Back in the old days when we used to train for races, I was preparing for Brighton Marathon. I needed some new shoes to train in. I tend to have at least 2 pairs of running shoes on the go (although it’s more like 4 or 5), specifically, one pair for day-to-day running, and long runs and another pair for some faster stuff, intervals, etc, and when there might have been a race to run.
I have wider feet than most and had taken full advantage of Amazon’s Wardrobe facility, you get to order stuff and try it on without paying upfront, then only pay for the items you keep. I probably ordered around a dozen pairs of running shoes, including various Under Armour, Brooks, and my usual brand: New Balance. Unfortunately, none were suitable. The New Balance didn’t seem as wide as the older versions I’d been happily running in for the past few years. The Brooks Ghost in normal width were very nearly keepers and came very close to what I was after (I couldn’t get the wide fitting from that source). So I took the plunge and bought some Ghost 12 in wide from another supplier.
I have had quite a long association with Brooks ever since I bought some used Green Silence on eBay for £5. They were great, lasted me years (yes really) and were no doubt the best value for money running shoes I’ve owned. Since then I’ve owned more Green Silence, and Brooks Launch in wide fitting, which were ideal marathon racing shoes for me.
Fit and feel
Back to the arrival of the Ghost 12. They felt very comfortable as soon as I slipped them on, with plenty of room in the toe box for my troll-like feet. Out on the road, the first run of about 7 miles was a very comfy ride, and that says a lot for my ageing body. There were no hot-spots or impingements from the either the sole or the uppers. I had no qualms about using them for long runs of 20+ miles very soon after. I’d also decided that I’d run the marathon in them too. The Brooks Ghost is a cushion shoe and it seems to achieve that magic combination of very comfy cushioning without feeling dead and spongy.
To be honest, the Brooks Ghost is a bit more shoe than I usually choose. But I have in recent years gone back to a more traditional shoe after many years of running in more minimal offerings. One reason for this has been a long-term bruise on the ball of one foot. Sustained about 4 years ago after treading on a large stone that seemed to go right through the thin sole of the shoe I was wearing back then. I suspect it might have been more than a bruise. But regardless, with the increase in mileage, in particular the long runs, I felt my feet needed a little more cossetting. The Brooks Ghost certainly provide that, with plenty of plushness both on the sole and also on the uppers and around the ankle — very comfy.
Most of my runs in them have been on the road, but I’ve also used them off-road too; they have a very useful level of grip on muddy paths for a road shoe. As for weight, I’ve never felt that they are a heavy shoe, even when soaked through.
So that was 4 months ago. A lot has happened in that time. Marathons have come and gone without any pain or suffering or unfortunately any results either. Personally, my training focus has shifted and I’ve not been running those long runs for probably 3 months now. Typically, my week comprises 10-12 miles on a Sunday, one speedy midweek session (speedy for me anyway) of maybe 4x 5 mins at 5k pace, a solid very hilly, off-road run of an hour, and 2 or 3 other easy runs. Not huge mileage, only 30 miles a week or so, but the quality has ramped up since the marathon training and one of those easy runs might actually be a sustained effort over 7 or 8 miles. So some good sessions and plenty of easy running. But, the important thing as far as this review is concerned, nearly all the runs are done in the Brooks Ghost, and I wouldn’t wear them if they didn’t work or feel good. Yes, I might wear something different for the occasional visit to the track, or a really mucky run over the fields, but the Ghost is so versatile that I use it for nearly all my running.
I reckon I’ve run 600+ miles in them and as the pictures show, they have held together amazingly well. Not a hint of deterioration in the uppers and the outsole still have plenty of rubber left on the impact areas. I do tend to keep running in my shoes for many more miles than is usually recommended, and these Ghosts look like they will have a long usable life.
The Ghost is defined as a neutral shoe by Brooks, with a 12mm drop and a weight of 295g; so they are not heavy and should not take much adaptation for runners who are used to conventional heel/toe height differentials. Years ago, I was categorised as an ‘over-pronator’. But, I’ve been happiest running in neutral shoes for years now.
The Brooks Ghost is a very popular running shoe and it’s easy to see why; they are comfy, durable and don’t get in the way of running.
Where to buy?
We all like to make economical purchases. Years ago, I always bought my running shoes from an independent, specialist retailer. I’d have probably between 5 and 10 pairs out on the shop floor, and be permitted to take any or all of them out for a quick jog down the road. I’d get 10% reduction on my purchase and it was a great way to buy running shoes. But, the shop was about an hour away, so it was half a day’s activity. Enjoyable and educational (the staff were experts and experienced runners), but it was rather a luxury and I didn’t have a family back then so I could afford the time a little more.
Of course, things are different now and it’s hard to ignore the bargains to be found online; I never pay even 90% retail now. As mentioned I did take advantage of Amazon’s Prime Wardrobe service, but it’s not usually possible to find all you want in the correct size. In the end, I found the correct size and wide fitting from an independent retailer that sold online and was happy.
Had I known that the makers themselves have some great deals on the Brooks website I’d have bought from there. And here’s why: “Take your gear for a 90-day trial run and if you aren’t satisfied, return them for free— seriously we mean it; no shipping or re‐stocking fee.“ That’s not a bad deal and certainly one I will be using for my next pair of Brooks shoes. I’ll also be frequently checking out some of the bargains on their sales page too.