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Brooks Ghost 15 Review: The People's Shoe
By Senior Contributor Nathan Brown

If there were a picture associated with "running shoe" in the dictionary, there are a few shoes that I think could vie for the selected photo. The Brooks Ghost is one of them. In the last 15-20 years of footwear design, the Ghost seems to epitomize the standard specs for a running shoe. Moderate cushioning, traditional last shaping, flexible forefoot, and a mostly flat geometry. The Ghost 15 maintains its character without any revolutionary changes and it continues to be a reliable, consistent shoe. There are updates to the midsole and upper, but we will talk about how noticeable these changes were and what category this shoe shines in the most. 

Price: $139.95 at Running Warehouse
Weight: 9.8oz, 278g (men's size 9), 8.8oz, 249g  (women's size 8)
Stack Height: 35mm (heel), 23mm (forefoot) -- unofficial measures
Drop: 12mm
Classification: Daily Trainer/Walking Shoe



RUNNING SHOE SUMMARY

The Brooks Ghost 15 is a traditionally shaped running shoe that continues as a good selection for new runners, walkers, and people who are on their feet during the day. It is a high drop, moderately cushioned trainer that uses traditional shaping and a single density midsole to provide a relatively stable neutral platform for runners wanting a no-frills trainer.

SIMILAR SHOES: Puma Velocity Nitro 2, Mizuno Wave Rider 26, ASICS Cumulus 24

FIT


The Brooks Ghost 15 fits true to size with some refinements to the upper compared to the previous version. The toe box feels like there is a bit more volume giving a relaxed trainer feel, and the heel counter has additional padding making it a very stuffed, rigid heel counter. For my taste, the heel collar has too much padding, though it does secure the heel well. The moderately cushioned tongue is not gusseted, but is held in place well through the lacing system. I have been testing this shoe in the early winter in Wisconsin (20 deg F most mornings) and the multiple-layer, engineered mesh has done enough to keep my feet warm in conjunction with my thicker socks. There are some overlays to secure the midfoot and they do a fine job without causing irritation to the foot. The upper, despite the layers, feels lightweight and altogether comfortable with a moderately accommodating fit due to the perforations throughout the upper.




PERFORMANCE

The performance of the Brooks Ghost is very consistent with what we've seen in previous editions. The cushioning has been changed to their DNA LOFT v2 midsole foam. Overall, this has provided a similar experience to the previous model, a moderately soft foam that feels "airy" while running. It is not bouncy, propulsive, mushy, or notably plush. It sits in the midpoint of it all, making the ride overall unremarkable. I don't say unremarkable in a negative way necessarily, because a shoe like this can work well for people transitioning to running from more traditional footwear as well as making it a nice platform for walking and standing. The largest difference from the previous version seems to be in initial durability. In the Ghost 14, I had issues with the foam compressing over the first 1-2 runs and giving increased pressure to my foot. This hasn't been the case in the new Ghost 15. The 12mm drop and lateral/medial flaring in the heel are noticeable and sometimes make the heel contact to midstance transitions a little clunky. However, this has improved a bit over the first number of miles. This shoe is also built with a large amount of outsole rubber, which contributes to the overall moderately firm ride. The outsole has provided overall nice traction even in some snow and trail. I took them on a single-track trail run and the only time I ran into issues was in the muddy areas. On dirt, gravel, and wet concrete, the traction was fine.

Functionally, I think the Ghost continues to be a wonderful shoe for new runners, walkers, and people on their feet for work. It may not be versatile for picking up the pace or different types of runs, but it is versatile in the types of activities this shoe can be used for. This is probably why this shoe is one of the most sold shoes (if not the most) for Brooks. It can suit runners, walkers, and workers alike. However, if you're looking for a running shoe that is pushing the boundaries of innovation with new foams, geometries, etc., you won't find it here.

STABILITY

The Ghost seems to have transitioned from a truly neutral shoe in version 14 to a more stable neutral shoe in version 15. The upper in this version gives more midfoot security that the previous, holding the foot well on the platform on uneven surfaces and on turns. The wide heel contact and full contact outsole with thick rubber also stabilize the platform, creating a shoe with balanced support. However, for those who like side walls as a factor within their stable neutral shoes will not find them here. 




Thoughts as a DPT: Shoes for New Runners
By Nathan Brown

In a landscape where running shoe innovation is in full effect, it can be more difficult for new runners to find something that is the safest or most appropriate option for them. We know that extreme geometries, longitudinal bending stiffness changes (through carbon plates or otherwise), and softer/high stack foams have an effect on our biomechanics and therefore the demand on our bodies. 

Therefore it is nice to have shoes that function well for newer runners. We have a full write-up on our recommendations for new runners that you can read here, but I wanted to touch on a few of the boxes that the Ghost 15 checks in terms of being a solid option for new runners. Before I say too much, know that there is not a "perfect" first shoe for a new runner and the research is not clear on how to completely minimize the risk of injury from a footwear selection perspective. However, there are some principles that may be worth considering, while also remembering that many times injuries to new runners are from other errors outside of footwear selection. 

