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Brooks Adrenaline GTS 21 Review

A classic design that is both supportive and stable with a great upper and durable outsole
Brooks Adrenaline GTS 21
Credit: Brooks
Top Pick Award
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Price:  $130 List | $104.84 at Amazon
Compare prices at 2 resellers
Pros:  Stable, supportive, durable, comfortable
Cons:  Heavier, less breathable
Manufacturer:   Brooks
By Matthew Richardson ⋅ Review Editor  ⋅  Mar 6, 2022
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67
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#6 of 10
  • Cushioning and Landing Comfort - 25% 7.0
  • Responsiveness - 25% 5.0
  • Upper Comfort - 20% 7.0
  • Lateral Stability and Support - 15% 9.0
  • Weight - 15% 6.0

Our Verdict

When hitting the pavement running, the Brooks Adrenaline GTS 21 impressed us with its supportive, stable feel that led to great comfort even through our longest runs. With a 12-millimeter heel-to-toe drop and greater arch support, this model would be great for those who seek a more rigid model, which helps the lower legs and knees stay balanced. More dense cushioning helped liven up the rigidity, making it still feel speedy when the pace increased. We appreciate the durable materials that will take longer to break down than those found in more minimal models. Those looking for a snappier feel to take on faster workouts may want to look for less heel drop and a lighter weight model in our lineup of men's running shoes.

Editor's Note: This gear review was updated on March 6, 2022, with new paragraphs to assist your search in finding the perfect product.

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Pros Stable, supportive, durable, comfortableResponsive cushioning, breathable upper, lightweightLightweight, great cushioning, comfortable upperResponsive, light, fast affordableResponsive cushioning, smooth heel-to-toe rocker, durable
Cons Heavier, less breathableMinimal support and stabilityLess responsive, lacks rubber outsoleMinimal support, lacks cushioning, lacks outsole rubberLoose heel cup, support under heel lacking
Bottom Line A classic design that is both supportive and stable with a great upper and durable outsoleExcellent cushioning that provides great energy transfer with an extremely comfortable, performance fit upperThese lightweight shoes have top landing comfort and maximum cushion with a great upperA model that makes you feel quick, fast, and light that provides maximum energy transfer and forward-momentumA rockered design with responsive cushioning keeps legs feeling powerful and fresh into longer efforts
Rating Categories Brooks Adrenaline G... Saucony Endorphin S... Hoka One One Mach 4 Saucony Kinvara 12 New Balance Fresh F...
Cushioning and Landing Comfort (25%)
7.0
9.0
8.0
6.0
8.0
Responsiveness (25%)
5.0
8.0
8.0
9.0
7.0
Upper Comfort (20%)
7.0
8.0
7.0
7.0
7.0
Lateral Stability and Support (15%)
9.0
6.0
5.0
5.0
5.0
Weight (15%)
6.0
8.0
8.0
9.0
7.0
Specs Brooks Adrenaline G... Saucony Endorphin S... Hoka One One Mach 4 Saucony Kinvara 12 New Balance Fresh F...
Weight (per shoe, size 9.5) 10.3 oz. 8.3 oz. 8.1 oz. 7.7 oz. 9.4 oz.
Heel to Toe Drop 12 mm 8 mm 5 mm 4 mm 8 mm
Midsole Material EVA PWRRUN PROFLY PWRRUN Fresh Foam
Sole Rubber Rubber XT-900 Rubberized EVA Foam with rubber inserts Ortholite
Upper Material Mesh Engineered mesh Engineered mesh Mesh Synthetic, mesh
Width Options Narrow, normal, wide, extra wide Normal Normal Normal, wide Narrow, normal, wide, extra wide
Sizes Available 7 - 15 7 - 15 7 - 14 7 - 15 6 - 20

Our Analysis and Test Results

The Brooks Adrenaline GTS 21 follows a traditional design that puts stability and support at the top of its priority list. The GuideRails support provides a planted and stable feel, which is transferred throughout your legs. This support helps each footstrike feel precise and solid, and this is felt mostly through the heel, leaving your forefoot to have a bit more flexibility.

While not the lightest men's running shoe on the market, Brooks has done a great job keeping the weight down despite the durable materials in the comfortable upper and outsole. The upper design uses a thicker fabric that we loved for its plushness but was not as breathable as some of the other models we tested. Luckily the fit is dialed and snug, which is essential to take advantage of the support and stability features.

Performance Comparison


Brooks Adrenaline GTS 21 running shoes - brooks adrenaline gts 21 is a favorite for its support and stability.
Brooks Adrenaline GTS 21 is a favorite for its support and stability.
Credit: Matthew Richardson

Cushioning and Landing Comfort


The Adrenaline maintains the priority of support and stability by using moderate cushioning. The higher-density foam keeps the rigidity up and allows your foot to be laterally stiff through the heel. We were pleased with the balance of cushioning and landing comfort, as footstrikes felt well absorbed but not overly plush. Due to a more durable outsole, this performed better than others on natural surfaces.


