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8.2 oz. (232 g) for a US M9,
6.9 oz (195 g) for a US W7
34 mm in heel, 24 mm in forefoot (10 mm drop)
Low-cost, low-tech daily miles
Warp Knit upper, DNA midsole, Green Rubber outsole
KALEB: Brooks and I have an interesting relationship. Undeniably toxic, but still interesting. As a whole, it seems that whatever I’m intrigued by ends up sucking, but whatever I dread ends up being not half bad. It also seems like the less Brooks tries, the better it does: the $140 Hyperion and $150 Levitate 6 were unremarkable at best (and I’m being super nice when I say that), but the $100 Revel 6 ended up becoming one of my go-to daily trainers. By that logic, the $110 Launch 10 should land on the bearable side of Brooks releases. Let’s see if the pattern continues.
WIDE-FOOT JARRETT: When a Brooks shoe shows up, I can’t help but have an expectation of how the review is going to go. The shoe will be very solid, but lack excitement. It’ll be a good running shoe, but not great. Does it matter? Not really, because it’s going to sell like hotcakes at your local running store. So here I am with the Launch 10 in 2E, and I usually don’t like to spoil things, but my hypothesis continues to be correct.
SETH: The most anticipated budget running shoe of all time? I haven’t heard anyone raving about the Brooks Launch in years, yet I’ve seen it on a thousand runners’ feet in about a hundred different colorways. Why? Because it’s in the low $100s, and it gets the job done? I’m not sure.
The last time I had a Brooks Launch was when I purchased the Launch 7 and 8 in my cousin Gabrielle Grunewald’s “Brave Like Gabe” special edition colorway. People say this is one of the best running shoes that can log daily miles, hit the weight room, and go run errands. With this small stack height, I’m not so sure that is true. After a couple of years of updates to this shoe, I’m curious what changes have been made. Let’s give it a shot and see what it’s capable of. Buckle up and prepare for takeoff in the Brooks Launch 10.
KALEB: On my first little jog around, the Brooks Launch 10 felt decidedly brickish. As tempted as I was to send it sailing through the window of Brooks HQ (a long throw from Pennsylvania, mind you), I opted to avoid a felony and instead put more test miles on.
I took a break from trying to break in the Launch with runs and decided to walk around in the shoe for a day, and that seemed to soften things up a little. As slight as the difference was, it changed my thoughts on the shoe entirely.
The Launch is responsive in that firm, easy toe-off sort of way. While Brooks’ DNA foam has never been (and likely never will be) bouncy, its firmness complements the geometry of the shoe and keeps it rolling when you pick up the pace. There’s a noticeable rocker shape near the toe, and it pivots nicely through your stride. The outsole rubber is both generous enough to provide long-lasting durability and grippy enough to keep you from performing the Nike Trail Department Special (for those that don’t read our trail reviews, that entails slipping, falling, and breaking your wrist).
Up top, a breathable mesh upper hugs the foot tighter than that one aunt at the holidays. Brooks shoes tend to run narrow and a touch long, so there’s no sign of sliding around in the shoe: you’re locked in whether you like it or not.
WIDE-FOOT JARRETT: The Launch 10 is a lightweight daily trainer that comes in at a super-friendly $110 price point. My 10.5 2E pair weighs 8.7 oz., and I do think it feels light underfoot.
The midsole is made of a lightweight DNA cushioning foam. It has a firm underfoot feeling, and there isn’t too much bounce or feedback. The ride is much simpler, and that allows it to not be as cumbersome. I was able to pick up the pace as I wanted, but I didn’t think the shoe was providing any noticeable assistance.
The upper is pretty nice, and the Speed Heel (basically just a heel collar that flares out) has a good amount of padding for extra comfort. I think the shoe is a little narrow, so those who need very wide shoes may have problems. Underneath is a blown rubber outsole that is covered enough for grip and longevity.
SETH: As soon as I opened up this shoe box, I almost went blind. The super bright Green Gecko colorway shined so bright I had to throw on my shades — in a good way. The colorway surely stands out, plus if I’m running in the dark, surely every vehicle rolling by will see me.
Once I put the Launch on my feet, I was surprised to find that the toe box had plenty of space and wasn’t narrow by any means. I also had a bit more length in the shoe compared to what I usually have in other brands. It certainly wasn’t too much space, and it felt really nice to splay out my toes. The heel counter felt a bit wide, so I always tied the runner’s loop up, and that felt perfecto. With all that space in the toe box, the instep of the shoe wasn’t too high, so my foot felt very secure. As a dude that loves to run long distances, typically at a slower pace, I need a lot of cushion to prevent too much impact on my legs. As you could guess, I was worried this shoe would be too minimal, firm, and hurt to run in.
