Friday, January 26, 2024

Brooks Ghost 16 Multi Tester Review: 5 Comparisons

Article by Peter Stuart and Sally Reiley

Brooks Ghost 16 ($140)

Introduction

Peter: The Ghost 16 is the latest in a long line of one of Brooks’ most popular and middle of the road daily trainer. It’s a real meat and potatoes running shoe. Perhaps the meat is now organic and free range and the potatoes are, well, potatoes. I haven’t run in the Ghost before, so it’s going to be up to other more experienced Ghost runners to chime in on differences between the 16 and previous models. The Ghost 16 sports a new Nitrogen infused DNA Loft 3 foam and a new “road-tack” rubber. Is it the most exciting shoe to come out this year? Nope. Is it a good, solid running shoe that will work for lots of people? Read on, reader, read on. 

Pros:

  • Comfortable no-frills upper  Peter/Sally

  • Plenty of rubber on the bottom, should last nearly forever  Peter/Sally

  • Deep rubber stabilizes softer energetic foam, leading to some nice front response Sam

  • Simple but elegant looking upper with just the right amount of padding  Peter/Sally

  • Smooth, easy, predictable ride best suited for moderate paces  Sally


Cons:

  • Toe-box feels just a bit short  Peter/Sam

  • Not a thrilling, but very pleasant ride  Peter/Sally


Stats

Official Weight: men's 9.8 oz oz  / g (US9)  /  women's 8.8 oz / g (US8)

  Samples: men’s 10.55 oz / 299g  (US11)  

                  women’s 8.3 oz / 236 g (US W8)    (Ghost 15: 8.5 oz / 242 g US W8)

Full Stack Height: men’s 35.5 mm heel / 23.5 mm forefoot ( 12mm drop) 

$140.  Available May 2024


First Impressions, Fit and Upper

Peter: The Ghost 16 fits nicely into the daily trainer category. It looks like a very traditional daily trainer that could be from this year or a decade ago, and has a simple elegance that makes it all work. And it has a traditional now quite rare 12mm drop.  It’s got some new-school feeling foam which makes it an excellent hybrid of old and new. The upper is a little stretchy and has varying degrees of ventilation. The Ghost should be comfortable in any temperature. 

The tongue and ankle collar are well padded and are very comfortable on step-in. I found the toe-box to be just slightly short. I might size up a ½ size to get the shoe to feel a little roomier, but I haven’t had any negative consequences like losing toenails or blisters—it just feels a bit confining. Wide is also available. 


I got the Glycerin and the Ghost around the same time, so it’s been interesting to get a sense of the similarities and differences in those two shoes. The Ghost weighs in almost a full ounce lighter. 

Sally: I have always enjoyed the Ghost as a reliable, quality basic daily trainer that deserves its place as one of the - if not THE - best selling performance running shoes of all. Earlier versions of the Ghost had the trademark comfortable well cushioned easy step-in feel, but fit my narrow foot a bit too loosely. The most recent Ghost 15 was refreshingly more snug in fit, and oh-so-classic looking in navy blue and white. The new Ghost 16 seems very similar, but is 0.2 oz / 6g lighter than the previous version, thanks to a new soft nitrogen-infused DNA Loft v3 midsole.

The shoe is immediately comfortable underfoot, soft and well padded in just the right amount around the heel and ankle collar and in the non-gusseted tongue. 

It has a traditional 12 mm drop, higher than many other daily trainers so a great option for those with temperamental achilles. 

The upper. engineered air mesh upper blends stretch and structure with plenty of breathability without feeling porous and cold in this winter weather. 

My typical W8 size fits nicely true to size with plenty of toe room, in contrast to both Sam and Peter finding their mens size fitting short. 


