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Road Running Shoes • December 19, 2019

Brooks Glycerin 18 Performance Review

Brooks Glycerin 18

What You Need To Know

  • Weighs 10.2 oz. for a US M9.0
  • Reconfigured DNA LOFT midsole adds more cushion, like a TempurPedic mattress for your feet
  • New double-jacquard mesh upper has more stretch
  • Releases 3/1/2020 for $149.95

ADRIENNE: The Glycerin 18 is perfect for runners who think there’s no such thing as too much cushioning. If nothing else, Brooks knows it’s target consumer. But does the Glycerin 18 live up to this assertion? We will see.

First, let me be honest with you guys: I have had crap luck with Brooks in the past. Like, 8 years ago in the past. Fast forward to now when the Glycerin 18 arrived at my door. Can we be friends again? Can I Run Happy?

I do believe this is a shoe the Queen herself (Des Linden) trains in, so I had to see if the DNA Loft-ness has changed. Luckily, it has. Some good, some, well… meh, at least for me.

My maiden voyage in the Glycerin 18 was a double run in damp conditions. Step-in felt nice, like crawling into a TempurPedic nice, as the Ortholite Sockliner over Brooks’ DNALoft midsole felt pretty luxurious. The top and midsole seems to immediately conform to your foot. You don’t sink, per se, but eventually every square inch of your sole connects with the soft foam. If there’s one thing about this shoe, it does seem to adapt to your footstrike well. I mean, that’s the original purpose of the DNA foam, right??

AUSTIN: Since Adrienne covered the rest, may I take a moment for a remark about shoe colors? If 2019 proved to be the year of “too long shoelaces”, I wonder if 2020 will be the year of baffling color descriptions. I’ll start with some of the colors I read for the upcoming Brooks Glycerin 18. Cornflower. Valerian. Cantaloupe. Kentucky. Turbulence. Mazarine. Poseidon. I didn’t realize that disruptive changes in air pressure or the ancient Greek god of the sea make for good color choices in running shoes. But here we are. Godspeed, Odysseus.


The Good

ADRIENNE: With this iteration, Brooks appears to be heading in a decent direction. Those who are fans of previous Glycerin models will likely be fans of this one as well. The 18 is lighter, weighing in at 9.0 oz for my size 9. It may not be a spectacle, ride-wise, but the cushioning is reliable, consistent, and the shoe doesn’t feel heavy on the foot or in the hand. The upper and shifts in midsole-outsole ratio are likely the reason why.

The stretch mesh upper feels and looks pretty nice too. No hot spots, no pressure points whatsoever, and I think it can accommodate a large number of foot types, from wide to narrow(ish). It’s a simple, yet clean-looking shoe that has gradually dropped the gaudy, overlay-happy BS of previous models. Everyone’s all about midsoles and plates nowadays, but I appreciate a good, clean upper.

Lockdown on my women’s size 9 was admittedly so-so. I had to use the heel lock to feel secure in them, but once I got the lacing right, I barely felt the upper. Step-in feel is fantastic.

The outsole contains a bunch of well-placed flex grooves, making the transition from the back to the front of the foot mattress smooth and relatively easy, which is standard Brooks.

It was 70 degrees out and humid on one run, and I was pleased to see that the shoe didn’t turn into a wet wool sweater. If you’re into sockless runs (I can’t confirm nor deny this myself), these should feel nice. On America’s least favorite running surface, wet concrete, these things gripped nicely. Actually, the plushness of these suckers enabled me to barely feel the concrete. People who aren’t weirdos like me will appreciate that. I still like being to feel what’s underneath, even just a little bit.

The stack height of 10 mm hasn’t changed and it shouldn’t. It feels right in this shoe. This shoe should work fine for both heel and forefoot strikers, because, cushion– it’s everywhere!

