Wednesday, March 02, 2022

Brooks Launch 9 and Launch GTS 9 Multi Tester Review

Article by Mike Postaski, Renee Krusemark, Shannon Payne, and Sam Winebaum

Brooks Launch 9 and Launch GTS 9 ($110)


Sam: The Launch is a traditional 10mm drop daily run trainer that has been a long time favorite on the lighter, less cushioned, more agile end of the category. With the 8 we saw Brooks add a second Launch version with GuideRails GTS (Go-To-Support) thus replacing the Ravenna as the light stability trainer in the line up. 

With the Launch 9 and Launch GTS 9 we see the pattern continue. Both models are identical but for the inclusion or not of the GuideRails. Both are quite different than the Launch 8’s getting 2mm more stack height and a new Creel wrap upper, along with a new more sustainable Green Rubber outsole, and best of all the updates adding up to a decent weight drop.

The Brooks Launch GTS 9 is a light stability traditional 10mm drop run trainer featuring GuideRails. They are foam extensions above where the midsole normally ends to help stabilize on landing and transitions with the goal of reducing knee motion, and injuries, by guiding forward in the line of travel. GTS is thus less about controlling “classic” pronation, which they certainly do to a certain extent, yet without firmer under mid foot foams or plastic pieces . The medial side GuideRail is co molded of slightly firmer foam than the midsole while the lateral rail is the same foam as the main midsole.


At 8.68 oz  / 246 g in a men's US9 the GTS 9 is almost 0.5 oz lighter than the GTS 8 and has 2mm more stack height of BioMoGo DNA foam to come in at about 36mm heel, 26 mm forefoot. 

The upper is a new Creel Wrap mesh while underfoot we get a more sustainable (silica based vs petroleum based) new Green Rubber outsole. 

The non-GTS Launch is exactly the same as the GTS but eliminates the Guide Rails leading it to come in at 8.11 oz  / 230g in our men’s US9 sample and just 7.05 oz/200g for the women’s US8 so a very respectable weight for such a decently stacked, full rubber coverage outsole trainer. I received the GTS version and was curious to see what 2mm more foam, the new outsole, and lower weight did for the ride. Would it be a touch more forgiving than the Launch 8 while not giving up the get up and go do just about anything character of the Launch? 



Smooth riding over a wide pace range Mike P/Renee

Extra stack is helpful - this shoe could go long (especially for lighter runners) Mike P/Renee/Sally/Sam

Nice, wide and stable forefoot landing area Mike P/Sam

GTS Guide Rails are not in the way of transition or over rigid/firm, a slight improvement over 8 for this neutral heel striker at slower paces Sam

The Green Rubber outsole is more sustainable being made of silica instead of petroleum Sam

Durable, versatile, comfortable and a great value at $110 Sam/Sally


Guide Rails (GTS) - can make rear feel stiff for mid/forefoot runners Mike P

Upper slightly insecure - but only at top end of pace range Mike P/Renee/Sally

Midsole not as responsive/exciting as other options Renee/Sally/Sam

Tongue slips way off center to the lateral side when running Sally


Sample Weights 


       Non-GTS 8.11 oz  / 230g (US9)

       GTS 8.68 oz  / 246 g (US9)

       GTS 8.6 oz / 244g (US 9.5)

       Launch 8 GTS: approx. 9.1 oz / 258g  US men’s 9


       Non GTS 7.05 oz/200g (US 8)

Full Stack Height: 36mm heel /26mm forefoot, 10mm drop

Available now including at our partners below. $110

Renee (Non GTS): I reviewed the Launch 8 (non GTS previous version), and found it surprisingly versatile. The relative light weight and general comfort of the Launch 8 made it a great casual and running shoe, and all at a low price of $100. 

The Launch 9 is very much like the previous version in terms of ride, but it now gains 2mm more stack height and it loses weight (about 0.46oz less in my size 8). Those improvements, or maybe the pandemic supply chain issues, lead a $10 hike in cost. My only negative about the Launch 8 was that the midsole/ride could be considered dull as compared to other running modern shoes. Do the stack height and weight changes improve the Launch from version 8? Read on, my friends. For fit, I agree with Mike, the fit is true-to-size. 

