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Brooks Glycerin 20 - Women's Review

This smooth-riding, highly responsive, and traditionally shaped running shoe is your one-hit wonder when it comes to running shoes, from speed days to long efforts
brooks glycerin 20 for women running shoes review
Credit: Brooks
Editors' Choice Award
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Price:  $160 List | $146.97 at Amazon
Compare prices at 2 resellers
Pros:  Comfortable, responsive, many size options available, durable, traditional fit
Cons:  Heavier than some, somewhat pricy
Manufacturer:   Brooks
By Ally Arcuri ⋅ Review Editor  ⋅  Oct 20, 2022
Our Editors independently research, test, and rate the best products. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and we never accept free products from manufacturers. Learn more
77
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#1 of 12
  • Responsiveness - 25% 7.0
  • Landing Comfort/Cushioning - 25% 9.0
  • Stability - 20% 8.0
  • Upper Comfort - 15% 9.0
  • Weight - 15% 5.0

Our Verdict

The Brooks Glycerin 20 beat out its competitors in our head-to-head battle of the best women's running shoes this time around. With redesigned technology and a lighter-weight upper, the Glycerin 20 earned its place as our Editor's Choice winner. Brooks incorporated nitrogen in the midsole to add some energy return, and it feels leagues better than the responsiveness of the prior version. The latest DNA Loft provides a ton of cushion to keep you comfy on long runs, dog walks, and unending work days. The upper is softer and more forgiving than the last version, which only adds to the fact that it also weighs less than it did in the past. The updates put forth by Brooks made the Glycerin 20 the best overall road running shoe for women.

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Awards Editors' Choice Award Top Pick Award Best Buy Award Top Pick Award Top Pick Award 
Price $146.97 at Amazon
Compare at 2 sellers
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Overall Score Sort Icon
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Star Rating
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Pros Comfortable, responsive, many size options available, durable, traditional fitWell-cushioned, protective, available in multiple width options, stable and supportiveLightweight, comfortable, affordable, responsiveLightweight, well-cushioned, stable, comfortableLightweight, responsive, good landing comfort, great for racing
Cons Heavier than some, somewhat pricyHeavier than some, support structures might feel too rigid for some runnersLess laterally stable, somewhat narrow fitWide footprint, 5mm takes some getting used toNarrow fit, less stable, non-traditional fit, upper is sparse
Bottom Line This smooth-riding, highly responsive, and traditionally shaped running shoe is your one-hit wonder when it comes to running shoes, from speed days to long effortsThis all-around fantastic shoe will support your musculature and provide comfort no matter the distance of your endeavorsThis lightweight and responsive shoe is our go-to for faster-paced runs where we crave the sensation of flyingThis well-cushioned and comfortable running shoe provides lightweight comfort and protection for your joints as you pound pavementIf you want a svelte and speedy shoe for track workouts and races, this responsive and lightweight shoe might be perfect for you
Rating Categories Brooks Glycerin 20... Brooks Adrenaline G... Saucony Kinvara 13... Hoka One One Mach 5... Saucony Endorphin S...
Responsiveness (25%)
7.0
7.0
8.0
6.0
9.0
Landing Comfort/Cushioning (25%)
9.0
8.0
7.0
7.0
7.0
Stability (20%)
8.0
9.0
5.0
8.0
5.0
Upper Comfort (15%)
9.0
8.0
7.0
7.0
6.0
Weight (15%)
5.0
5.0
9.0
8.0
8.0
Specs Brooks Glycerin 20... Brooks Adrenaline G... Saucony Kinvara 13... Hoka One One Mach 5... Saucony Endorphin S...
Weight (per shoe, size 7) 8.61 oz 8.11 oz 5.86 oz 6.42 oz 6.60 oz
Heel to Toe Drop 10 mm 12 mm 4 mm 5 mm 8 mm
Width Options Regular, Wide Regular, Narrow, Wide, Extra Wide Regular, Wide Regular Regular
Style Traditional Moderate cushioned Neutral Neutral Neutral
Sizes Available 5-12 5-13 5-12 5-11 5-12
Upper Material Synthetic mesh Mesh Engineered mesh Engineered mesh Mesh
Midsole Material EVA foam EVA EVA PROFLY foam PWRRUNPB foam
Sole Rubber Rubber Rubber Rubber Rubberized EVA XT-900 Runbber

Our Analysis and Test Results

With a 10-millimeter drop, reconfigured DNA Loft, a lighter-weight upper, and more sizes and features than ever, the newest version of the Brooks Glycerin hit the market with the staying power of prior models, but with even more lovable functionality. Ultimately, the Glycerin 20 scored higher than all of the other shoes in our roundup, earning our Best Overall Running Shoe for Women award.

