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11.9 oz. (337 g) for a US M9
26 mm in heel, 14 mm in forefoot (12 mm drop)
Slow, stable recovery runs
DNA Loft v3 midsole, GuideRail support, thick-ass rubber outsole
ALDREN: I’ve had the pleasure of running in models that I would never consider running in just from my previous knowledge and experiences with other people that have worn the shoes. Maybe I’m not looking at a shoe the right way, but some models just don’t fit my personality. My running shoe horoscope reads more of a bouncy, joyful, quick-off-the-toe type of beat. However, the stars have pointed to the Brooks Beast 23 GTS.
The Beast is known around the running world as the max support shoe. If you can picture a Venn diagram, you have your running sneakers like the Nike Pegasus 40 or the Skechers Maxroad 6 in one circle, and then in the other circle, some orthopedic shoes like the New Balance 928. The small area where the two circles intersect is where the Beast 23 GTS lives.
We have in hand a 3D printed, engineered mesh upper to allow some stretch when your feet begin to swell on a longer run while keeping more security to provide a reliable hold on your foot. The Beast 23 GTS wouldn’t have those coveted three letters at the end if it wasn’t for their GuideRails System. And finishing off the shoe is the introduction of their DNA Loft v3 midsole, a nitrogen-infused EVA that’s found in models like the Aurora and Glycerin GTS 20. This gives the runner 26mm in the heel and 14mm in the forefoot (12mm drop) of Brooks’s premium cushioning.
CHAD: If there’s one thing I can count on, it’s that when I get seeded for review of a Brooks shoe, I typically have some enjoyable miles ahead of me. My first review for Believe in the Run was the Brooks Levitate 6 Stealthfit, a lightweight and energetic daily trainer with a knit-booty upper. This review, however, is of a shoe on the complete opposite end of the spectrum: the Brooks Beast GTS 23.
I can’t confirm — because I no longer had the shipping box — but I’m pretty sure Brooks had to slap on a couple of bucks extra in shipping costs to get this tank to my doorstep. The Beast GTS 23, Brooks’ max cushion and max support trainer, comes in at a scale-tilting 11.9 oz. for a US M9, pushing my US M12 well over 12 oz. In today’s running shoe market, where typically less is more when it comes to weight, Brooks has stood firm with the Beast being in the heavyweight division… sort of like me, I guess. Two peas in a pod.
This is the first new version of the Beast since 2020, and while the weight has generally remained the same, things have changed. The Beast GTS 23 (notice the inclusion of GTS to indicate to the masses that it is a stability offering) features nitrogen-infused and resilient DNA Loft v3 midsole foam. It also keeps one feature from 2020, Brooks’ guidance and support system, the GuideRails.
ALDREN: I have to rely on stability in my life. Not just in running, but in general, a stable mind keeps this train on the (guide)rails. It somewhat pains me to admit this, but the Brooks Beast GTS 23 didn’t feel terrible on my first steps out the door. I had so much support under my feet that it could help save 50% of marriages. The most pronounced area has to be the medial GuideRail. It somewhat curves inward, so you can feel that wedge really digging in there, similar to how the first Nike React Infinity FK did.
The upper does a great job of holding your foot in place. Here at Believe in the Run, we may shit on Brooks a lot, but that’s why y’all tune in. We’re here to provide honest shoe reviews and not hold back. And I can say that, honestly, I think Brooks makes better uppers than most (if not all) other companies. There’s nothing fancy inside the shoe. The Beast has a very well-padded heel liner that tapers around a snug midfoot and breathable toe box. It’s simple, but it gets the job done.
CHAD: Do you believe in magic? Don’t ask me how, and don’t ask me why, but the Beast GTS 23 does not feel as heavy on the run as you would expect based on the spec sheet. The first run I did in the Beast GTS 23 was a short little 3-mile recovery run, anticipating that it would be heavy underfoot and help me to keep my pace slow. But once the rubber hit the road, I found it surprisingly light-feeling. I think the DNA Loft v3 midsole foam is lighter than past models, so the bulk of the weight of the shoe is in the upper and not the midsole. I always find that shoes feel lighter when that’s the case.