Shannon (GTS): Normally I run in the neutral version of the Launch, but I found the Launch GTS arrived in its stead. Not to worry though as that’s the beauty of Brooks’ Guide Rail system: they can still accommodate a neutral runner and without overcorrecting, unlike the medial posts of yore. In theory, this shoe should feel like its neutral counterpart, just with the added stability of the Guide Rails wrapping the heel.

Look, I’m just going to be honest, when I slipped this shoe on I had a moment of panic. I beat my previous pair of Brooks Launch to smithereens, I loved them so much. So far, this wasn’t feeling much like it at all. Rather, it felt stiff and like there was just too much shoe going on for something in the Launch franchise, but I was willing to give it a chance! 

Worth noting, sizing was the same as the previous model and I felt my size 8 fit just as it did previously. 

My panic abated as I laced them up and hit the pavement. This is one smooth-riding, cushioned, responsive shoe, all in a lightweight package! Spoiler alert: this ended up being a great update! More to come, read on…

Sam: Sharp in a rich and a touch burnt “Flame” orange with a dark blue midsole and outsole, the look clearly reflects the quicker, more uptempo daily trainer ride the Launch is known for sitting as the firmer more aggressive cousin to the more mellow Ghost.

My sample pair was a half size up from my normal US 8.5 and fits very well but it is long so in a future pair I would go true to size. There is plenty of toe box room, well held with just two small overlays near lace up. The toe bumper below the denser front orange weave is quite firm more vertical than the weave would indicate over the toes and clearly has a plastic stiffener of some kind. 


Sam: A new one on me, the upper is what Brooks calls a Creel Warp mesh. Both these terms are from textile (and upper) production with the creel the frame that holds the bobbins of threads and the warp where the threads are put together.. if I read things correctly. Seems like a marketing term...  Anyway what we have with the Launch is an engineered type mesh upper that actually looks and feels like a knit but with less stretch and with differing densities of mesh. 

The red is slightly less dense/ more open than the more orange/yellow mesh color, even at the toe box where it is intermittent, as the yellow dots and all the more orange areas are  actually an additional thin layer of sewn in mesh, and thus thicker.

Looking inside, the outer pattern of orange and red areas is reproduced but the orange is all longitudinal making me think the outer denser orange areas are another layer of weaving.  

The bottom line is this upper is actually very elaborate in construction, very supportive and comfortable but I am not sure particularly breathable as while thin, overall the mesh is dense with no light showing through as seen in the picture above.

The tongue is thin and plasticky on the outside with a sueded inner layer. 2 bumpers extend its length for some lace protection. It worked well for me but the long bumpers may be a bit stiff near the top lacing and could be broken up for a bit more foot flex forward.

The heel counter is semi rigid, closer to rigid than pliable that is for sure and with great hold.

At a half size up, I had a bit too much volume at mid foot for my narrower right foot with my wider left fine. While there is no gusset, and for most non super fast paces none is needed, as the mesh and Brooks logo overlays do a great job holding the foot. As some of my fellow testers noted, at faster paces there is some give so a small gusset might be in order but I didn't miss one.

Shannon (GTS): The upper on this model is relatively similar to that of the previous version. I loved it in that there are no uncomfortable seams or overlays. It wrapped the foot well and securely, but didn’t inhibit any motion of the foot. I did notice on this version, I did not have to utilize the second eyelet when lacing up to secure the heel, rather, the heel stayed snugly and securely put.

Mike P (GTS) The upper material itself is quite comfortable.  I find it wraps the foot well without feeling constricting.  There is good volume all around - I didn’t feel any pressure points.  On one of my faster test runs at tempo pace (<6:00/mi), I noticed the upper didn’t feel as tight as I’d prefer for that type of running.  Especially during some turns I didn’t feel as locked in as I would like. It’s not an issue at all for most paces aside from very fast workout ranges.  Ultimately, I found the shoe worked best at paces just below workout-level, so the tradeoff for comfort at more moderate paces is welcomed.

