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Road Running Shoes • January 23, 2024

Brooks Ghost 16 Review: Spellbound the Whole Time

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What You Need To Know


9.8 oz. (277 g) for a US M9,

8.8 oz. (249 g) for a US W8

Stack Height / Drop

24 mm in heel, 12 mm in forefoot (12 mm drop, midsole only)

Best For

Comfy, casual miles

Key Features

Engineered air mesh upper, DNA Loft v3 midsole, RoadTack rubber outsole

On The Run
Uber-plush upper Comfy DNA Loft v3 ride A 12 mm drop might be too extreme for some
Price / Availability

$140, May 1, 2024

Introduction to the Brooks Ghost 16

CHAD: My boy Benjamin Franklin said that “in this world, nothing can be certain except death and taxes.” Well, that may have been true back in 1789. But in 2024, I think even Ben would agree that you can add another certainty into the equation, and that is Brooks making a reliable running shoe. There’s a reason so many newer runners tend to find themselves in a pair of Brooks as they set out to start their running journey. And what’s the reason? By and large, Brooks makes high-quality shoes that appeal to the masses, and the Ghost is probably the premier example.

Now, the Brooks Ghost 16 looks to continue that tradition. This year’s model features a new engineered mesh upper, which is touted as being structurally stable yet also breathable. However, the bigger change is the new, nitrogen-infused DNA Loft v3 midsole foam, designed to be lightweight and soft while being comfortable and durable, all features that are ideal for a midsole foam in a daily trainer.

RENALDO: It’s a new year, and just as sure as sugar, Brooks has a new iteration of its go-to neutral trainer, the Ghost 16. With an updated cushioning system and a few other new bells and whistles, the Ghost 16 promises a smooth and easy ride for any run. Let’s see if the spirits ring true.

What we like about the Brooks Ghost 16

CHAD: I can sum up my impressions of the Ghost 16 in one short word: wow. This shoe is unlike almost any Brooks shoe I’ve ever run in. Brooks usually always nails the upper, but this is one of the most comfortable and well-fitting uppers I’ve ever tried. It’s plush but not too plush to the point where your foot could slide around. Plus, I can totally get where Brooks is coming from when they say it provides structure and stretch while being breathable — it really does have all three characteristics. Normally, if you have stretch, you lose structure but get breathability, and vice versa.

Once you get the Ghost 16 out on the road, that’s when the improvements become even more noticeable. The new nitrogen-infused DNA loft v3 foam provides exactly what Brooks claims it does: softness, comfort, and a lightweight feel. A US M9 weighs in at a respectable 9.8 oz. (277 g), but it doesn’t feel like it because the weight underfoot is so much lighter. The ride is also nice and balanced, where I didn’t feel any sort of medial roll-in that I occasionally get in neutral shoes.

I used the Ghost 16 mostly for easy day runs after hard efforts or the first run after my weekend long run, logging just under 20 miles in it. There’s no sign of wear so far, but we’ll see how the Ghost stands up to more miles.

RENALDO: An innate talent of the Brooks team is that they know how to make a shoe feel great even when you’re not running. The Ghost 16 has an enhanced mesh upper that’s as breathable as it is comfortable, and it’s got a little “glass slipper” thing going on where it fits just right.

Honestly, though, the biggest improvement to me is the inclusion of Brooks’ nitrogen-infused DNA LOFT v3 foam. It’s the same foam that they used on the Glycerin 20, a shoe I absolutely loved from several seasons ago. This gives the Ghost a very bouncy feeling on the run, which is a blessing from my past experiences with the Ghost 15.

I remember one specific day when I used the Ghost 16 as a commuter shoe for the afternoon. It gave me problem-free, “no muss, no fuss” miles on a casual Monday night of shenanigans.

All that being said…

Shop Brooks Ghost - Men Shop Brooks Ghost - Women

What we don’t like about the Brooks Ghost 16

CHAD: It’s hard for me to find anything truly negative to say about this shoe. From a personal preference perspective, however, a 12 mm drop is a bit much for me. As a bigger guy, my knees already take a beating on runs, something that the 12 mm drop only accentuates. I did notice during my runs that I was absorbing a bit more force in them than in some of my other lower-drop shoes.

Also, while Brooks has tried to up its style game, and there have been improvements, the design is still just a little bit blah. Aesthetics, while not directly impacting the performance of the shoe, still play a role. I mean, look good, run good…right?

RENALDO: There really is nothing else to this shoe that really makes it stand out. I loved the DNA LOFT v3 foam…two years ago. It’s comfortable, yes, but this shoe is up against some stiff competition in its launch window. For example, I just reviewed the Reebok Floatzig 1, a much more enjoyable shoe that actually felt like it was trying to do something different — and also costs $10 less. I just find myself reaching for the Floatzig 1 way more often when the idea of a quick 5k comes to mind.

I’ve said it before, but Brooks shoes are just a tad bit too safe and a tad bit too dull at times, and it’s really starting to show. This Ghost didn’t raise my resting heart rate even one beat.

Shop Brooks Ghost - Men Shop Brooks Ghost - Women

Final thoughts on the Brooks Ghost 16

CHAD: Brooks continues to be a market leader for one reason, and that is the quality of the shoes they make. The Ghost 16 is no exception. If you’re looking for a neutral daily trainer that can handle mile-after-mile-after-mile well into the several hundreds, then the Brooks Ghost 16 is for you. The new midsole is lightweight and soft, the upper is comfortable, and the outsole has unmatched durability. What more could a runner want? I bet even Ben Franklin would agree.

RENALDO: The Ghost 16 is another comfortable daily trainer from Brooks. If you’re a fan of the line, this is exactly what you want. But if you’re looking for something a bit more exciting from your shoe, you may want to look elsewhere.

You can pick up the Brooks Ghost 16 for $140 on May 1, 2024, at Running Warehouse (featuring free 2-day shipping and 90-day returns).

Shop Brooks Ghost - Men Shop Brooks Ghost - Women

Have something to say? Leave a Comment

  1. Tim says:

    How does the Road Tack rubber differ from their previous outsole? I’m curious about that because I find the older versions a bit less reliable on wet surfaces than I’d like.

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Chad Zimmermann
Clydesdale Reviewer
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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.

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Renaldo Robinson
Baltimore Road Reviewer
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Born and raised Baltimore, Renaldo still resides in his home city and has shared miles with a good chunk of the Baltimore running community. A captain in A Tribe Called Run run group, Renaldo can easily be spotted running with Faster Bastards, Believe Run Club, or doing a solo long run through Baltimore’s midtown. If you spot him, be sure to give him a big “REEENOOO!” or challenge him to a game of pool 🎱

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