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Brooks Adrenaline GTS 23: Continuing a Legacy
By Matthew Klein

The Brooks Adrenaline series sits along shoes like the Kayano and Pegasus as an extremely common and well known footwear series. "GTS" originally stood for "go-to-shoe" as it was one of the most popular shoes in running retail for years. GTS has now changed to "go-to-stability" and has been extended to several footwear within the Brooks line. Despite massive changes in the past, the Adrenaline has remained fairly consistent in its design over the last several years. This year is no different with subtle changes that keep the essence of the series while making small improvements in fit and ride. 

Brooks Adrenaline GTS 23
Price: $139.95 at Running Warehouse
Weight: 10.1 oz, 286 g (men's size 9), 9.1 oz, 258 g (women's size 8)
Stack Height: 24 mm / 12 mm (not including insole)
Drop: 12 mm
Classification: Moderate Stability Daily Training Shoe


The Brooks Adrenaline 23 is a moderate stability daily training shoe for those who want a traditional fit, high drop and highly cushioned heel. The fit is normal with a slightly tapered forefoot. The midsole softens slightly compared to previous versions with a tiny weight drop. The guiderails and medial post remain, providing guidance medially and a little bit laterally in the posterior heel. Those who have run in the Adrenaline for years have nothing to fear as it continues on its path as a moderate stability high drop training shoe.

: Mizuno Wave Inspire, New Balance 860 v13
PAST MODEL: Brooks Adrenaline 22


The Brooks Adrenaline 23 fits almost exactly the same as prior versions. The forefoot is slightly tapered, giving it a slightly short feeling that goes away on the run. The air mesh upper does have some mild stretch to it, which provides a little bit of wiggle room. Those with wide feet may want to try the 2E version, while those with normal to narrow feet will do well. The midfoot and heel fit normally width wise. The entire shoe has an average volume with a slightly lower volume forefoot. The tongue is moderately thick with gusseting that wraps/secure the foot well.

The heel features a large and stiff counter that is well padded by a large amount of heel collar cushioning. Those with sensitivities to stiff heel counters will be fine initially due to the amount of padding but may have issues as the collar compresses. The security of the upper is good and I have not had to lace lock the heel. As the heel collar broke in, I did have to tighten the laces a little but the gusseting at the tongue and mild structure at the midfoot does a great job of keeping the foot on the platform. I have done some sockless running in the Adrenaline 23, which is mostly fine except for the inner aspect of the toe guard. I had some rubbing on my medial and lateral toes but the rest of the inner liner is extremely comfortable. Those not sensitive to friction at the toes will be fine, but I would suggest socks with this model.


The Brooks Adrenaline GTS 23 is a moderate stability daily training shoe for easy miles with the ability to handle some uptempo work. DNA Loft v2 is slightly soft with the majority of cushioning in the heel. The forefoot is firmer thanks to being lower to the ground, which combined with moderate flexibility makes for a quicker and slightly snappy transition off the forefoot. The heel features some mild geometry changes that allows for the posterior lateral side to compress a little more. Compared with a mild posterior lateral bevel this makes for a decent transition with heel strike. The 12mm heel drop is still a little clunky for those not used to a higher drop and it is noticeable. Those who are or are used to this model will find the heel transitions slightly better than prior versions.

The Adrenaline 23 does feel slightly lighter than its 10.1 oz listed weight. The higher drop and geometry still make it best for easy miles and mild uptempo work consistent with a daily training shoe. I have done a long run, two easy runs and a surprisingly fast fartlek for wearing a daily training shoe. The firmer/snappier forefoot does allow this shoe to pick up the pace but the slightly softer heel makes this shoe a little better at moderate and relaxed efforts.

Durability-wise the Adrenaline 23 is great as always. I have 30 miles on my pair and there is only a tiny bit of abrasion in my normal spot (posterior lateral heel). I expect normal durability for an Adrenaline and slightly above average durability for a daily training shoe. I would keep this shoe mostly on roads as that is how it was designed. The outsole does fine on well-groomed trails but I found the flagship model of a Seattle-based company to do great on wet road. My first run in these was in Seattle during a heavy amount of rain and I had no issues with traction like I have with previous versions (and the Pure series had terrible traction on wet cement). So those running on both wet and dry road can be more confident running in this high drop, moderately cushioned daily training shoe.


The Brooks Adrenaline 23 is a moderate stability shoe with a medial post and medial/lateral guiderails. The stability is centered in the heel and midfoot with a large guiderail in the posterior lateral heel and the medial midfoot and heel. The stability does not feel extreme thanks to the slightly softer DNA Loft v2 foam and the medial post is integrated well. The heel and forefoot has some flare but the midfoot does narrow slightly. This makes the Brooks Adrenaline 23 more of a moderate stability shoe than some of its extremely rigid and high stability predecessors. It feels almost exactly the same as version 22 and those who need moderate stability in the rearfoot and midfoot will do well here. The heel is a bit more rigid that the midfoot due to the wider sole, which will be biased more toward those who need higher stability further back. Those who are sensitive to extremely stiff heels may not do well here. This shoe will be better for those who need some help controlling motion mostly medial but a little laterally as well. 

Thoughts as a DPT: Differences in Lower Extremity Load with Drop Variation
By Matthew Klein

As the maximalist era of the footwear industry stabilizes and we are seeing less minimal footwear, heel-toe drop in shoes seems to be stabilizing. 20 years ago almost every running shoe had a 10-12 mm drop whereas now those are less common. 6-10mm seems to be the norm now with a larger number of shoes with lower heel drop and an extremely small number above. This is not necessarily a good or bad thing as individual needs vary greatly. It does mean things are different in regards to what tissues are loaded during running gait. 

