The Brooks Glycerin is a mainstay in the cushioned running market and if you’ve ever been to a running store and were looking for a shoe that was easier on the legs and worked well for slower more recreational style runs then it was probably one of the first shoes you were shown. The new Glycerin 20 and Glycerin 20 GTS don’t necessarily look all that different from what you have seen before but there are some drastic updates to the midsole which really changes the way the shoe functions. Namely, they brought the nitrogen-infused DNA Loft V3 technology from last year’s prototype Aurora -BL into the Glycerin and so we couldn’t wait to give it a try. So how much difference does it truly make? Let’s find out.
Quick Details, Specs, and Availability
- Features Brooks new DNA Loft V3 midsole and an ultra-comfortable upper!
- Weight – 10.1oz or 286g for a US Men’s 9, 9.1oz or 258g for a US Women’s 7
- Cushion – Maximum cushion and a 10mm heel/toe drop
- Pricing – $160.00 USD
- Colors – 4 color options
Construction and Materials
- Upper – Uses an engineered air mesh with neatly placed holes for breathability. The collar and heel counter are well padded and holds you in place well.
- Midsole – Features their new nitrogen-infused DNA LOFT v3which is designed to be lower in weight, more responsive, and still well-cushioned. The GTS version also features lateral and medial struts for improved stability, designed for those who need extra support.
- Outsole – A ton of rubber on there for traction and durability.
What we loved
Having run in five of the last iterations of the Glycerin, we are happy to say that if you take the midsole change out of the conversation, then this will be the best Glycerin you’ve ever tried. The improved slipper-like fit in that upper is amazing and yet it still provides a secure and well-padded fit with a nice stable heel counter to lock you in place. It breathes well, those overlays help you feel secure, and there is ample room for most foot shapes.
This is also a shoe you can run a half marathon right out of the box. It is not going to be a fast half marathon, but it will be very easy on the legs. This also holds true for less experienced or slower runners who cover much less distance… bottom line, there is virtually no break-in time at all. While it doesn’t deliver in the performance department, it is a shoe that will deliver a truly consistent experience day after day which is what a good daily trainer should do.
The Glycerin 20 is also available in a GTS (think extra Support!) model which provides lateral and medial support for those that might need it and honestly, it works for normal runners as well, especially those that are newer to going farther. A little bit of extra structure can go a long way as the miles add up and it doesn’t add a lot of weight or affect the run all that much.
As for the DNA LOFT V3 midsole, we have a love-hate relationship with it and we’ll get into the negative in a moment. By itself, this new nitrogen-infused midsole, that we first tested on last year’s Aurora-BL is awesome. It provides a ton of responsiveness, lowers the total shoe weight, and has a nice bounce to it. Plus it does well to compete with all the other supercritical nitrogen-infused midsoles on the market. So what’s the problem?
What we didn’t
We think the problem primarily falls with the outsole and here’s why. The Glycerin notoriously uses a ton of rubber on the bottom (outsole) which increases the durability and longevity of the shoe and of course improves traction as well. In this case, that heavy rubber dampens a lot of the positive effects that LOFT V3 midsole provides. It doesn’t feel as snappy or as bouncy because you’re contesting with a lot of heavy rubber underneath. It would have been really interesting to see how this you did if they went thinner on the rubber or confined it only to high-use areas.
Now that being said, it doesn’t make this shoe “bad” because it still functions really well as a daily trainer, and the majority of folks who try it will love it, two of our slower testers won’t stop wearing them. But if you go in expecting it to be more performant than ever before, that is where you’re going to be disappointed and that is something to watch out for. It is a great shoe, it just won’t blow your mind.
After a lot of miles on the Brooks Glycerin 20 and Glycerin 20 GTS, it is safe to say it’s a very mixed bag depending on your expectations going in. If you are expecting a really up-tempo experience similar to the Aurora-BL, that is not what you’re going to find. The sheer amount of rubber on the outsole really diminishes a lot of that snappiness the DNA LOFT V3 provides BUT the weight loss from the midsole change does improve the performance and feel overall. The redesigned upper is also incredibly comfortable so much so that these things feel like slippers on your feet and truly, you could stand around and then for hours. However, they do not deliver on the expectations we had of that nitrogen-infused midsole so if you come in expecting performance you will be disheartened. If you are really just looking for a well-cushioned and super comfortable daily trainer, then the Glycerin 20 is an amazing choice.
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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.