Brooks Ghost 12 Review

The new Brooks Ghost 12! Brooks has slightly tweaked a couple aspects of the shoe – mainly the upper – but the overall character of the shoe remains the same. For Brooks’ best selling model, that is a great thing.

Brooks has refined the Ghost for the 12th version, updating the upper and slightly tweaking the midsole, while leaving the overall feel and fit of the shoe very similar to the past few generations. The fit and feel of the shoe is similar, but there are some slight changes:

Ghost 12 vs Ghost 11:

  • Brooks has not significantly changed the midsole, so the overall feel of the 12 is similar to the 11
  • The 12 is a little more plush – most notably in the forefoot, and there’s a little more foam under your foot
  • The midsole is a very similar design, but there seems to be a little wider platform in the heel
  • With those slight changes to the midsole, we have seen a little increase in inherent stability
  • While the foam might be little wider, the upper seems to be a little tighter
  • The price has increased by $10 to $130

Fit

The new Ghost 12 remains a pretty standard fit, but it seems like Brooks might have tightened up the upper a little bit. While it might be a little narrower than the 11, the upper of the 12 will likely still accommodate most Ghost 11 wearers, and Brooks does have a wide version for those who need a little extra room. The 12 is certainly shallower than the 11. While the toe box might be a little more tapered, the mesh upper with no significant overlays gives you a decent about of flexibility.

Feel

Building on the success of the past few generations, Brooks seems to have recognized that the feel of the recent Ghosts was something that resonated with a lot of runners. The initial step-in feel is still nice and plush, although it might feel slightly less luxurious. The Ghost 12 sticks with the same balance of responsiveness/lightness and cushion/softness that has allowed it to recently dominate specialty running sales. That balance remains unchanged in the Ghost 12, although you do feel like there’s a little more to the shoe. It’s a little softer than the 11, but not by enough to change the overall feel of the shoe.

Function

With the midsole tweak to balloon the heel out a little bit, the Ghost 12 might have added a little bit of inherent stability. We are still evaluating the change, but overall it remains a neutral trainer with no real guidance built in. It’s an appropriate choice for neutral runners.

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Comparisons:

Brooks Ghost vs Glycerin:

In their newest versions (Glycerin 17 vs Ghost 12), both shoes use Brooks’ DNA Loft foam and mesh upper. The experience of the two shoes is actually pretty similar, with the Glycerin feeling not feeling much more “luxurious”. The upper and midsole are a little softer than the Ghost, but not by much. You do get a little more volume in the shoe the Glycerin, and the upper seems to be a little more stretchy. Neither shoe provides significant guidance for runners with more flexible foot strikes, but we’ve seen that both have a little bit of inherent stability.

Brooks Ghost vs Adrenaline:

The Adrenaline and Ghost are designed with different foot functions in mind. While based on a very similar midsole and outsole, the Adrenaline features Brooks’ new GuideRails technology, designed to provide stability to those who need it, which does change the overall nature of the shoe. While the overall experience of the two shoes is not drastically different, Ghost is softer and much more luxurious. Ride height is about the same, but the GuideRails do appear to firm up the ride a little and make the shoe a little less flexible. The GuideRails also add a noticeable amount of weight to the shoe. The biggest difference between the two is that the GuideRails in the Adrenaline are designed to align the foot, shin, and knee closer to the body’s natural mechanics.

Brooks Ghost vs Nike Pegasus

In their current versions (Nike Air Zoom Pegasus 36 vs Brooks Ghost 12), the Pegasus now feels lighter and lower. The Ghost is a little plusher and has a much more consistent/level platform underneath your foot. The Pegasus is a lot more contoured throughout the shoe, creating some high and low points along the sides that some runners might like and others might not like. The upper of each shoe also provides a different experience. While the Ghost provides a pretty standard upper fit and feel, the Pegasus continues to be very cradling. The Pegasus has a much narrower and shallow toebox, and is a little on the short side. The drop is 10mm on the Pegasus 35 vs 12mm on the Ghost, and with the slightly beefed-up Ghost, you can actually tell the difference. In terms of weight, the Pegasus is slightly lighter than the Ghost and combined with the smooth transition and flexible upper actually feels a little lighter on foot. Early analysis is showing that the slight changes that Brooks has made to the Ghost might give it a little bit of inherent stability, whereas the Pegasus function as a pure neutral shoe.

Brooks Ghost vs Mizuno WaveKnit/Wave Rider

The Mizuno WaveKnit R2 features a firmer lower, and more responsive ride than the Ghost 12. While the outgoing Wave Rider 21 has a similar plushness to the Ghost 11 in terms of the ride, the redesign in the WaveKnit R1 makes it much firmer. The new Ghost is wider overall and has a little more room in toebox and coule even be a half-size longer, but the knit upper of the WaveKnit does have a decent amount of stretchyness to accommodate slightly wide feet. The weight of each shoe is very similar, and you really can’t tell a difference on-foot. Neither provides any significant amount of stability.

Brooks Ghost vs Launch

The Brooks Ghost and Launch have considerably different design goals, but the recent changes in the Ghost have led to the two competing more frequently. The Launch is designed to be a faster, more responsive shoe than the Ghost. Putting them on side-by-side, however, just makes the Launch feel inflexible and firm. The Ghost has trimmed its weight down to be nearly identical to the Launch, and it actually feels lower in the heel. The Ghost has a much better transition, and any weight differences between the two are negligible on-foot. You have a little more room in the Launch, with the interior of the shoe feeling less plush but more forgiving. The Launch has a little bit of inherent stability, and we’re still evaluating, but the Ghost seems to have added some as well. Runners who need any significant amount of guidance should look elsewhere, however.

 

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