Brooks Reviews


by Brian Metzler


The Brooks Ghost 13 is ready for new runners in 2020.

The Ghost is one of the flagship shoes in the Brooks line and one of the best-selling shoes in the U.S. It’s a cushy, smooth-riding neutral running shoe that serves up a comfortable fit, soft feel and reliable performance.

The Brooks Ghost is known for shock-absorbing ride and extended comfort on medium to longer runs.

Brooks Ghost 13 - what's new?


The biggest update to this year’s Ghost is the extension of DNA Loft midsole foam from the heel to the forefoot. This provides smoother heel-to-toe transitions

The engineered mesh upper on the Brooks Ghost 13 has been tweaked slightly to enhanced fit offering more comfort and breathability. The outsole has been adjusted slightly for increased flexibility, better traction and optimal heel-toe transitions.

The secret sauce of the Ghost 13 is the co-molded foam midsole that includes a thick, full-length layer of DNA Loft foam. This is a soft, lightweight and durable compound that absorbs and attenuates impact shock. It also features a thinner layer of environmentally friendly BioMoGo DNA foam, which stretches from the arch to the toes.

The outsole has been updated slightly with a slight adjustment in the flex gloves and positioning of carbon rubber segments. This optimizes flexibility without compromising cushioning. The outsole doesn’t slip at all on wet or dry surfaces.

The changes to the Brooks Ghost are minimal, but they help make a great shoe truly exceptional.

The Ghost 13 GTX ($160) also comes in a Gore-Tex-lined version for those days when you need a waterproof shoe.

Brooks Ghost 13 - review


The Brooks Ghost 13 fits true to size and has a medium volume from heel to toe, although it has a slightly lower toe box height.

The step-in feel is exceptionally soft and luxurious, one of the most comfortable shoes available on the market. That plush feeling is accentuated out on the run and converts to long-haul comfort in the latter miles of a long run.

The Ghost rides like a luxury SUV with leather seats. It’s so smooth, soft and comfortable that you barely feel a bump in the road.

The thick heel cushion and relatively high heel-toe offset (12mm) encourages a heel-striking gait. However, the segmented crash pad in the heel quickly disperses that force and smoothes out the stride. It adds a bit of energetic propulsion as the foot rolls to the toe-off phase.


Runners who appreciate a soft, smooth and reliable neutral-oriented training shoe will really like the Ghost 13.

The slight refinements make it an exceptional high-mileage trainer, a shoe that’s light and nimble enough for some types of faster running.

The Brooks Ghost 13 is a great do-everything shoe for beginners and a great long-run training shoe for more advanced runners.

Brooks Ghost 13 - pros

Brooks Ghost 13: Pros

The co-molded foam midsole offers a dynamic, semi-custom cushioning experience that adapts to keep your foot moving forward.

The updated edition of the Ghost is a smidge lighter than last year’s, helping it become slightly more agile. Lighter is almost always better, especially when it comes to training shoes.

The new, two-color knitted upper delivers softness and breathability while also offering a fresh new look. A few of our wear-testers said they’d consider wearing the Ghost 13 as a casual shoe with shorts or jeans.

Although it’s a neutral shoe and not intended for runners who over-pronate, the Ghost 13 offers a bit of inherent stability from its wide foot print and the subtle and svelte internal heel counter.

Brooks Ghost 13: Cons

Con: The Ghost 13 doesn’t have a lot of get-up-and-go.

It can handle tempo runs and faster long runs, but it’s definitely not a shoe that easily accelerates to quick-turnover, performance-oriented running. 


Brooks Ghost 13 - tech specs



Brian Metzler has run races at every distance from 50 meters to 100 miles. He has wear-tested more than 1,500 pairs of shoes, is a three-time Ironman finisher. He occasionally participates in the quirky sport of pack burro racing in Colorado.

He’s the founding editor of Trail Runner magazine, is a former senior editor at Running Times. He was and editor in chief at Competitor Magazine.

As an author, he has penned “Kicksology“, “Running Colorado’s Front Range” and the co-author of “Natural Running: The Simple Path to Stronger Healthier Running” and “Run Like a Champion: An Olympian’s Approach for Every Runner.”

Brian Metzler - Les Alpes
Brian Metzler - Boulder Running Company
Brian Metzler - trail running