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

Brooks Glycerin 16 - Women's Review

The Glycerin is an amazingly comfortable shoe with ample cushioning.
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
Price:  $150 List | $139.50 at Amazon
Compare prices at 3 resellers
Pros:  Super comfortable, good support
Cons:  Less breathable, not as responsive
Manufacturer:   Brooks
By Lauren DeLaunay ⋅ Senior Review Editor  ⋅  Aug 7, 2018
  • Share this article:
76
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#4 of 12
  • Landing Comfort - 25% 9
  • Responsiveness - 20% 7
  • Upper Comfort - 25% 8
  • Stability - 20% 7
  • Weight - 10% 5

The Skinny

We included three Brooks models in this review, and frankly, we were impressed with the upper and landing comfort in all of them. The Glycerin was no exception, earning high marks across the board. We loved the plush upper, similar to that of the Brooks Ghost and Adrenaline GTS, our Editors' Choice Award winner. This shoe was more cushioned underfoot than either of those models, however, and therefore was less responsive and significantly heavier. We'd happily recommend this shoe to any runner looking for a little more cushion, whether due to long distance running or knee and joint pain, but not for one looking to do a lot of speedwork or racing.


Compare to Similar Products

Our Analysis and Test Results

Our reviewers found this extra plush shoe to be a great fit for distance running or anyone looking for a little extra cushioning but are hesitant to jump as far into the deep end as the HOKA Bondi or Clifton. For a more well-rounded shoe with the same comfortable upper, we recommend the lighter Adrenaline GTS.

Performance Comparison


Coming in right in the middle of the pack, the Glycerin 16 (shown in blue below) was one of our favorites non-award winners.

The Glycerin likes to transition from pavement to dirt just as much as we do.
The Glycerin likes to transition from pavement to dirt just as much as we do.

Landing Comfort


As with the other Brooks models we tested in this review, the Glycerin knocks it out of the park. With more cushioning than the Ghost and Adrenaline, this product is more similar to the HOKA Clifton in this metric. We'd recommend this shoe to anyone looking for the signature Brooks upper with a bit more underfoot padding.

Tons of cushioning isn't necessarily for every runner, and we recognize that many of our readers will prefer the opposite end of the spectrum, a minimalist product like the Altra Escalante. A higher score in this category might not be for you, but at the end of the day, we can't deny how comfortable the Glycerin is. Sitting slightly higher off the ground than the other Brooks models we tested, this shoe is still much less cushioned than the Bondi, putting it in the running (pun intended) for best all-around shoe.

The Glycerin provides a seriously cloud-like ride.
The Glycerin provides a seriously cloud-like ride.

While our testers think it may be too padded for many runners, we would happily endorse this product to athletes looking for a little extra comfort. Whether you have knee pain, are new to running, or are looking for something cozy for your long training runs, the Glycerin's comfort is truly undeniable.

Responsiveness


Here at OutdoorGearLab, when we design our tests, we usually favor products with the highest scores in every category. With running shoes, however, we learned something different. Many of the characteristics of running shoes come at the expense of others, and most runners want a shoe that finds a balance. High levels of responsiveness and landing comfort are hard to come by in the same product, so it's important to distinguish which of the two is more important to you and the type of running you prefer.

While the previous version of the Glycerin fell a little flat in this category, we were happy to see a bit of improvement in the newest iteration. For a highly cushioned shoe, the responsiveness is impressive, though it's nowhere near as bouncy as a racing shoe like the Nike Air Zoom Pegasus. While its cushioning is similar to the Bondi, the Glycerin is much more responsive.

Checking out the newly updated Glycerin (right) compared to the Editors' Choice Award-winning Adrenaline GTS
Checking out the newly updated Glycerin (right) compared to the Editors' Choice Award-winning Adrenaline GTS

This improvement can be credited to the new DNA LOFT material that Brooks pioneered for 2018. An update from the previous midsole material, the improvement to this shoe's responsiveness was small but noticeable. We bumped this shoe's score up one point in this category as we never wanted to take it off!

