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Brooks Glycerin 18 - Women's Review

Elite road racers, weekend warriors and newbies alike will all love the smooth ride of this traditionally built running shoe
Editors' Choice Award
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Price:  $150 List | $149.95 at Backcountry
Compare prices at 3 resellers
Pros:  Silky soft, durable, responsive, beyond comfortable
Cons:  Not quite light enough for serious speedwork
Manufacturer:   Brooks
By Ally Meller ⋅ Review Editor  ⋅  May 22, 2020
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82
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#1 of 15
  • Responsiveness - 25% 9
  • Landing Comfort - 25% 9
  • Weight - 20% 5
  • Durability - 10% 9
  • Upper Comfort - 10% 10
  • Breathability - 10% 8

Our Verdict

The updated Brooks Glycerin 18 is the cream of the crop and earned its place as the leader of the pack. As we tested, it became very obvious that this pair of kicks needed to be our Editors' Choice Winner. This shoe seriously negates joint aches and pains by balancing its pillowy soft landing with a generous amount of responsive oomph! New athletes and experienced pavement pounders alike will appreciate everything the new Glycerin has to offer. They stay springy even as the miles add up, deeming the mildly above-average price tag very fair. We love this shoe and think that you will too.

Compare to Similar Products

Our Analysis and Test Results

Human bodies are designed to run, and in these shoes, you'll never want to stop. Once again, Brooks delivers an incredible shoe for women — our love affair with the Glycerin 18 had us literally jumping for joy. Beyond living up to its super swaggy name, it is responsive, breathable, and will truly inspire its wearers to go the distance and then some.

Performance Comparison


Can't stop  won't stop! Nothing like some sea breeze to kick the legs into high gear.
Can't stop, won't stop! Nothing like some sea breeze to kick the legs into high gear.

Responsiveness


As gear testers, we buy a lot of running shoes. In the past, we've observed that responsiveness and comfort are mutually exclusive. We are elated, however, to report that Brooks broke the trend with the new technology of the Glycerin 18. The energy response of this shoe is simply fantastic, especially considering the amount of cushioning it offers.


The addition of extra DNA Loft and the reconfigured outsole ratio of the Glycerin 18 delivers the shoe we've all been waiting for. The outsole shape provides quick and precise energy return. During testing, these shoes easily turned into our long-distance PR-setting steeds due to their impressive responsiveness and comfort. Brooks continues to outpace even Nike, and we are happy to be along for the ride.

We love how each step propels us into the next with ease.
We love how each step propels us into the next with ease.

Landing Comfort


Brooks brought their A-game when designing this shoe. The neutral, 10mm midsole drop boasts extreme underfoot softness without compromising responsiveness, and the Ortholite liner takes a traditional running shoe shape and transforms it into a luxurious sock-jacket that you'll never want to take off. This iteration has a reconfigured sole that miraculously provides more cushion than previous models — and at a lower weight per pair than the last Glycerin! The FitPrint technology creates an adaptable sole that provides perfect shock absorption. Runners looking for a barefoot running feel or 0 mm drop might find the cloudlike sensation of this model to be cumbersome, and anyone preferring a stiffer structure will find these to be too soft. Personally, we love a supportive yet soft shoe, and these bad boys satisfy our Goldilocks preferences perfectly. Our reviewers agree that the smooth ride, DNA Loft technology, and ultra-comfortable fit negate this shoe's mediocre weight.


Brooks claims that the Glycerin 18 is the "final word on comfort," and we enthusiastically agree. Runners (and walkers!) with a history of lower-body injuries will love the softness and space offered through the base of this shoe. We appreciate how soft and forgiving each step in this shoe feels, as well as how compassionate a landing it gives. Our only complaint is that the moderate arch might feel too intense for flat-footed runners.

Springy  cushioned and oh-so-soft  these shoes hold up mile after mile.
Springy, cushioned and oh-so-soft, these shoes hold up mile after mile.

