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Road Running Shoes • January 17, 2020

Brooks Transcend 7 Performance Review

What You Need To Know

  • A stability shoe with neutral tendencies
  • Weighs 9 oz. for a US W9.0 (10.7 oz./303g for US M9.0)
  • 10mm drop (27 in heel, 17 in toe)
  • Guiderails work well for their intended use, like bowling bumpers for a foot

ADRIENNE: I’m always looking for a great recovery/easy day shoe. I typically average around 60 miles a week and appreciate something that feels good while dialing back the pace. Maybe because I’m such a fanatic of lightweight trainers, such as the Kinvara 10 and the New Balance Fuel Cell Rebel, I’ve found it hard to find something I like that won’t tempt me to take my foot off the brake. Purpose over pace, you know.

Let’s begin with the fact I have never run in a version of the Brooks Transcend, so I had no idea what to expect, except for no medial post (which I greatly appreciate). I have a buddy that runs in them and seems to like them, so why not give them a shot?

I took them on both short and medium distance runs of about 8-9 minute pace, with two of them being double runs after workouts. I wore them feeling somewhat fresh, and I wore them feeling beat up after a 5 x 1-mile workout that morning.

They do what they are supposed to do: provide support and a lot of cush. The Transcend 7 utilizes Brooks’ unique Guiderail system, which is firmer midsole material that rises up and basically cradles the mid and rearfoot area. Think of them like bowling bumpers keeping your feet in a neutral position; nothing forceful or harsh. I’m a neutral runner, so this was appreciated. Having your gait tapped gently into place on tired legs is also appreciated. Non-running related side note: I’m a terrible bowler.

The midsole is composed of Brooks’ DNA Loft foam; for the unfamiliar, it’s EVA with air injected into it for a softer feel. It’s nothing new for Brooks’ more pillowy shoes, and love it or hate it, it does its job.

With an engineered, seamless mesh, the upper favors the look of its neutral brother, the Glycerin 18. It looks kinda cool, especially for a shoe in a class not exactly known for looking cool

Like I said earlier, this is a lot of shoe, and that is a positive or a negative depending on who you ask. Now let’s get into the good, the bad, and the meh of the Transcend 7, shall we?

Brooks Transcend 7 - teal

The Good

ADRIENNE: Let’s start with the upper, which is perhaps my favorite part of the shoe. The mesh is breathable, supportive, and simple. There is just enough support in 3D printed crosshatching across the midfoot to get away with no overlays or anything obtrusive. The upper also keeps the weight down, because this is a lot of shoe otherwise. More on that later. No irritation to be found, but you may want to size down in this shoe if you want more lockdown, because it is roomy to say the least.

The toe box allows for good splay of the toes and while it appears shallow, there is enough stretch to accommodate many foot types. The upper feels a bit like a sock, at least in the mid-to upper portion of the shoe.

This is a stability shoe that feels more like a neutral shoe. That is neat. The Guiderails do a good job of staying out of the way for me and I like the concept. After getting hurt a few years ago I ran in stability shoes for a season, and they felt nothing like the Transcend. So props to Brooks there.

Deep flex grooves throughout the shoe, notably the forefoot seem to allow for a degree of flexibility. This isn’t a very lively shoe, but its ability to move with the runner is an upside and the lateral stability features are a nice addition.

To me, the Transcend 7 feels more cushioned than the Glycerin. My theory is that the Guiderails place your foot in a way that’s easier to hit the ‘sweet spot’ of the shoe. Does science support that? Who knows.

While it’s nothing new, the DNA Loft has a nice way of adapting to the foot’s movement and keeps the ample cushioning consistent throughout. Beat up marathon-training legs will appreciate the Transcend 7.

More props to Brooks for continuing to lighten up their shoes. Nine ounces for a women’s size 9 is a step in the right direction for their “Cushion” line. It looks and weighs almost the same as the Glycerin, and I almost like the Transcend better for the purpose it serves.

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Brooks Transcend 7 - black 1

The Bad

ADRIENNE: This shoe is backloaded (see pic for evidence). Heel strikers will do just fine with this feature but I’m forever trying to get on my forefoot. Given the junk in the trunk of the Transcend 7, I found it hard to transition the shoe. This is where the “lots of shoe” concept comes in. I had to modify my stride, especially in the beginning of a run in these because of all that is going on underneath.

Like I found in the Glycerin 18, the cushioning is hella comfortable, just harder to find my natural stride in, even with the guiderails showing my feet where to go.

As much as I liked the upper material, I had to try adjusting the lacing a few times to get the fit right.

Lastly, while stability shoes do tend to be more expensive, this comes in at $160, crowning it the most expensive shoes in the Brooks lineup (until their carbon shoe comes out, anyway).

You can pick up the at Running Warehouse (featuring free 2-day shipping and 90-day returns) by using the link below.
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Brooks Transcend 7 - black green

Brooks Transcend 7 Conclusion

Like the Glycerin series, the Transcend is a relatively adaptive shoe in nature and is a great option for runners needing stability but something that isn’t obstructive or overly firm. I found it comfortable to walk around and do life in; stability is there but in a good way, but be aware of the Transcend’s fluffy backside, which may not translate well to your run if you’re not used to it.

The Transcend 7 releases on 2/1/2020 for $160.

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

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Have something to say? Leave a Comment

  1. Aloysius says:

    Hello Adrienne,

    Thanks so sharing these wonderful trainers. It is a masterpiece for runners for a cushioning and smooth running.

  2. April says:

    Thanks for the review, esp. the part you DIDN’T like as a midfooter. I AM a heelstriker so these might be great for me (just ordered to try). I often learn as much by what people don’t like & why as I do from what they love! Thanks again for the really thorough review.

  3. You’re welcome! I know what I like and what others doesn’t always match up, so unless the shoes a total brick, I try and do it justice! Happy Training!

  4. Michael Goldfine says:

    Dear Adrienne,

    That was a great review. Like you I have been working hard to transition to more fore foot landing and avoid heel striking. I want sneakers conducive to helping me land more mid foot-fore foot and avoid heal striking.
    Which Brooks sneaker would you recommend I try. I am 64 year old male still running marathons.

  5. Adamas says:

    Very detailed review!

    I have been running in the Adrenaline GTS for years (over-pronator with borderline narrow feet and flat feet). I want to try something with more cushion. The Transcend 7 seems like a great option.

    When will the Transcend 8 be released? Feb 2021 (same timeframe Transcend 7 was released this year)? I may wait for the new release.

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