Brooks Ghost 12 Review

There are few things that can halt a workout faster than a bad shoe. Whether it’s slipping and chafing, or if it falls apart after a few miles, a bad shoe makes a decent run an impossible feat.

Which is why so many runners find a good brand and stick with it. The Brooks Ghost line is a shoe with a reputation. Across the iterations, runners have turned to the Ghost for a cushion softness that supports over a decent mileage. Each new version comes with a promise, and an expectation.

Luckily, the Brooks Ghost 12 has maintained the core principles of the Ghost line. Increased cushioning, a secure fit, and a few new features make the Ghost 12 a marked improvement on earlier versions. This review gives you all the details about why the Ghost 12 is a shoe worth owning.

About the Brooks Ghost Line

There are few shoes with as recognizable a feel as the Brooks Ghost line. Press your feet into the cushioned sole of any shoe from the Ghost line, and the quality of support is immediately obvious. It’s what’s made the Brooks Ghost so incredibly popular.

However, there’s always room for improvement. While the Ghost 11 offered a heel support that runners loved, cushioning across the sole could be lacking. The structure of the upper heel was good, but weaker areas let the foot down. Although the Ghost 11 was a fantastic shoe, runners, by nature, are always striving for something better.

With the Ghost 12, Brooks has the difficult task of improving a line while maintaining what made it so great. The 12 promised to improve support and flexibility, without losing that soft bounce so loved in previous versions. Brooks Ghost 12 is intended as a shoe for the everyday runner, able to cover long distances without losing comfort. But is it up to the task?

Brooks Ghost 12 Review

Sole

The soft sole is one of the features that has made the Ghost line such a hit for Brooks. The incredible heel support was a stand-out in previous iterations of the Ghost line, and fans will be happy to see it’s been maintained in version 12.

But Brooks haven’t just kept the superior sole, they’ve enhanced it, for a comfortable fit that carries along the foot. The DNA LOFT is combined with BioMoGo cushioning on the heel, which provides a crash pad with plenty of pop. The enhanced support prevents slippage, so your foot feels secure in every movement.

With all this cushioning, it would be easy for the Brooks Ghost to be an overly soft ride, with a shaky feel across the gait cycle. However, the DNA Loft Wedge is firm, and combined with the structured rubber grooves, these are shoes with stability. The sole doesn’t just cushion the foot, but provides a strong push-off.

Extra support can sometimes result in reduced flexibility, but the Ghost 12 navigates this problem with ease. A relatively simple sole design uses rubber grooves designed to give full contact with each footfall. The flex grooves provide both movement and grip, transitioning from toe-to-heel with an incredibly smooth movement. Segmented across the crash pad, every step lands right, with shock absorbers aiding transitions.

Brooks knew they were onto a winner with the sole on the Ghost line. Version 12 has kept the heart of the design – flexible cushioning with ample support – and improved it. The extra cushioning gives a ride that is comfortable across the gait, while flexible rubber adds stability.

Upper

The streamlined appeal of the outer design of the Brooks Ghost 12 hides an upper that is one of the most comfortable on the market. If you like to keep running shoes in rotation, the Ghost 12 will be the pair you pick when you want something that feels fantastic across the foot. It’s so good, you’ll probably want to wear them everywhere.

With the Ghost 12, padding isn’t just for the sole. The plush inner is supportive across the ankle, and continues down the foot for total comfort. Padding cushions the Achilles, giving an unbeatable level of security.

But it isn’t just about softness. Interior padding is molded and proportioned, giving flexibility where it’s needed. 

The real stand out of the 12, however, is the 3D-printed mesh layer. This innovative design gives a sock-like fit to the upper, molding to the foot in a way that almost disappears. The breathable material is flexible but supportive, and cuts down on the weight. 

The smaller details of the upper are all there too. Using a classic Brooks trick, a side loop holds the tongue in place to prevent slipping. The flat laces are fairly standard, but there’s no issue with them coming loose. A welded design reduces the areas of stitching, leading to less chafing, and an overall improved comfort. There’s very little to complain about with the upper, expect it can get a tiny bit warm.

It’s easy to get caught up in the sole of the Ghost line, and forget about the upper. Honestly, the upper is so comfortable, you’ll probably forget about it yourself. That’s a sign of real quality.

Fit and Feel

Straight from the box, the Brooks Ghost 12 is comfortable on the foot. There’s almost no adjustment period, allowing you to lace them up and set off. 

Different width sizes help in nailing that perfect fit, but the standard will be good for most people. The padding across the upper is incredibly well-structured, giving space where needed and molding like a glove elsewhere. There’s plenty of toe room, and a splay that flexes to give the forefoot movement. The fit feels intuitive.

There is one drawback to the padding – in wet weather, it’s a sponge. A Gore-Tex version of the shoe is available, adding extra weatherproofing, but the standard shoe will absorb any puddles you find yourself in. 

Cushioned shoes can be heavy, but the Ghost 12 doesn’t weigh you down. Instead, it’s light and airy, with an agility that’s surprising for a distance shoe. They feel fast. Although sprinters are likely to find them a little weighty, there’s no problem stepping up a gear on longer runs.

The Ghost 12 isn’t designed to be a responsive shoe, but it performs better than expected. The DNA foam gives a decent amount of feedback, and combines with the harder rubber to give that pop. Softer shoes aren’t ideal for runners who need a response, but the Ghost 12 hits a pretty solid middle ground. Over long distances, you can still feel the reaction, while enjoying the benefit of the cushioning.

Who will benefit from the Brooks Ghost 12?

The Brooks Ghost 12 is a shoe for the neutral runner. The ample cushioning and flexible sole works to give movement across the foot, providing kickback with each stride. This is a great shoe for daily usage, able to handle a significant mileage.

Part of what makes the Brooks Ghost 12 so special is the versatility. The cushioning will be appreciated over longer runs, while the flexibility is supportive at higher speeds. For sprinters, it does lack firmness and response, but can handle the occasional quicker pace. If you enjoy kicking things up a notch on a run, then the Ghost 12 will move with you.

The durable rubber sole of the Ghost 12 is adaptable, and can be used on the road, treadmill, and even hard soil. The occasional journey off track will feel comfortable as well, thanks to the segmented crash pad and shock absorber. 

It’s difficult to say how long the Ghost 12 will last for, but you can expect some pretty decent mileage. Wear and tear doesn’t show up easily, and we estimate it would take 400 miles before the shoe gives up the ghost. This isn’t quite the dizzying lengths of some other brands, but it’s still impressive. Especially as these are shoes you’ll want to wear over every mile.

Price

The Brooks Ghost 12 costs about the average for a pair of running shoes, while delivering an above average performance. The cost is definitely reasonable for the quality you get, and the attractive design looks premium.

Final thoughts on the Brooks Ghost 12

With a DNA LOFT and BioMoGo DNA cushioning, a 3D printed mesh layer, and a segmented crash pad, you’d might think that the Ghost 12 was all about technological advances. But what’s really exciting about this shoe is how well it does the basics. Comfortable cushioning, fantastic flexibility, and impressive mileage combine to make the Ghost 12 easily the first choice for an everyday run.

With smooth transitions and a durable rubber outer sole, the Brooks Ghost 12 provides support across the miles. It can adapt to speed, but works best with an even pace. A lack of firmness means there isn’t the stability for sprints, but distance runners will appreciate how good the fit feels. Pillow-comfort and a surprising response make the Brooks Ghost 12 a shoe that performs.

Brooks Ghost 12 can be purchased via Amazon.com.

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