In six years of running I’ve gone through eighteen pairs of Brooks Burn running shoes, using them both for training and for racing all distances up to and including 29 marathons. The Burn was marketed as a lightweight, neutral trainer for the biomechanically efficient runner who needs cushioning but little more. Then Brooks stopped making them. The brand new Ghost appears to be marketed to the same neutral, biomechanically efficient runners, but that information comes only from the web sites that are selling the shoe.
I can’t find the Ghost on Brooks’ own web site - why on earth wouldn’t Brooks want to give a new product a good kickoff with solid information about it on their own site? That’s very lame.
I bought my new Brooks Ghost shoes from RnJ Sports, where I’ve bought most of my pairs of Burn, Burn 2, and Burn 3 shoes. They are just getting stocked up on the Ghost - I had to phone them to order. Their price is good, and shipment is immediate and free. Their return policy is draconian, however: "All returned merchandise must be 100% new and unused," plus there are restocking fees. They really seem to want you to buy your first pair from someone else with a better return policy. I did check the fit on these carefully before running anywhere in them.
Brooks Ghost Shoe Review
I’ve run in the new Ghost twice now, 6.6 miles on pavement and about 14 miles on a mix of pavement, gravel, sand, and grass. The shoes performed well in both runs. Specifics:
- Weight: I had read on a running magazine site that the Ghost would be heavier than the Burn, but in my size, 11 ½, they weight exactly the same, 25 ounces for the pair.
- Size: I had also read that it might be necessary to order a half-size larger than the Burn size, but these seem to have the right amount of toe space.
- Fit: This is why I stick with Brooks - the Burns fit so well, with almost no blister problems, and there is nothing more important than fit. The fit of the Ghost seems as good as the fit of the Burn, so far.
- Toe Box: Recent incarnations of the Burn have had a narrowed toe box. The new Ghost appears to have a wider toe box, but I think that’s an optical effect created by the upper shoe trim, and the toe box is actually about the same as the Burn 3.
- Sole: The bottom of the Ghost is flatter than the bottom of the Burn, which curves more from the ball of the foot to the heel, and the Ghost lacks the "lateral arch pod." Because of this, the Ghost tends to "slap" a little more on the pavement when I run. I don’t like that but I can deal with it; maybe it will get better as the shoe wears.
- Toe: The toe curves up more than the Burn. No problem so far.
- Width: Both are D width and they feel about the same.
- Tread: Appears to be a little more aggressive than the Burn 3. Nevertheless, when I ran the Ghost on gravel roads and sandy trails the tread did not pick up many rocks. The Burn shoes would occasionally pick up a small pebble and drop it into the other shoe, which has not happened with the Ghost.
- Color: Blue and white, who cares?
- Cushioning: I don’t sense much difference between the Burn 3 and the Ghost. I’ve read that the Ghost is supposed to be more responsive (does that mean bouncy?), but it might take a more sophisticated runner to detect that. I still had to do the work. Maybe I’ll try Burn on one foot and Ghost on the other.
- Manufacture: Both are made in China.
Today’s run: About 14 miles on a mix of trails and roads, mostly in a lovely park not too far from home. Part of the run was with friend Cal - it’s nice to run and chat. I walked up some hills because the right hip flexors were sending signals. Part of the run was on wooded, grass trails - I liked that the best on such a warm and humid morning. I carried water and munched on Clif Shot Bloks.
Monday, July 28:
The idea today was to run six fairly flat miles in the new Brooks Ghost shoes, to try them out. No problems to speak of. 6.6 miles in 1:04:07, pace 9:43. Compared with my old Brooks Burns, the new shoes slap a little more on blacktop surfaces when I run, but that’s about the only significant difference. They’re the same weight and seem to have about the same cushioning. I’m not sophisticated enough to rate them on "ride" but I don’t notice a difference. Soon I’ll try them on a longer run.