Brooks Ghost 13 Review (Detailed Analysis & Tests)

Brooks Ghost 13 Review

The Brooks Ghost 13 has finally arrived. It can be safely said that it delivers on all the expectations that one can pin on every best-selling Brooks shoe each year. With the Ghost 13 model hitting the markets, it is imperative to explore how the Ghost line has transitioned.

We tested these shoes for 50 miles and highlighted the key differences in this brief article while also driving our eyes toward what stayed the same.

While the performance, construction, and overall experience are debatable—it hands down brings you the softest cushioning in the line!

This guide lets us explore the advantages and disadvantages of the Ghost 13 for runners while also shedding light on how it compares to the previous version!

Who will best benefit from this Ghost version? Here’s what we think.

Features:

Weight8.8 ounces for women, 10.1 ounces for men
Drop11.5 mm for both women and men
Upper ConstructionAir Mesh
Midsole ConstructionDNA Loft
TypeNeutral Shoe, Training Shoe
Suitable SurfaceRoad, Pavement, Track

What We Liked:

  • The Ghost 13 offers an unbeatable stable ride. It helps maintain steadiness and exudes extreme comfort. The transitions are smooth on every footstrike—indeed, an ideal pair of runner shoes for individuals beginning their fitness journey or recovery from an injury.
  • We have no qualms with the upper unit construction of the Brooks Ghost 13. The Air Mesh upper has extraordinary breathability and will keep your feet from suffocating during long runs.

Our Concerns:

  • Durability and responsiveness are significant concerns with the Brooks Ghost 13. We are particularly not fond of the excessive rubber on the outsole.

The overall rating for Brooks Ghost 13 : 4.3/5

Brooks Ghost 13 Sole Unit (Technologies)

Brooks Ghost 13 Sole Unit

When it comes down to the sole unit, the Ghost 13 comes decked with a double-trouble. You receive dual foam support of DNA Loft material laterally and balanced functionality with BioMogo on the medial side. These foams have a similar density, thereby ensuring that your every foot strike is stable and balanced.

DNA Loft Construction

The full-length DNA Loft construction of the Ghost 13 is impressively seamless, and you will not even notice it during your runs. Zero gaps between two foams are ensured by co-molding the midsole.

Compared to the previous models, Ghost 12 and Ghost 11, the new variation provides a medium soft ride. Due to this quality, most individuals who train daily will automatically develop a liking for this product.

I personally love the Ghost 13 for the days I want to go slow and steady on my runs. It has proven to be great for slow-paced runs between 10 to 25 km. It is necessary to note that the midsole is not overly soft, which means it has the capacity to handle a jump in the tempo.

Responsiveness

It is safe to say that the marketing pitch of the new Ghost variation, which boasts its responsiveness and softness, is strikingly accurate. Although I do believe it could strive to be more responsive.

In my opinion, as an effect of the midsole foam utilized in Ghost 13, the responsiveness of the shoe has taken a back seat. This indeed becomes more apparent when you look at the explosive forefoot in previous shoes with the inclusion of Zoom Air or TPU-EVA blend Pwrrun midsole.

Talking about DNA Loft, it is comparatively newer than the midsole foams mentioned by me earlier. However, it does feel quite similar to BioMogo. My hopes latched with the transition of newer Brooks Ghost versions to DNA Flash foam that proves to be more responsive and lighter.

Coming to the 12mm heel-to-toe offset that Ghost 13 has to offer, it is safe to confirm that it’s more than what the other daily trainers on the market offer. Thereby making it a perfect pair of shoes for beginner runners who often land on their rearfoot during foot strikes.

During my run, I observed that the added foam that sits on the heel assists in extra shock absorption during heel strikes. I also felt that the 12mm drop allows opportunities to transition during my stride more effortlessly.

Stability

The stability provided by Ghost 13 is excellent, and for me, it ranks first among the stable neutral trainers available on the market. The lean bias in the midsole is absent due to the nature of its density. It is neither overly soft nor does it feel like a rock, and it allows the foot to stay centered during transitions by offering a good grip/clutch.

Two different rubber materials are featured on the outsole of the Ghost 13—softer blown rubber along the forefoot area and harder wearing rubber for the heel area. The rubber utilized by Brooks has both the quality of spongy density and thickness that stands better than most shoes.

Flexibility & Cushioning

Undoubtedly, the full contact outsole ensures that your ride traditions with Ghost 13 are smooth. The one factor that helps make this piece of footwear so flexible in nature is the flex groove that covers the entire width of the shoe beneath the forefoot.

