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Road Running Shoes • December 31, 2020

Brooks Ricochet 3 Performance Review

feature - brooks ricochet 3 - feature1

What You Need To Know

  • Weighs 9.2 oz. (260 g) for a US M9.0/ 8.4 oz. (238 g) for a US W7.0
  • Shed some weight with an updated midsole formula
  • Very comfortable and form-fitting knit upper
  • We’re not gonna swing from the chandelier, but here we are … one, two, three drink

JEREMY: It’s been a big year for Brooks running, with a few massive new hits in the Hyperion Elite 2, Hyperion Tempo, and the Catamount road to trail shoe (it should be noted these all utilize new DNA Flash nitrogen-infused midsoles). The Ricochet 3 is a bit of a different beast, designed to be a lighter weight everyday trainer compared to the previous iterations of the shoe as well as the classic Brooks Levitate. The Ricochet 3 utilizes a combination of midsole foams, with the BioMoGO DNA foam primarily in the heel and some extra DNA Amp foam in the forefoot, to provide the blueprint for a bouncier toe-off and then a cushy landing.

DAVE: Me again. Sitting here typing another review away. New Order playing loud on these old, but very effective German headphones. A song called Sunrise, off the album Low-Life (1985) – I begin to wonder what the term sunrise has to do with this shoe I’m about to review.

I guess you could look at Brooks as the sun. Rises every day and has been for many years. Look at their positioning in run specialty? It’s a quick sell, a good margin, and honestly, when many stores are struggling, the brand keeps the doors open.

Brooks keeps running going. And when it comes to most of their lineup on a shoe wall, there’s some damn reliable stuff there.

The Ghost is solid, the Launch – while hit or miss over the years – has been decent, and I’ll let you in on a secret: The new trail shoe, Catamount … is pretty dope. If they keep that geometry, I’ll be a fan for life!

Ricochet, however, has been rough for me. I called it “Brickochet” the last 2 years in reviews. There was nothing fun about it. Heavily over-marketed. But this all-new 3.0 (Spring 21 release) comes back alive. It shaves some weight and gets the job done. And each day the sun comes up, and I lace up, I find myself reaching for it more and more.

Thoughts below.

brooks ricochet 3 - IG

The Good

JEREMY: Let’s get straight into it, the knit upper on this shoe is great. Comfortable, fits well and true to size, and the lacing system is set up to keep your foot locked in. The upper is lightweight (one of the major changes between the Ricochet 2 and 3) and has ventilation that will be much appreciated on warm days.

The outsole has a full coating of rubber for plenty of traction and is quite durable, with no signs of wear thus far. Additionally, the outsole has an arrow design that helps the ride and makes the heel to toe transition feel a bit smoother.

DAVE: Sometimes we need that plain Jane shoe. I mean, come on, it’s Brooks. Aside from the Hyperions and Catamounts mentioned above, the brand doesn’t necessarily scream fun to all the Strava boys powered by the Nike’s on their feet. But if you aren’t brand biased (let’s be honest, we all are to an extent), some of their lineup, like this Ricochet, just work. In a world of super shoes, it’s okay to be different and wear a general basic trainer sometimes.

While the uppers are stuck in 3 years ago, believe it or not, this thing slides on quite nicely. It laces up beautifully, and I have absolutely no slippage anywhere. Bonus points. These one-piece uppers can get tricky on heels, arches, and Achilles, as I’m sure many of you reading this know.

The new 3.0 sheds almost an ounce from its previous version, coming in at 9.2 oz./ 260 g for a US M9.0. While some may think this is still a lot, I can tell you this shoe disappears underfoot on those easy aerobic development days. For a basic trainer, I don’t find it heavy by any means.

Lastly, the transition moves from heel to midload to toe, very smoothly. Nothing feels forced, and I did not have to take a good amount of time “figuring out” the shoe.

Shop Ricochet 3 – Men Shop Ricochet 3 – Women brooks ricochet 3 - heel1

The Bad

JEREMY: While I appreciate the lightness of the upper, the contrast between the lightweight knit top with the heavier base always feels a bit odd to me and has the sensation of being quite bottom heavy. On many of my runs it just felt abnormal to have such a heavy base below the foot with so little of the weight concentrated in the upper.

The combination of BioMoGO DNA and DNA AMP midsole did not get the job done, oftentimes feeling heavy and not really providing the bounce and smooth ride I get from other Brooks shoes. While the intention of these two foams was to provide the springy toe off and cushy landing, that was never really something I experienced.

DAVE: The DNA Amp foam, located in the forefoot, running slightly into the midfoot, is average. I guess I’m putting this in the “time out” category, because it doesn’t wow me. With all these new foams, plates and compounds out there now, to put it simply, I’m falling out of love with DNA Amp. There’s just better stuff out there.

The forefoot could definitely use more cush, and it could come alive a bit more. But to totally contradict myself, it’s definitely runnable and works with my gait. Just looking for a bit more from the shoe. I’m most likely brainwashed.

Not a deal-breaker, but the design, especially with the knit ankle collar and one piece stretch upper, is still stuck in reverse. Very 3-5 years ago. I truly feel this shoe has the potential to be so much better. The basic geometry is there. I’d shave some spots here and there, but Brooks could try much harder on this. It has some legs to it.

Shop Ricochet 3 – Men Shop Ricochet 3 – Women brooks ricochet 3 - ABOVE

Brooks Ricochet 3 Conclusion

JEREMY: As Sia says in her song ‘Titanium’: “Ricochet, you take your aim. Fire away, fire away.” This fits with the Brooks Ricochet 3 for a couple reasons, for one, the word Ricochet is used … duh. Secondly, Brooks is taking shots to improve this shoe with each iteration, working to reduce overall weight that was a big problem in the Ricochet 2 and getting closer to a great shoe each model. That said, on the next update, the foams in the midsole will have to be addressed (particularly the DNA AMP) to reduce the feeling of bottom heaviness and to provide more of a bounce/roll to each step.

Personally, I would choose the Brooks Launch for an everyday trainer over this shoe given the option, but I’m sure some prefer the Ricochet, particularly if your preference is for a firmer ride.

DAVE: Basic as an apple orchard in Southern CA. Beanies and 75 degrees. Selfies and trees. That’s the Ricochet 3.0. Not cool by any means, but who cares. It runs. And if you like shoes that you don’t have to think about what’s on your foot, and just run, this one does the duty.

Brooks could just simply do so much more with it.

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

Shop Ricochet 3 – Men Shop Ricochet 3 – Women brooks ricochet 3 - heel

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