Midsole & Platform

Peter: The Nitrogen infused DNA Loft 3 is a relatively soft foam that seems to get stabilized and tamed by the big ol slab of rubber underneath. The foam feels soft without being mushy and is relatively responsive. It mitigates road vibration well and rolls nicely. It’s not max cushion, but it’s not at all lacking in the cushion department. It manages to provide a pretty good road feel while absorbing impact. Overall the midsole feels stable and smooth and provides easy miles without being too soft or too harsh. 

Sally: The midsole got an update here with a new nitrogen-infused DNA Loft V3, designed to provide just-right softness that is both lightweight and comfortable. And as Peter says, it does indeed feel soft underfoot without being mushy, and it does feel responsive on the run, helped by the thick rubber outsole. 


My sample of Ghost 16 in my usual W8 weighs only 8.3 oz /235 g, vs 8.5 oz /242 g in previous Ghost 15, so it did get lighter. 


Like its predecessor, the Ghost 16 feels a little thin under the forefoot and might benefit from a little bit more foam there. That might change the geometry of the shoe and reduce the drop from its current 12mm, but is that a bad thing? The traditional Ghost drop of 12mm is on the high end for daily trainers, and maybe helpful  for those who struggle with achilles tendinopathies.


Outsole

Peter: Plenty o’ “RoadTrack” rubber on the bottom of these puppies to grind out mile after mile. Grip is excellent on wet slimy roads. While there is a relatively thick rubber underneath, it is segmented and laid out in a way that keeps the Ghost 16 from feeling clunky. The shoe transitions very smoothly from landing through toe-off. The rubber on the Ghost 16 should last a long, long time. 


Sally: There is for sure plenty of rubber on the bottom of this shoe, now a new RoadTrack rubber that is designed to be lightweight and resilient, and is made with a conscious nod to sustainability using a mix of rubber and recycled silica. The crash pad is well segmented so as not to impede the flexibility of the shoe, encouraging an easy flow from landing to toe-off. I can assure you that this outsole provides plenty of traction on wet roads - we have had plenty of wet and slick roads here in New England this January.


Ride, Conclusions and Recommendations

Peter: The ride of the Ghost 16 is incredibly pleasant. It’s not exciting, but it is a really solid middle of the road daily trainer. The Ghost 16 flows easily through the gait cycle and will be a good choice for many different types of runners and walkers. If I were running a hotel and offered running shoes for the guests–and could only carry one model–I’d stock up on Ghost 16’s and hand them out. No one is going to go out and have the absolute best run of their lives, but everyone is going to come back happy they got to go out and run in a comfortable and good looking shoe. 


The Ghost 16 made it into my bag for my most recent trip as a good choice for 4 or 5 days of running on some different surfaces in some different conditions. I’d highly recommend a pair, especially if you are newer to running–or just want a solid overall daily trainer. 

Peter: 8.2 /10  Good daily trainer, runs a bit short (size up ½ size) and is solid–but not super exciting. Will work for lots of different folks. 

Sally: The Ghost 16 continues to provide a reliable, easy and comfortable ride that is pleasing and dependable. This is not your racehorse for fast speeds, nor is it your hefty workhorse for long demanding runs, but this is your gentle well broken-in dude ranch horse for daily rides that can make most any rider happy. 


The ride remains soft and smooth and well balanced. The new softer midsole and the segmented rubber of the outsole team up nicely for an easy flow from landing to toe-off.  


It is not the most exciting shoe out there, but it is predictably smooth, very comfortable, and classically attractive. This is a good choice for a one-shoe quiver runner looking for a do-it-all daily trainer, or someone looking for another solid neutral trainer for their easy running and walking miles. 

Sally’s Score: 9.0/ 10

Ride (50%):  8.5    Fit (30%):  9.5      Value (15%):        9.7       Style (5%):  9.0

😊😊😊😊


5 Comparisons

Index to all RTR reviews: HERE 


Brooks Ghost 16  vs. Brooks Ghost 15 (RTR Review)

Sally: (W8 in both) The Ghost 15 was a nice update after the not so popular with me 14. The 16 keeps those positive attributes of a better fitting (more snug) upper and a softer midsole, and takes it up a notch with an enhanced upper with better breathability, softer cushioning, and new rubber underfoot. The 16 is lighter and feels a bit more lively to me. I would recommend the new 16, but not totally discourage you from buying the 15 if the lower price (discount after 16 becomes available) is a motivating factor. 


