Brooks Launch 9 Review: Treading Water
ROBBE: Brooks Launch has a special place in my heart, as it’s been one of the few shoes that I’ve tried every version of over the last half-decade. I trained in and ran my second marathon in the Brooks Launch 5. At the time, it was an incredible shoe, and one of the few shoes I loved to death from beginning to end, racking up nearly 500 miles on the shoe. And then there was the Launch 6, which was mostly the same, just a bit different upper. I ran a half marathon in that with no problems whatsoever.
And then Brooks destroyed the Launch. The 7 and 8 were absolute rock-hard travesties of a shoe the BioMoGo DNA was as flat as the can of Coke that my wife takes one sip from then leaves in the fridge for a week to die a slow, fizzless death.
So when I got the Launch 9 and saw– oh yay, BioMoGo DNA– I was obviously thrilled and by thrilled I mean not thrilled. But hey, at least there’s 2mm more of it.
This version of this shoe also gets a green rubber outsole, in that it’s made of silica and not petroleum, so it’s more sustainable. It also gets a Creel Mesh upper, which is basically just a mesh upper made to sound cool.
JAYTON: My first time in a Brooks Launch! I’ve heard a lot of good things about this affordable workhorse, but I’d never given it a fighting chance. I’ll keep it short and sweet — there’s a lot I like about this shoe, but also a lot I’d change. Let’s hop to it.
JORDYNN: The women’s Launch 9 weighs in at about 7.05 oz. The upper material is made up of a Creel Wrap mesh for a tighter fit. The midsole is made of the infamous BioMoGo DNA foam, and sits on a rubber outsole. The color combo is an orangish pink with a navy blue accent. The fit is true to size with a neutral width, and it was designed for good energy return, smooth transitions, and a springy step.
ROBBE: I only keep asking to test the Launch because I’m forever chasing the dragon of my first Launch experience. Unfortunately, I can’t seem to get the same buzz. Now, I will say that this version of the Launch is better than the last two, likely because of the slight addition of foam to the midsole. It’s ever-so-slightly more comfortable and less harsh.
It’s a light shoe, for sure. Which is good because it’s supposed to be a fast shoe. It actually has a really nice and responsive snap off the toe when picking up the pace, which is the shining quality of this shoe. However, that may be why I also don’t like this shoe. Earlier versions used have a do-it-all vibe. The current-day Launch is strictly a firm and fast shoe, used for a very specific runner who has that exact taste. I’m not that runner, especially in 2022 when you can get shoes like the Puma Liberate Nitro or New Balance Rebel v2 for almost the same price with way better feel and performance.
We’ll get more into the dislikes later, but I do appreciate that this is still a budget-range shoe, even though the price went up by 10% to $110. It’s also a pretty breathable shoe. It’s starting to warm up here in the Mid-Atlantic and my feet stayed cool enough on the run.
JAYTON: The Brooks Launch 9 is about as light on your wallet as it is on your foot. Brooks utilizes its BioMoGo DNA foam, which has the right amount of compression to give you some pop while also staying comfortable. There’s more foam in the midsole than in previous models so this should be a good fit if you were a fan of the last few Launch models.
The upper is thin and well fitted to your foot but it has enough stretch to keep it comfortable. The eyelets of the shoes are reinforced with the same material from the heel counter which adds a premium feel and guaranteed durability. It’s particularly helpful when removing your laces, which you’ll want to do, since…
JORDYNN: The Brooks Launch 9 is more of a sturdy everyday runner. It provides enough cushion, especially at the heels, and saves your feet some energy. The shoe seems to be pretty durable. I liked the thickness of the laces, even if they were a little too long. The weight seemed a little heavy, but in combination with the durability, it’s worth the wear. I also found a nice spring from the midfoot through the toe, which helped with turnover.Shop Brooks Launch – Men Shop Brooks Launch – Women
ROBBE: I don’t know what happened to Brooks sizing over the last five years, but I used to go a half-size up in all their models, now I have to go a half-size down. That’s a full-size swing.
The laces seem cheap. And long. And weird.
BioMoGo needs to die because it’s already dead. It just feels lifeless, and it has for the last three years. At least in shoes like the Saucony Kinvara 13 there’s a bit of comfort and pop even though it’s pretty firm.
I get it, you want to be sustainable, but the Green Rubber outsole traction is really bad. I wore it on one rainy run and felt unsafe the entire time. For a company based in Seattle, that’s pretty disconcerting. Cornering was not really doable. It’s like they stole the test answers for Nike Trail’s outsole composite. The upside is that the rubber should be pretty durable, so you shouldn’t have any issues holding up over the long haul.
JAYTON: The laces are crap. It really isn’t a big deal and proof that I don’t have many bad things to say about this shoe but it’s annoying because I’ll probably end up switching them out. The lightweight Green Rubber outsole is wonderful in ideal conditions but I found myself slipping in wet conditions, especially when it was both cold and wet. Additionally, the tongue of the shoe isn’t my favorite design because it can get folded under.
JORDYNN: The arch support was a little too stiff for my feet. I wore this shoe during one of my track workouts and it wasn’t ideal. I feel like it would have been more suitable for road runs or long runs on grass.Shop Brooks Launch – Men Shop Brooks Launch – Women
ROBBE: I want to love the Launch again, I really do. And while I think this version is better than the last two, it’s only marginally improved. If you want a fast and firm(er) shoe that won’t break the bank, then you can get it done in this one. But if you have even $10-$20 more to spend, there are so many better options in this lane. This shoe is treading water in running shoe purgatory.
JAYTON: The Brooks Launch 9 is a great shoe for runners on a budget. I loved the feeling of the upper on my foot but I think it might get a little too toasty during the summer. I think the tongue of the shoe should have more flexibility and adjustability but it wouldn’t stop me from picking up a pair. This is a great option for both speed workouts and shakeouts.
JORDYNN: In a nutshell, the Brooks Launch 9 is a durable, dependable running shoe that you know will last you an entire season. It’s nothing more special than an everyday runner or walking shoe, but it actually reminds me of something my grandma would wear to walk the mall. The colorway is cute, but there’s nothing exotic about it. This shoe will definitely last, so if you want a pair of running shoes to grab and go or use as a backup on rainy days, this would definitely suit those needs.
You can pick up the Brooks Launch 9 for $110 at Running Warehouse (featuring free 2-day shipping and 90-day returns) by using the shop link below.Shop Brooks Launch – Men Shop Brooks Launch – Women
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lol interesting choice in words