Wednesday, February 01, 2017

Reviews and Comparisons: Nike Zoom Vomero 12, Brooks Ghost 9, and adidas Supernova Glide 9



The Nike Vomero 12, Brooks Ghost 9, and adidas Supernova are well cushioned neutral daily trainers and share near identical weights around 10.7 oz/303 g and heel to toe drops of 10-12 mm. Obviously they are competitors! We'll attempt to sort out the subtle differences between them.

Basic Stats-courtesy Running Warehouse where you will find all the models in this article here.


Left to Right: Ghost 9,Supernova Glide 9, Zoom Vomero 12
 First why would you select one over the others, the biggest differences
  • Brooks Ghost if you want the roomiest upper including toe box with great ground feel and the longest easiest flex for different stride styles
  • adidas Supernova if you want the softest, widest on the ground ride, especially upfront, some Boost bounce and a snug narrow upper, especially at mid foot.
  • Nike Vomero 12 if you want a blend of the other two and the smoothest road feel with a mid foot toe spring, and the stiffest flex forward of that with, an overall snugger foot hold than the Ghost, but a very comfortable one.

Left to Right: Zoom Vomero 12, Supernova Glide 9, Ghost 9
Left to Right: Ghost 9, Supernova Glide 9, Zoom Vomero 12

Brooks Running Ghost 9
Men's 9 10.6 oz/301 grams
Stack: 30/18, 12 mm drop
Price: $120. Available now.
The Ghost is a popular shoe these days and for good reason. In fact as Brooks presented us a yet lighter Ghost 10 for Fall 2017 at Outdoor Retailer (preview with pictures here) they told us it was currently the top selling shoe at speciality running stores,

Brooks Running Ghost 9
I was skeptical as I found the Ghost 8 (review here) a bit of a stiff, lumbering and not much fun. Not the same story with the Ghost 9! While not a light shoe it is lively on the road and transitions smartly due to its segmented crash pad designed and we think effectively so to "accommodate any landing and deliver smooth transitions"  also having the extensive re sculpting of the medial side wall from a vertical "stability/pronation" profile to a more curved, easier transitioning profile. While it is clearly heavier, noticeably so by 1.4 oz, it would be a toss up for me with the Launch 4 as to which has the better ride, especially at slower paces.
Brooks Running Ghost 9

The Ghost 9 (left below) has considerably smaller lugs with deeper and more segmentation especially in the forefoot and heel. The result is a far more agile, flexible and smoother transition to toe off than in the Ghost 8 (right below). While of course super cushioned, as the others are, there is more road feel, more of a sense of the foot in motion over the ground here than with Vomero and Supernova.
Brooks Running Ghost 9
The upper is now a soft yet supportive engineered mesh. It seems like many, many late 2016 and 2017 shoes are going with the soft engineered mesh "held up" and structured up front with a rubber toe bumper. While the bumper is fairly firm the overhead room is spacious. 
Brooks Running Ghost 9
The Ghost 9 toe bumper and mesh front is particularly effective with plenty of width and toe height room, no hot spots or pressure points. So effective and very unusual for me as I often can size up a half, that my true to size 8.5 is almost to roomy up front on my medium to narrow feet and more spacious than the other two in this article. Wider,high volume feet will find a comfortable home in the Ghost 9!
Brooks Running Ghost 9

Brooks Running Ghost 9
The rest of the upper is supportive without being as tightly snug as the Supernova but not quite as elegantly smooth holding all over as the Vomero with its Flywire providing the support over soft mesh at mid foot.

Brooks Running Ghost 9
The midsole is Brooks BioMoGo DNA, nothing unusual but when combined with the Caterpillar Crash Pad design and the many pods has me thinking yes, it's like many caterpillar legs feeling their way along the ground. It feels like at every part of a stride I have distinct sensory impressions and feel even with all the plush cushioning.

Brooks Running Ghost 9
The outsole has 2 densities of rubber HPR Plus for the high wear areas and Blown Rubber up front with an added row and is substantial. Likely the Ghost will have the longest wearing outsole of the three but miles will tell.

