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Road Running Shoes • February 4, 2019

Brooks Launch 6 Performance Review

Robbe: The Brooks Launch 6 is the newest iteration of what has become a no-bullshit staple in their lineup. It’s a lightweight, neutral shoe that straddles the golden trident of race day, tempo, and everyday trainer. If you’ve been a fan of the Launch in the past, you’re going to love this shoe just as much. I took these out for around 20 miles, including the Carlsbad Half Marathon.

West Coast Meghan: I’m typically a loyalist when it comes to training shoes. I find one and stick with it throughout the seasons. Unless, of course, a major update renders it a completely different shoe, as. For years, I was a Brooks Launch diehard. When it was discontinued, I was left heartbroken and scrambling to find a viable replacement. Of course, I did find a suitable replacement and never looked back. When the Launch ‘relaunched’ (sorry, couldn’t help myself), the colorways and updates were never enticing enough to go back to the shoe I once loved.

Recently, I stumbled on an unopened box of the original Brooks Launch hiding in my closet. So, when I was given the opportunity to wear-test the new Launch 6, I was ecstatic at the idea that I could do a side-by-side comparison between the two. This way, I wouldn’t have to rely on my outdated memory! And ‘no’, I did NOT go for a run with each version on a foot to test out the real difference.

The Good

Robbe: As I said above, it’s always nice when a shoe company has a great product and keeps  their engineers from tweaking out and turning its next version into a messy lab experiment.

I absolutely loved the Launch 5. It’s been my most favorite all-around shoe of the last year, from tempo runs to marathon race day shoe (although I went with the Nike Epic React in my last marathon). I even actually bought a second pair, because they released them in an excellent “tv static” colorway last summer (no longer available).

This shoe is continually a joy to run in. It’s so light, but with plenty of cushion, yet it feels firm enough throughout to maintain an excellent feel of the road. It’s quick when it needs to be, and holds up for miles. I have no complaints about its function.

Overall, the Launch 6 could honestly just be called the 5.5. The major difference is some extra foam in the forefoot midsole, which allows for a generally more comfortable ride over long miles, but indistinguishable from the 5 in shorter distances. The midsole is essentially the exact same otherwise, featuring Brooks’s BioMoGo DNA, which is nice and responsive. Amazingly, Brooks managed to scrape a few ounces off the last version— dropping these to 8.7 oz. for a size 9—  even while adding more cushioning.

Some of the weight was taken off the tongue; the width is about 3/4 the width of the Launch 5, but with no noticeable difference in comfortability. The blown rubber outsole is now more of a chevron pattern in the front, but still maintains the figure-eight pattern of the 5 from the middle to the back of the shoe.

The upper is still a single mesh overlay with a bootie style sock inside. Breathability is great. It’s a perfectly snug shoe for me, although those with wider feet will most definitely want to go up to 2E. I felt like this version also is just a tad more narrow in the forefoot, which I actually prefer. Lastly, the drop is still 10mm.

West Coast Meghan: The Launch 6 is spot on! The improvements over the original Launch start with the overall fit and feel of this latest iteration. A lightweight mesh upper and internal bootie create a comfortable, yet snug, fit. On the run, the Launch 6 is responsive and unnoticeable, exactly how I like a trainer to feel. It has enough cushion to withstand the mileage without feeling ‘mushy’.

Aesthetically, the Launch 6 is far superior to the original. What once was a fairly dated and unremarkable shoe, with a lot of overlays, is now subtly appealing. I tested the 553 colorway and I’m loving the monochromatic look, paired with the pop of gold in the logo. If you’re interested in a little more flash, go with the 027 colorway.

Shop Brooks Launch 6

The Bad

West Coast Meghan: I typically wear a size 8.5 in running shoes and I received these in an 8. Although snug, I didn’t have any issues with bruising or tenderness on my toes. I even took these out for a 14-mile trail run with a pretty steep elevation drop in the second half and didn’t have any trouble. That said, I’d likely go with my usual size to give my toes a bit more breathing room. Other than the sizing, which is of no fault of the design, I really have no complaints about this shoe.

Robbe: The dude colorways are very “meh.” Runner gray. Runner blue. Runner boring. This is a head scratcher, because I felt like Brooks was moving towards some really cool designs recently (for running shoes anyway). My guess is that they’re playing it safe for the first round, and more creative patterns will come out over the next few months. Overall, I’m not actually into the design that much. The forward facing arrows are very Skechery; at this point they may as well just put “LAUNCH” in huge block letters on the side.

Shop Brooks Launch 6

Brooks Launch 6 Conclusion

Robbe: For $100, this is hands-down one of the best running shoes out there. Like I said, for me, it’s the best. Nearly 300 five-star reviews on the Launch 5 confirms this, and if anything, this version is an improvement. I don’t have anything else to say if that doesn’t sell you on it.

West Coast Meghan: The Brooks Launch 6 is back in my rotation! I’ve rediscovered my favorite training shoe and I don’t see it going anywhere. The instant comfort, along with the price point, actually bump it to the top slot in terms of a training shoe. I’m excited to continue wearing these throughout my next training cycle.

Shop Brooks Launch 6

Brooks Launch 1 vs. 6


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