Thursday, June 29, 2017

Brooks Glycerin 15 Review: Luxo Softer Riding Daily Trainer with a Fabulous Upper. Comparisons to Latest: Ghost, Vomero, Energy Boost, and Triumph ISO

Article by Sam Winebaum

Brooks Running Glycerin 15
Weight: 10.6 oz/301 g (M9), 9.2 oz/261g (W8)
My sample 8.5 weighed 10.3 oz
Stack: 31mm heel, 21mm forefoot, 10mm drop
MSRP: $150, Available now.

The Cambridge Dictionary defines glycerine as "a sweet, thick, clear liquid used in making explosives and medicines and for making food sweet.  Brooks Running's 15th edition of the Glycerin is a sweet fitting and running shoe but not exactly an explosive one. 

I fit true to size in the Glycerin. Plenty of forefoot volume and width with the stretch mesh upper. My mid foot is well held. Few if any will need to size up.  I did not run in the Glycerin 14.

A premium plush upper of some of the softest 4 way stretch mesh we have seen is well supported by thin 3D Stretch Printed Overlays. Gone is the sewn on mid foot saddle of the Glycerin 14. Surprisingly for such light and soft materials the foot is held impeccably well and with superb comfort. This is easily a no socks shoe for me.

The ankle collar backs up a firm heel counter and while appearing "over-stuffed" is not. The padding all the way to the lacing is on firmer side and is key to locking in the foot given the otherwise very soft and thin mid foot overlays.

Midsole and Outsole
Underfoot, Brooks uses its top of the line soft Super DNA foam which Brooks says "provides 25% more adaptive cushioning than our standard DNA midsole. Not what that means, but the Super DNA while very soft does have a bit of pop and rebound to it but has less than midsole materials such as Boost, Skechers 5GEN or Saucony Power Foam and Everun for example. Here the focus is on soft comfort.
The heel is a touch softer than my taste and there is a lot of it at 31mm helping define the Glycerin as a soft super cushioned shoe at the rear. The heel bevel does keep things fairly stable given the soft midsole but a slightly firmer midsole or thicker rubber at the rear could improve the pop off landing for me.
I also think reducing the heel 2mm to an 8mm drop shoe and keeping the forefoot as is would help put some pop into the rear of the shoe.
Where the rubber hits the road the 21mm drop forefoot outsole is deeply grooved, very flexible and decently responsive due to the relatively low stack there and the bar shaped blown rubber outsole.  The front has a considerably more responsive flexible feel than the rear of the shoe and I prefer its quicker feel toe off up front to the Brooks Ghost 10 (RTR review) which has a more segmented lug style outsole so is a touch less full contact and is stiffer.
LEFT: Glycerin 15                                     RIGHT: Ghost 10
The Glycerin 15 adds up to supreme comfort on the road, from top to bottom, for miles taken on the more leisurely side. It is truly a sweet and luxurious ride. While I tend to prefer a somewhat firmer more responsive ride and especially a firmer heel with thicker rubber over softer midsoles my runs in the Glycerin have been very pleasant and leg friendly. Surprisingly, I found it ran lighter than its weight and maybe even lighter than the more responsive and lighter Ghost 10.  I think this largely due to its more agile and flexible forefoot.

The Glycerin 15 sets a high bar for running comfort and for many miles of durable use as a daily trainer. They are easily run sock less due to the soft, stretchy and well finished upper. Wider, higher volume feet should be happy with its toe box which as while not super wide the upper is stretchy due to the mesh and 3D Stretch Print overlays. Not exactly a speedster, it is a well executed sum of parts intended to coddle the runner but not completely disconnect from road feel. This is not a stiff, high "maximal" cushion type shoe but a well cushioned, forgiving more classic daily trainer. I wish its Super DNA midsole was a touch firmer or the drop at the heel was reduced a few millimeters to firm that part of the shoe up somewhat.