Ride
No one will mistake the Ghost for an up tempo shoe but of the three it is the most fun to run. Decently agile and with a longer, softer and smoother flex than the Vomero, not as soft overall as the Supernova, and especially so in the forefoot where the Supernova's Boost Stretch Web outsole dampens feel and response and Vomero is hampered by a single flex point with a stiffer front flex Ghost has the best road feel and smoothest overall transition of the three for me at varied paces.

Nike Zoom Vomero 12
Men's 9 10.6 oz/301 g
Stack: 31/19, 12 mm drop
Price: $140 Available now
Nike Zoom Vomero 12
My last Vomero was many editions ago, maybe number 3 and it got me through the St George Marathon with its 13 miles of steep downhill and to a Boston qualifier. The Vomero 12 is Nike's entry in the cushioned daily trainer sweepstakes and is a fine shoe.
Nike Zoom Vomero 12
With exception of somewhat of a sharp taper right at the toe and the high front bumper it has the best upper of the group for my medium to narrow foot. It fits me true to size, The Flywire supports without constraining, if with a bit of snugness under the arch and while the engineered mesh is not quite as soft up front as the Ghost it does a fine job overall. I would say it is the most breathable of the three.
Nike Zoom Vomero 12
The midsole has two Nike Air Zoom units one at the heel and one in the forefoot embedded in Lunar core foam and then surrounded with firmer Cushlon carrier foam. The heel landing is very stable and cushioned, less mushy than Supernova but a touch softer than Ghost. The forefoot is very cushioned and responsive and is the best "feeling" of the three but... the flex, likely due to the forward air unit, is far back at the second lace loop and when combined that forward of that the shoe is stiff thus impeding toe off transition somewhat for me especially as the pace picks up. It just doesn't quite have the agility or ground feel of the Ghost, despite its silky smoothness overwise but is certainly is more agile while stiffer than the very soft Supernova.

The outsole is mainly Nike's white and soft Dura-DS rubber with a small area of BRS 1000 Carbon Rubber at the heel.  The Vomero's main flex point is at the 3d groove so far back of normal especially if the front of the shoe is stiff as it is here. Overall this approach reminds me of many trail shoe flex patterns where the rock plate, in this case the Zoom Air provides protection.
Nike Zoom Vomero 12
To try to help increase forefoot flexibility a series of X's are carved through the outsole, an after design adjustment?  I say more flex at the front and a longer flex please to make Vomero oustanding.
Nike Zoom Vomero 12

Ride
While the cushion, stability, and response is just as I like it the Vomero ride is somewhat deadened and overly vanilla smooth and up front as the flex point is far back, and as stated above, relatively stiff forward of that. The Vomero lacks transition to toe off pizazz at speed for me. What I feel in lack of pizzaz may not all be about flexibility...It is interesting as I like the ride of the incredibly stiff, very firm but well cushioned All Out Flyknit (review here) with its higher pressure Zoom Air unit better. Could it be the combination of lower pressure in the Vomero front Zoom Air unit, soft front outsole, and lack of any firmer outsole stabilizing elements at mid foot all elements the All Out has that give the All Out its comparatively snappy yet unusual ride?