One feature about the upper I liked was the cluster of 4 lace holes around the upper eyelet, rather than the usual 2. Those are helpful to tweak the upper lacing to get just the right fit you would like.  The tongue has 2 bars of thicker padding that run top to bottom - they protect very well from any lace bite.  The tongue is not-gusseted, which is a bit of a miss.  It did shift slightly, but not much, so it was a non-issue for me.  I can see it moving around a bit more if you tend to keep your lacing a bit looser.

Renee (Non GTS): Mike makes a good point about the cluster of lace holes around the foot opening of the upper. For any type of speed work, adjusting the fit with those additional eyelets is helpful. Like Mike, I found the upper comfortable. For faster paces, the upper is not as secure as I would like, but it is a good balance for what a daily trainer should be, especially as a $110 shoe. The tongue is thinner than the Launch 8, but it has padding and I had no issues with it moving or causing discomfort.


Sam: The midsole is Brooks usual BioGoDNA with 2mm more of it than in the Launch 8. Brooks rarely tells us what specific changes to BioMoGo DNA are and didn’t here. My sense is that the combination of 2 mm more of it and the Green Rubber outsole make for a somewhat softer more cushioned feel taking the rougher and firmer edge off the Launch 8’s feel, making the 9 a more versatile daily trainer able to handle somewhat slower and longer runs. 

There is a touch more rebound feel, a bit more shock impact reduction, and deeper cushion. This said the midsole is more of a firmer responsive traditional kind than the new fangled rebound and bounce from say Puma’s Nitro or New Balance’s Fuel Cell. We are talking about a somewhat firmer Fresh Foam or about the same firmness as Saucony’s PWRRUN here for me.

My review pair is GTS (Go-To-Support) which means it has a lateral Guide Rail extending from the heel to mid foot of the same foam as the midsole and a co-molded slightly firmer than midsole foam on the medial side. 

Medial GuideRail

As discussed GTS is more about aligning and stabilizing the knee in the direction of travel than traditional pronation control often found in the midsole foam further down towards the outsole.

Lateral GuideRail

I usually run, and prefer, neutral shoes and not stability or pronation control shoes. I tend to heel strike at slower paces. The GTS system in the Launch 8 was quite clearly felt. Not a problem per say but there. It was clearly an improvement over earlier shoes with the tech as the GuideRails were co molded or of the same foam as in the 9 and not glued in (and stiff as a result) as in early GTS shoes, an approach along with Nike’s Infinity Run rails I really didn’t like.

With the GTS 9, I barely notice they are there at all, no interference with my stride  but..I can tell they are "there" really functioning more for sure like extended vertical sidewalls for a touch of support than posts, plates, variable density foams etc… or for that matter the earlier GTS shoes’ implementation. When combined with the 10mm drop I flow smoothly forward here without “interference” but with a touch of support.

Overal,l I found the Launch 9 somewhat more cushioned and forgiving than the 8 but still in character as a responsive firmer ride. I noted excellent cushion feel at the ball of th foot with a thinner more agile less cushioned feel at the very front of toe off. Heel cushion is “solid”. No bouncy bouncy but protective and more than adequate as we have 36mm at the heel.

Mike P “Way back when” I first started running, one of my first shoes was the Launch 2.  I actually had a couple pairs - I remember really liking the cushioning, especially up front.  But on the flip side, I found that the foam compressed a bit over time and it wasn’t as cushy as the initial feel.  It’s strange that 7 versions later, they have the same kind of feel to me.  It seems like the stack has been increased, but the forefoot cushioning still feels really good to me.  The width at the forefoot is also quite broad, which I also like as it feels very stable when landing. 

The 10mm drop is definitely on the high side for me, but I have to say that it doesn’t feel that steep to me.  Perhaps it’s the stable landing at the front, plus the overall geometry of the shoe, but I don’t have the feeling that my heel is jacked up too high.  Overall I feel the stack really extends the range of the shoe into long run territory - especially for lighter runners.  At the same time the geometry and ride (see below) works for shorter, quicker runs as well.