One thing we recommend to new runners is to find something similar to their previous footwear. This typically means something with a moderate amount of firmer, lower rebound cushioning and flexibility through the forefoot. If you make your first shoe something like the Saucony Endorphin Pro 3, you may feel like you're on the moon and have no idea how to even start running. The extreme rocker, high rebound foam, and carbon plate in that shoe create a very different experience when trying to move forward. On the other hand, something like the Ghost gives a very benign platform that has traditional cushioning, a flexible forefoot, and a slab of rubber that firms up the ride even more. 

This doesn't mean that the Ghost is the best first shoe for everyone. In fact, Matt Trudeau, a key player in the Brooks research lab, would say the same. He has explored a concept called the preferred movement paradigm, which says that a runner should find a shoe that minimizes deviation away from the natural movement of the foot. Therefore some people may find that the Ghost, a neutral (stable neutral) shoe does this best, while some people may want something with even more (or less) structure. Right now the best thing we have to determine the best first running shoe (across brands) is the comfort filter. Put the shoe on. Run in it. Make sure it isn't pushing into your foot in any odd ways. Make sure you like the cushioning feel. Make sure the upper is secure but not irritating. Try a BUNCH of shoes on in the same day. You'll be able to find something that works for you. 



RECOMMENDATIONS

Given the target demographic for this shoe and the multiple intended purposes, I appreciate that this shoe hasn't seen some of the innovation other brands have done to their staple models. I think that maintaining the character of this shoe and keeping traditional cushioning/geometry is important for a shoe like this, and it doesn't feel "outdated" even though it hasn't seen remarkable changes in a while. I do think some things could be refined in the heel. The flaring combined with the lack of heel bevel is a bit abrasive depending on where you land, and modifying those (aka increasing the bevel posterolaterally) could be helpful in smoothing out the entire ride.

WHO THIS SHOE IS FOR

The Brooks Ghost 15 is best for someone looking to get multiple uses out of their shoe, whether that is running, walking, or working on your feet. It also is a great option for people just entering the running sphere, while performing well enough for daily training. It is a moderately cushioned shoe with classic geometry that will function well for some daily casual miles.


GRADING

Nathan

Fit: B+ (Security through the midfoot is improved, heel collar a bit too stuffed)
Performance: 
B+/A- (For its intended audience, it is a jack of all trades for walking, running, and standing)
Stability: B+ (Stable neutral option without sidewalls)
DPT/Footwear Science: A (Nothing fancy, but fills a spot for newer runners (and more experienced), walkers, and people on their feet for work)
Personal: B+ (Not a shoe I'd use as my workhorse trainer, but good for some casual miles, work, walks, and playing with my kids)
Overall: B+


SHOP | SUPPORT DOR

Price: $139.95 at Running Warehouse

*Using the link to purchase helps support Doctors of Running. Thanks so much!

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Feetures Socks: Massively grippy socks that will make you feel more one with the shoe
Amphipod Hydraform Handheld Water Bottle: Perfect for long runs when you need hydration in the summer
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Theragun Massager: This small version is great on the go for working tired legs
Ciele Hat: Our team's favorite running hat of choice!


FURTHER READING

The Best Daily Trainers of 2022
Saucony Endorphin Shift 3 Runshield - Water resistant upper helps make this edition warm and dry
Saucony Endorphin Speed 3 Runshield - The weather resistant upper keeps you warm for winter
361 Spire 5 - A refresh of this premium daily trainer, featuring PEBA dual midsole
The Best Max Cushion Shoes of 2022
Saucony Cohesion 15 - This ultra budget runner is a classic of box stores, but is it really worth it?

Find all Shoe Reviews at Doctors of Running here.

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Editor's Note: As always, the views presented on this website belong to myself or the selected few who contribute to these posts. This website should not and does not serve as a replacement for seeking medical care. If you are currently injured or concerned about an injury, please see your
local running physical therapist. If you are in the Los Angeles area, I am currently taking clients for running evaluations.

***Disclaimer: These shoes were provided free of charge in exchange for a review.  We thank the people at Brooks Running for sending us a pair.  This in no way affected the honesty of this review. We systematically put each type of shoe through certain runs prior to review. For trainers and performance trainers, we take them on daily runs, workouts, recovery runs and a long run prior to review (often accumulating anywhere from 20-50 miles in the process). For racing flats we ensure that we have completed intervals, a tempo or steady state run as well as a warm-up and cool down in each pair prior to review. This systematic process is to ensure that we have experience with each shoe in a large variety of conditions to provide expansive and thorough reviews for the public and for companies. Our views are based on our extensive history in the footwear industry and years testing and developing footwear. If you are a footwear rep looking for footwear reviews or consultations on development, we are currently looking to partner with companies to assist, discuss and promote footwear models. Partnership will not affect the honesty of our reviews.

Please feel free to reach out, comment and ask questions!
Contact us at doctorsofrunning@gmail.com

NEXT:
The Best Max Cushion Shoes of 2022

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