Brooks Ghost 16  vs. Brooks Glycerin 21 (RTR Review)

Peter: While the Glycerin is a more max cushion shoe with a 36mm heel / 26mm forefoot stack so 2.5 mm more at the forefoot , the Ghost is plenty cushioned for day to day runs. They both now share DNA Loft v3 midsoles. The Ghost 16 is almost a full ounce lighter in my size 11 and is perfectly comfortable over long miles. There’s nothing so amazing about the Glycerin that would make me choose it over the Ghost. At $20 bucks less and almost a full ounce lighter I’d choose the Ghost!


Brooks Ghost 16  vs. On Cloudeclipse (RTR Review)

Peter: I like the Ghost a lot, but the Cloud Eclipse is just a bouncier, more enjoyable everyday ride. It rates higher on the fun scale. It’s more cushioned and rides every bit as smooth. On wins here. 

Sally: (W8 in both) The upper of the Ghost 16 fits me better, as the Cloud Eclipse is too spacious in the midfoot and forefoot for my narrow foot, but the ride of the Cloud Eclipse has it in spades over the Ghost in the smiles department. The On is much bouncier and more exciting of a ride.


Brooks Ghost 16  vs. New Balance Rebel v4 (RTR Review)

Peter: It’s almost unfair to compare these two. The Rebel is about 3 oz lighter in my size and runs bouncier and faster. Much more fun to run at tempo and plenty protective when running easy. Where the Ghost feels like a nice update of an old-school trainer, the Rebel feels, um, rebellious. Rebel. All. The. Way. 

Sally: (W8 in both) What Peter says! The Rebel 4 might be my favorite trainer of 2024 (so far) because it is super comfortable and light and bouncy and fast and…. Superlative everything. This isn't fair to compare because this makes the Ghost look bad, as it is simply a more traditional less-exciting (but we can’t say boring) shoe.


Brooks Ghost 16  vs. Adidas Supernova Rise (RTR Review)

Peter: These two ride pretty similarly. They are both well padded, middle of the road daily trainers. I’d say the Supernova feels a tiny bit more cushioned (it has 2mm more cushion stack upfront), but the Ghost rolls along a little easier. Kind of a toss-up, but I’d go with the Ghost here. 

Sally: (W8 in both) The Brooks Ghost fits my foot better but the Adidas has a more performance feel to it. Both are solid daily trainers, so I would go with the one that fits you better. 


Peter lives in Austin, Texas and has been a sub 3 hour marathoner as well as a 1:21 half marathoner in recent years.


The Brooks Ghost 16 will be available May 1, 2024


Sally is a lifelong runner and mother of five who agreed against her better judgment to run her first marathon at age 54; she has since run the past ten Boston Marathons, two NYC Marathons, one Chicago, and one London with the WMM Six Star Medal now in her sights. With a Boston PR of 3:25:55 in 2022 (9th place in AG) and two consecutive 2nd place in Age Group W60 awards in NYC, she competed in the Abbott World Marathon Majors Age Group World Championships at the 2022 London Marathon and ran an all-time PR of 3:24:02, placing 6th in the world in her women’s 60-64 age group.  She also competes in USATF races with the Greater Lowell Road Runners team. To add meaning to her Boston Marathon races she runs with Team Eye and Ear and has raised over $275,000 for Massachusetts Eye and Ear Hospital. Sally is 5’2’’ and 105 pounds and lives in Marblehead, MA, training outdoors year round. She blames her love of skiing out West for any and all Boston Marathon training challenges.


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

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