Renee (Non GTS): Again, Mike has some good points. Like the previous version, the Launch 9 does not feel like a 10mm shoe. I tend to like lower drop shoes because I run on uneven surfaces, yet despite the drop, the Launch 9 runs well on gravel. The drop is not polarizing for me. In comparison, I found the Nike Pegasus 38’s 10mm drop to be uncomfortable on a daily basis. I can’t tell much of a difference between the Launch 8 and Launch 9 when I’m wearing them A/B. The additional stack height provides some give and comfort in the forefoot. Although not extremely noticeable, the stack height makes the Launch 9 a better option for distances. I thought the Launch 8 felt fine at 15 miles, and the Launch 9 may be fine for 20 miler runs (for the runners who don’t need much cushion). In comparison to other daily trainers that double as speed shoes, the Launch 9 lacks an exciting, ultra responsive midsole.

Shannon (GTS): Somehow Brooks managed to add 2 more mm of cushioning material but keep this shoe feeling like a lightweight trainer. While I do feel as though my previous Launch did feel like a little “less shoe,” it’s hard to recall if it felt like that in its early miles. This extra couple mm of material have not made this shoe feel bulkier or heavier ( and in fact it is lighter in weight), but we still derive the benefit of just a smidgeon of additional cushioning.


Sam: The outsole is a new compound called Green Rubber. It is silica based instead of petroleum rubber based and as such is more sustainable. 

The coverage is full for all intents and purposes, with what feels like a slightly firmer area at the medial heel forward to help with pronation support. 

The rest of the rubber is the same firmness all the way to the front, moderately firm and also not a soft blown rubber up front yet I do think compared to the prior rubber it may contribute to the slightly softer ride I feel. This is not a super flexible light trainer as say the Kinvara 13 or Puma Liberate are. There is a moderate long flex with the front of the shoe with the toe off very stable.

You get a lot of well engineered, and more sustainable, outsole for the $110 here with durability expected to be excellent. 

Mike P (GTS) The new Green rubber works well for the Launch and has a sustainability benefit..  It’s full coverage, but well segmented so it doesn’t restrict flexibility. It also feels soft, which is a good match to the feel of the midsole.  Nothing hard or slappy.  It works.

Renee (Non GTS): The full coverage rubber works well to provide stability and increase durability as compared to road shoes with exposed midsoles. While I might call the midsole “unexciting” as compared to other road shoes, the rubber outsole has better durability compared to daily trainer/speed road shoes. 

Shannon (GTS): It seems that we see more and more brands going towards more full ground-contact with their outsoles, and this is definitely a change that we see from the Launch GTS 8 in this version. While I felt that this somewhat reduced the overall flexibility of the midfoot, it definitely served to give this shoe a super-stable feel upon landing. Also worth noting is that it accommodates an aftermarket insole very well, providing ample space through the midfoot that doesn’t allow said insole to protrude beyond the midsole of  the shoe anywhere in the arch area. Also with regards to the outsole, I found the Launch to have awesome traction whether on concrete, asphalt, wet concrete or damp wood surfaces.

(Photo: Top outsole Launch 9, bottom outsole Launch 8). The pattern is slightly different than the previous version, which I’m guessing is a reason for the weight deduction. Like many of Brooks’ trainers, the outsole is a good balance of providing traction without unnecessary weight. 


Mike P (GTS) The obvious distinguishing feature for the GTS version is the Guide Rails.  Just for context - I’m a forefoot/midfoot striker.  I found the rails made the rear of the shoe feel quite stiff, and even a bit jarring.  For me the shoe is a tale of two sides - front and back.  Up front, I really enjoyed the wide, well protected, and smooth forefoot landing area.  But then on heel touch-down, the rails gave a jarring sensation which I felt was quite restrictive.  