The Ghost 13 is not free of stumbling blocks, though. The durability of the Ghost 13 is questionable, as the EVA midsole cushioning cannot stand up to the wear of tear that comes with time. The shoes are likely to lose the cushioning over time, while the outsole rubber has a shorter life span than the hard-wearing rubber.

I have run 50 miles in my pair, and I can already see the rubber of the outer lateral heel area thin down from its original thickness. At this rate, I believe that I will hit the midsole foam within a few more miles.

Overall Sole Unit Rating: 4.2/5

Brooks Ghost 13 Upper Unit (Technologies)

Brooks Ghost 13 Upper Unit

The upper area of the Ghost 13 has the qualitative abilities to beat every other brand in the stability department.

Air Mesh

These shoes feature a newly engineered mesh called Air Mesh, which is soft and airy. My first run in these shoes was on a chilly winter morning, and I could certainly sense the icy wind coming through the mesh. Therefore, I confirm its breathability.

The rest of the upper will come to you by no surprise since it is a classic Brooks Ghost construction. The tongue, heel, and collar area are heavily padded by copious months of foam. Although the tongue is not gusseted (attached at the sides of the tongue), tongue slides don’t occur due to the broad wings.

Heel

While running, my heel stayed locked in a place with the help of the robust heel counter. Other things contributing to this solid clutch are the double last raw eyelets, as they keep the heel locked in one place. However, I never needed them.

I was very impressed by the spacious toe box construction in Ghost 13. My feet got enough room to wiggle around in the shoe, ensuring there’s enough breathability, airflow, and flexibility.

Although the one area where I found the heel counter lagging is the feel of it, it is far more streamlined as compared to the previous version, Ghost 12, which had a more plush feel to it. Nonetheless, you can reap some benefits from a lesser padded heel counter, like freeing up more room for forefoot by having your foot sit further back in the shoe.

Width

Ghost 13 is an absolute win-win for runners with wide feet as it provides a lot more room for the forefoot than Ghost 12. As the forefoot feels roomier in the later version, extra space is offered to runners to help their feet splay better. This feature can decrease the chances of injury during foot strikes.

Don’t worry. If you are gifted with narrow feet, you can get these shoes in the narrow version. Conclusively, the Ghost 12 are offered in narrow, wide, and extra-wide options. The shoes are decorated with reflective stripes on each side of the toe box as an additional option. It was a decent option for me as I am a nighttime runner, and it’s great for visibility.

As far as my 50-mile experience goes, I cannot possibly think of any significant shortcomings to mark down the upper unit. Although, the absence of a gusseted tongue comes across as odd to me as all the previously released versions have had these features. Overall, they have not cut any costs when it comes to the premium upper construction.

Overall Upper Unit Rating: 4.5/5

Brooks Ghost 13 Ride & Performance (Our Experience)

Brooks Ghost 13 Ride & Performance

Many of the latest running shoes have softer trends, and the Ghost 13 is no exception to this. Over the past couple of years, brands that have released flagship running shoes are bending gradually toward providing softer rides with cushier foams. We believe that is from where Brooks 13 comes.

Ride

Throughout the Brooks’ lineup, we have observed DNA Loft foam to be the softest cushion. This midsole foam was introduced in the Ghost 11 version and has since been passed on to its successive models. In Ghost 12, an amalgamation of BioMoGo DNA foam and Loft foam was featured for the comfort of the forefoot during rides. The same combination is witnessed in the Ghost 12 version.

The DNA loft foam material has been extended through the foot and out from the heel. It overlaps at the forefoot with the BioMoGo DNA technology. Thanks to the through-and-through DNA loft padding, we found a consistently soft feel through every strike transition.

When I stepped into the Ghost 12, there was an almost instant soft feel. Although it still manages to maintain an easy-going and smooth run. Well, what can I say? It is a classic Ghost. One of the aspects that I enjoyed was how the Ghost 13 blended with my movements during a run. It is not so bulky or heavy, and as it is not filled with carbon fiber, I experienced minimal weight.

Performance

The performance area is sleek—I believe this shoe should work for most runners. That is all it’s required to do. As per my personal experience, this stability shoe did everything well. It is not only comfortable but also light.

While even with a generous amount of rubber used in the outsole construction, there is barely any stiffness, as the flex grooves do an excellent job in aiding overall flexibility. It contours to the natural motion of your foot in the precise areas.