Upper Comfort


Ahh, upper comfort. This was the first metric we tested as we could start judging right out of the box. Like the Ghost and Adrenaline, the Glycerin is supremely comfortable, and we found ourselves wearing these shoes to run errands or work around the house long after our workouts ended.

This shoe is complete with a mega-plush tongue and heel and more than enough lateral padding. We were happy in these shoes all day but did notice that they fit a little narrower than the other Brooks models we tested. It is available in both a narrow and wide fit, however, so we might recommend sizing up if you're normally on the wider side.

A close-up look at the ultra-plush upper of the Glycerin
A close-up look at the ultra-plush upper of the Glycerin

While the last iteration of this shoe lost points in this category due to its breathability, we saw a definite improvement in the new version. The Glycerin 16 has a new mesh upper that performed well in hot, humid weather. After testing this shoe for weeks in the baking sun of summer in Yosemite, our feet were thankful.

Stability


Stability shoes are not for everyone, but we do appreciate a product that has some support to keep us feeling snug and secure. The Glycerin is not a stability-focused shoe, but it does have some great support properties.

Printed overlays keep us secure in the Glycerin.
Printed overlays keep us secure in the Glycerin.

With more cushioning than the Adrenaline, the Glycerin has solid printed overlays on the outer midfoot. This provides excellent reinforcement to keep our foot properly aligned, as opposed to a shoe like the Escalante, whose minimalistic design does little to support a healthy stride. We really liked this feature of the Glycerin and found it similar to that of the Ghost, one of our all-time favorite shoes.

Weight


Unless you're an elite runner, we don't usually think that a few ounces should be of major concern. Weight comes at the cost of other important features like support and cushioning, and so we think that a slightly lower score in this category is actually more appropriate for the average runner. That being said, the Glycerin is the second heaviest shoe in this review, and we definitely noticed it.

As we've discussed above, the Glycerin is highly cushioned, so it's no surprise that it weighs more than it's more moderately-padded counterparts. If lightweight kicks are your thing, however, we recommend looking to the Nike Air Zoom Pegasus 35 for a supportive shoe with a lower weight, the HOKA Clifton for similar padding but a less comfortable upper, or the Adrenaline GTS for the same upper with less underfoot cushioning.

Best Applications


When our lead tester's friend was getting back into running after an injury-strewn hiatus, this is the shoe we recommended to her. Tons of comfort to keep your feet happy all day long, whether walking around doing errands or stacking up the miles. We think this shoe is great for new runners, athletes with histories of hip and knee pain, or anyone wanting to be comfortable more than they want to be fast. That being said, the responsiveness and support are above average, and this could be a great all-around shoe for a wide range of runners, especially those looking for something to go the distance.

We can't help smiling with the Glycerin
We can't help smiling with the Glycerin

Value


The Glycerin is on the higher side of our price spectrum, and at $150 is $30 more expensive than our Editors' Choice Award winner, the Adrenaline GTS. It is the same cost as the HOKA Bondi, however, and we don't think the price is absurd for all the cushioning you get. If everything we've described about the Glycerin is leaving you screaming yes! in front of your computer, we wouldn't be too put off by the higher price tag, as it is truly a wonderfully comfortable product.

Conclusion


While the Glycerin didn't go home with any awards this year, we can't deny that we do love this shoe. For our long run days, this was often our go-to, and we really appreciated its comfortable upper and outer sole. The support and responsiveness were there to help guide us, while the cloud-like design kept us floating. While this shoe numerically came in at the middle of the pack, we still think of the Glycerin as an all-star shoe.

The Glycerin shines in the sun on a sunny day in Yosemite National Park.
The Glycerin shines in the sun on a sunny day in Yosemite National Park.


Lauren DeLaunay