With the 12-millimeter heel-to-toe drop, your heel feels more engaged than models with less drop. Some may like this engagement, but others could find it somewhat constricting and overly compensating. We think users that put a high priority on stability will find the cushioning both supportive and responsive. This is a shoe we feel excels for long runs and all-around use. It offers dependable support even when fatigue sets in, plus it allows the starting miles to feel responsive and fresh.

Brooks Adrenaline GTS 21 running shoes - denser cushioning helps maintain support and stability.
Denser cushioning helps maintain support and stability.
Credit: Matthew Richardson

Responsiveness


This model has a great responsive feel that's lively but not overly harsh. The 12-millimeter drop allows less stress through the lower leg, but some could find this overly compensates and doesn't use the full advantage of the Achilles and lower calves, which help spring you forward into an aggressive position. This design feels best on long runs and extended efforts.


While not as responsive as some other models found in the review, such as the Saucony Kinvara 12, we are impressed with the ability of this shoe to be quick, stable, and comfortable. There is a subtle compression under the forefoot while the heel and midfoot feel solid and stable. This compression feels well returned when pushing off. We would not hesitate to recommend this model to those looking for higher stability but still want a shoe that feels quick and powerful.

Brooks Adrenaline GTS 21 running shoes - high stability and get responsiveness provide a planted but quick...
High stability and get responsiveness provide a planted but quick feel.
Credit: Matthew Richardson

Upper Comfort


A thin knit upper, which is seamless except for the tongue, is well supported and keeps your foot snug. The toe-box is average width which allows for a natural foot position. There is little compression around the toes, and the heel cup feels locked in with the upper, not causing any issues with the Achilles. We experienced no hot spots or blisters. There is moderate arch support that works well with the stretch laces and thicker tongue, which we normally don't prefer, but we quite liked this model.


The upper is breathable and comfortable even when wet. Additional padding is found below the ankle bone, which hopes to prevent any heel strike on the inside leg. While this was not a feature we needed, those that often find themselves scraping their inside leg may find this feature beneficial. The insole is substantial and well-cushioned. Brooks does a great job of creating a lightweight upper that is also durable; this is often one of the weak points of a shoe.

Brooks Adrenaline GTS 21 running shoes - the brooks adrenaline has a classic upper design that is durable and...
The Brooks Adrenaline has a classic upper design that is durable and well excuted.
Credit: Matthew Richardson

Lateral Stability and Support


By far, the greatest attribute about the Adrenaline is the support and stability. The GuideRail technology provides lateral stiffness through the heel, translating through the lower leg and knees. This works well with the higher density cushion, which also acts well as a stabilizer. The stack height in this model is relatively high, which adds to the supportive feel. Luckily the added support features prevent it from feeling unsteady on natural terrain.


A 12-millimeter heel-to-toe drop helps keep the heel in contact with the ground for longer periods, increasing the feeling of stability. Brooks keeps these higher drop models in their line-up even when the trend is getting towards a smaller drop. We presume this is to maintain the support and stability they are known for. Once fatigue sets in, these features all help continue to make you have a smooth experience even through your longest runs. For some users, these features may feel overkill, but if you desire the feeling of added support, we do not think these shoes will let you down.

Brooks Adrenaline GTS 21 running shoes - brook's guiderail technology helps provide superior support and...
Brook's GuideRail technology helps provide superior support and stability.
Credit: Matthew Richardson

Weight


Given the number of features and comfort, we are impressed with the weight of the Adrenaline GTS 21. This shoe recorded 10.34 ounces weight (men's size 9.5) on our scale, and while it's not the lightest model, plenty of heavier all-around trainers don't offer the number of features and comfort found with this model. The weight is increased with the durable upper, rubber outsole, and supportive GuideRail technology. While we would not mind a lighter model with the same features, the weight of this shoe is not something we view as a deal-breaking downside.


Brooks Adrenaline GTS 21 running shoes - with added weight comes a durable rubber outsole.
With added weight comes a durable rubber outsole.
Credit: Matthew Richardson

Should You Buy the Brooks Adrenaline GTS 21?


This model impressed us with its great value, good durability, and amazing supportive features. With a subtle cushion in conjunction with the supportive GuideRail technology, we think this shoe would work great for those looking for a steady planted feel in their all-around trainer. These shoes are great on longer runs when fatigue sets in, but we wouldn't hesitate to use them on shorter runs.

Brooks Adrenaline GTS 21 running shoes - great all-around trainer for its support and stability.
Great all-around trainer for its support and stability.
Credit: Matthew Richardson

What Other Running Shoes Should You Consider?


Those who seek more responsiveness and agility may want to consider a lighter model, less heel drop, and a smaller stack height. The Saucony Kinvara 12 is a top-notch contender for responsiveness. Otherwise, the Saucony Endorphin Speed 2 is a well-rounded option for various running needs.

Matthew Richardson
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