Performance Comparison


brooks glycerin 20 for women running shoes review - the miles added up effortlessly in our first choice shoe, the brooks...
The miles added up effortlessly in our first choice shoe, the Brooks Glycerin 20.
Credit: Ally Arcuri

Responsiveness


One of the reasons that the Glycerin 20 is our favorite overall shoe is because it scores well above average in most of our metrics, responsiveness included. The shape and outsole of the updated Glycerin offer the responsiveness we want to hit paces but balance it with a traditional fit, and a smooth ride.


The midsole and outsole designs of the Glycerin have been reconfigured, leading to a more responsive shoe overall. Brooks updated their DNA Loft by infusing nitrogen, which is a crucial component in the lightness and energy return in their new designs. Called DNA Loft v3, this material also creates supreme comfort, which is not the most common in shoes with strong responsiveness.

brooks glycerin 20 for women running shoes review - the responsive bounce of the glycerin is even better than before due...
The responsive bounce of the Glycerin is even better than before due to the addition of infused nitrogen in the midsole.
Credit: Ally Arcuri

Brooks also updated the width of the mid and outsoles to create a larger launchpad for quicker leg turnover. They did so without adding extra width in the shoe, so it still fits like a traditional shoe. The customizable fit and breadth of sizes available help ensure that the Glycerin 20 hugs the contours of your foot. This is especially important when assessing a shoe's responsiveness because an ill-fitting shoe is likely to impede your natural stride patterns.

brooks glycerin 20 for women running shoes review - the traditional fit of the glycerin makes for a smooth ride with...
The traditional fit of the Glycerin makes for a smooth ride with just enough spring to keep you on your paces.
Credit: Ally Arcuri

Landing Comfort/Cushioning


Brooks touts the Glycerin 20 as “the final word on comfort,” and this is a marketing statement that our team of testers agrees with. The Glycerin takes a traditional running shoe shape and updates it to create prime comfort. The highly engineered materials are soft to the touch but strong and stabilizing.


The Glycerin 20 doesn’t have a sole stacked with softness, nor does it feel like it is encasing your foot in cushioning like some of the more maximalist options on the market. It provides just as much landing comfort as these plusher options, but without all of the bulk. This is one of the main reasons why we are so obsessed with the landing comfort of the Glycerin.

brooks glycerin 20 for women running shoes review - the glycerin strikes a perfect balance between providing a...
The Glycerin strikes a perfect balance between providing a well-known running shoe shape with a soft, billowy landing pad.
Credit: Ally Arcuri

The underfoot cushion is springy and protective but in a natural-feeling way. The 360-degree softness and durable cushion make for a shoe that is appropriate for marathon mileage but lends itself well to shorter, comfortable jaunts as well. The Glycerin 20 has, by far, the most comfortable landing platform and overall feel of all of the road running shoes we tested this time around.

brooks glycerin 20 for women running shoes review - with underfoot cushion aplenty, the glycerin is a prime shoe for...
With underfoot cushion aplenty, the Glycerin is a prime shoe for long-distance efforts.
Credit: Ally Arcuri


Stability


With the launch of the Glycerin 20, Brooks added an element that we haven’t seen before – you can choose to buy a neutrally-supportive Glycerin or one that offers structural support for lateral stability. This, in addition to their other customization options, is another reason why the Glycerin took home the winning trophy during this round of testing.


