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Road Running Shoes • July 12, 2019

Brooks Ghost 12 Performance Review

What You Need To Know

  • Excellent cushion provides a smooth easy day ride
  • Weighs 10.1 oz. for a size 9M
  • $130 puts it at the higher end of Brooks shoes (which still isn’t that bad in today’s shoe world)
  • Austin’s 401k is probably doing okay

Austin: The Ghost could be called the bread and butter for Brooks Sports, Inc. Over the last decades, it’s become a solid staple in the lineup. Fun fact: Brooks is owned by Berkshire Hathaway, and the Ghost 11 designers made a colorway for its CEO Warren Buffett. With a net worth of $88.8 billion dollars, the Oracle of Omaha can probably afford the $130 price tag of the Ghost 12, a $10 inflation over the previous version.

The good news is that you can too if you’re looking for a solid cushioned trainer that will last for hundreds of miles.

West Coast Meghan: I like to think of myself as being in a pretty exclusive relationship with lightweight, neutral trainers. They’re the bread and butter of my training. They’re versatile, allowing me to use them for an up-tempo workout or an easy run. Because of this, I’ve never found a need to clutter my closet with other shoe options. A racing flat, sure, but that’s about it. (Insert shocked intake of air because I said I don’t hoard my running shoes.)

This is all to say that when the Brooks Ghost 12 landed on my doorstep I was less than optimistic that I would like it. For all intents and purposes, this shoe was going to feel like a boat compared to what I normally run in. An unnecessary luxury that would just weigh me down. Prove me wrong, Brooks! Prove. Me. Wrong.

Robbe: I’m actually not reviewing this, I’m just wondering why our reviewers are so obsessed with “bread and butter.”

brooks ghost 12 side view

The Good

Austin: Like the Ghost 11, the Ghost 12 exhibits unmistakably stellar step-in comfort—which is why the shoe has such wide appeal for runners of all ability levels. I haven’t run in the Ghost for a few years, but putting my feet in the Ghost 12 brings back that familiar feeling of all-around comfort.

Our last Ghost review was for the Ghost 10, but on paper, the changes between the Ghost 11 and this model appear to be minimal. Running Warehouse notes additional support in the midfoot and a smoother ride.

“Smoother ride” is understandably vague as the Ghost always tends to deliver on the promise of a smooth ride (though some versions manage it better). For the Ghost 12, a DNA Loft midsole resides in the heel while BioMoGo DNA rounds out the forefoot for a responsive toe-off at faster paces.

As a forefoot striker, the heel composition of a running shoe is usually a moot point, which led me to wonder whether I’d like a future Ghost forefoot filled with DNA Loft for a softer ride up front. Then again, maybe it’s better for the forefoot to stay snappy.

The weight is normal at 10.1 oz. for a size 9, especially for a comfort shoe.

Extra support in the midfoot is evident. I didn’t have to cinch the laces much for a secure lockdown. As a runner with feet that skew narrow, I’m always grateful for shoes that lock my feet in place during a long run or hard workout. The engineered mesh upper breathes well, especially as the temps continue to creep up in July and August. The dog days of summer are upon us, so may this review also serve as a friendly reminder to hydrate during those runs.

West Coast Meghan: I’m dead wrong! This shoe… oh, this shoe! Have you ever just felt like a shoe ‘clicked’? Like you had some sort of magic connection and it automatically worked for you? The Brooks Ghost 12 is that shoe for me.

Before you go questioning my loyalties to lightweight trainers, a la the Brooks Launch 6 (seriously one of my favorites), the Ghost 12 doesn’t replace them. That said, it is this shoe that convinces me I need an “easy day” trainer. Something that makes my feet feel good, makes my calves happy (hello 12mm drop!!), and just molds to my feet and disappears.

Literally from my first run, I knew that the Ghost 12 and I were meant to be. I didn’t even notice them. They were simply there, supporting my feet. Cushioned and plush, but not in an overstated way. Enough for me to notice that I had a little more support than normal– especially on tired legs. Although they weigh just over an ounce more than the Launch 6, it’s not noticeable on an easy run.

The upper is the last thing I’ll gush about. I’ll be honest, the shoe isn’t flashy or eye-catching like some of the newer Nike and New Balance shoes, but that’s also what I liked. The Ghost 12 is a ‘no frills’, solid shoe. The slightly padded heel collar feels comfortable and plush, without being a heat source, and the mesh upper is breathable and fitted to my foot. What more do you need?

Shop Brooks Ghost 12
brooks ghost 12 upper

The Bad

West Coast Meghan: I was shocked when I finished my first run without any complaints. And then all of the consecutive runs thereafter. We all know I’ve been on a roll lately with my reviews heavily weighted to the ‘bad’. It feels pretty good to rave about a shoe.

Sure, there are little things – the colorways aren’t exciting and fresh, and the laces are a bit long; other than that, the shoe is a dream. My only hesitation is the price tag. It’s definitely not overpriced, as there are comparable shoes out there in the same range. But when I’m weighing spending my money on yet another pair of Brooks Launch 6 or the Ghost 12, I’ll likely opt to save $30 and get the Launch 6.

Austin: I don’t recall the Ghost price changing for many years, so the $10 increase was a surprise. Regarding the shoe, no issues emerged during my runs.

Shop Brooks Ghost 12
brooks ghost 12 outsole

Brooks Ghost 12 Conclusion

Austin: The Ghost is a Brooks shoe generally not given to unexpected surprises. Yes, the midsole compounds may change as the technologies evolve, but all things considered, it’s an everyday trainer that accommodates multiple foot types (due in part to many width options for men and women). In general, it’s a safe bet.

The Ghost 12 was a change for me as I’ve run in footwear with much lower drops as of late, but it’s nice to see an old friend time and again. Speaking of which, I gotta call my good buddy Mr. Buffett for the latest stock tip.

West Coast Meghan: Okay, okay. I apparently need an easy/recovery-day shoe. These aging tendons really appreciated the miles I put on the Ghost 12. Like I mentioned previously, this doesn’t replace my go-to lightweight trainers. I won’t be doing any sort of speed work in these shoes, but I will revel in their plushness and enjoy those recovery miles a bit more.

You can pick up the Brooks Ghost 12 at Running Warehouse, (featuring free 2-day shipping and 90-day no-questions-asked returns!), by using the shop link below.

Shop Brooks Ghost 12
Brooks Ghost 12 - Women's

Brooks Ghost 12 – Women’s


Have something to say? Leave a Comment

  1. Chris Kelly says:

    How was the toebox?

  2. Spencer says:

    Thanks for the great article, I appreciate the information. I am all about function and appearance working out to my benefit. I was picky with my boat and I am picky with my shoes. Thanks for sharing.

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