Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Brooks Ghost GTX shoe review

A few weeks ago I'd mentioned here that I had self-justified a new pair of running shoes.

For years I've been reserving my oldest, crappiest running shoes for foul-weather runs. Even so, nobody wants to run with cold, sopping wet feet. I wanted a pair of waterproof shoes to be used in rainy, slushy, or snowy weather conditions. I had heard of Gore-Tex shoes, which are designed for this very purpose. So I went shopping.

ENTER: the Brooks Ghost GTX


I took these shoes out for an inaugural 5-miler last Saturday. It was snowing that day, there were a number of sidewalks/streets that hadn't been shoveled/plowed, and there was plenty of disgusting brown slush all around, e.g.:



In short, it was the PERFECT day to test these shoes out.

The verdict? The waterproof feature is amazing. I ran through puddles of wet slush and ankle-deep snow with reckless abandon, and my feet stayed dry the whole time. It was great!

Notice, though, that I said my feet stayed DRY. Not warm. When pools of slush water ran over my feet, I could still feel the coldness of the water. The first few times it happened, I thought for sure that the shoes were leaking. In actuality, it was really just the coldness which I initially took for wetness. But a few moments later, all would be good again.

My other observation is that while my feet did stay dry inside the shoes, my ankles still got a little wet just above the shoe collar. This happened when I ran in snow that was deeper than the height of the shoe collar. Therefore, I think for true waterproofedness, you would want to wear a pair of gaiters with these shoes, something along these lines:



On that note, I did take a quick look at the prices of running shoe gaiters. The ones I saw started at about $25 and went up from there. I don't think I would get enough use out of them to justify the cost, so I am probably not going to invest in a pair. Instead, I would probably just try to wear compression socks or other socks that offer good ankle/shin coverage, plus running tights that cover my ankles well.

Getting back to the shoes, this time beyond the waterproof feature. My workhorse running shoe is the Asics Gel Cumulus, but I enjoy experimenting with different shoe brands or types. The Brooks Ghost is supposed to be a comparable shoe to the Asics Gel Cumulus. This is why I chose the Gore-Tex version of the Ghost. Might as well try out a new shoe while also getting something waterproof to my shoe arsenal, right?

As much as I love the Gore-Tex's ability to withstand moisture, I have to say that I was a bit disappointed with the Ghost shoes themselves. They feel like they have such a thick sole, but at the same time they are not supportive enough for me. Quite frankly, I was surprised that the Ghosts are considered comparable to the Gel Cumulus. To me, the two feel very different.

This is actually the second time that I've been less than thrilled with Brooks shoes. I previously tried the Brooks Glycerin, and also felt that it wasn't supportive enough for me. Coincidence? Not sure.

I wanted to like the Ghosts. I really did. And I have so many runner friends who absolutely RAVE over Brooks shoes in general. But sadly I don't understand the hype. To each their own, though, right? We all find what works best for each of ourselves individually.

Though I don't intend to wear the Brooks Ghost GTX shoes for my everyday runs, I will definitely still make very good use of them. There will be plenty of days when I want to go for a run in nasty wet weather - and on those days these shoes will serve exactly their purpose. Can't argue with that!

Bring it on!!!

12 comments:

  1. I think this is my exact trail shoe, except mine are grey/purple. I ordered Mizunos but they were out of stock and the place offered me these for the same blowout price. I want to like Brooks but I just don't. My feet feel weird in these when I approach 10 miles. I know I'd get blisters (as I do in all Brooks shoes) if I go much beyond that. Could not agree more on your assessment!

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    1. No kidding! That is a bummer that your Mizunos were out of stock - what kind were you trying to get? (I wear the Mizuno Wave Riders and I like them very much.) Thanks for sharing your thoughts on your Brooks experience, I am glad to hear that I am not the only one for whom Brooks shoes don't seem to work!!!

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  2. Interesting! I have been thinking about real "muck" shoes too... not just my older regular shoes. Glad to hear that you'd still wear them even though they're not your favorite.

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    1. I would definitely recommend muck shoes! They make running so much more comfortable in crappy weather. Totally worth it. In my opinion, every runner needs a pair of muck shoes in their arsenal. BTW - I know you have had very good experiences with Brooks shoes, what kind do you wear?

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  3. Someone suggested to me that I wear gaiters for the Bataan Memorial race in March. (Most of the race goes through White Sands Missile Range.) I was too embarrassed to tell her that I had no idea what gaiters were! Now I know!

    We don't get too much rain or snow in El Paso, but they get a fair amount in Dallas. I might suggest my mom look into these.

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    1. Oooh, I don't think I remember you mentioning the Bataan Memorial race! Did I miss that on your blog? What a unique experience that will be to run through White Sands Missile Range! And I myself didn't know what gaiters were until very recently, when a friend posted pictures of herself wearing some during a snow run. =D If your mom does end up getting some, would love to hear her thoughts on how they work for her!!!

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    2. I've only mentioned Bataan in passing. It's a month after the El Paso marathon, so I don't want to count my chickens before they are hatched. If I'm too run down or injured, Bataan won't happen. But I'm really, really hoping it will. I'll already be mostly trained and I've heard it's a really powerful experience. Plus, I think I've conned my mother-in-law into visiting that weekend to be my cheerleader.

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    3. I wish you the very best of luck for El Paso and for being in tip-top shape for Bataan! I think it's actually really nice to be able to take advantage of running two marathons after all your hard training efforts. It's such a time commitment to train that you might as well put it to "double" use, right? And that is awesome that your MIL will be visiting that weekend to cheer you on. I think it's such a great, amazing bonding experience when family members get to see us at these moments. (My mom had never seen me run a race, ever, until last fall. And it was awesome to have her finally get to watch me cross a finish line!)

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  4. Good to know! I'd love a pair of snow proof shoes for MN, but definitely need support. I think you saved me over $100!!

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    1. What type of shoes do you normally wear? I know that Gore-Tex is available across a variety of running shoe brands, so I am sure that there are options out there that are truly comparable to your tried-and-true shoes!

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  5. I really needed some waterproof shoes on Sunday! I stepped in a HUGE puddle and totally soaked one of my shoes. Thank goodness it was at the very end of my run. Otherwise I probably would have had to stop and change shoes so I didn't get frostbite!

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    1. Ugh, that is the worst feeling to be running in soaking wet shoes, especially in the wintertime. =( I am glad that it was at the end of your run, too, otherwise that could have really been a problem! BTW - you mentioned that you just got new running shoes! What kind?!?!?

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