Running Shoe Review: Brooks Launch

In 2009, Brooks Running introduced the Launch as a lightweight trainer and invoked the memory of the Brooks Burn.  The Launch is the most minimal of Brooks regular training line without being a true racing flat or cross country shoe.   The shoe was an immediate hit in the running community.  The following is one dailymiler’s opinion.

Here are the reviewer details:


Jay P.: Averages 150 miles per month around a 7:50/min mile pace. Neutral foot with a high arch, 170 lb., 6′ 2″.   Learned to be a mid foot striker. Running 2 years. 4 half-marathons, assorted 5ks. (Full confession: I am a member of the Brooks ID team, and the Launch is my favorite shoe.  So this review may be somewhat biased…)


On to the Brooks Launch review:

Women's Launch

Brooks Launch Details

  • 9.3 oz. (Men’s) Cardinal/Blaze/Silver, 7.5 oz. (Women’s) MantisGreen/Purple/Silver
  • Midsole Height: Heel (22 mm), Forefoot (10 mm)
  • Outsole Height: Heel (3 mm), Forefoot (5.5 mm)
  • Heel-to-Toe Offset: 9.5 mm
  • Tooling Height: Heel (25 mm), Forefoot (15.5 mm)
  • Suggested Retail: $90

Runner’s World video review of the Brooks Launch:


Fit:

This is the lightest trainer I’ve ever run in.  It’s heavier than the T6 Racer and the Green Silence, of course, but not by much considering the extra cushioning the Launch has comparatively.  Prior to getting the Launch, I was running in the Glycerin 6 and Defyance 1.  The Launch was a huge change from both of these, and was initiated by my desire to move toward a mid-foot strike and increase speed and feeling like the Glycerin especially was forcing a heel strike due to a much more built up heel.  They are fairly narrow in the heel fit, with decent and noninvasive arch support, nice midfoot wrap, and a good sized toebox.  I don’t like my toes constricted in a trainer, and the Launch gives me just enough space to spread them out a bit if I feel the need.  I took my first pair out for a run with fellow dailymiler Kent P, and after the first few steps, I proclaimed my love (for the shoes, not for Kent, although he’s a good guy…).

Styling:

Well, as you can see by the pics above, the Launch isn’t a quiet shoe.  They do go over the threshold of what my wife calls “social embarrassment limit”, meaning I can’t wear them around her in public unless I’m running.  But, fast looking shoes make you feel fast, right?  And mentally, that’s important.  I love loud running shoes.  I’ve had people mention Ronald McDonald, Flash Gordon, etc., but it’s all in good fun.  I’d much rather a shoe be inspirational in design that plain boring white.  Surprisingly, though, Brooks has elected to change the color scheme for June 2010, and has aligned the color scheme with the Nightlife theme of black and neon yellow.  Not sure how I feel about this yet, as I haven’t seen them in person. It won’t stop me from buying them, though.  Check ‘em out:

Brooks Launch Nightlife color scheme

Performance:

My first run in the Launch was incredible.  After about ten steps, it was clear that I had found my shoe.  They have a combination of springiness, responsiveness and absorbency that creates a bit of extra energy return.  The midfoot is fairly wide, and helps us taller runners with stability.

I’ve logged over 1200 miles now in 5 pairs of Launches, and I get between 250-300 miles per pair.  Not as many as some of the more cushioned models, but enough for me.  Others have gotten more miles out of a pair, but I prefer not to risk it.  I’ve not seen any excessive wear points or irregular wear patterns in mine, but I’ve got pretty neutral mechanics.   I’m always able to take out a new pair and go straight for a long run or speedwork without any break in problems.  They’ve only blistered me twice, and that was when they got soaked in races by me dumping water over myself.

I started out buying these shoes for speedwork and tempo runs only, and now they’ve become the only thing I run in!

For more, check out the Brooks Launch page on Brooksrunning.com: http://www.brooksrunning.com/product/1100651D/123199/Launch


The author of this post, Jay P., is a runner from Jamestown, NC. You can view Jay’s dailymile profile page, or read more about his running adventures on his personal blog, That Guy Who Runs.


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