Score 9.7/10
-.15 for softness of midsole, especially at heel. More outsole rubber there, a firmer midsole?
-.1 for weight, the outsole rubber is extensive
-.05 for price, superb upper aside you get most of the Glycerin in the Ghost for $20 less and Ghost is not exactly in expensive at $130,

adidas Energy Boost 2017 (RTR review) 10.9 oz $160
The Energy is 0.3 oz heavier with a similar beautiful stretch mesh upper with thin overlays but... has a fairly massive and effective plastic cage at mid foot clearly adding to weight. Its Boost midsole is competing with Brooks Super DNA here, or more likely the other way around and has higher rebound and is more energetic. There is a but... the Brooks runs nicely at slow paces if softly at the heel, the adidas not so much slow with its heavy somewhat off balance heel weight. At speed the adidas with its mid and forefoot Torsion plastic under bouncy Boost is definitely a more lively, stable and a faster shoe for me but all around heavier and heavier feeling than the Glycerin. For everyday versatility in a premium trainer and if you like soft and easy the Glycerin gets a slight nod.

Brooks Ghost 10 (RTR review) 10.4 oz $130
For $20 less the Ghost provides most of the Glycerin with 2mm more heel to toe drop by making the forefoot lower to the ground than Glycerin. Interestingl,y the toe off on the Glycerin despite the 3mm of higher stack up front was more flexible and slightly more responsive and snappy if softer too but the differences are slight.  The upper is not quite the work of comfort art of the Glycerin. A touch firmer in the heel, and overall, something I prefer, the popular Ghost also given its lower cost would be my pick as a daily trainer unless I fell for that superb upper comfort of the Glycerin

Saucony Triumph ISO 3 (RTR review) 10.6 oz $150
The latest Triumph ISO is a direct competitor to the Glycerin. It's upper while comfortable and supportive does not quite have the smooth glove like fit of the Glycerin particularly at the front. Its heel is firmer than the Glycerin with snappier firmer rebound and this despite the large Everun insert embedded in a midsole that overall is firmer than Glycerin's. Transitions are not quite as smooth as Glycerin's in this stiffer shoe. Upfront while I prefer the greater flexibility and agility of the Glycerin, it is soft and not quite as stable there as Triumph. If your miles are slower and easier or you need a super comfortable recovery run shoe go with the Glycerin, if you want a more stable higher performance "big" shoe go with the Triumph.

Nike Zoom Vomero 12 (RTR review) 10.6 oz $140
The Vomero has a smoother, firmer and more consistent ride than the Glycerindue to its Zoom.  Air unit upfront has a fairly stiff flex. It's upper is for sure less relaxed but great fitting. Despite the  forefoot stiffness, I would give a slight nod to the Vomero for its versatility as it is more lively and responsive at speed, yet is well mannered and not overly soft at the heel at slower paces.

ASICS Gel-Nimbus 19 (RTR review) 11 oz. $160
The 0.4 oz heavier Nimbus 19 while a soft shoe like the Glycerin and for sure softer than Vomero and Triumph has an overall smoother ride than the Glycerin, particularly at the heel and at slower paces. The Nimbus absorbed shock and moved on  more smoothly than the Glycerin. The firmer ASICS Flyte Foam combined with the softer Gel inserts is a superior and more responsive approach to a soft cushioned shoe. As to uppers, hands down the Glycerin's is superior. Equally supportive it is not as "suffocating" as the Nimbus, dense engineered mesh. Overall I give the nod to the Nimbus.

Sam Winebaum's Bio
Sam is a 1:38 half marathoner on a good day and doesn't mind at all going into a new decade age group in 2017. He runs approximately 40 miles per week. He is the Editor and Founder of Road Trail Run and has been running for 45 years and has a very dated marathon PR of 2:28. Sam is also the Senior Contributing Editor for Wearable Fitness Technology and Music at Competitor Magazine.

The Glycerin was provided at no charge. The opinions herein are entirely the author's.
Questions, Comments Welcome Below!

The Brooks Glycerin 15 is available now from the stores below!
Purchases through the links below help support Road Trail Run . Thanks!

Brooks Glyecrin 15 at Running Warehouse
Men's here
Women's here
Glycerin 14 on Sale!
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Joel Morris said...

Hey, long-time reader here. I actually reviewed this shoe, as well. In general, do you guys ever accept guest blogging?

Anonymous said...

Love your reviews especially comparing the various similar type shoes.
I noticed the new Adidas supernova glide 9 wasn't on the comparison list.
Which would be most responsive out the Saucony triumph 3, Adidas supernova and Nike vomero 12 for both long and short runs. Also which would be most stable, versatile and comfortable. Thanks.

Sam Winebaum said...

