Brooks Launch – 50 Mile Review

Yep – it is that time again, I have put over 50 miles on another pair of running shoes and am going to write about my experience with the Brooks Launch.

Let’s be up front about my relationship with Brooks Running.

  1. I do not have any.
  2. I purchased the Brooks Launch’s with my money from Dick’s Sporting Goods in Augusta, Maine.
  3. The comments in this post were a result of actually wearing and running in the Brooks Launch’s and are my own experiences.
Brooks Launch
Brooks Launch

For a pair of running shoes, that I described a while back as “I could wear this shoe, but it just didn’t excite me.”, I am sure enjoying running in them, no they still do not excite me all that much, but they just work, which is much more important.

When I look at what shoes I am going to wear, I choose the Launch for longer or recovery runs. However, I don’t like them for faster-paced runs, they don’t feel like a fast shoe for me, they are a bit too cushioned.

According to what I have read the Launch have basically remained the same shoe they were when they were released back in 2010, supposedly the only changes have been to the colorways. This is one of the reasons that I decided to give them a chance in my rotation. It also helps when a lot of runners think so highly of a shoe that they forced Brooks to take them off the chopping block.

The Launch do not have a lot of fancy marketing hype, jargon or high-tech features – they have been and are a solid light-weight cushioned trainer that becomes a workhorse for those who finally  “discover” them.

Brooks Launch
Brooks Launch

I have done most of the types of runs that I typically do in road running shoes, except for speed work, although I did a 5K race in them, so I have a pretty good idea of how they work for me at faster speeds. I run comfortably in them, which is the most important thing in my opinion. It has gotten to the point where I put them on, tie them up, stop thinking about how the shoes feel and just run.

These shoes have become my high mileage shoes of choice, they just feel – well comfortable.

Fit

I bought a pair of size 9 and I have just over a thumb’s width in the toe box, which is just about perfect. The width in the toe box if fine and even with my narrow heels there hasn’t been any slippage.

Brooks Launch
Brooks Launch

For me the uppers are a big part of the fit and they do not have any overlays or stability straps that aggravate my feet

Pros

Blisters – None, nada, zero blisters.

Cushioned Feel – After running in Pearl Izumi EM line shoes most of the winter, the Brooks Launch are a much more cushioned shoe, which is what I wanted in my daily running shoe rotation.

Lightweight – They are under 10 oz (the Brooks Running website lists a size 9 at 9.5 oz), and are more of a traditional light-weight trainer than I have run in lately. They are not racing flat light, but light enough to run long distances without feeling heavy at the end of the run.

Sole – I like the outsole and how it performs while running in a variety of conditions i.e. tar, side of the roads, medium trails, or wet roads. The sole has enough cushioning to not be bothered by running over rocks or roots, but I do not believe that they would do well in running in muddy or sharp rock trails.

Brooks Launch
Brooks Launch

Wear – There is not any noticeable wear on the sole of the shoes after 50 miles.

Rock collectors – The Launch do not have too many issues with picking up rocks, which is a consideration for where I run.

Quiet – They are not as quiet as the GoRunRide2’s (which I measure all of my shoes by), but the Launch do not slap the ground when I am running efficiently, although due to the tread design there is a bit more noise from the shoe. When I notice/hear myself slapping on landing, it is a reminder to ease back on the heel striking and run more efficiently.

Color ways – I like the hi-vis yellow-blue color way that I got at Dick’s, however, when I look at the Brooks’ site, the colorways there do not excite me. I know that I shouldn’t care that much about colors if a shoe works for me, but I prefer to have running shoe that a bright and just a little, even a lot “Loud” in appearance.

IMG_20140425_104826_507

Replacement Cost – I got these on sale at Dick’s and their regular price is around $100.00 which is towards the lower end price for many running shoes seem to be. Yeah, that’s right $100.00 is the low-end price for quality running shoe – scary isn’t it.

Modifications

I left them completely stock for the first 50 miles.

Cons

Not anything major.

I would not use the Launch to chase a 5K or 10K personal record, in my experience while they are a comfortable shoe, they are not a “fast” shoe for me.

While the heel-to-toe transition is very good and I don’t have any issues with flexibility, I still tend to scuff/drag my heels when walking or running slower.

Shoe Laces – They are a bit long and I can feel them rubbing against my other foot while I am running. Yes, I can tuck them into the laces or change them out to LockLaces, so this is a really minor thing.

