absorb the impact and save us some wear and tear. Brooks kept the updated cushioning of the previous version, which saw a change from gel inserts in the heel and forefoot to a blended DNA technology throughout the midsole. With cushioning throughout our entire landing platform, the Ghost helped balance varying impact due to pace and terrain.

The Ghost has an improved  plush heel for 2019.
The Ghost has an improved, plush heel for 2019.

New to this version, the Ghost includes a "plush transition" zone in the heel. Designed to aid in landing comfort, we felt the bonus of this every transition from heel to toe. The Glycerin, another in the Brooks family, also had superior landing comfort; Brooks seems to have a handle on what makes an excellent soft landing during a gait cycle.

Responsiveness


The Ghost is highly responsive throughout its midsole, which features grooves that help to break up the cushioning and allow our feet to flex naturally. Brooks also designed their blown rubber lugs to be larger in the midfoot. This added the desired boost in responsiveness by increasing ground feel, while maintaining the flexibility that we love so much in the Ghost.

The Ghost strikes a nice balance between comfort and responsiveness.
The Ghost strikes a nice balance between comfort and responsiveness.

This model was slightly out-performed by the Adrenaline which was one of the main reasons it was bumped out of our Editors' Choice spot. It was, however, more responsive than the Altra Escalante and ASICS GEL-Cumulus, as well as both HOKA models.

Upper Comfort


We rated the Ghost another near-perfect score for the highly comfortable upper. Outfitted with a comfort fit, the stretchy top laces helped to minimize pressure. From the first moment we slipped on these kicks, it was as if they had been made specially for our foot. The tongue felt locked against the bridge of our foot, and this award winner had a supremely plush tongue and collar. The grade in tongue cushion helped to create a snug and secure fit around the collar, while our toes and forefoot had plenty of room to splay out with the ample toe box.

A close-up look at the Brooks Ghost's interior
A close-up look at the Brooks Ghost's interior

The collar is designed with an extra layer of soft cushion. The Ghost's upper has a lot of the same plush feel as the Adrenaline and Glycerin. These classic shoes offer narrow and wide widths, meaning there are sufficient options to fully customize your fit. If you are in the market for a shoe that you can splay your toes out in, the Altra Escalante feature a wide toe box that looks more like a foot and isn't as shaped in the same way as the Ghost, though it has considerably less padding.

Stability


Brooks doesn't claim to offer stability support in the Ghost, so it's not surprising that they were outperformed by other contenders, such as the Adrenaline and ASICS GEL-Cumulus, or comparable to the Brooks Glycerin or HOKA Bondi. For runners who supinate or maintain a neutral gait, this is a positive. It is not recommended to buy a running shoe with more stability features than you need. That being the case, it's worth noting that the midsole and plush transition heel zone do provide just the kind of cushioned support a neutral or supinated runner might want to look for.

Above-average lateral support on the Ghost
Above-average lateral support on the Ghost

Weight


As we've mentioned before, we usually suggest that weight be evaluated as a secondary metric. It's difficult to tell the difference between a few ounces, and we find that comfort and responsiveness are much more noticeable. That being said, we always enjoy shaving ounces, and the Ghost comes in near the middle of the pack.

Feeling weightless in the Brooks Ghost!
Feeling weightless in the Brooks Ghost!

The Ghost weighs in at 8.8 ounces per shoe, putting it on the heavier side of all the shoes we tested. We noticed the weight when compared to lightweight models like the Altra Escalante and Salomon Sonic RA Pro 2. This was also one of the reasons we chose the Adrenaline GTS for our Editors' Choice Award instead. While only a bit lighter, we couldn't help but award the Adrenaline bonus points for being on the lighter end of our spectrum.

Best Applications


This competitor is a wonderful, highly cushioned neutral trainer for everyday use on the roads. The balanced cushioned ride enables neutral runners to get after it without feeling it the next day, and we recommend this shoe to anyone looking for great comfort, decent responsiveness, and no stability features.

An all-time classic: the Brooks Ghost
An all-time classic: the Brooks Ghost

Value


The price of this shoe is extremely fair; at $120, it rings in right in the middle of our lineup. Similarly priced to the Editors' Choice Award-winning Adrenaline and cheaper than our Top Pick for Distance (the HOKA Bondi), our testers believe you get what you pay for with this shoe.

Conclusion


With just the right amount of cushioning, the women's Ghost has a neutral support system that is well balanced and comfortable. It will continue to perform exceptionally well and will not weigh you down, even after logging plenty of miles. We loved the smooth transition from foot strike to toe-off (thanks in part to the new plush transition zone in the heel), the full ground contact, and the environmentally-conscious material. Overall, this pair of running shoes one of the more balanced shoes we tested, earning it the second-highest overall score in our review.


Brittney Ahrens and Lauren DeLaunay