adidas Supernova Glide 9 also known as Supernova
Stack: 26/16, 10mm drop
Price: $120. Available now
We previously reviewed the Supernova here also comparing it to the Ultra Boost and Energy Boost.
adidas Supernova Glide 9
The Supernova is the most and softest cushioned of the three with a very wide heel footprint on the road. It also has the snuggest upper. Those would wider feet could easily size up a half size.
adidas Supernova Glide 9
It shares the more minimal Torsion System of embedded plastic with the Ultra Boost along with a Stretch Web outsole.  These last 2 combine for a soft and somewhat more ponderous ride than the others in this article or the Energy Boost from adidas (see our recent adidas trainer comparison article here). As there is very little and soft, but none the less durable Continental rubber up front, the outsole compresses into the bouncy Boost midsole for a soft ground conforming and in my view somewhat mushy toe off and this despite the firm lime green EVA layer just under foot.
adidas Supernova Glide 9
The heel landing is very wide, as wide as a Hoka Infinite for example and the Infinite has a very wide heel. This translates to a very stable and a bit ponderous heel landing and when combined with the tight foot opening,snug achilles collar, and thick mid foot saddle bands to a very locked down rear of the foot, 
adidas Supernova Glide 9
The toe box mesh in contrast is soft and well ventilated and a touch less pointy at the very front than the Vomero, likely due to the smaller narrower rubber front bumper and slightly softer mesh. The front of the shoe fit is excellent if narrow. It's what's under foot the Stretch Web outsole over Boost, and this despite a layer of Adiprene EVA directly under foot, which makes the shoe somewhat ponderous and even seemingly heavier than its almost identical  at least listed weight to the other two, at 10.6 oz size 9. My size 8.5 weighs 10.6 oz so listed weights may be "optimistic" although during manufacturing some variations can occur.
adidas Supernova Glide 9
Ride
The Supernova is for those who want great cushion, a sink your toes into firm sand feeling up front and a very supportive narrower upper. It is a shoe for slow easy miles in great comfort with a welcome Boost bounce. I wish the Supernova had the excellent lugged style outsole and full mid foot Torsion System of the adios Boost and Boston and Energy Boost. All three of these are among my favorite shoes of the last 5 years with a snappy toe spring and full use of Boost's best properties of energy return. The Supernova sits closer to the even softer and lighter Ultra Boost which has no EVA layer at all. 

Conclusions
This was a tough article to write as the three shoes are so close in stats, purpose, and even ride.  All of these shoes here could lighten up in weight. Generally I train in somewhat lighter shoes in the 9-10 oz range such as the Launch 4, Ride, and Boston 6. The uppers with the exception of the Vomero are in my view overbuilt.
If you are looking for a very well cushioned slower miles daily trainer you won't go wrong with any of them but fit is key, especially if you have a higher volume wider foot.
The Supernova and Vomero both have relatively narrow snug fits; the Ghost 9 is roomier all around. In terms of smooth cushioned ride at slower speeds, upper support and comfort including breathability the Vomero is my pick. In terms of performance, ride, and road feel I would lean towards the Ghost 9 and at $20 less than the Vomero and $10 less than the Supernova it is a good value with plenty of durable road rubber.

Sam's Scores
Ghost 9: 9.8 out of 10
-0.2 for weight
Vomero 12: 9.7 out of 10
-0.2 for weight
-0.1 for stiff front of forefoot flex
Supernova Glide 9: 9.6 out of 10 ( a slight downgrade from my original review here)
-0.2 for weight
-0.15 for soft not very dynamic forefoot and overly wide heel landing
-0.05 for tight mid foot saddle area

Sam Winebaum's Bio
Sam is the Editor and Founder of Road Trail Run. He has been running for 45 years with a marathon PR of 2:28. All that time he has been a run shoe geek  starting with wear testing some of the earliest Nikes when he was in high school. These days he runs 30-40 miles per week in New Hampshire and on trails in Park City, UT.  He has an annual goal of breaking 1:40 for a half and occasionally qualifying for Boston as he goes into a new age group. Sam is also the contributing writer for wearable fitness tech and music for Competitor Magazine.

The shoes reviewed in this article were provided at no charge by Brooks and Running Warehouse. The opinions herein are entirely the author's. 


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adidas Supernova (Glide 9) men's here women's here



11 comments:

Anonymous said...

Great review Sam! I'm wondering what you thought the biggest differences between the launch 4 and the ghost 9 were (esp for longer-ish runs). if the rides are similar is there any advantage to the ghost 9 over the launch 4 (esp. as the launch 4 is lighter and probably more agile I assume)? Love the reviews and the site!

sam winebaum said...

Hi Anonymous, Thanks for reading Road Trail Run. First what do you run in currently for those longer runs and like? Launch 4 is lighter, more agile, slightly more flexible and somewhat less cushioned than Ghost 9. It has an X shaped mid foot transition zone which while it gives the shoe more snap than Ghost is firmer and more noticeable underfoot. Ghost just feels more fluid more adaptable over the ground at different speeds. I still personally prefer the lighter Launch. Our Launch 4 review here
http://www.roadtrailrun.com/2016/11/brooks-running-launch-4-123-and-now.html
You can also follow Road Trail Run on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.