Lower drop shoes tend to load the Achilles tendon, calf and ankle. We have repeatedly said that transitioning to a lower drop, minimal shoe requires adequate calf strength and ankle mobility. However, while a rocker can unload these areas somewhat in a higher stack, low drop shoe, some of those same requirements still apply. If you land first at your heel in a zero drop maximal shoe, you compress the rearfoot more than the forefoot, creating a negative drop shoe. This requires a large amount of appropriate ankle mobility and calf strength to control and progress forward. There are a few true negative drop shoes on the market now, so those requirements are even higher. Regardless of where you land in a lower drop shoe, more motion is required at the ankle (especially at the talocrural joint). This requires a great deal more dorsiflexion, which initially stretches the calf muscles and Achilles tendon. These muscles must tolerate a larger range of motion during running gait, which requires more eccentric and concentric control at this muscle group. Thus, having adequate range of motion and strength are extremely important at the ankle with this shoe type. This can be beneficial to move some stress away from the knee and hip given the shock absorption that occurs early at the ankle. It is imperative to remember this doesn't always happen and when it does, forces/loads are not decreased, they are simply moved. 

Higher drop shoes tend to load the knee and hip more. They require less range of motion at the calf and Achilles tendon to progress forward. These can be beneficial for those who have extremely limited dorsiflexion range of motion either from the ankle joint (talocrural) or the muscles around it (calf, posterior tib, etc). However, they do require more range of motion and shock absoprtion/load at the knee and hip. The position of the foot in a high drop shoe naturally puts the knee in a more forward position. This naturally creates more stress at the anterior knee, which requires higher levels of quad strength to control. The additional forward motion at the knee naturally requires the hip to also flex more, requiring higher levels of glute strength to help with shock absorption during landing. A higher drop shoe can also allow for more hip extension during the terminal stance at terminal stance due to the calves not being a limiting factor, which can also require more range of motion from the hip flexors.

These are not good or bad things, instead depending on the individual mechanics, strength and tissue tolerances of each individual. If you have stiff ankles and are interested in a higher drop shoe, then you should be working on the strength/range of motion of your knee and hip. If you want to try a lower drop shoe because it may reduce stress at your knee/hip, know that you will need to spend extra time maintaining/working on your ankle motion/strength. Heel drop is single aspect of footwear that is dynamic (it does change depending on where you land and midsole compliance) but is one of the many parts of a shoe that will impact different runners differently.


As with prior versions, the Adrenaline 23 remains consistent while make tiny changes to move it forward. The heel transitions a little better while remaining a high drop shoe with most of the cushioning centered in the rearfoot. The tractions seems to have slightly improved and the stability remains consistent. I am conflicted with suggesting large changes for the Adrenaline series even though the main design has remained consistent for over four years. Consistency can be a good thing for loyal customers who want the same thing year after year, but can also be boring for those seeking new product. The mild change to improve the heel transition is great, although I would still like to see a slightly larger posterior heel bevel for smoother transitions (12mm drop can make heels clunky).

The biggest change I would still like to see is a bigger weight drop. Version 23 dropped 0.1 oz, which really is not that significant. The majority of the competitors to the Adrenaline 23, the Saucony Guide 16, Asics GT-2000 11 and the Hoka Arahi, all sit under 10 ounces. If Brooks can find a few ways to drop the weight just a little more  (like a slightly larger heel bevel), it will continue to be competitive against the competition and may give it a little more versatility. The Brooks Launch GTS is much lighter and there is still wiggle room to drop a little weight without encroaching on its space. This will only benefit consumers as long as the cushioning is not sacrificed. 


The Brooks Adrenaline GTS 23 is for those who want a moderate stability shoe with a slightly tapered forefoot, normal width/volume and.a higher heel drop/traditional ride. Version 23 makes small changes, so those used to the series will feel right a home and don't have to worry about finding another shoe. The upper continues to fit fairly similar with solid midfoot security and a decently padded heel. The ride has a slightly more smooth heel transition but maintains the higher drop and higher cushioned heel. The addition of DNA Loft v2 softens the ride just slightly but many may not even notice.

Despite many of the changes in the running industry, the Adrenaline series still has a solid place. It remains a popular choice among runners new and seasoned who want a more traditional riding shoe that is rare in today's maximalist, highly rockered market. As mentioned above, keeping it consistent will keep the majority of users happy as changing it would be extremely polarizing (like the recent Kayano update). However, this may make attracting newer users or those wanting something new difficult. It does add a unique option as the rest of the industry changes as a now rare traditional high drop training shoe. Given that different people need different things, this variety is still good especially for those with limited ankle mobility/range of motion or those who want a high drop moderate stability training shoe.


Fit: B+ (Normal width except for slight taper at forefoot. Almost a performance fit)
A- (Higher heel drop with snappy forefoot. Best for easy miles but can still handle some uptempo efforts)
Stability: A- [Moderate Stability] (Rationale for grade)
DPT/Footwear Science: B+ (Little change over many years keeps the Adrenaline consistent for consumers but doesn't add anything massively new to itself or the market. Continued solid use of newer types of stability)
Personal: B+ (A consistent shoe in many ways. I personally prefer a more moderate drop shoe with a bit more room in the heel. On days my calves are wrecked, these are a solid choice.)
Overall: B+/A- 


Brooks Adrenaline 23
Price: $139.95 at Running Warehouse

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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 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.

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