Again I have to emphasize that I’m a forefoot/midfoot striker.  I assume the GTS technology would work much better and is probably even designed more for heel striking.  Once I became accustomed to the feeling of the Guide Rails, and was able to put that sensation aside, I did like the ride of the shoe a lot.  Stability (with the Guide Rails) is obviously great, and my feet felt great after all of my runs .  While not as bouncy or super lightweight as other shoes, the Launch still has a touch of response which makes running at all paces pretty fun. 

Renee (Non GTS): I ran with the Non-GTS version, and found the ride nimble and neutral. I ran some gravel and uneven terrain, and despite the 10mm drop, the ride was comfortable and stable. The midsole does not have the ultra responsiveness that other more expensive shoes have, but it’s capable of faster speeds if needed. The shoes are incredibly lightweight for the stack height and amount of outsole coverage. I found the ride most comfortable at moderate paces, but the shoes worked fine during a jog, 4 miles at 10K pace, jog workout. 

Shannon (GTS): The ride is ultimately what made me a fan of this shoe. As I said before, this is one quiet, smoothly riding shoe. Brooks managed to let us have our cake and eat it too with their addition of more cushioning yet keeping things lightweight. This is going to be a versatile, go-to-for-anything type of shoe just as I used my previous Launch. If you’re a fan of the previous Launch GTS, never fear as the update is one that you will enjoy equally, if not more, than its predecessor.

Sam: The Launch 9 has a solid more traditional ride that is firmer with more quick response than lively bounce or rebound feel but..compared to prior we do have a touch more forgiving and more deeply cushioned ride. It handles all paces well but leans faster paced daily training and shorter distances for me. As far as the GTS it is fine by me although not my preference as the regular is lighter yet and the full Green Rubber outsole all by itself provides some noticeable stability in the mix. That said the support is there, is not really noticed.. and my knees are getting old so the guidance and support is welcome many days. 

Conclusions and Recommendations

Mike P (GTS)  GTS seems to be one of those things where those that need it are either already aware of it, or at least curious about trying a shoe with some motion control.  I would definitely recommend visiting your local running shop if you feel that Guide Rails may work for you.  It’s not easy for a shoe company to make different variations of the same shoes, so Brooks definitely has a market for their GTS shoes.  Putting GTS aside, the Launch 9 is a great overall shoe, and an amazing value at $110.  I recommend it for long runs all the way up to paces just below workout level. 

Mike P’s score: (9.15/10)

Ride: 9.0 Fit: 9.0 Value: 10 Style: 9.0

The standout in the scoring categories is definitely Value.  It’s a shoe that can handle all of your road mileage aside from speed day.  Ride, Fit, and Style are solid across the board.  (I’m not dinging the Ride based on the GTS stiffness - as I feel like this is the feature that some would be looking for, and others could choose the non-GTS version)

Renee (Non GTS): I agree with Mike: the value of the Launch 9 is its top scoring quality. At $110, the Launch 9 can be a do-it-all trainer and casual shoe, with enough comfort for many runners to use from a 5K to 20-miler. For $10 to $20 more, a runner could pay for a more responsive shoe, but those “super trainers” don’t always have good outsole coverage. While I don’t normally like high drop shoes, the 10mm Launch 9 is not polarizing. The Launch 9 is an improvement on the Launch 8 with its additional stack height and reduced weight. That said, the shoe now costs $10 more. For its price and usage, the Launch 9 is a solid purchase. 

Renee’s score: 9.1/10 (- dull midsole)

Shannon: You can’t beat a shoe that feels this good and does this much for $110. Seriously, what shoe is even $110 anymore?! Even in the lightweight trainer category? So to that end, it’s a great value to a great update. The only reason for a 9.5 rather than a 10 is that the Glycerin 19 is still my golden child of a shoe and while this is awesome, it hasn’t quite ascended that high on the pedestal. But if you love a lightweight, do-it-all shoe, Launch 9 can be the answer for you! 

Shannon’s Score: 9.5/10

Sam: What’s not to like! A well built, durable trainer with now more cushion , a full outsole and a great upper at a light on the foot weight of well under 9 oz regardless of version and all for $110. 

