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Brooks Anthem 6 Review
By Bach Pham

There's no question that the price for shoes today is high. The market has shifted each year higher and higher than the last, with shoe costs between $120-$180 for the most popular training models. To find a quality budget running shoe new in the market today is quite difficult. Almost every major company has a line of running footwear in the budget category today, ones that you can find at most box stores in the US. The quality of this category is incredibly wide ranging though, and can be hard to navigate. A perfect example of this is today's shoe, the Brooks Anthem 6 - their $85 trainer.

Brooks Anthem 6
Price: $85 at Brooks Running
Weight: 9.4 oz, 255 g (men's size 9), 8.5oz, 241 g  (women's size 8)
Stack Height: N/A
Drop: 10mm
Shoe Purpose: Budget daily trainer

Pros: Huge value, transitions well
Cons: Firm, not very protective


The Brooks Anthem 6 is a budget daily training running shoe focused on delivering a simple, basic ride. The shoe features their DNA cushioning (EVA), an engineered mesh upper, and a slightly flexible forefoot ride. The shoe has decent transitions to make it feel efficient, but has lacks a huge sense of ground protection. It is best suited for shorter daily miles and for those who like a low stacked, high drop trainer for very slow running.

: Brooks Revel 6
PAST MODEL: Brooks Anthem 5

(To learn how a shoe should fit, check out our full podcast on fit by Matt Klein.)

The Brooks Anthem 6 has solid length, but runs a little snug volume-wise from front-to-back. The upper is a simple engineered mesh that is fairly basic and no-frills. I didn't get any hot spots in the shoe. There is a bit of a taper on the lateral side that didn't cause me issues, but I would have liked a bit more toebox in general. The last of the shoe is very straight and I felt fairly on the platform despite the narrowing midfoot. The heel counter is pretty stiff and rigid, but locks the foot in well. I didn't have any major complaints for my personal needs overall in the Anthem, but would have welcomed a little more volume and space in the forefoot. Those with wider feet likely will not do well in the Anthem (there were no wide options at time of review), while those used to a Nike Pegasus or Brooks Launch fit should do fine here.

Typical Size: Men's US Size 9.5
Shoes that have fit Bach well: Nike Pegasus 40, Saucony Guide 17, Mizuno Wave Inspire 19, Saucony Endorphin Speed 3, Nike Structure 25
Shoes that have fit snug: Hoka Arahi 7, Asics Kayano 30, Puma Electrify Nitro, Brooks Hyperion, Hoka Clifton 9 GTX

Shoes that have fit large: Hoka Gaviota 5, Reebok Floatride Energy X

Doctors of Running Checklist

Is This a Good Shoe for Walking: Okay
Is This a Good Shoe for Standing: No
Is the Forefoot Flexible: Mildly
How Flexible is the Shoe: Stiff in mid to rearfoot
Is This a Good Heel Bevel: Okay
Recommended for Haglunds: No
Recommended for Sockless: No
Durability Expectation: Average


The Brooks Anthem 6 is really about how much one can do with how little. To hit their $85 benchmark, there is cost savings throughout, from the basic EVA midsole to the simple engineered upper and their basic outsole design. The flexible forefoot and okay heel bevel helps facilitate a pretty natural, decently transitioning ride which is the shoe's real saving grace, but the midsole is pretty firm and low to the ground. I really enjoy ground feel and lower stacked shoes, but felt that the protection underfoot here was very minimal and as a result only liked really slow training paces in the shoe. The shoe can naturally go faster, but I felt like my feet were taking a bit of a beating when I tried and it wasn't something I would want to sustain for a few miles.

I did, however, enjoy this shoe for extremely slow and easy miles. I love slow running. I am by far the slowest runner on the team and like having minimal shoes rather than maximal shoes for days I'm going really easy and this was actually one of the better shoes for that purpose. It has a very nimble feel to the forefoot and is one of the better high drop options for runners who want a low stack shoe for slow runs and a more 2010s feeling shoe than the modern high stacked offerings we have today.

The outsole has flex grooves through the forefoot which offer some nice, natural feeling transitions. The rubber grips the road well enough on wet pavement. So far the durability has been fine, but I expect the overall shoe to not last more 200-250 miles due to how minimal the shoe feels underfoot.


The Anthem is a neutral shoe. The midfoot is decently narrow on the medial side and that can be felt. It being a lower profile, firmer shoe does help a little with being able to find the ground with your forefoot, but those who are more rearfoot landing will likely find some instability here. Anyone who has mild or greater stability needs will likely want to look over to the Brooks Launch GTS 10 for a more stable option.

Culture Corner: The Problem with Budget Running Shoes
By Bach Pham

With the cost of shoes being so high today, what was considered to be a relatively inexpensive physical activity has become quite costly. One of the challenges for introducing newcomers to running really can sometimes be the entry point. Most footwear we recommend starts over $100 today, which can be a big barrier. The Anthem comes in at a friendly cost, but like many shoes in this category, it's not entirely a shoe we would recommend to a new runners. The budget models tend to lack good stability and not have protective, comfortable cushioning that helps new runners get off the ground. Foot pain is not a great way to start one's running journey!

There is also just the issue of sustainability. With so few runners I feel this will really connect with, I don't think there is a need to be making shoes that don't perform well and ends up creating more waste rather than productivity. If the shoe is not providing runners with ample support in their running, it ultimately is producing waste. There's nothing wrong with tightening a lineup if it means creating better shoes for the consumers and producing less overall waste (and cost to produce the shoe).

In general, our typical recommendations for new runners is not to shop this extreme budget category if possible and instead look to past year's models which can often go for under $100 (see our affordable shoe guide here). We get very excited about new shoes that release here at Doctors of Running, but there's absolutely nothing wrong with prior year models and it's a good place for runners to start their journey. Whether it is end-of-season sales when a new models come out or seasonal sales, there are great opportunities for runners to find some good deals on classic training models like the Nike Pegasus, Saucony Ride, Brooks Ghost, or even some of the top end budget models like the Brooks Launch or Revel. Changes are typical not big year to year on these models, meaning picking up the prior year's edition should give you a quality shoe to get started with.

Not sure where to start? Visit our Beginner's Guide to Running Shoes.


The biggest option would be updating to a newer general DNA Loft midsole - perhaps v2 at least - and helping it have a little bit more responsiveness and bite to it. The other option is to honestly consider dropping the Anthem in favor of focusing on the Revel, Launch, and Trace, which are ultimately better shoes for $15-20 more dollars. We are always strong supporters of simplifying options for runners when possible, and I'm not entirely sure if there are enough benefits for the Anthem to exist in its current state without changes that would make it similar to the Launch series.


The Brooks Anthem 6 is best for runners who want a very minimal feeling shoe without being zero drop, and a shoe that is also best suited to slow running. I would not recommend this shoe for those who purely want a budget category trainer for general running and would have consumers look to the next tier of Brooks shoes for those options which are much better all-around.


Fit: B+ (Fairly standard, no frills Brooks fit. Toebox has some taper)
Performance: B-
(Best for slow runs only)
Stability: C+ (Neutral shoe)
Value: C+ (Despite the actual cost, the value of what it provides to the runner will be low for most)
Personal: B- (Into the B range because I do like the slow, low stacked aspect of it, but not versatile enough that I would have purchased it)
Overall Design: C+


Brooks Anthem 6
Price: $85 at Brooks Running

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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, Santa Barbara, Danbury and Stevens Point areas, we 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.

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