Weight


The only metric in which this shoe performed unremarkably was this one. Even so, Brooks technology took off nearly half an ounce per pair from the previous version while still increasing comfort and constructing an overall smoother ride. Our team unanimously agrees that the weight does not detract from the performance of these shoes in any way. As the testing miles added up, so did the words of praise for this stellar pair of kicks. We've said it before, and we'll say it again, we consider weight to be a secondary metric. With that in mind, the Glycerin 18 beats out their competition by a landslide. We are ALL IN for these over-performing, long-distance beasts.


As occasional mid-packers ourselves, it would be hypocritical of us to criticize the mid-pack weight of an otherwise exceptional shoe. Heavier than some and lighter than others, we recommend runners looking for a near-weightless pair of kicks to keep looking. But if you are a mid-packer looking to amp up your pace over the long term, you'll be satisfied with this shoe.

They might not be the lightest shoes we tested  but we love them regardless.
They might not be the lightest shoes we tested, but we love them regardless.

Durability


This is where you'll get your money's worth with the Glycerin. These shoes really go the distance. The lugs are those of an average road shoe, but they don't wear down over time like the lugs of their similarly shaped cousins.


The classic rubber outsole construction on these bad boys makes them especially long-lasting. We beat these shoes up on roads, tracks, and even trails. They kept up their end of the bargain and then kept on going beyond that.

Let's see how durable the silky smooth Glycerins really are...
Let's see how durable the silky smooth Glycerins really are...

Upper Comfort


Our elite team of runners loves to rack up the mileage. The upper comfort of the new and improved Glycerin 18 is the gold standard that all shoes should aspire to be. We awarded this comfy, cozy, cushion of a trainer a perfect 10 in this category. With this version, Brooks added a bit of extra stretch to the specialized upper mesh to enhance individualized comfort.


These shoes never cut in — even when our feet swelled with fatigue the shoe body adapted and accommodated perfectly. The collar is soft enough for long mileage days yet snug enough to prevent heel slippage. The tongue and lace combo of thee kicks is truly out of this world. The tongue is slightly longer than that of other Brooks shoes, which adds to the luxurious feel. Somehow the laces are silky smooth yet don't dig in, staying tied tightly without adjustments. This is nothing short of wizardry, really.

Look at how silky smooth the laces are!! Those sweet  sweet laces combined with the plush tongue earned the Glycerin an incredible upper comfort score.
Look at how silky smooth the laces are!! Those sweet, sweet laces combined with the plush tongue earned the Glycerin an incredible upper comfort score.

Breathability


When worn with cotton socks, these kicks heat up, so we subtracted a few points in this metric. Even though the bulk of our testing took place in moisture-wicking socks, we felt it would be neglectful not to try a run with cotton socks on.


Technical running socks coupled with the Glycerin are an excellent match. Breeze moves in while keeping puddle splashes and sand out.

Lunge break! Light breezy kicks make for the best beach workout days.
Lunge break! Light breezy kicks make for the best beach workout days.

Value


The higher price tag on the Glycerin 18 is worth it. These shoes offer unending support, comfort, responsiveness, durability, and beyond. Because they can be worn daily without losing their integrity, we think that they are a worthy investment. They performed well across the board, so if you want to keep your shoe collection to a minimum, these are a great choice.

We'd almost pay double for these puppies. We love 'em!
We'd almost pay double for these puppies. We love 'em!

Conclusion


The Brooks Glycerin 18 is choice numero uno in women's running. True to its namesake, the Glycerin is silky smooth, unfathomably comfortable, and miraculously moisture-wicking. These shoes are incredibly versatile, and they hold up as the miles multiply. They inspired us to go the distance due to their comfort, responsiveness, and durability — our runs felt effortless and light. They even have a sleek, low profile look that makes them a great choice for style-minded runners. They allowed us to float over the terrain of our choice with agility, feeling nimble and lithe on adventures. We always recommend trying shoes on before buying when possible. That said, once you slip your feet into these smooth superstars, we think you'll easily share our stoke — these really are the Best Running Shoes for Women and a worthy Editors' Choice Winner.

We had no idea that we would grow to love a pair of shoelaces this much. The combination of soft  secure laces and a cushy tongue makes the upper comfort of these kicks unforgettable.
We had no idea that we would grow to love a pair of shoelaces this much. The combination of soft, secure laces and a cushy tongue makes the upper comfort of these kicks unforgettable.

Ally Meller