Overall Sole Unit Rating: 4.2/5

Brooks Ghost 13 For Plantar Fasciitis

Plantar Fasciitis

If you are suffering from a debilitating foot condition that is plantar fasciitis, we have some good news for you. The Brooks Ghost 13 is an excellent option to get your regular run without exaggerating your condition. As I mentioned in the earlier sections, the sole unit construction with DNA Loft and BioMoGo DNA bestows this pair of shoes with utmost comfort, softness, and safety.

Almost no bulkiness is felt during the runs, while it also fits perfectly around your arch and forefoot to provide you with smooth performance. With an addition to the mesh upper and 3D Fit Print technology, flexibility is always advantageous with Ghost 13.

The Ghost 13 features a Segmented Crash Pad, which acts as a shock-absorber with every foot strike on the road. This pad makes smooth transitions accessible with each step. The stability and support provided by the Ghost 13 will help accommodate your plantar fasciitis during the run. So, get back to your training routine, but remember to go slow for safety.

Brooks Ghost 13 vs. Ghost 12

Superficially, there aren’t many changes made between Ghost 12 and Ghost 13. More than half of the essential elements remain unchallenged. However, there are some minute changes that we will highlight through the section.

The construction of the mesh uppers hasn’t changed much between the two versions. Well, yes, the designs and patterns may have been tweaked a little. However, I didn’t notice any performance difference during my 50-mile test run.

Coming to the lacing system—it’s the same with seven total eyelets. The outsoles don’t have a significant difference, although Brooks replaced the traction pattern on the rubber. The coverage and overall shape haven’t budged.

Now let’s come to the significant changes between these two models, which have been big this year. The DNA Loft foam is designed to extend in the midsole in the new version, while in Ghost 12, it was constructed barely to the heel. This year’s model is all about forefoot support, making it a supportive shoe for most beginners and every runner.

How They Compare With Other Neutral Shoes

The Ghost 13 does have multiple shoe models to contest within the market. If you feel your requirements are not met with this new Brooks Ghost version, here are some alternatives you might want to check out.

Since Ghost 13 is hyper-focused as a stability shoe with the construction that leans more toward comfort and support, some alternatives have similar attributes. However, there’s a twist in the construction that might help you make a sound decision!

New Balance Fresh Foam 880v11:

New Balance Fresh Foam 880v11

If you are an experienced runner, this New Balance model will provide you with smooth transitioning, comfort, and responsiveness! It is decked with Fresh Foam in the sole unit and proves to be a reliable shoe for running mile after mile.

ASICS Gel Kayano 27:

ASICS Gel Kayano 27 Upper Unit

Have you tried the classic Gel Kayano, but softer? Here’s your best match! The Gel Kayano 27 comes with a cushioned heel and helps maintain a comfortable ride. The GEL unit provides added compression to make sure you land softly on the ground. Again, a good option for experienced runners looking for a robust build, check out our review of ASICS Gel Kayano 27

Saucony Ride 14:

Saucony Ride 14

The Ride 14 is a no-fuss neutral shoe. The aspect that attracts mass appeal is the easy, effortless fit. The shoes are built for the FORMFIT system that easily adapts to the weight and stride. Although, in my experience, it is not that big on comfort and cushioning.

Final Verdict on Brooks Ghost 13

The Ghost 13 is certainly not for a fun or exciting ride. It falls under stability shoes and leans more toward offering runners a consistent performance. Remembering what Brooks officially said once, this is the shoe for Goldilocks. Now, although it is not the softest or most engaging shoe to the market, it strikes a perfect balance and stands out to me.

I, for once, have not been able to scourge any significant flaws in this pair of Brooks Ghost. It is a well-rounded shoe, accommodates seamlessly with a beginner’s run, and can even make a great companion for a marathoner.

These shoes can be a go-to option for gentle, slow-paced, and even recovery runs for those bouncing back into the training routine after a foot injury or disorder. When it comes down to comparing the Ghost 13 with the other everyday trainers on the market, it is not particularly my favorite. However, it indeed serves a balanced ride and comes with excellent upper construction.

It does fall back when it comes to outsole durability. Since I prefer shoes that offer more durability and responsiveness, it doesn’t fit perfectly in my routine. Nonetheless, as I said, it is an excellent option for those who want a cushioned stability shoe for occasional runs or during recovery periods.

Leave a Comment