The standard Glycerin is a neutral shoe, which is the version that we tested. Since it boasts a classic running shoe shape and strong structure, it provides more stability than many of the more responsive shoes. The improved body gives a snug fit that aids in the shoe's overall stability. One of our favorite things about running in the updated Glycerin is that it provides the stability we desire in a long-distance shoe but is light and springy enough to promote quicker leg turnover. Since the Glycerin is available with customizable options, there is likely a version that provides the stability you desire.

brooks glycerin 20 for women running shoes review - a side-by-side view of the glycerin 20 and the asics gel-kayano 29...
A side-by-side view of the Glycerin 20 and the Asics Gel-Kayano 29. The Gel-Kayano offers a narrower, firmer lateral body, while the Glycerin is softer and more forgiving.
Credit: Ally Arcuri

Upper Comfort


Much like its namesake hints, the Glycerin 20 is incredibly smooth and soft, which is part of why it scored so well in this metric. From its lace bed to its overall fit, the Glycerin quickly became the running shoe we wanted to reach for on the daily. We purchased and tested the medium-width version, which fit our tester’s average-width feet perfectly. Brooks also manufactures a narrow and a wide version to comfortably accommodate a wider range of foot shapes.


The toe box of the Glycerin is not super wide, but it provides enough space for toes to splay and work while running. The perfect amount of toe box space combined with the snug-fitting yet forgiving upper is part of what makes this shoe such a versatile and comfortable runner.

brooks glycerin 20 for women running shoes review - we absolutely love how soft the upper of the updated glycerin is.
We absolutely love how soft the upper of the updated Glycerin is.
Credit: Ally Arcuri

Unlike in some shoes, where this combination of features can feel clown-like, the Glycerin marries these two to create our optimal running shoe. The laces and lace bed are made of soft yet sturdy materials that stay put while in motion. We love that the laces don’t dig in. This is, in part, because of their softness. The well-cushioned and placed tongue also adds to the overall comfort of the Glycerin 20. If we had to choose one comfortable shoe to wear day in and day out, the updated Glycerin would be it for sure.

brooks glycerin 20 for women running shoes review - the lace bed and silky smooth laces provide great running comfort...
The lace bed and silky smooth laces provide great running comfort for runners who spend a lot of time in their running kicks.
Credit: Ally Arcuri

Weight


The Glycerin 20 feels significantly lighter than the prior model. The Glycerin 19 had a firmer, more solid outsole without any of the nitrogen-infused pockets. The upper of the latest version is more breathable and feels lighter on the feet while running.


Interestingly though, the weight of the Glycerin 20 is minutely more than the last model, but both are lighter than the Glycerin 18. Because of how well the weight is distributed, this version of the Glycerin feels lighter than ever. Ultimately, the Glycerin earned an average score in this metric, but don't let the weight deter you. We truly think this shoe is worth testing out, even if speedy paces are on your radar.

brooks glycerin 20 for women running shoes review - from push-off to landing, we never felt encumbered by the weight of...
From push-off to landing, we never felt encumbered by the weight of the Glycerin.
Credit: Ally Arcuri

Should You Buy the Glycerin 20?


In a word, yes, you should buy the Brooks Glycerin 20. It is impossible for a shoe to hit perfect marks across our testing criteria, but this pair of kicks comes close. Especially now that Brooks has incorporated a stability version and their StealthFit profile. With enough cushion for protection and comfort, but enough bounce to get moving quickly, the Glycerin is a shoe that is appropriate for all types of runs. If you are looking to purchase one pair of durable shoes to wear under all conditions, the Glycerin is a worthy purchase. Brooks makes durable shoes that only seem to get more comfortable as time goes on.

brooks glycerin 20 for women running shoes review - we don't think you can go wrong if you choose to buy the brooks...
We don't think you can go wrong if you choose to buy the Brooks Glycerin. For a running shoe that will provide comfort, durability, and speed, this is our Editor's Choice.
Credit: Ally Arcuri

What Other Road Running Shoes Should You Consider?


We purchase and test a wide variety of shoes. Even as we approach each new pair of shoes with fresh eyes, we find that Brooks shoes are always at the top of our ever-changing list. If you want a bit less cushion than what the Glycerin 20 offers, we recommend either the Brooks Adrenaline 22 or the Brooks Ghost 14. Both of these traditionally-shaped shoes provide the same elements that we love from Brooks, but with a bit more rigidity. Specifically, the Adrenaline has GuideRails, which make it a supportive running shoe. If you like the Glycerin but want something with a bit more space in the toe box, the New Balance Fresh Foam 1080 v12 is just that. If you want an affordable pair of running shoes to take you through short and long runs, the customizable and comfortable Glycerin is a great pick.

Ally Arcuri
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