Hi Anonymous, Thanks for writing! Did leave the Supernova out but one to compare to. Very soft especially the forefoot as there is no Torsion up front as Energy Boost has. The Energy upper is also far more accommodating as well. The Vomero and Triumph are both responsive but in different ways. The Vomero has a stiff flex quite far back due to the Zoom Air unit whereas the Triumph has more normal flex. They have fairly similar firmness. I am now testing one more in this mix the ASICS Gel-Nimbus 19. Of the bunch so far I think it has the best blend of cushion and response although it is softer than Vomero and Triumph, particularly the heel. It is the smoothest transitioning and runs lighter than it actually is. Review soon.
Sam. Editor
Thanks for reading Road Trail Run! You can also follow us on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Instagram where we publish interesting run related content more frequently as well as links to our latest reviews. Shopping through links on articles help support RoadTrail Run and is much appreciated.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the feedback. Reading between the lines it sounds like the supernova is too soft - so probably lacking the response compared to the Nike Vomero 12,Saucony Triumph iso 3 and Energy boost 4??
and that you prefer the vomero and triumph above the energy boost 4 too. Would you say the the vomero and triumph are equally responsive even though the triumph has everrun in it, it seems the triumph is more flexible especially in the forefoot. Must check out your Nimbus 19 review. Thanks

Sam Winebaum said...

Hi Anonymous, Sorry for the delay. Yes for me the Supernova is the least responsive of the group. I do prefer the Vomero over the Energy Boost 4 mainly as the EB4 is heel heavy and not great for me at slower paces. The Vomero and Triumph are equally responsive but in different ways as the Zoom Air units are the pop vs. the entire midsole for Triumph Hard to describe but one can feel a somewhat more ground and foot conforming response effect in the Vomero as one also feels in the Terra Kiger. The Nimbus 19 is quite responsive, more so for me despite softness than Glycerin and EB4 but less responsive than Vomero and Triumph. Nimbus review here
Sam, Editor

Unknown said...

Hey Sam, I'm relatively new to the site but I enjoy the reviews. Your 1:38 'good day" 1/2 is my current PR. ;) I'm a Clydedale (6'4", 210lbs lazy weight) that has come close to BQ'ing in the last couple of years. The 48 year old bones tend to wear down when I train at a 65-70 mpw peak. In the last 2 years, I've been a Brooks loyalist while training - splitting between Ghost 9 and Glycerin 13/14 for the bulk of my training. I've read your reviews on the Glycerin 15 and Ghost 10 and would appreciate your thoughts on shoe rotation. Would you recommend Glycerin and Ghost or should I consider the Launch...or another shoe for speed work? I have been racing in old Pearl Izumi flats which will be retired, so I am also curious on your recommended shoe for race day. I recognize you might not be able to comment directly, so I'm happy with a list of options for long, tempo, speed training categories. Thanks. Cheers! ~Mike

Sam Winebaum said...

Hi Unknown,
Thanks for writing. 1:38 is fantastic given age and "stats". I would stay with what has worked for you understanding that there really is not much difference between Ghost 10 and Glycerin beyond slightly softer midsole and clearly superior upper for Glycerin. I generally prefer more response and less soft if given a choice, a Glycerin I find softer than ideal. You might also look at Nimbus 19 as a daily trainer. See my recent review here For me the pick of the 2017 premium cushioned shoes. As far as uptempo to marathon distance. I might look to Zealot ISO 3, Boston 6 or Tempo 9 from adidas given given your size/weight Tempo 9 might be more stable. I have not run them but we did review the Nike Elite 9 might be good choice as well. For halves I am a big fan of the adios Boost 3 if a flat course and if hilly Altra Impulse or Torin 2.5. Shorter than half say 10K and below Nike Zoom Streak 6 but it will punish a heel landing, as I have. You'll find reviews of all at our index page here
Thanks for reading!
Sam, Editor

Unknown said...

Hi Sam, thanks for your advice. Much appreciated. I also prefer a more responsive ride so I like prefer the Ghost - especially after they widened the toe-box with the 9. I don't need a wide shoe, but I do better with a wider toe box. I found the Glycerin 13 and 14 comfortable once I was 8-10 weeks into my marathon plan as my feet started to feel beat up. I took the Nimbus for a test spin, but I felt they were soft - and the running store rep also talked me out of it. :) I also experimented with the Hoka Bondi 5. They finally made a toe box wide enough for me to run. I alternated between the Bondi and Glycerin 14 for 4 months...and liked the mix, despite the difference in drop. I'll check out the uptempo shoes you recommended. Thanks again! Cheers! ~ Mike