The Brooks Launch 7 was not a favorite around here and that was a pretty consistent feeling from most reviewers. The shoe just didn’t do enough and it felt like all the work that has been done on the Launch 6 had somehow just disappeared. With the Launch 8 however, we see Brooks step up a bit and deliver on a true low-cost lightweight neutral trainer it still has a nice amount of pop and delivers an enjoyable run. They aren’t game-changing, but it is a distinct improvement over last year’s model. Note with this launch, we also see the emergence of GTS across the entire Brooks’ ecosystem in the form of the Launch 8 GTS.
Quick Details, Specs, and Availability
- Much improved from the Launch 7, delivers on performance at a low price point.
- Launch GTS 8 emerges, adds stability, and ultimately replaces the Ravenna.
- Weighs in at 8.6oz or 244g for a US Men’s 9, 7.9oz or 224g for a US Women’s 7.
- Features 26mm of cushion and has a 10mm heel/toe drop.
- Retails at $100.00 USD and comes in 5 colors for Men and 2 for Women.
Brooks is making a lot of changes this year to the entire lineup with many of their shoes coming out with a GTS and non-GTS version so we wanted to clear that up before anything else. The GTS versions are essentially the stability versions of the same shoes, so instead of having two different named pairs (Launch and Ravenna) now it is essentially the same model platform but they have added stability elements like their GuideRails. In this case, the Launch 8 GTS will be replacing the Ravenna in the lineup. The good news here is people who need stability don’t have to sacrifice their experience and essentially get an almost identical shoe. If you don’t need any stability, then there is no reason to look at anything other than the primary model.
As for the Launch 8, we were frankly a little nervous when it arrived because last year’s model just was not that impressive to us, but once we stepped into it things immediately just felt a whole lot better. The mesh upper is improved and gives you kind of a nice little hug and the tongue, collar, and heel are just padded enough, and then the heel counter holds you in place well. The Launch 8 also gets that subtle little elf ear/upturned heel which we are seeing on so many shoes and this can help with on and off. The midsole makes use of their BioMoGo DNA which definitely sits on the faster side so expect a firmer less flexible run overall. Clearly, these are really designed for some speed.
On the performance side, the experience is much improved from the 7. The shoe feels more responsive overall and returns a lot of energy really fulfilling on that responsive premise. Note it isn’t a game-changing experience, but it just feels good and dare we say easy. The shoe is very practical in many ways and more importantly delivers against its price point. For half marathons and below the shoe will be a nice inexpensive race day shoe for many. We probably wouldn’t take it out for a marathon, sure you could, but inevitably you’ll probably want a little more cushion than we are seeing here. Additionally, it can be a perfect first running shoe for a lot of teenagers as it’s got a bit of responsiveness, a decent level of cushion, some general comfort, and it is right at $100.
If we were to change some things, then I think it is really simple but inevitably might affect the price tag so doubt they do it. We would love to see DNA Flash added to this shoe. We love it on the Hyperion tempo and we think it would be a really solid addition to the Launch as the BioMoGo is showing its age a bit. We would also reduce probably half of the rubber on the outsole to bring the weight down. This is a $100 shoe and the amount of durability from all that rubber is really unnecessary. Lastly, they probably need to look at that upper material just a bit as you do get some puckering in weird spots and while it doesn’t affect your run, it is visually apparent early on.
The upper is an all-new air mesh design that is designed to improve overall airflow. The non-gusseted tongue is lightly padded as is the collar and the heel counter holds you firmly. We experienced no real slippage or hot spots. As we mentioned above, the material does start to pucker a bit in the toe box which can be visually off-putting, but unrelated to performance.
The Launch 8 sports their light BioMoGo DNA implementation which is designed to balance cushion and responsiveness but leans to performance. It does have a stiffer feel and less flex than something like the Ghost.
On the GTS you will find their GuideRails added to the shoe to help with overall stability.
The outsole looks a lot like the Launch 7 in that it features a lot of rubber so expect durability and traction to be fairly high. It is probably overkill on a shoe like this, so as we mentioned they could remove a bit and still have a solid performer.
Style & Aesthetics
The Launch 8 definitely looks better than prior versions and feels less generic than it did last year. It does come in 5 different colors and just like the 7 you should expect custom versions to appear as well.
Ultimately with the Launch 8, Brooks has delivered on the promise. They have erased the Launch 7 from our memory and delivered on a low-cost performance-oriented neutral shoe that can be enjoyed by a lot of runners. It is a simple shoe that isn’t necessarily changing the game and can be a great first shoe for teens and those looking to add a speed day shoe to their lineup. There are some improvements we’d love to see in the future, but for now, it works. If you require stability and are missing the Ravenna, then definitely take a look at the Launch 8 GTS which adds stability elements.
Check Out Other Reviewers Thoughts
As always, we gather together some of our favorite reviewers so you can get a well-rounded view of the shoe. Here are our favorites.