When I began running, it almost felt like the shoe was flat, and I really wouldn’t have thought it had a 10mm drop. It reminded me of what it felt like to run in an Altra Torin 5. Not lots of cushion, flat, and just simple, in a good way. The cushion was not too firm where your knees are cracking every step, but actually just cruising with the right amount of support. It was also nice to run in a shoe that doesn’t have a dramatic rocker feel to it. This shoe was actually pretty comfortable, and I couldn’t help but notice how lightweight it was. I automatically picked up the pace by 30 seconds per mile.
The Launch is very versatile because I could run a chill 9:30 min/mile pace, and easily jump into a groove in the low 7’s. I ran about 50 miles in this shoe and it didn’t have much wear to it. Slight creases in the midsole and other typical areas. I think you’ll get around 300 miles on this one before you should replace it, and for $110, that’s a bang for your buck! This shoe indeed gets the job done, holds up well and is affordable. But is good-enough worth saving $50-$70 on a higher quality running shoe?Shop Brooks Launch - Men Shop Brooks Launch - Women
KALEB: The upper is comfortable enough but definitively narrow — tighten those laces too much, and you’re in for a hurting since there isn’t much stretch in the mesh.
Also, make no mistake. This puppy is firm. I found that it worked best on gravel rail trails, where some of the shock is absorbed by the terrain rather than just the midsole foam. On the roads, I would hesitate to take the Launch far into the double-digits simply because of a combination of midsole firmness and narrow fit. While I think these ride characteristics would make the Launch shine in some track workouts, it’s hard to justify that purchase when there are other, better options for uptempo shoes.
Also, I know I’m going to sound behind the times when I say this, but I can’t get with the 10 mm drop. It may feel nice for the ride of the shoe, but it’s simply not great on your legs from a mechanical perspective.
WIDE-FOOT JARRETT: As I said above, the wide fit isn’t that great. The toe box is somewhat narrow, which would be a problem for people with a wide forefoot.
I’m always skeptical about these super thin tongues. Too often, they end up causing some irritation and scratch at the front of my ankle. Brooks was cutting weight with this design choice, but I would rather have a lightly padded tongue to go along with the comfortable heel collar.Shop Brooks Launch - Men Shop Brooks Launch - Women
KALEB: The Brooks Launch 10 is a shoe I’ll continue to put miles on, but not one that I’d go out of my way to buy or recommend for others. I think as a budget tempo shoe, there are far better options, even for those that enjoy a firm, rockered feel. For die-hard fans of the Launch, I think this is a fine addition to the line, but it’s getting a little old watching Brooks continue to make shoes that barely nudge the status quo in any direction.
WIDE-FOOT JARRETT: At $110, I know I have to give the Launch 10 some leeway. It’s a simple running shoe that is lightweight and doesn’t have anything about it that is a dealbreaker. Those needing all the space in their wide shoes may want to steer clear, but for anyone who enjoys a firmer ride and wants something light and cheap (I know $110 isn’t cheap, but it is much easier on the wallet compared to the $160-plus options), the Launch 10 is a solid choice.
SETH: This is a simple, basic running shoe. If there was a running video game, you would see the Brooks Launch 10 as an NPC. I think you can run up to about 13 miles in this shoe without shattering your legs and also at a decent pace. I didn’t mind running in it, but I also didn’t love it. Since it feels so plain, I can see why a lot of people enjoy using this shoe for Crossfit and as a daily trainer. The Brooks Launch 10 is a solid budget shoe that gives you what you pay for.
You can pick up the Brooks Launch 10 for $110 from Running Warehouse (featuring free 2-day shipping and 90-day returns) using the buttons below.
Kaleb is one of the younger, “both of my knees still work” reviewers on the BITR team. As a high school cross country, track and field, and road racing athlete in Pennsylvania, Kaleb loves hearing about the latest endurance-athletics studies and seeing how everything out there can fit into a well-rounded training program. If you don’t see him drinking a weird health concoction or doing some strange warmup technique, he’s probably already started the race.
All-time favorite shoes: Saucony Ride 14, Nike ZoomX DragonflyMore from Kaleb
Wide Foot Jarrett likes talking about wide shoes. Did you know he wears wide shoes? You should probably know he wears wide shoes. Besides running, Jarrett is a lover of coffee, donuts, pizza, and tacos. Basically, Jarrett is the ultimate race-cation travel companion because he will be on food duty while you’re busy panicking about whether you want to try and break your PR. Will also sleep on the floor. He’ll also answer any question in his DMs.
All-time favorite shoes: New Balance Vazee Prism v2, New Balance FuelCell SC Trainer, Asics Metaspeed Sky.More from Jarrett
Seth Epley is an ultramarathoner and avid outdoorsman. After graduating high school, Seth struggled with drinking and was ultimately unhappy with the way he was living. Running became a remedy, and 3 years later he ran his first 200-mile race and has maintained a 100% sober lifestyle. In addition to running, he enjoys archery, videography, photography, and all things outdoors.More from Seth