For years, I’ve surveyed the sneakers of each and every person that walks into the same Orangetheory class as me. In doing so, I’ve witnessed people wearing just about every brand under the sun, many of which I’ve tested firsthand. One brand I had seen repeatedly but had never tried was Brooks, a popular—if not the most renowned—running shoe brand.
Long story short, when searching for the best cross-training shoes for OTF in 2021, I tested the fan-favorite Brooks Adrenaline GTS 21 ($110) and I personally wasn’t a huge fan, both due to the stiff heel and blah color offering. It’s with these memories in mind that I couldn’t help but double-take when I caught sight of the new Brooks Ghost 15 Women’s Road Running Shoes ($140), which launched last month (November).
What makes them special is that they’re designed with an innovative midsole that’s specifically designed to feel plush underfoot. Needless to say, I snagged a pair of the running shoes and put them to the test.
Sizes available: 5-12
- Padded tongue and heel collar for added comfort
- Breathable, supportive mesh upper
- Removable insoles
- Cushiony, shock-absorbing midsole
- Ultra-lightweight design
- Sold in six colors
- The reinforced toe is noticeable even in the correct size
- Heel-to-Toe Drop: 11mm
- Upper: Structured breathable mesh
- Insole: Removable
- Midsole: DNA LOFT v2 Cushioning
- Outsole: Segmented rubber to ensure flexibility and a smooth ride
- Weight: 9.1 oz.
- Size/Fit: True to Size
- Colors: 6
The Ghost 15 is a neutral women’s running shoe, meaning it’s designed to let your foot move freely, as opposed to be manipulated to improve pronation and gait. Like most running shoes, it features a high drop zone, measuring 11 millimeters. For those who don’t know, a drop zone (or heel-to-toe drop) is the height difference between the heel and forefoot of a shoe. Running shoes typically have a drop zone of eight or more millimeters (most often in the 10 to 13 millimeter range, according to NYC-based podiatrist Nelya Lobkova, DPM). This is important because many runners strike the ground with their heels first and a higher drop offers more cushioning in the heel, which helps absorb shock and make for smoother transitions.
When testing out the Brooks Ghost 15, I found that the drop of the shoe felt comfortable and natural, so much so that it mitigated my existing heel pain. For the past couple months, my heels have ached to the point where I even took three weeks off from running to see if that was the issue or if I have persistently budding plantar fasciitis. While the verdict is still out, I’ve found that running and even just walking around in these high-drop road-running shoes has given my heels relief. What’s more, they’re one of the few pairs of sneakers I’ve worn that have helped cushion impact so effectively that my shin splints aren’t triggered. That in itself feels like a miracle.
The insoles in the Ghost 15 Running Shoes are thin but molded and help provide slightly more support to the already stable silhouette. Best of all, they’re removable, so if you find that they begin to stink, you can air them out or even wash them before putting them back in place.
The midsole is the key when it comes to the Ghost 15 Running Shoes. It’s made of DNA LOFT v2 cushioning, which balances rubber, air, and foam for a plush-yet-lightweight feel. With every step, it feels like walking on clouds. They’re that comfortable. It also doesn’t hurt that the shoes are made with a padded heel collar and tongue, which only adds to the overall cloud-like comfort of the shoe.
The Ghost 15 Running Shoes feature segmented rubber outsoles that are designed to flex with your stride. I think it’s because of this that the shoes don’t feel rigid while walking or running. They bend comfortably with your foot while still feeling fully stable.
Brooks Running Ghost 15 sizing
These shoes run true to size. That said, my one complaint about the shoes is that the toe is reinforced, which of course has a purpose—to shield against stubbing your toes if you stop short. However, because the toe is harder than the rest of the mesh upper (which supports the foot and keeps it comfortably but firmly in place—even when lunging), I was highly aware of it at first (it’s grown on me a bit now). Still, it was noticeable enough that I originally wondered if the shoes were too small, but when I stood neutrally and pressed on the toe, I found that there was the recommended finger-width wiggle room to spare. (Just something to keep in mind if you think that might irritate you.)
Who they’re best for
The Ghost 15 Women’s Road Running Shoes are best for neutral runners without high deviation, like inward rolling. They’re also great for anyone looking for a plus feel without the wobbly side effects so many highly-padded sneakers have. While these running shoes are technically neutral in support, they feel very stable while walking, running, and working through HIIT and circuit training classes. Suffice to say, I officially understand why Brooks’ Ghost silhouette is one that persistently earns endless accolades for being the ultimate everyday running shoe—it really is that good.
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