For years, the Brooks Ghost was my running shoe of choice. A good friend, who first indoctrinated me into the cult of distance running, suggested a local shop that swayed me from my Asics preference (the long-hanging result of a failed middle school cross-country career — apparently, I was the only runner to get slower during the season).
That original pair of Ghost 9s has long been thrashed. After 600+ miles, they busted in an uintended use case: playing pickup basketball. Subsequent moves to Flagstaff made the jump to trail running and being seduced by the siren call of HOKA’s max cushioning.
So, a chance to review the new iteration of the Brooks Ghost 15s was a return to the familiar. But like visiting your childhood home after leaving for the first time, would this new version live up to the nostalgia of long runs of my past?
In short: The Ghost 15 ($140) is an agile, capable shoe. With a workhorse mentality, it has both marathon and speedwork bona fides. And while it lacks the bells and whistles of carbon plates and forward cants that decorate modern “supershoes,” it excels at being what it is: a shoe built by runners for runners.
- Weight 9.8 oz. (men) / 8.8 oz. (women)
- Stack height 35mm / 23mm
- Drop 12 mm
- Comfort paired with neutral cushioning
- DNA Loft v2 results in soft, consistent ride
- Carbon neutral (recycled content + offsets)
- Great all-arounders for training and race day
- Slightly heavier than competitors
- May not be able to compete with race day “supershoes”
- Running-specific construction, not cross-training capable
Brooks Ghost 15 Review
Brooks built the latest Ghost with its DNA LOFT v2 — the midsole cushioning is made up of EVA foam, rubber, and air (hence, the “loft” in the moniker). The result is a soft, consistent ride. Unlike a max cushioned shoe, you still feel the ground below you, but in a responsive way. It strikes an excellent balance between protection and engagement with the terrain. And it’s lighter than the v1 used on the Ghost 14.
The 15 also uses 9% more recycled content than the 14. This is the second carbon-neutral shoe from the running brand, which is committed to achieving net zero carbon emissions by 2040.
The upper is built from 3D printed air mesh, enhancing breathability and comfort compared to previous Ghosts. Overall, the 15 is lighter than the 14. Not by much (0.2 ounces for women’s and 0.1 ounces for men’s), but in a product you’ll take countless thousands of strides in — a little goes a long way.
Where the Rubber Meets the Road
The softer and lighter DNA Loft v2 teams up with a segmented outsole that offers grip and a nice heel-to-toe transition. And of the road shoes on the current market, the Ghost has a nice balance of grip. They’re not sporting the lugs of hardier trail running shoes, but the outsole has enough bite to handle bad sidewalks and pockmarked roads.
Some testers have complained about the 12mm drop, which is higher than average for a neutral cushioned running shoe. It didn’t bother me. The shoe felt well-balanced between comfort and performance, letting me focus on the run and not on the shoe.
Who Is This Shoe For?
Brooks is a tried and true running brand. While others in the shoe game have ever so slightly pivoted to street style and athleisure, Brooks continues to produce products by runners for runners.
These shoes have a performance- and comfort-oriented design that leaves behind the excess to focus on the running experience. This is clear throughout the brand’s line — I’ve increasingly turned to my High Point 7” 2-in-1 Short for logging training miles. The Ghost 15 expands on a history of trustworthy, high-performing products.
And sure, the color selection is still very 2010. But I’d rather have designers dialed in on improving the running experience than landing on a trend report.
The Ghosts have become a go-to shoe for just lacing up and getting out there, especially on days when I feel like leaving the Garmin behind and just running for the sake of running. No distractions, just motion.
A note: Forward motion is what these shoes are best at. They’re not cross trainers, as the 3D knit upper doesn’t provide much support for lateral movement. So, while I use them for high-anguish dreadmill sessions, I leave them behind for general gym visits and any agility work.
Brooks Ghost 15 Shoes: Final Thoughts
Running shoes are fickle beasts. It’s hard to design one shoe that fits everyone and is capable of a variety of performance applications. But, Brooks comes as close as a brand can to achieving it with the Ghost 15.
I was worried that a rose-colored memory of long runs past would be eclipsed by the newest versions. But I came away reminded why the Ghost continues to be the backbone of Brooks’ road running line. Capable, comfortable, and approachable, the Ghost 15 balances that tricky ground of being a shoe for both fun runners and more serious distance freaks.