Anonymous said...

Hi sam! I'm interested to buy nike vomero 12 as my new training shoes and probably gonna be my marathon shoes. After several reviews(including awesome review from you!), I wonder about the flexibility of the shoes. It seem every review mentioned about the shoes flex at wrong place. So is that means the shoes will cramps my leg during longer distance training?

Carl said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Carl said...

Hi! Im wondering how the saucony ride 9 would compare to the Supernova? And also if its a big difference between the ride 9 and the upcoming 10 when it comes to cushioning and fit (know the 10 is not out yet but im curious)?

I will need to replace my Glide 7 soon and both the Supernova and Ride is on my radar. But I dont really like when the cushioning is too soft, like the ultra boost or Asics cumulus for example. Therefore Im leaning more to the Ride. I also have quite narrow feet and the Ride 7 as well as the previous Glide boosts have fit me well.

sam winebaum said...

HI Carl, Thanks for asking. Big differences between Ride 9 and 10 and Supernova. Supernova is soft, wide on the ground and not nearly as agile a shoe and of course weighs quite a bit more. I have been running in Ride 10 and it is a very good update. A softer forefoot engineered mesh, a new and very effective midsole material (a firm responsive pop but good shock absorption too, a bit softer in the forefoot and smoother transitioning than the Ride 9. Not particularly narrow due to the new mesh upfront although at a half size up I am just about perfect so with your narrow feet true to size should work fine. Thanks for reading! Road Trail Run is on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter where we post shorter items more frequently. Sam, Editor

sam winebaum said...

HI Anonymous, Thanks for asking. The Vomero 12 flexes where it should but... forward of that due to I think the Zoom Air unit in the forefoot it is quite stiff so not much flex at the front for toe off. Less of an issue for me so far at slower speeds but as I pick up the pace I notice the stiffness more and wish for more flex. As far as cramps if any they might be in the feet due to this but none so far for me but my longest run in them has been about 8 miles. What is your marathon target time and what shoes work for you now? Thanks for reading! Road Trail Run is on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter where we post shorter items more frequently. Sam, Editor

Carl said...

Hi Sam! Thanks for your answer. I tried the Ride 9 on in my local store the other day. Seems like Im a bit between two sizes. Either too short or a bit too sloppy. The Ride 7 fit was better. Will maybe try the Supernova instead or give my hope to the upcoming Energy Boost. Adidas seems to be the brand with the best fit for me of the shoes that Ive tried. With the NB zante as an exception, but i want a bit more cushioning than that for my daily miles. Thanks again for your answer and for a great website.

sam winebaum said...

HI Carl, Did you also try the Energy Boost? Livelier shoe closer to Ride in performance.

Carl said...

Hi Sam,I had the first version of the Energy Boost which is one of my all time favourites. However I didnt like the 3rd version that much. Feels a bit heavier than the first version and the upper with the plastic cage is not as good. Hard to find the right tightness around the foot. Havent seen any pictures of the 4th version yet but hopefully that will be a bit more like the first version.

Anonymous said...

Hi,
I compared the Vomero 12 and the saucony iso 3. It seems you rated the vomero 12 slightly higher. I found the saucony a little more responsive. I am a heel runner, when running up hill I found the saucony more responsive where as the vomero tended to sap the energy because the heal is so soft. The other thing I found is the cushioning on the saucony seem to be a liitle better in shock absorbing. I have a slight bulging disc and seem to be slightly less jarring. I did like the vomero for its softness and comfort but I think the saucony is slightly better especially for response, saving energy up hills and comfort for back and knee issues. I did try the adidias Ultra st, so comfortable but I felt the medial thing stick into the heal of the foot, and my right foot seem too loose on the heal. Your thoughts on the vomero 12 vs saucony triumph iso 3?
Cheers
Steve