No corners apparently cut but one must say Puma is able to squeeze in their supercritical Nitro foam into their Liberate Nitro at the same price and even at a drastically lighter weight. Brooks Loft v3 nitrogen infused foam in the Launch would be wow and worth $120-$130 easily,  with the somewhat dated BioMoGo DNA here what keeps the Launch 9 from really wowing me.

The Launch 9 is an excellent single shoe in the quiver for the high school or college runner as it can handle all paces and should prove durable. The same applies to faster runners piling on the miles in relatively short runs. 

Sam”s Score: 9.03 /10

Ride: 8.7  (50%) Fit: 9.3 (30%) Value: 9.5 (15%) Style: 9.3 (5%)

Trail Scoring Rubric

Road Scoring Rubric


Index to all RTR reviews: HERE

Brooks Launch 8 (RTR Review)

Renee: The Launch 9 is very comparable to the Launch 8, but at a lighter weight and 2mm more stack height. The Launch 9 is $10 more, and I imagine the Launch 8 will be on sale. For its additional stack and reduction of weight, I think the Launch 9 is the better choice. 

Brooks Revel 5 (RTR Review)

Renee: The Revel 5 is another budget/well-priced daily trainer at $100. The Revel 5 is an 8mm drop as compared to the Launch’s 10mm. With the stack height and weight loss, the Launch 9 is the better running shoe, although I enjoy the Revel 5 for casual wear and daily usage too. 

ASICS GT-2000 10 (RTR Review)

Renee: I found the GT-2000’s stability feature to be comfortable for a runner who prefers neutral shoes. I ran with the non GTS Launch 9, so I cannot compare the stability features. The ride and the midsole of the Launch 9 are my choice, likely because the Launch 9 is a lighter shoe (and $20 less). I wore a women’s size 8 in both. 

Sam: Contrasting “stability” approaches with the GT having a firmer heel and contrasting softer, bouncier, thinner forefoot. Weight cannot be ignored here as the GT is about 1.5 oz heavier. 

Puma Velocity Nitro 2 (RTR Review)

Renee: Both shoes have a 10mm drop and decent outsole coverage, with the Nitro’s midsole being much more responsive. The Launch 9 is a lighter shoe, and the non GTS Launch 9 is much more nimble than the Velocity 2. My foot sat further down in the heel of the Velocity, which felt like a stability feature. I prefer the nimble, lighter ride of the Launch 9, but prefer the Velocity’s midsole for faster paces. I wore a women’s size 8 in both.

Sam: Puma’s Nitro foam: responsive, soft, bouncier swings me towards the Velocity in this match up although if you really need some stability you might be better off in the Launch GTS or even regular. 

Saucony Kinvara 13 (RTR Review)

Shannon: Ah, two of my favorites  head-to-head. Look, if you love one, you’re probably going to love the other. Overall, the Kinvara has a faster, lighter, more flexible ride and feels like a more minimal shoe, but what the Launch gives up in those categories, it gains in cushioning material and–I would assume but this remains to be seen–life of the shoe. I wore a women’s 8 in both of these.

Sam: I certainly agree with Shannon on the durability aspects. Neither shoe would be my pick for day in day out training but for the faster lively shorter stuff I would use both. Kinvara 13 is softer and bouncier, more flexible, has a superior super lighter upper leading, along with a lower stack, to about a one ounce lighter shoe. Both (my GTS Launch and K13) have some stability features if you need that with the Launch GTS clearly more pronounced if not overdone even for neutral runners.

Hoka Rincon 3 (RTR Review)

Shannon: Two lightweight, versatile, and forgiving rides that both give you some great bang for your buck. Where the Rincon slightly outdoes the Launch however, is with its incredibly smooth ride, characteristic to Hoka. Beyond that, you’d derive similar benefits from either of these great options. Sizing was similar, and my women’s 8 fit the same on both models.

NB FuelCell Rebel v2 (RTR Review)

Mike P (9.5): The NB FuelCell foam is a more modern, bouncy, and responsive foam.  It’s also lower to the ground, so even though it’s a bit bouncy, it feels better at faster paces.  The upper is also more strapped down than the Brooks, which is necessary with the bouncier midsole.  NB forefoot protection is not as good - it’s not a pick for me for longer runs.  The Brooks would do much better in that department (especially for forefoot runners).  So NB leans faster, Brooks more moderate with some overlap in the middle.  Both are great values for the price.

