Brooks Glycerin 20 - Women's Review
Compare prices at 2 resellers Pros: Comfortable, responsive, many size options available, durable, traditional fit
Cons: Heavier than some, somewhat pricy
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Brooks Glycerin 20 - Women's
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|Pros||Comfortable, responsive, many size options available, durable, traditional fit||Well-cushioned, protective, available in multiple width options, stable and supportive||Lightweight, comfortable, affordable, responsive||Lightweight, well-cushioned, stable, comfortable||Lightweight, responsive, good landing comfort, great for racing|
|Cons||Heavier than some, somewhat pricy||Heavier than some, support structures might feel too rigid for some runners||Less laterally stable, somewhat narrow fit||Wide footprint, 5mm takes some getting used to||Narrow 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 efforts||This all-around fantastic shoe will support your musculature and provide comfort no matter the distance of your endeavors||This lightweight and responsive shoe is our go-to for faster-paced runs where we crave the sensation of flying||This well-cushioned and comfortable running shoe provides lightweight comfort and protection for your joints as you pound pavement||If 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...|
|Landing Comfort/Cushioning (25%)|
|Upper Comfort (15%)|
|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|
|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.
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 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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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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