Brooks Glycerin 16 Review

A complete redesign for the Brooks Glycerin in its 16th version. The upper and midsole have seen big changes, giving the new Glycerin a revamped ride. Let’s see how the new one fits, feels, and functions!

The new Glycerin continues to be Brooks’ maximum-cushion neutral trainer. The 16 follows in the long line of soft, pillowly Glycerins and gets back to a ride that should more consistently feel like you’re running on pillows, with the previous 15 being a slightly firmer anomaly.

Brooks Glycerin 15 vs 16:

  • The biggest difference is the new DNA Loft midsole material that gets its debut in the Glycerin 16 – which feels soft and light
  • The upper has also been redesigned to have a bootie liner and flexible engineered mesh
  • Brooks has really softened the ride from the 15 while providing a better transition
  • Despite weighing a little more than the 15, the new Glycerin 16 feels much lighter on the foot thanks to the improved transition and slightly more responsive foam
  • The ride is lower on the 16 and much more flexible
  • Fit has changed a little bit, with the new bootie and mesh upper tightening up the mid-foot and toebox slightly
  • That mesh upper is flexible enough that most runners shouldn’t have any issues with toebox room (even if the 15 was notable for its roomy toebox)
  • Overall, a great update from Brooks that has very few downsides and a lot of improvements
  • We have experienced inconsistencies in foam softness between sizes and midsole colors, so caution should be used when buying without trying these on (particularly with men’s grey midsoles)

Fit

With the new mesh upper and internal bootie, Brooks has tightened up the overall fit of the Glycerin but the flexibility of the mesh should be forgiving enough that runners with slightly wider feet should be able to use it. Overall, the Glycerin 16 is maybe a little narrower than the 15 but still pretty middle of the road in overall width. The toebox isn’t as notoriously wide and deep as the Glycerin 15 but the new mesh is pretty forgiving. If you liked the spacious interior of the 15, you’d probably want to try out the new 16 before purchasing to make sure that the toebox is big enough. Length is pretty true-to-size (for a running shoe) and comparable to the 15.

Feel

Brooks has both softened and lowered the feel of the Glycerin 16. The new DNA Loft foam is noticeably softer than the old Super DNA, yet feels really fast and light. The transition is greatly improved with the DNA Loft, removing the slightly platform-like feel of the 15. Overall, the Glycerin now feels like a unique performance-oriented maximum cushion shoe. Lighter and more playful than the its max-cushion competitors, Brooks has updated the Glycerin to compete with a wide range of neutral shoes. Of note is that the smaller grey midsoled men’s Glycerin 16s that we received are MUCH softer than the rest of the Glycerins that we have in stock. The difference in softness is noticeable both when squeezing the foam as well as underfoot. Those softer foam shoes feel more like an Altra Escalante than the rest of the Glycerins.

 Function

With the softer, less structured midsole, the Glycerin 16 might have lost a little of the inherent stability that it showed in the 15. While great for neutral runners, it’s not going to provide any guidance to prevent pronation.

Comparisons:

Brooks Glycerin vs Brooks Ghost:

In their newest versions (Glycerin 16 vs Ghost 11), both shoes use Brooks’ new DNA Loft foam and mesh upper. The experience of the two shoes is considerably different, with the Glycerin feeling much more luxurious. The upper and midsole are simply much softer than the Ghost. You also ride a little higher in the Glycerin. Neither shoe provides significant guidance for runners with more flexible foot strikes.

Brooks Glycerin vs Nike Vomero

The Glycerin 16 feels just as soft as the Vomero 13, but the ride is much lower in the Glycerin. The Glycerin is much wider overall, from the heel through the toebox. You might get a little more toebox depth in the Vomero, but the mesh upper of each is forgiving enough that the difference is negligible. The uppers are very similar, with a knit mesh featuring few overlays that tapers towards the toe a little more in the Vomero. The Vomero is lighter than the Glycerin, but the lower profile and flexible upper of the Glycerin makes it actually feel a little lighter on your feet.  The amount of guidance in each shoe is minimal, and both are great options for neutral runners.

Brooks Glycerin vs ASICS Nimbus

Despite having a similar overall conceptual goal of providing a maximum amount of perceived cushion, the Glycerin and Nimbus have remarkably different on-foot feels. While the drop is 10mm on both shoes, the experience of the Glycerin is much more playful and springy while providing almost the same amount of cushion. The Glycerin feels much lower in the heel and the heel feels much more flexible, while the Nimbus’ heel feels a lot more stable/platform-like. In terms of weight, each are similar with the Glycerin feeling much lighter thanks to the springy midsole and flexible upper. The Glycerin is wider than the Nimbus, has more room in the toebox, and the upper mesh is much more flexible and forgiving. As each is designed as purely neutral trainers, guidance for each shoe is minimal.

Brooks Glycerin vs Mizuno Wave Sky

The Glycerin is lower than the Wave Sky, but the Sky might feel a little softer. With the flexible upper and really smooth transition of the Glycerin, it feels faster but a little less luxurious than the Sky. The transition of the Glycerin is much more smooth, and overall the shoe feels much more playful than the Wave Sky. The upper of the Glycerin feels much more forgiving and a little softer than the Sky. Toebox room is about the same on each, with the Glycerin being a little more forgiving. Both have minimal inherent stability and function as pure neutral shoes.

Brooks Glycerin vs Hoka Bondi

The new Glycerin gets surprisingly close to the softness and smooth rocker transition of the Bondi. Obviously the Bondi is much higher overall and remains slightly softer than the Glycerin, but (intentionally or not,) Brooks has gotten as close as anyone to mimicking the Hoka feel in a more traditional shoe. The Glycerin is lighter and less substantial, with only slightly less of a “plush” feel. The Bondi does have some inherent stability due to its cradling midsole while the softer foam of the new Glycerin pretty much removes any inherent stability that it had in the previous couple of versions. The overall widths of the shoes are pretty similar, with the Bondi having much more depth and width in the toebox.


Brooks Glycerin 16 Review

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4 Comments

  1. Thank you for a wonderful review as well as a nice comparison to some of the comparable other brands, I will now consider as one of my go to sites for reviews.

  2. Great review! I noticed on the Glycerin 15 that the gray midsole was softer than the white. Sounds the same on the 16. You’re the only reviewer that has called this out.

  3. Any idea how the Glycerin 16 compares in ride to the Saucony Triumph ISO 4? Thanks!

    • We haven’t had the Triumph ISO 4 in the store recently (we decided against bringing in this version) – so we haven’t been able to directly compare those!

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