I didn’t expect to want to take the Beast on runs more than 5 miles, but I did multiple 6-plus mile runs in it during the testing period and enjoyed each one. The stability from the GuideRails and the geometry of the shoe kept my feet and ankles in line, making it nearly impossible for medial roll-in to occur. The upper, like most Brooks shoes, is comfortable and actually breathable, despite being heavy and plush. It also has good volume while providing a solid lockdown. I did find the ride to be fairly firm underfoot, which I enjoy, but those looking for the bounce and/or squish that other max cushion shoes have should look elsewhere because this bad boy is all about stability.Shop Brooks - Men Shop Brooks - Women
ALDREN: This ain’t no Cadillac. It’s like I’m running in an F-250, and my feet are tired. I understand if you have to lug around a bunch of logs and hay bales, but I’m not taking the Beast or a pickup truck out for a cruise into the sunset. It’s just so heavy and clunky. I’ve seen kids take off their training wheels for the first time and ride smoother.
I think one of the major contributors is the weight. 11.9 oz is a lot to lug around for even a few miles, but when I started hitting around the 8-9 mile range, it felt like running with ankle weights. Another big contributor is how sturdy this outsole is. It looks like there’s about 4 mm of rubber glued to the bottom of the shoe. All of this rubber firms up the landing so that the midsole can’t compress as much. Not that it would in the first place — DNA Loft v3 has to be one of the firmest foams. The reason Brooks replaced the DNA v1 midsole with v3 was to save weight, but I checked Brooks’s website, and it says the Beast 20 is 11.7 oz. So either Brooks added weight somewhere else, or they accidentally weighed a US W9.
CHAD: While the shoe felt lighter on the run than I expected; eventually, the weight of the Beast GTS 23 caught up with me. The stability and ride felt great for most of the time, but towards the end of my 6+ mile runs, my legs did start to feel the fatigue from the excess weight.
I’m also not sure of the use case for this shoe. Now that Brooks has the Glycerin GTS model (which features the same foam, similar stack height, GuideRail system, and a similar upper), which comes in over an ounce lighter, is the Beast GTS 23 really necessary? The only differences I can see are a 12mm drop in the Beast compared to a 10mm drop in the Glycerin GTS 20 and Brooks’ classification of the Beast as a max support shoe vs the Glycerin GTS 20 being just moderate support. It may very well be a distinction without a difference.
My only other gripe, which I feel is consistent when it comes to Brooks shoes, is the design. Colorways for the Beast GTS 23 are a bit bland, which I guess is understandable since I imagine it is not the most in-demand shoe in their fleet. That being said, would a pop of bright colors from time to time hurt?Shop Brooks - Men Shop Brooks - Women
ALDREN: I find it hard to believe some people are looking for a shoe to run in and decide on the Brooks Beast GTS 23. While I understand its purpose, there are better options out there, like the new Asics Gel-Kayano 30. If you’re in dire need of this much support and you’re dealing with plantar fasciitis, pes planus, or some neuroma, then this shoe is great. If you need the most support money can buy, the Beast will work wonders.
However, if you’re looking for something to run your daily miles in, maybe pick up the pace in, or even just for easy runs, you’re probably better off looking elsewhere.
CHAD: The brand name Brooks is synonymous with quality, and the Beast GTS 23 is no exception. As I find myself starting a marathon training block this fall, I’m sure there will be times when my legs will be beaten up, and I’ll need some guidance for my form on shorter runs. In that instance, I could easily see myself reaching for this shoe. Speedwork day or long runs? Probably not — there’s a reason you don’t enter a Panzer into a drag race or take a Hummer on a long-distance road trip. But for what it is, the Brooks Beast GTS 23 gets the job done.
You can pick up the Brooks Beast GTS 23 for $160 on September 1, 2023, from Running Warehouse (featuring free 2-day shipping and 90-day returns) using the buttons below.Shop Brooks - Men Shop Brooks - Women
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Aldren is a tree loving, uncompetitive running, post-workout burrito-munching stability shoe reviewer native to the Sunshine State. He can be found skipping through the streets of Orlando or lost in a trail that he studied two hours prior to the run. If he ever sees you on a run and waves “Hi!”, make sure you say “Hi!” back or he’ll diss you in his Strava caption.
All-time favorite shoes: Nike React Infinity FK 1, Adidas Energy Boost 2, ASICS Metaspeed Edge+.More from Aldren
An attorney by day, Chad lives in Central Pennsylvania with his wife and three kids. Never much for running growing up, Chad began running as a way to improve his physical health. He went from his first 5k in 2015 to running the Paris Marathon in 2016. Given his larger physical build, Chad is the resident Clydesdale runner, providing shoe and gear insights for those with a bigger build and taller stature.More from Chad