AUSTIN: I haven’t run in the Glycerin for years, but I never doubt the high level of cushioning. At $150, it’s a premium trainer for sure. I don’t know if I’ve ever reviewed a Brooks shoe for Believe in the Run that lacks step-in comfort. The plush heel collar and svelte tongue, along with the Ortholite sockliner, exude a lush ride. Speaking of which, the Glycerin 18 includes a full-length DNA Loft midsole for uber cozy miles.

The Glycerin 18 also showcases a double-jacquard mesh for some additional stretch in the midfoot and forefoot. The company logo, a thin overlay, adds a touch of structure to the midfoot. The upper exhibits a fresh, clean look, unencumbered by unnecessary clutter that adds weight and the possibility for pressure or hot spots. My feet felt secure every run, and the DNA Loft midsole makes for less ground feel.

Shop Brooks Glycerin 18


brooks glycerin 18 outsole

The Bad

ADRIENNE: Tech bros at Brooks– this shoe has the potential to be a badass daily trainer/easy mileage shoe; but please liven up the midsole. I realize the Levitate 3 brings some bounce, but the sensation of slightly sinking into shag carpet is not my favorite. Not trying to be harsh, just sayin’. Like I said, the potential is there!

The heel of the shoe seems to have a good amount of play to it and I think a good number of runners with narrower feet and ankles may need the heel lock or to size down as the shoe seems to run a touch big. I also found when I picked the pace up a bit, the Glycerin felt a bit boxy and unresponsive. This is a cruising shoe, y’all.

The upper looks nice and is hella comfortable, however, I wish it were a little more dialed in. This may be more Adrienne than Brooks.

I wish I could say more for the midsole and ride of this trainer, however, I just am not one of those runners Brooks is looking for to wear this shoe. It’s definitely not a bad shoe and is approaching OG status, however, the ride just didn’t do much for me. I was looking for a little bit of a response, or just a little more life in these, but found I had to work to keep my cadence and usual stride up. They didn’t feel bad, just not as exciting as other models at the same price point, say the New Balance 1080 and the Saucony Triumph 17. I guess I have become one of those runners now who expects to be entertained by their footwear. Sign of the times.

AUSTIN: I’d prefer a bit more response from the Glycerin 18, but I knew before my first run that this model is touted as high cushion. Which means a little more sink and a little less pop. As Adrienne noted in her review, I’m loving the responsive ride of the New Balance 1080 v10, which combines high cushioning with stellar snap. I’d prefer an 8 mm drop, but that’s a minor critique based strictly on general preference.

Shop Brooks Glycerin 18

Brooks Glycerin 18 Conclusion

ADRIENNE: I’m still not sure if this will make my permanent rotation or not. Again, that is not because the Glycerin 18 is a bad shoe, I just find it lacking some things I generally look for in a trainer. I realize my preferences don’t match a lot of other runners’ out there and I think as there has been there will continue to be a following for this cruiser. The term I kept coming up with describing this shoe is “foot mattress”. That is not a put down, per se. They’re smooth, quiet, and luxurious and will mold to your body. You also won’t be in a hurry to pull them off your feet after a run, which is real nice because they do feel nice and soft on the foot.

Brooks got the comfort and luxury concept right with this shoe. As the opening line states, those who crave comfort will likely be pleased with this shoe.

And while this particular model and I just didn’t click, I look forward to trying more Brooks in the future.

AUSTIN: The Glycerin 18 is an outstanding option for injured runners or those that prefer less ground contact. In terms of run type, I think it’s excellent for easy runs, long runs, and recovery runs. Look elsewhere for workouts as DNA Loft isn’t the ideal midsole for hard efforts. In fact, if you’re in the market for a comfortable shoe to don around town, the Glycerin is worth a look as that cushioning is so nice. The colors are snazzy too. I think Poseidon would agree with me on this.

You can shop the Glycerin at Running Warehouse (featuring free 2-day shipping and 90-day returns) by using the link below.

Shop Brooks Glycerin 18

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