Renee: The Rebel v2 was my favorite road shoe of 2021. The midsole is magic. The Launch 8 is a more traditional, firmer ride, for daily miles. For speed and tempo work, the Rebel v2 is better. The Launch 8 has better protection underfoot, but I’ve used the Rebel v2 from short speed work to 20 milers on gravel. Sizing is comparable. 

Saucony Endorphin Speed (RTR Review)

Mike P (10.0): The Endo Speed also features a more modern, bouncy, and responsive foam, in addition to the Speedroll technology.  The Brooks has a more “regular” running shoe feel, while the Saucony seems to both bounce and propel you forward.  The Endo Speed is a great shoe across the entire pace range from very fast to long runs.  You feel much higher and unstable with the Endo than the Brooks - something to get used to.  I reserve my Endos for speed work, and I’d prefer the Brooks for daily miles.  Both are highly durable.  I really like both shoes. 

Topo Magnifly 4 (RTR Review)

Mike P (9.5): Magnifly 4 is one of my favorite shoes, and I continue to use it for daily mileage.  The obvious big difference is 0 drop vs. 10mm in the Brooks.  Topo is also more spacious up front, although I had no issues with the Brooks.  The Brooks definitely feels quicker and I’d prefer it for more uptempo type runs.  But it is still useful training-wise to mix in the zero drop Magnifly to keep my lower legs and feet strong.

Topo ST-4

Mike P (9.5): Similar comp as with the Topo Magnifly (see above).  ST-4 has less cushion so I use it for shorter runs as well as casual use.  The ST-4 is really fun for a short and quick run, if your feet and lower legs are strong enough.  The Brooks would be more comfortable and able to eat up more daily mileage for most runners.

Under Armour Flow Velociti Wind 2

Mike P (10.0):  Seemingly similar shoes, but also different.  The UA has a much more locked down upper, and firmer ride which I found more suited to faster running.  The Brooks definitely has more range at moderate paces, even long runs.  I would not take the UA out on a long run.  I tested the UA in a US 9.5 but we generally recommended sizing up; 10 would have worked better for me. Price difference is huge as the Launch is $50 less. Pick the Launch, and use the $50 you save towards a dedicated speed day shoe.

Sam: Agree with Mike here on almost all points here. I did not find the UA midsole foam any better for faster running but, even with its considerably lower stack, it was more impact shock absorption even if somewhat duller than the BioMoGo in feel.

Atreyu Base Model (RTR Review)

Mike P (10.0): I had V1.  You get a bit more cushion underfoot with the Launch, which is noticeable after the Atreyu packs in a little.  The Launch upper is better constructed, while the Atreyu upper doesn’t do much for you.  Atreyu is much lighter, and works better for workout-level paces.  Launch has a more durable (actual rubber) outsole as well as a more durable midsole foam.  I’d pick the Launch, but the Atreyu is not a bad shoe if it works for you.

Watch the Launch GTS 9 Initial Video Review (10:15)

Tested samples were provided at no charge for review purposes. RoadTrail Run has affiliate partnerships and may earn commission on products purchased through affiliate links in this article. These partnerships do not influence our editorial content. The opinions herein are entirely the authors'

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Brian said...

Thanks for this review, I have been looking for a light stability trainer in the Ravenna mold so I'm considering this. While not a stability shoe, how does this compare with the Asics Novablast? That stack heights seem similar. Thanks.

Sam Winebaum said...

Hi Brian,
While improved in stability the Novablast 2 is not as stable as the Launch. It has a higher 38/30 stack and narrower platform. It for sure has a more energetic midsole foam and ride, If you stay aligned in the direction of travel Novablast is great while the Launch is more stable,firmer, not as exciting but more “reliable”
Sam, Editor

Brian said...

Great feedback, thanks.