The reality is that

The Brooks Launch are a more traditional lightweight cushioned trainer with about a 10mm drop, it took me a bit to get used to again – after running primarily in zero or 4mm drop running shoes over the past couple of years.

Yes I did run a 5K race in the Brooks Launch
Yes I did run a 5K race in the Brooks Launch

Notice that I put in bold the word cushioned. The Launch are a cushioned traditional light-weight trainer and that is what I was looking for as my higher mileage shoes in my rotation.

So the first 20 miles in these shoes I had to do some adapting to the higher drop, but now that I have gotten re-acclimated to that style of shoe, they are disappearing on my feet and I am just running in them.

I can’t give a pair of running shoes any higher praise than that after 50 miles.

No I am not going to go all gaga about the Launch with only 50 miles on them and it will be interesting to see how I feel about them at the 200 mile and 400 mile marks. Yes I am thinking they might make it that far.

I have also heard rumors that Brooks is preparing to update the Launch to the Launch 2, so it will be interesting to see what they do to “improve” this shoe. I hope that they don’t try to fix, something that ain’t broke. Many runners who run in the Launch, have run in them because the Launch meets their needs just the way it is.

No, the Brooks Launch are not a sexy new running shoe with all kinds of bells and whistles that will supposedly help you run better, instead they are a solid shoe that runners, just run in.

Now to see how the next 150 to 350 miles go.

What do you think of the Brooks Launch? What changes would you like to see Brooks do to make it a better running shoe?

8 thoughts on “Brooks Launch – 50 Mile Review

  1. Have you been reading about Meb and Skechers? There’s an interesting thread on Running Ahead, and one of the Skecher’s people is posting and answering questions.

    1. Robin – Yes I have! Meb has a great story and Skechers Performance division running shoes are very, very good. I have had 4 pair of them, but unfortunately in the most recent version of my favorite shoes the GoRun Ride, has a stability strap coming down on the outside of the toe box and it bothers my Tailor’s Bunionette otherwise I would be running in them now 🙂 an never would have gotten to try these shoes.

      But I do like the Brooks Launch a lot, they remind me a lot of my pick-up truck, reliable, does more than you think it can, are comfortable and it will get you where you want to go in most any conditions. It just is not a race car and when you drive it like it is, it doesn’t work as well as a race car would on the roads, but in snow or down back it works a lot better than any race car ever would for me.

      1. Brad – I really like them a lot, your information/recommendation was spot on, but for me they are not really a 5K-10K race shoe or for track work, but I wouldn’t hesitate to use them anything longer than those distances. they are just comfortable. Yes, I did get them at the local Dicks Sporting Goods and I like the colorway a lot better than what is available from Brooks. I also have seen photos of the orange colorway you are talking about and I like that one too. Here is a link to the 50 mile review I did a little while ago. http://runnah.com/2014/04/25/brooks-launch-50-mile-review/

  2. Great review, Harold! I was very interested to hear your thoughts on the Launch after some miles. Did you get that colorway at a local Dick’s Sporting Goods or was it some other Dick’s store? My local DSG doesn’t carry the Launch, and I have NEVER seen that fantastic Blue & Yellow colorway before. It looks great and is WAY better than the color update that Brooks came out with for 2014 (which is a very blah light blue & black). My favorite colorway was a very bright orange and yellow colorway that Brooks decided to dump after only about a year. It’s a shame, because it’s way better than the colors they offer now. Glad to hear they are working well for you, and hope they keep on disappearing on your feet!

  3. Hmmm, very interesting. My local DSG does not carry the Launch but I see that I can order this awesome colorway online from DSG. Thanks for opening my eyes to this version! I never knew it existed, since Brooks doesn’t carry it on their own site and neither does RunningWarehouse.

    1. This is one of the reasons I love RSG, I get great recommendations from others like you (I never would have tried the Launch if you hadn’t been so keen on them) and you learned about a different colorway. Hope you get it and love it :-). I also just got in a pair of the Green Silence (from eBay) and although I haven’t run in them yet, I wore them to the gym and walking a few times, very comfortable so far-very prommising. Might be turning a little bit towards Brooks 😉

      1. You are right about RSG, I have learned tons on that group and made some great connections too. I think you will like the GS, it is a great shoe for faster runs and workouts. I have done many 5Ks in them, and ran a half marathon PR in my GS last fall. It might take a little while to get the lace snugness dialed in, but after not much running they should start fitting your foot like a glove!

      2. I think so too, I am using LockLaces with them and can’t wait to get the first few runs in them to see how they are going to work for me, but they are comfortable and that is the important first step.

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